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Topic – Morse Code

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Morse Code

A hundred years ago, it was difficult for people to communicate over long distances. Messages to far-off places were carried on horseback. Then Samuel Morse invented the electric telegraph and the code it uses. The electric telegraph could send messages using electricity. The operator at one end used a machine to tap out a special code for each letter of the alphabet. The system changed the tapping into electrical impulses and sent them across electric wires to their destination. These impulses were changed back into the code at the destination. The code was printed on a paper tape attached to another machine. The operator on the receiving end used the code to change the message back into words. Later, operators learned to translate the code just by listening. The first telegraph message was sent in the United States in 1844. Canada followed in 1846.

Morse code is a series of dots and dashes. The dashes are about three times longer than the dots. Here is the code for the letters of the alphabet.

The Morse code also includes codes for numbers and punctuation signs. Like texting, it also has groups of letters that stand for phrases. For example, the letters CUL stand for “see you later.” And the famous SOS distress signal stands for “save our souls.” Messages can be sent by Morse code using light too. A flashing light can send the same dots and dashes and they can be translated by someone watching.

How Is Morse Code Used Today?

Today Morse code is used mostly by amateur radio operators. Contests are held all over the world where these operators can show their skills in using Morse code. Some navigation beacons still identify themselves using Morse code. Pilots flying planes by instrument use these beacons to determine their plane’s location. But perhaps the most exciting use of Morse code is helping people with disabilities communicate. There have been cases in which people have learned to communicate using their eyelids to blink messages using Morse code. Or they have used a finger to tap out messages.


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