International Morse Code Day.....

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
#22
Morse code always had the ability to be heard above static, and is easy to detect using a basic receiver
has technology advanced so much that it will never be used again ?
I know we have mobiles and sms messaging and internet, but if a major failure occurred voice transmission is too slow over vast distances and the power required is greater ?
 
#24
Morse code always had the ability to be heard above static, and is easy to detect using a basic receiver
has technology advanced so much that it will never be used again ?
I know we have mobiles and sms messaging and internet, but if a major failure occurred voice transmission is too slow over vast distances and the power required is greater ?
Radio waves tmk are at the same velocity whether Morse or voice. 300M metres a second in a vacuum (299,792,458 meters) and obviously slowed by air etc.

Morse gets you something like twice or more range over voice. Most military HF radios now send ‘data packets’ so you can send an email or images in that packet. That prevents interception as you don’t want to be on air for very long as you’ll be DF’d.

I suppose you could go back to:
 
#25
Morse code always had the ability to be heard above static, and is easy to detect using a basic receiver
has technology advanced so much that it will never be used again ?
I know we have mobiles and sms messaging and internet, but if a major failure occurred voice transmission is too slow over vast distances and the power required is greater ?
Morse is much less susceptible to interference and static than speech. It requires less bandwidth (morse 300Hz, SSB speech 4kHz). It's easier to copy as it arrives letter by letter rather than as complete words.

They still teach it in the USN Morse Code: A Staple in the Navy IW Toolkit
 
#26
The problem with Morse code is that it took training and practice to become fluent and competent with it. Add in procedures and shorthand codes and there's even more to learn.
All that: INT ZBA K jargon meant that it became a skill of telegraphists, provided they kept in practice.
It's a big step from: "Primary Morse receiving, stand by - Read..." plus there's learning to send with the key as well.

It's not even Dots and Dashes either. Because Morse is an Audio code really not a visual one. The "dots" are a dit bleep and the "dashes" are a longer bleep about 3 dits long. With a gap between letters of about one dit and between words of one dah. In fact the dits are so short that when they run together they're just di, with only the last one sounding like a dit. Such as the; "di di dit" of S (Sierra) as heard in di di dit dah dah dah di di dit of SOS.

Newcomers are not going to learn this in a day. Even if they did, who would they communicate with?

(From Wiki)
NATO phonetic alphabet - Wikipedia

It's not difficult to learn. It just takes practice. We did an hour a day 5 days a week for 2 years (less holidays) but we had other stuff to learn too. If it was the only thing you had to learn and you were doing it 8 hours a day you could do it much more quickly.
 
#27
The problem with Morse code is that it took training and practice to become fluent and competent with it. Add in procedures and shorthand codes and there's even more to learn.
All that: INT ZBA K jargon meant that it became a skill of telegraphists, provided they kept in practice.
It's a big step from: "Primary Morse receiving, stand by - Read..." plus there's learning to send with the key as well.
Indeed so, and that's why we got paid band III rates of pay.

@blackmetallic - sort of, but not in the way you might expect. As others have said, the Army use of morse is audio only, so that is how it is taught. From zero to hero - you start out with primary morse, Es and Ts (ie dits and dars). Very quickly you move on to As, Is, Ns and Ms (two-element letters). Then it's Os, Ss, Rs, Ks etc (ie three-element letters). Then it's the four element-letters, then numerals (which have 5 elements), and then punctuation which is variable, and then operating signals and pro-words. For example, to request receive signal strength, INT QRK is used. The INT is "barred", which means all run together. So INT is "di-di-dar-di-dar".

As @Troy says though, there is much more than just the alphabet. The procedures to send a formal signal message have to be understood. Say you're sending a message from South Georgia, it has to be formatted correctly so that it would enter the Defence Communications Network (DCN) on receipt in the Falklands and be routed correctly, with the appropriate precedences, classification level, special handling indicators, distribution lists etc. This routing for the most part happened automatically in switching centers, so the input had to be right, or the switch would kick it out.

it worked fine, but it's had its day. I would liken it to sextant navigation vs GPS. GPS always preferred, as long as it works. Sextant as a backup. Morse and sextant both have a learning curve though.
 
#28
Indeed so, and that's why we got paid band III rates of pay.

@blackmetallic - sort of, but not in the way you might expect. As others have said, the Army use of morse is audio only, so that is how it is taught. From zero to hero - you start out with primary morse, Es and Ts (ie dits and dars). Very quickly you move on to As, Is, Ns and Ms (two-element letters). Then it's Os, Ss, Rs, Ks etc (ie three-element letters). Then it's the four element-letters, then numerals (which have 5 elements), and then punctuation which is variable, and then operating signals and pro-words. For example, to request receive signal strength, INT QRK is used. The INT is "barred", which means all run together. So INT is "di-di-dar-di-dar".
You sure about that? :mrgreen: QRK is intelligibility, QSA is signal strength.

