Technology has come a long way. However, there are certain classics that we cannot forget. Before smartphones or even telephones existed, people used to communicate using Morse code. It was a much simpler time when people were fascinated by the slightest of technological advancement. Despite being introduced more than 160 years, Morse code is still used today on some ships and by amateur radio users. Now, if you used to be a boy scout growing up, chances are that you might have given Morse code a try or used it with your grandfather on his ham radio. However, even if you are new to Morse code, it makes for an engaging and rather fun hobby. You can also check Carl Kruse Talks Morse Code to learn more.

History of Morse Code

Samuel F. B. Morse invented the Morse code during the 1830s. He worked with the electric telegraph in 1932 and developed a more practical system in 1844. The technology was later patented in 1849. Although it has been over a century since Morse developed the code, it has only undergone few transformations. In the beginning, Morse code used to only transmit digits. Then, the transmission’s receiver made use of a dictionary to translate them into words. As the process proved tedious, the code soon expanded to include letters as well as punctuation.

Morse met with Congress in 1844 to show his little machine. On 24th May, 1844, the first public message was transmitted which was “What God has brought”. There was an apparatus in the original telegraph system which spat out indentations on a string of paper. The long indentations were called “dashes” and the short ones “dots”. As users of the telegraph became more proficient, the paper tape was soon dispended and the code was deciphered by year. Andrew Carnegie was a self-made tycoon who worked as a telegraph operator growing up and learned to decipher the code by ear.

There were more than 23,000 miles of line throughout the country a decade after the first telegraph line was launched in 1844. The telegraph and Morse code are both responsible for the growth of the American West. It was used by railroad companies to communicate between stations. This resulted in telegraph companies popping up everywhere and the shortening of time required for communicating across the country.

European countries also developed their very own Morse code during the same period. Thus, the code that was used in the United States was called the American Morse code and the one in Europe was known as the Continental Morse code.

Radio communication was introduced in the 1890s and Morse code helped with the transmission of messages at sea. With radio frequencies expanding, international communication became a reality. This led to the development of the International Morse code in 1912 and it was used for all international communication. However, the American Morse code continued to be used by many telegraph and railroads as it could be sent much faster. But, today it has become extinct. There are still some amateur Civil War re-enactors and amateur radio users who try to keep it alive.

Since Morse code was crucial in aviation and maritime shipping, pilots had to learn how to communicate with Morse code until the 1990s. Things have changed today as only amateur radio users actually make use of the Morse code. Until 2007, you could get a radio amateur radio license in the United States which required you to pass the proficiency test.

How Can You Learn Morse Code?

Now that you know about the history of Morse code, you must be wondering how you can learn it. The truth is that learning Morse code similar to learning any other language. You have to practice frequently if you want to master it. To get started, you need to familiarize yourself with the code itself. Learn about how the alphabet looks like to understand it. The International Morse code alphabet is mentioned below to help you out.

  • 1 Dash = 3 Dots
  • The Space Between The Same Alphabet = 1 Dot
  • The Space Between Alphabets = 3 Dots
  • The Space Between Words = 7 Dots

Listen to Morse Code

To get better acquainted with Morse code, you need to spend some time listening to it. The internet is filled with resources that you can use to listen to Morse code. Listen to the recordings and try to decipher the letters.

Create a Nifty Chart

Next, you can start deciphering code by printing out a nifty chart which you can fill up. Cover each and every single alphabet as well as symbol to ensure that you do not leave anything out. Now, use the nifty chart and fill it up with everything you hear. Then, you can check the end results to see what is actually being said.

Use an Online App

In addition to the above, you can also use an online app to practice Morse code. Even if you spend 10 minutes every day using the app, you will soon become a Morse code wiz. Start out with the International Morse code and then proceed with the American Morse code to see how the two are different. It will make the experience a whole lot more fun. You will get to learn how the system was developed.


Morse code continues to be used today even after 160 years. It shows just how amazing of a system it is. You can make Morse code memorization easier by learning the number of characters there are in each alphabet. It will allow you to narrow down the possibilities to understand the message in a single attempt. Remember, Morse code is just like any language. Hence, you have to keep going if you want to impress your friends or prove to yourself that you can do something as amazing as learning Morse code. There is no need to give up as everything takes time. You will see results eventually.