Morse code was developed by Samuel Morse to transmit text to long distances over the radio. It was developed in the middle of the nineteenth century when the idea of digital communication was not even conceived. With a series of short and long tones, communication signals could be sent over long distances and proved to be very effective during the time of distress. Though there has been great advancement in the field of technology since then, Morse code is still relevant in today’s time. Handy explains why learning Morse code is so important.
- Low cost- The ability to send messages over long distances on a relatively low amount of power makes Morse code a very effective means of communication. With little more than a wire antenna, a couple of dollars in parts, and a couple of AA batteries, you can design a crude radio to send messages around the world. A simple ham radio transmitter can be built at a fraction of the cost of traditional voice radios.
- Effective in nature– Morse code makes it possible to hear signals even in a low signal environment. It is much easier to filter out background noise even if it is in high decibel. Thus, you can figure out the messages effectively. Morse code requires less signal bandwidth than voice communication making it useful and efficient.
- Secret messages– Morse code is represented by dots and dashes so that letters and numbers can be sent via a telegraph key over the radio. People who are ignorant of this code cannot decipher the meaning. As a result, the Morse code can be used to transmit secret messages as well. Navigation beacons still use code to identify themselves.
- Blinking Morse– Morse code can also be used by flashing lights. The signals are very simple. So, they are easy to use and understand for people who know how to read its meaning. Sometimes, people cannot use radios to communicate such as in the case of a breakdown in their radio equipment. In such a situation, they use blinker lights to communicate from ship to ship. A receiver would read the flashes and convert it back to text.
- Other Morse messages– In times of emergency, Morse code can be used to transmit messages even via facial expressions. One notable modern usage of this code was when a Navy pilot held captive as a prisoner of war in Vietnam communicated by blinking the Morse symbols for “torture” in a video interview about his treatment.
For people with medical conditions that prevent them from speaking or communicating in other ways, Morse code can be helpful too. Even those with limited motor skills can communicate using Morse code wherein iPhones and Android smartphones can be set up to accept their code inputs.
Handy feels that learning Morse code can help immensely in times of emergencies. Apart from that, there is a rhythmic musical fluidity to the sound of Morse code that has a soothing and meditative feeling. A simple tool that can accomplish all these tasks is definitely an art worth learning.