Morse Code: Understand How It Works And Check Out

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Morse Code: Understand How It Works And Check Out

Morse code is a language for communicating with other people – not a computer. As its name signifies, this system was created in 1835 by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail. And, currently, it is the only modulation that can be comprehended by a human without the help of a machine. A Morse code chart or table giving the Morse signals and their corresponding letters and characters which today is widely used 

Specifically, about the message, you need to know that it will be comprised of three signals: long pulses, short pulses, and spaces. While long signs are called a dash or 'dah', short signs are called a dot or 'dit'.

The spaces, in turn, do not change their name. However, you will find different sizes of spaces: shorter to indicate the spacing between letters and longer to illustrate the gap between words.

As we mentioned earlier, these pulses can be sent and received by audible (beats) or visual (flashing lights) signals. But they can also be communicated by electrical waves (as in the telegraph, also invented by Samuel Morse) or electromagnetic waves (as in a radio).

It is no exaggeration to associate the popularity of the Morse code with the widespread adoption of the telegraph. It is worth recognizing that at that time there were no telephones or radios. In other words, the quickest way to exchange information was by telegram. 

Because of this fame, it was the international standard for maritime communications until 1999 when it was completely replaced by the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (also known as GMDSS ( Global Maritime Distress and Safety System ).

Today, although it has fallen into disuse, some groups still convey using Morse code, such as the Boy Scouts and radio trainees.

American Morse code

Morse code hasn't been the same since it was created nearly 200 years ago. Originally, Samuel Morse wanted to share only numbers by telegraph and use a book to decode the words.

However, the code ended up including letters, numerals, and signs. The logic was to use the smallest sequences of dots and dashes to depict the most common letters in English. Thus, messages could be communicated more completely and quickly. Imagine the time it would take to look up the meaning of each group of numbers in the dictionary!

Of course, over the years, Morse code has seen changes. Thus, the Morse code table was too limited for use in the United States. Hence, the term “American Morse Code” or “Railroad”.

Morse Code Benefits

The main uses of Morse code are its versatility and worldwide adherence. When we talk about versatility, we are talking about the myriad media used to convey messages. That is, you can share using Morse code through radio, knocking on the door, flashing a flashlight, sounds in a song, etc.

When we talk about worldwide adhesion, we are referring to an alphabet understood throughout the world. That is, there are messages – such as the famous SOS distress acronym – that you can send and your interlocutors will know the meaning immediately.

What Are The Uses Of Morse Code?

Currently, Morse code is used only by radio amateurs and Scout groups. However, you can also find it in popular songs, movies, videos, books, etc. Despite being almost 200 years old, the system remains famous, especially among geeks.

Online Morse Code Translators

On the internet, you can find many Morse code translators. Here, we've separated three to help you convert words into dits and dahs in graphical representation or even audio and light.

1. Unit Conversion

Unit Conversion is an online Morse code translator. It functions similarly to other language translators: in one box you write the text to be translated, and in the other, the words already translated appear.

If you want to decipher Morse code, you can paste the dots and dashes in the top box and select “morse code to text” in the “Convert output” field. Although the site does not provide a tutorial, we 

have found that the translator comprehends a single space to signify the end of a sequence of dots and dashes. However, I couldn't figure out what would be the symbol to indicate the end of a word, since the traditional slashes “/” and “|” didn't work.

2. Online Conversion

Another translation tool available is Online Conversion. Like the previous one, it offers to translate texts into Morse code and vice versa. However, only the box to translate from Morse code was working for me. In this converter, you separate each character by a space, while words are split using two or three spaces.


It is interesting to note that Morse code still to this day is one of the easiest and least taxing ways to send long-range messages that get through when voice communications may not. CW takes up about 150 Hz of bandwidth and requires as little as 5 watts of power to transmit. Compare that to today’s modern radios that can use upwards of 100 watts of power and take 30 to 40 times the amount of bandwidth for voice!

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