Morse code

9:28pm

Wed September 18, 2013
Arts & Culture

An Ode to Morse Code

Morse Code key and coder
Julie Caine

For nearly a hundred years, Morse Code was the official language of international communication for ships in distress. Then, at the end of the twentieth century, it officially went silent on the world’s oceans, replaced by more modern technologies.

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6:35pm

Thu August 2, 2012
Ham radio

Before Chatroulette, there was ham radio

11-year-old Matthew Meyers operates a ham radio Field Day station under the guidance of Rob Riley, KI6INR, in Menlo Park - photo by Mike Meenan

As you read this, a dead language is flying through the air all around you -- at least, it’s dead for most official uses. It’s the Morse code, a binary digital system that dates back to the 1850s. Among its primary users today are amateur radio operators, better known as hams. I am one of these and am proud to say I’m fluent in Morse. I was texting way, way before it was cool.

Ham radio is a pastime dating back more than a century. Hobbyists built transmitting and receiving equipment long before radio stations, such as KALW, went on the air.

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