Morse Code is one of those “old timey” skills that’s fallen out of favor but can definitely come in handy during an emergency situation.
It’s simple and fairly easy to learn, so I recommend you take the time to get up to speed on this basic means of communication. It might come in handy!
First, for the young, whippersnappers in our audience, let me explain what we’re talking about.
Morse Code is a method of transmitting text and numbers using a series of on/off tones or clicks (and even lights).
Here’s a bit of the history of Morse Code (Wikipedia):
Beginning in 1836, the American artist Samuel F. B. Morse, the American physicist Joseph Henry, and Alfred Vail developed an electrical telegraph system. This system sent pulses of electric current along wires which controlled an electromagnet that was located at the receiving end of the telegraph system. A code was needed to transmit natural language using only these pulses, and the silence between them. Around 1837, Morse, therefore, developed an early forerunner to the modern International Morse code.
The Morse code was developed so that operators could translate the indentations marked on the paper tape into text messages.
In the 1890s, Morse code began to be used extensively for early radio communication, before it was possible to transmit voice. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most high-speed international communication used Morse code on telegraph lines, undersea cables and radio circuits. In aviation, Morse code in radio systems started to be used on a regular basis in the 1920s.
Each letter and number in the English language is represented by a series of dots and dashes (sometimes called “dits” and “dahs”), and by stringing together these dots and dashes (with appropriate pauses in between), entire words and sentences can be communicated.
Here’s each numeral and letter of the English language, represented in Morse Code:
Morse Code was once considered an essential skill for members of the military as well as amateur radio operators. In fact, until 2003, the International Telecommunication Union mandated proficiency in Morse Code as part of their licensing procedure.
Here’s an old, military training video that demonstrates Morse Code in action:
So, why should a modern survivalist be concerned with a 200-year-old skill that’s fallen out of use?
Because oftentimes the simplest ways of doing something are the best. Being able to communicate with friends and family using a simple code that virtually no one else understands can come in very handy during a variety of situations.
If I’ve convinced you that it’s worth your time to learn this skill, here are a couple of resources I recommend:
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