How2: Learn Morse Code. With PDFs

Morse Code is a system of dots and dashes that uses very little power to carry your message great distances.  It doesn’t rely on the internet. It takes very little bandwidth, so many users can share the space. When you need a reliable way of communicating across the world, Morse Code is a great choice.  That’s why mariners have relied on it, giving us the acronym S-O-S (meaning save our ship).

The Basics

There are longer and shorter notes, or dashes and dots. If a dot takes 1 unit of time, then a dash takes 3, because dashes are 3 times longer than dots. A pause between letters is 3 times longer than a dot, which means it is equally as long as a dash. Finally, a pause between words is 7 times longer than a dot. Just as with typing, speed is measured in Words Per Minute (WPM). Some educators warn against slowing down the Morse Code when learning it, but instead learning at 20 WPM, the speed of many Morse Code transmissions.  Here are the basic letters, to get you started. In the table below, letters in black end on a dot, and letters in blue end on a dash:

E . T –
I . . A . – N – . M – –
S . . . U . . – R . – . W . – – D – . . K – . – G – – . O – – –
H . . . . V . . . – F . . – . L . – . . P . – . J . – – – B – . . . X – . . – C – . – . Y – . – – Z – – . . Q – – – .

Learning Aid

The following diagram can be a useful visual aid, for learning Morse Code and for checking yourself when receiving Morse Code messages. If you are learning Morse Code, familiarize yourself with the words associated with the dot-dash combinations. Speak the words in the same cadence as you would pronounce the Morse Code, emphasizing syllables that correspond with dashes and de-emphasizing those that don’t. If you are decoding a message that you are receiving, begin at the START. The first thing you hear – a dot or a dash – will tell you whether you’ll move UP or DOWN from there. Move UP for a dash, DOWN for a dot.  As long as the signal continues, continue to move your eyes along the chart.  As soon as there is a pause that’s as long as a dash, you’ve got your letter and are ready to begin again at START for the next letter.

Try These Handy PDF References [ with words =or = without words ]

youcanlearnmorse

Why Words? The words that follow the letters in our reference PDF may help learners associate letters with word patterns. The word or phrase we use both starts with the letter and also has the same sort of cadence.  For example, we chose the word “aware” to represent the letter A because its emphasis on the second syllable echoes the Morse Code – dot-dash is pronounced dit-DAH.

A .- a-WARE
B – . . . BAT-inabox
C – . – . CA-li-FOR-nia
D – . . DIP-pitty
E . egg
F . . – . future-IST-ic
G – – . GRA-DA-tions
H . . . . huckleberry
I . . icky
J . – – – Je-MI-MA’s JAR
K – . – KAN-ga-ROO
L . – . . Li-BER-i-a
M – – MON-DAY
N – . NEE-dle
O – – – O-RI-OLE
P .- – . pe-REN-NI-als
Q – – . – QUADRUpliCATE
R . – . ros-AN-na
S . . . somebody
T – TOOOT
U . . – under-STAND
V . . . – volcanic ASH
W . – – waTU-SI
X – . . – X-tra for ME
Y – . – – YOU can LEARN MORSE
Z – – . . ZIG-ZAG zebra

0  – – – –

1  . – – – –

2 . . – – –

3 . . . – –

4 . . . . –

5 . . . . .

6 – . . . .

7 – – . . .

8 – – – . .

9   – – – – .

Self-Teaching

You can use flash cards, read along with one of the many Morse Code videos on the web, or simply speak through the alphabet daily.  You may find the following table useful, when you quiz yourself:

E T
I A N M
S U R W D K G O
H V F L P J B X C Y Z Q

Know More! 

Finally, here are just a few of the additional characters that you may be looking for, as you grow familiar with Morse Code:

period .-.-.- comma –..– q-mark ..–..
dash -….- colon —… received (R) .-.
error …….. repeat (ii ii) .. .. wait (AS) .-…
warning interrupt (BK) -…-.- understood (VE) …-.

History

Morse Code, which you now know is a system that uses combinations of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers, was invented by Samuel Morse. He used it to transmit messages across distances using electricity, demonstrating the telegraph in 1836, and ushering a new era of connectedness. It met a real need, and was quickly adopted and  used widely for over 100 years. Then, with the advent of other technologies, it faded in popularity. Knowledge of the code is not even a requirement to obtain a license as an amateur (Ham) radio operator anymore.  To this day, however, savvy mystery and science fiction writers often weave Morse Code clues into their stories, and mariners include it in their training.

In times of emergency, where normal lines of communications fail, Morse Code can really shine.  At this time, participating Ham radio operators sending out Morse Code messages can be useful in a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) effort.

Also, medical professionals are finding Morse Code useful as assistive technology for people suffering conditions that interfere with speech or make speech difficult or tiring. Morse Code can also be fun, such as when we created The Lord’s Prayer in Morse Code, or when a viewer enjoys following the clues embedded in old BBC “Inspector Morse” episodes.

Know the S-O-S ! 

Learn how to type S-O-S. It can save your life.  Tapping out the simple Morse Code message such as “ditditdit – dah-dah-dah – ditditdit” (S-O-S) on a pipe can bring help your way, if you’re trapped and your voice tires from calling out to search and rescue crews.  But, why stop there? Any new languages opens up a world of communication possibilities.

Enjoy your journey with Morse Code with peace and blessings!

– your friends at NHM Ministrants

About our How2 Expert

This time, it’s just one more post by internal team members. This particular How2 was written by L. Speeth, who was taught the basics of Morse Code as a child, by her father.   If you’re a specialist in Morse Code and see anything that needs correcting, do please let us know.

What are How2s?

How2s – simple explanations of performing tasks relating to ministry and healing arts – are a regular feature of NHM Ministrants.  Offered (where applicable) in conjunction with select key scriptural passages and analysis, How2s are meant to assist you – the ministrant – as you walk the healer’s path.

Categories How2 | Tags: , , | Posted on August 18, 2013

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