Whether you’re preparing for a post-apocalyptic world or you just want to learn a long-forgotten language, Morse Code can be a useful skill to know for a variety of scenarios. To start making sense of this unique communication method, check out this helpful guide to learning Morse Code for survival!
The Start Of Morse Code
Morse Code dates back to 1836, when a team of inventors, which included Samuel F.B. Morse, created an electrical telegraph system which sent a series of electrical pulses along wires over long distances. The pulses would then mark on paper tape, but a code was needed to decipher the marks and make sense of their meaning. This code eventually became the Morse Code we know today, which uses a series of short and long signals to send messages either visually, vocally, or auditorily.
There are plenty of scenarios in which Morse Code can be a beneficial skill that aids in your survival. Morse Code requires little infrastructure, far less signal bandwidth, it is self-encrypting, and it’s versatile. If you’re unable to speak, you can still blink Morse Code to communicate. If you are communicating at a distance, the simple reflection of a mirror or beam of a flashlight is enough to send Morse Code. And in the event that the electrical grid is wiped out, Morse Code will be one of the leading methods of wireless communication for people around the world.
Making Sense Of Morse Code
Morse Code is still commonly used in the amateur radio (ham radio) realm. Users of ham radio are typically just hobbyists who enjoy communication and electronics, and they are equipped with multi-band ham radios that allow them to contact people from all over the world! Up until recently, ham radio users were required to prove their proficiency in Morse Code in order to get licensed, but that part of the licensing process has since been removed. Because learning Morse Code is literally like learning a new language, the more you practice, the better you’ll get!
Learning the Language
Morse Code presents itself as a series of sound or light signals, but careful listeners or observers will find the meaning to those seemingly random signals. The messages that Morse Code transmits will come in the form of dot and dash combinations, also referred to as ‘dits’ and ‘dahs,’ respectively. A dash is three times longer than a dot, and each sound or signal directs you to a different letter. For example, a single dot is an ‘E’ while a single dash is a ‘T’. The letters and their corresponding signals were selected by the frequency of their use, so the most-used letters require the least amount of dots or dashes. When transmitting signals, each letter is separated by a short pause, while each word is separated by a pause that is three times as long as the pause for a single letter. Refer to the Morse Code chart to see which dot and dash combinations represent each letter.
After you’ve learned some of the basics of Morse Code, practice sending and receiving messages. It might take you a little bit to catch on, but start slow at first and eventually you’ll get the hang of it. Once you’re proficient enough, you’ll be able to rely on Morse Code as an efficient means of communication in survival situations. And if you never end up needing it for survival, in the meantime you’ll still be able to blink secret messages to your friends or tell dirty jokes without anyone knowing what you said!