the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

365 days of celebration

27
April

Morse Code Day

Posted by Brittany

Morse Code Day .... . .-.. .-.. --- + - --- + .- .-.. .-.. + --- ..- .-. + .-. . .- -.. . .-. ... + - --- -.. .- -.-- + - .... . + -.-- . .- .-. + --- ..-. + .-.. .. ...- .. -. --. + ..- -. --- ..-. ..-. .. -.-. .. .- .-.. .-.. -.-- + -.-. . .-.. . -... .-. .- - . ... + -- --- .-. ... . + -.-. --- -.. . + -.. .- -.-- Translate

In 1836 Samuel Morse, Joseph Henry, and Alfred Vail began developing an electric telegraph system capable of sending pulses of electric current. First employed in 1844, their telegraph used these signals to create indentations on paper as the electric currents were received. Morse worked on a code to translate these indentations (at first he planned to use a number-based system, but Vail added letters), and the “dots” and “dashes” (or “dits” and “dahs”) code was born.

Morse code was a popular mehtod of communication for over a century — it can be learned quickly and transmitted by tones, lights, or clicks. Although the military recently replaced Morse code with newer communication systems, it still has practical uses today. For example, it can be used as an assistive communication device for people with certain motion disabilities, and usually proves faster than alternative “row scanning” methods. In fact, contests have shown that skilled Morse code “readers” can translate in their heads at rates of 40 words per minute (WPM), with a 1939 record of 75.2 WPM. And the record for the fastest straight keyed message was achieved in 1942 at a rate of 35 WPM. Many amateur radio enthusiasts still learn and use Morse code, and there’s even a radio station, W1AW, that plays practice transmissions for anyone trying to learn.

I’m not always a big fan of puzzles and riddles, but I like codes. They seem more like a math problem to me than the “creative thinking” required for some riddles, and I like solving anything that has one real answer in the end instead of multiple possible interpretations. With that in mind, I’m a little surprised that I never tried to teach myself Morse code as a kid (especially considering I did all sorts of weird things like memorize long poems and teach myself to read treble clef and play guitar). I was raised watching black and white movies on Turner Classic Movies and American Movie Classics and I remember being fascinated by the Morse Code used in so many movie scenes.

No comments - Add comment

Upcoming Unofficials