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Morse code is used to send telegraphic information through two signal durations as dots and dashes that correspond to the alphabet, numbers, and punctuation. It transformed how people communicated with each other across long distances.
See the fact file below for more information on the Morse code or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Morse Code worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT
- Samuel F. B. Morse, along with Leonard Gale and Alfred Vail, was able to develop a telegraph with a single circuit. Using this telegraph, the operator key is pushed down, sending a electrical signal to the receiver through a wire.
- Around 1837, Morse and Vail developed a code that assigned a set of dots and dashes to the alphabet and numbers based on how often they are used in the English language.
- Simple codes were assigned to letters that are frequently used and those that are not used as often had more complex and extended codes.
- On May 24, 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first Morse telegraph from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Maryland.
- In Samuel Morse’s telegraph system, a paper tape is indented with a stylus whenever an electric current is received. Due to its mechanical components, the receiver makes a clicking sound whenever the stylus moves to mark the paper tape.
- The operators initially translated the message based on the indentations on the tape but soon they realized they could translate these clicks directly into dots (dits) and dashes (dahs) without the need to look at the paper tape.
- The earliest version of the code only included numerals that represent words compiled in a codebook. Alfred Vail expanded this code in 1840 to include letters and special characters. This code became known as the Morse landline code or the American Morse code and was used since 1844.
- In 1848, Friedrich Clemens Gerke proposed a more refined version of the code, which became known as the “Hamburg alphabet.” This alphabet was later on adopted by the German-Austrian Telegraph Society in 1851. In 1865, the International Morse code was standardized in Paris at the International Telegraphy Congress in 1865.
MODES OF TRANSMISSION
- Morse code was initially transmitted as electrical pulses on a telegraph wire, but it can also be sent in many ways. It can be carried as an audio tone, as short and long radio signals, or as visual code like flashing light. Some mine rescuers pulled on a rope to send a Morse code: quick pull for dots and long pulls for dashes.
- Historians have called the Morse code the first digital code.
- Experienced operators are faster in sending and receiving Morse code messages. Slight variations in the duration of dashes or gaps are introduced by the skill of the operators. This is called their “fist,” and the more experienced ones can recognize the individuals who sent the particular message by the fist alone.
RISE AND DECLINE OF THE CODE
- Journalists and newspaper businesses greatly benefited in electric telegraphy. Pieces of news can be transmitted in Morse code between stations almost instantly.
- During World War II, radiotelegraphy or electric telegraphy was used for long-range ship-to-ship communication. Encrypted messages using Morse code was favored against the unsecured voice radio systems on ships.
- Morse code was also used by long-range patrol planes that were tasked to scout enemy cargo ships, troopships, and warships.
- The famous S.O.S., though it may seem to be an abbreviation, is actually just a distinctive Morse code used as a distress signal. This Morse code is transmitted with no spaces between the sequence of dots and dashes. Because it is highly used in emergencies, S.O.S. has been used informally to indicate a crisis.
- On January 31, 1997, the French Navy stopped using Morse code and transmitted the final message “Calling all. This is our last cry before our eternal silence.”
- On July 12, 1999, the final commercial Morse code transmitted in the United States signed off with Samuel Morse’s 1844 message.
- The Morse code S.O.S. was an international standard for maritime distress until 1999 when the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) replaced it.
- The development of new technology for communication made the regular widespread use of the telegraph fall down. It was soon replaced with more convenient ways of communication.
- Though no longer used as much, the United States Air Force still teaches Morse code to ten people every year, as of 2015.
MODERN DAY USES FOR THE PUBLIC
- Morse code has been used for over 160 years, longer than any electrical coding system.
- The old Nokia tone alert for incoming messages is actually a Morse tone for SMS.
- People of different disabilities also use Morse code as assistive technology. Android 5.0 and higher have a feature that enables users to input messages using Morse code. Persons with severe motion disabilities can send Morse code with minimal motor control.
- Computers can also translate Morse code into speaking communication aids.
- Q.S.T., a radio amateur magazine, reported the case of an old shipboard radio operator who lost his ability to speak or write due to stroke and uses Morse code to communicate with his physician by blinking his eyes.
Morse Code Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Morse code across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Morse Code worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Morse code which is used to send telegraphic information through two signal durations as dots and dashes that correspond to the alphabet, numbers, and punctuation. It transformed how people communicated with each other across long distances.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Morse Code Facts
- Tangled Lines
- Get The Message
- Historical Code
- Dated Codes
- Developing Code
- A Quote of Code
- The Key to the Code
- Modes and Codes
- Morse Helped Me
- Code Name Code
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Link will appear as Morse Code Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 22, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.