Origin of the Morse Code and How it Works?

Morse code is one of the most basic and well-known coded communication methods.

You might have used it if you had lived in the 1850s or were a modern amateur radio operator. 

You probably don’t know, but it was used to send public messages over long distances during the wars. Moreover, it was used to transport mail across oceans. Morse code was, in some ways, the first form of texting. Once you learn it, you’ll surely agree that morse code is more like a secret language widely used to send messages in an entirely secure and silent manner. Fortunately, with the advancement of technology, Morse code can now be easily decoded using a morse code decoder.

Let’s move forward to find out everything about this fantastic and helpful method of communication. 

What exactly is Morse Code?

The S.O.S. signal is a well-known Morse code example. It is worth noting that three dots represent the letter S, and three dashes represent the letter O. Morse code phrases are more iconic than “SOS.” A universally recognized distress signal, German telegraphers first adopted SOS in 1905. Why’d they picked this letter combo? Because in International Morse Code, “S” is three dots, and “O” is three dashes. See, “dot-dot-dot-dash-dash-dash-dot-dot-dot” (…—…) is an easy sequence to remember — even when you’re in grave peril.

The Origin of Morse Code

Engineers and scientists began to pioneer electrical communication methods in the early 1800s. The electrical telegraph system was invented in 1836 by Samuel Morse, Joseph Henry, and Alfred Vail. It was the first system that allowed for long-distance communication. 

However, there was a problem: it could only send electrical pulses to another machine.

Morse’s code originally only used numbers. This was useful for communicating some information but was insufficient to establish a solid communication capability. Vail contributed to the code’s expansion to include letters and special characters. As a result, Morse Code was born. The code assigned numbers and letters to short and long electrical pulses. These pulses would later be referred to as dots and dashes.

Aside from that, Samuel Morse was a fairly interesting individual. He was an avid painter who attempted to make painting his profession for many years. He turned to electricity, his other passion during his lifetime, after failing to make ends meet with painting. Morse began investigating electromagnetism and electrical communication, but he faced stiff competition.

William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone gathered many resources to build a working telegraph machine. On the other hand, Morse was working on his telegraph with a man named Leonard Gale, who assisted him in extending his telegraph range to 10 miles.

The Morse Code Rules

The morse code rules are as follows:

  • Each “dot” serves as the code’s time base. One dash equals the length of three dots.
  • There is a silence equal to the length of one dot after each character.
  • Morse code can be easily sped up and slowed down while maintaining the same pace.
  • To determine how to assign specific sequences of dots and dashes to each letter.

Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail studied the frequency with which each letter was used in English. They then assigned the simpler dot and dash sequences to the most commonly used letters at the time. The most common letter, E, is represented by a single dot.

Originally, telegraph machines would mark sheets of tape with the message, but telegraph operators eventually learned to translate the dots and dashes audibly, rendering the tape obsolete. As a result, morse code began to be taught as an audible language rather than a written one of symbols.

Learning the Basics of Morse Code

Learning morse code is a fun party trick because, without it, you’ll never know when someone on is sending a secret message. Anyhow, if you get to learn it then the game will be changed. Perhaps you will be the only one who understands, and you will be a hero or freak. All because you chose to learn morse code.

Keep in mind that in the international morse code:

  •  “dash” is three times longer than a “dot.” 
  • On paper, “-” is the symbol for a dash, while every “.” represents a dot.
  •  “E” is a simple letter consisting of just one “.” Other characters are a bit more intricate. For example, “-.-.” means “C.”

If you’re dealing with a letter that features multiple dots and/or dashes, there should be a pause equivalent to the length of one dot in between those components. The pauses that separate entire letters are longer, equal to three dots. Remember that individual words should be divided by even longer pauses measuring seven dots long.

Morse Code is Still Being Translated and Used Today

The process is quite simple if you want to use morse code today. Numerous training materials and guides are available on the internet for the best way to learn and use the code, as well as a variety of translating tools that can quickly encode or decode standard morse code.

This translator, for example, allows you to play back your message with sounds or lights to get a sense of how it would typically be communicated.

Learning written morse code is the most straightforward aspect of the task. The trickier part is learning to decode morse code while communicating via radio, light, or other means. This isn’t even the least valuable skill. According to legend, a POW blinked a secret message across the television while making a message for his captors.

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