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Morse Code

Morse code telegraph PSM V03Morse code is an electrical coding system used to transmit textual messages as a sequence of “dots” and “dashes” expressed through on-off lights or tones.  The Morse code system was named after the American Samuel F.B. Morse who as a matter of fact was not a scientist. Indeed, Morse was a painter and the reason he focused on improving the means of long distance communication was a sad one. In 1825 Morse was away from home, working on a painting job, when he received a message delivered by a horse courier that his wife is very sick and dying. Although he left immediately, by the time he arrived at home, his wife had already died.  This tragic event triggered him to abandon painting and turn to science.

Morse spent the next several years researching electromagnetism and studied the early versions of other electrical telegraphs already developed by other people.  By 1837 he had his own version of an electrical telegraph which he developed with the help of Leonard Gale, a chemistry professor from New York University, and Alfred Vail - a young inventor who was able to support Morse not only with ideas but also with financial resources. Morse had difficult time trying to patent and finance his telegraph but at the end – in 1948, the US Congress approved the development of an experimental line between Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC.  Less than 10 years later, in 1951, the Morse code was officially adopted as the standard for European telegraphy.

Morse code has been a primary way of radio communication in aviation and marine navigation for more than a century and is still in use today, mostly by amateur radio operators. The reason Morse code became so popular is its simplicity. It uses only two “characters” – “dot” and “dash” to encode letters and numbers.  For example, the letter “M” is encoded as “- -“while the letter “N” is represented by “_.”.  In addition, the Morse code was developed with efficiency in mind. The most commonly used letters have the shortest encoding. Thus, “E” is spelled out with just “.” and “T” is just “-“.  Once you learn how to spell out each letter then you can virtually send out any message you want.  For example, one of the most famous messages sent – the call for help, i.e. SOS, is spelled in Morse code as “…---…”

In spite of its simplicity, however, learning Morse code can be challenging. Just like Latin language is a language meant to be read and written, but not spoken, Morse code is a language meant to be seen or heard, not read and written. Thus, it is important to use some kind of Morse code tool or translator that can help you hear and visualize the “dots” and “dashes” so you can learn them the way you can use them.  

Check out how the morse code translator can help you learn morse code.