Interestingly in commercial morse we use the question mark (di di da da di dit) rather than INT so 'What is the strength of my signal would be QSA?
 
#29
You sure about that? :mrgreen: QRK is intelligibility, QSA is signal strength.

Interestingly in commercial morse we use the question mark (di di da da di dit) rather than INT so 'What is the strength of my signal would be QSA?
@Troy's point about remaining in practice is a good one, it seems :)
 
#30
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#31
Here's an OLD memory of my Morse Code Training....

Due to some 'problems' in the Army with scheduling , I ended up being taught by mostly RN Experts as Instructors.
I passed my first exam and was feeling a bit 'cocky' ( as you do ) when the CPO said " Here's a film to show you how it should be done "...............

Film showed a Sailor taking down Morse message ( at a helluva clip ) - then replying to it - in detail !!

To those of you that have gone through and passed 'Finals' - you'll appreciate this , I hope ?

The sailor was going at it very fast ( to me ) when he then REACHED INTO A DRAWER UNDER THE DESK, AND PULLED OUT A PACKET OF FAGS , LIT ONE , AND SIMPLY KEPT ON - WITH NO BREAK !!!!!

I was Gobsmacked !!

No - I never reached that level of skill :grin:
 
#32
Is it true that morse operators acquire “accents” and can be individually identified by their “style”?
 
#34
#35
Still used as audio identifiers for ndb/vor in aviation.

http://www.ead.eurocontrol.int/eadb...s/AD/AIRAC/EG_AD_2_EGNM_2-1_en_2018-03-29.pdf

@Toastie do any proper pilots actually use these? I never at ppl level.can see how they’d be useful though in certain circumstances.
The morse identifier on NDB/VOR/ILS transmitters is vital to ensure you are using the right facility. Therefore knowledge of morse code became a requirement to gain a commercial pilots licence. This is still the case but modern cockpit systems can “read” the morse identifier and display the letters on the navigation instruments.
 
#36
No. Morse should NEVER EVER be learned by looking at things. You just have to unlearn them eventually. The only way to learn morse is to listen (or watch if you're learning it on an Aldis lamp).

I must admit I have no problem with audio morse but find it very difficult to read either lamp morse or morse written down as dots and dashes.
Lamp morse is very difficult to learn, even though the maximum speed is around 12WPM. I had to learn it as I spent 2 years based at sea before leaving the R Signals....
 
#37
Here's an OLD memory of my Morse Code Training....

Due to some 'problems' in the Army with scheduling , I ended up being taught by mostly RN Experts as Instructors.
I passed my first exam and was feeling a bit 'cocky' ( as you do ) when the CPO said " Here's a film to show you how it should be done "...............

Film showed a Sailor taking down Morse message ( at a helluva clip ) - then replying to it - in detail !!

To those of you that have gone through and passed 'Finals' - you'll appreciate this , I hope ?

The sailor was going at it very fast ( to me ) when he then REACHED INTO A DRAWER UNDER THE DESK, AND PULLED OUT A PACKET OF FAGS , LIT ONE , AND SIMPLY KEPT ON - WITH NO BREAK !!!!!

I was Gobsmacked !!

No - I never reached that level of skill :grin:
One of my instructors at Harrogate was probably in his mid 60's and would dial up a Great Northern Telegraph machine to 45 Words per minute (a GNT machine would transmit morse from a punched tape) and write it down on a chalk board, legibly..... Was impressive when we were trying to break the 13WPM barrier...
 
#38
One of my instructors at Harrogate was probably in his mid 60's and would dial up a Great Northern Telegraph machine to 45 Words per minute (a GNT machine would transmit morse from a punched tape) and write it down on a chalk board, legibly..... Was impressive when we were trying to break the 13WPM barrier...
I bet Diane Abbott would be shit at morse!
 
#39
[snip...]
That prevents interception as you don’t want to be on air for very long as you’ll be DF’d. [snip...]
The going rate for DF and PF (Position Fixing) about twenty years ago was around 40 times in the initial second of transmission. So if you can get your data packet away in 25mS or less (Including any link hailing or crypto synch), then you've cracked it. Otherwise you may as well not bother. Steered jamming, on the other hand, takes a bit longer to get on frequency, especially for the first appearance of a transponder on a new frequency.
 
#40
Is it true that morse operators acquire “accents” and can be individually identified by their “style”?
SOE operators use to do things like carry a heavy suitcase for a while before sending, to disguise their fist.
Specops and Green slime probably did similar stuff too.
 

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