Morse Code 

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What is Morse Code?

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Morse code allows us to represent alphabet, numbers, and punctuation marks, with the help of electric pulses of varying lengths, or through visual signals. A series of dots, dashes, and spaces indicate the letters, numbers and punctuation. The International Morse Code is built on the lines of the original system created by Samuel F.B. Morse and Alfred Lewis Vail (code used for electrical telegraphy). The current system makes use of constant-length dashes and also dots for all letters. 

Example of a Morse Code:

…. .- — / -.-. .-.. ..- -… / — ..-. / -.- ..- — .- .-. .- –. ..- .-. ..-


In the international code, a “dash” is three times longer than a “dot”. On paper, “-” represents a dash, while “.” represents a dot. The letter “E” is a simple one, consisting of only one “.”. Other characters are a little more complicated. For instance, “-.-.” denotes “C”.

In case the letter has numerous dots and/or dashes, it is important to have a pause equal to the length of one dot between those components. The intervals between letters are greater for equaling three dots. Individual words have to be separated by even larger pauses of seven dots.

“SOS” is the most famous Morse Code phrase. It is a globally recognised distress signal which was originally used by German telegraphers in the year 1905.

Hence, it reads as: “dot-dot-dot-dash-dash-dash-dot-dot-dot”

Morse Code in World War II

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The International Morse Code was used in WWII and also in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Until the early 1990s, it was widely used by the shipping industry and for ensuring marine safety. During that period, morse codes were decoded using amateur radios boosting military communications. 

‘Morse Codes’ now and then!

With the evolution of telecommunications, the Morse Code System played vital roles in the World Wars. Since radio frequency was limited and easily recognised by enemies, Morse Code was used between warships and naval bases during World War II for tactical and secure communication. 

It is said that the United States military still trains a limited number of army personnel on this obsolete communication method. They believe that it would come in handy in emergency situations, when other communication systems fail. 

If we look back at history, we can realize that the Morse Code System has indeed helped in saving lives and relaying crucial messages.

Interesting Facts

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  • The first official Morse Code telegram was sent in 1844.
  • Morse Code can be used with any pulse signal as well. For example, by flashing a torch on and off or blinking SOS.
  • It is said that a US prisoner of war in Vietnam had flashed the word “Torture” in Morse Code for informing the American government that its detainees were not being handled as well as they had been shown.
  • Morse Code is available in Korean and Japanese language as well.
  • At a time, Morse Code was even sent over the sea with the help of electric lines.
  • In the year 1858, a copper telegraph wire was successfully installed over 2,000 miles across theAtlantic Ocean!
  • For a brief while, the transatlantic cable helped the President of the United States to connect with the Queen of the United Kingdom. However, they were soon replaced by wireless telegraphy!


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