- the Morse code used for communications world wide
Morse pages include:
Anyone associated with communications has heard of the Morse Code. The Morse Code was in widespread use for many years.
Initially it was used in telegraph systems, but as radio or wireless began to be used, the Morse Code was adopted for use in this medium as well.
Here it provided a very efficient and convenient form of modulating a radio carrier to enable data to be sent.
Although far more effective forms of communication are available today, the Morse Code was used for around 150 years and this time it carried huge amounts of traffic and conveyed many important messages.
Morse Code composition
The Morse code is made up from two basic elements (not including the gaps) - dots and dashes. The dots are one element in length and the dashes are three elements as outlined below.
The Morse code characters are represented by dots "." and dashes "-" to indicate the different elements.
The Morse Code
|A||. _||N||_ .|
|B||_ . . .||O||_ _ _|
|C||_ . _ .||P||. _ _ .|
|D||_ . .||Q||_ _ . _|
|E||.||R||. _ .|
|F||. . _ .||S||. . .|
|G||_ _ .||T||_|
|H||. . . .||U||. . _|
|I||. .||V||. . . _|
|J||. _ _ _||W||. _ _|
|K||_ . _||X||_ . . _|
|L||. _ . .||Y||_ . _ _|
|M||_ _||Z||_ _ . .|
|1||. _ _ _ _||6||_ . . . .|
|2||. . _ _ _||7||_ _ . . .|
|3||. . . _ _||8||_ _ _ . .|
|4||. . . . _||9||_ _ _ _ .|
|5||. . . . .||0||_ _ _ _ _|
|1||. _||6||_ . . . .|
|2||. . _||7||_ . . .|
|3||. . . _||8||_ . .|
|4||. . . . _||9||_ .|
|5||. . . . .||0|| _ |
(sometimes a long dash is used)
|Start of Work (CT)||_ . _ . _||Invitation to Transmit (KN)||_ . _ _ .|
|End of Work (VA)||. . . _ . _||End of Message (AR)||. _ . _ .|
|Invitation to Transmit (K)||_ . _||Invitation to a particular station to transmit (KN)||_ ._ _.|
Morse code elements spacing & length
In order that the Morse code sounds correct and it is easy to read, it is essential that the correct ratios of the different elements are maintained. If the different ratios are not maintained, then the Morse code becomes difficult to read and less pleasant to listen to. The agreed ratios and lengths of the different Morse code element are given below:
|Morse Code Composition|
|Dot||1 unit of time|
|Dash||3 units of time|
|Pause between letters||3 units of time|
|Pause between words||7 units of time|
Morse code history
The Morse code itself since almost the beginnings of the idea for the Morse telegraph itself. The first code was used for the first major demonstration of the telegraph system that occurred in May 1844. However as this code included elements of varying length it was not found easy to use. Accordingly it was re-worked to give the Morse code that is used today.
With new and more sophisticated forms of communication now available, the use of the Morse code is has declined considerably in recent years. Many years ago the use of radio began the decline of landline Morse systems. This was compounded by the introduction of the teleprinter that used a keyboard to enter messages, and provided a printed copy at the far end. In Britain the Post Office discontinued the use of landline Morse code in 1932, although its use continued until the 1960s in both the USA and Australia.
Whilst the use of the Morse code is in decline it is still widely used in some areas. There are some telegraph enthusiasts who set up historical displays and communicate using original keys and sounders. They use the public telephone system with dial up units and modems to enable them to carry the Morse signals over the public telephone network.
The main area in which Morse is used today is for radio transmissions. While the requirement for ships at sea to be able to send Morse code distress signals ended on 31st January 1999, many other still use Morse. Some ships still use it as a cheaper option than the satellite communications systems that are in general use now. Also some armed forces still use it as a last ditch form of communications.
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