Imagine yourself back in the 18th Century where the only form of communication was by letter or by personal messenger. During the industrial age of the 1840s, Samuel Finley Morse gave an option that no longer requires the need to use these methods. He invented a method to symbolize letters and numbers by using short and long pulses that sent electrical indicators to a radio operator.
This invention marked the beginning of a new era, the era of a new way of communication. Language can still be a barrier, which is why a typical code called The Morse Code was created. It uses short and long pulses – dits or dahs – to represent letters and numbers.
The first telegraph message ever sent was a short one, but very fascinating. The message was: “What God Hath Wrought”. Before the advent of mobile phones, people communicated through Morse code. In spite of being an innovation that is over 160 years old, this technology is still used today among amateur radio operators and on some ships.
Morse code is frequently used for sending distress signals. The letters “SOS” [Save Our Souls] became the standard distress signal from around 1908 at the International Conference on Morse Code.
Did you know that the seemingly haunting RMS Titanic final distress calls were sent through the Morse Code?
‘It’s CQD, Old Man. Distress call from the Titanic.’
These were the tragic last messages from the ship right before it had hit the iceberg.
Yet another interesting thing to note is that, the Old Nokia Text Message Tone is the Morse Code for SMS, making it a revolutionary communicational tool. It’s fascinating to know that many music we hear to consist of some Morse Code tones in them.
Morse Code has also been a blessing for people with disabilities or who have an inability to communicate due to a stroke, heart attack, or paralysis. There have been several cases where the affected individuals have been able to use their eyelids to communicate in Morse Code by using a sequence of long and quick blinks to symbolize that dots and dashes. This technology, if well utilized, could in fact be a breakthrough.
Once when the US and Vietnam were at war with each other, many US commanders and admirals were taken as prisoners of war by the Vietnamese. One such person was Cmdr. Jeremiah Denton Jr. He blinked the word T-O-R-T-U-R-E in Morse code using his eyes during a press interview by the Vietnamese. This was received by the US Office of Naval Intelligence and they knew something was wrong.
The Morse Code Signals can be sent using very little power thus making it easy to build the ham radio transmitters at half the cost of conventional voice radios.
Morse code requires much less signal bandwidth when compared to normal voice communication. It lets you construct extremely cheap and cost-efficient radios that can transmit with little more than a wire antenna and a couple of small AA batteries.
This code is still employed by navigation beacons to identify themselves.
It has the ability of sending messages that the general public will not understand. When no other option works, this method works. This is the reason why all HAM Radio Operators should learn Morse Code to function effectively during disaster management operations.