Morse code

Samuel F. B. Morse

This week on KALW's showcase for the best stories from public radio podcasts and independent radio producers...


An ode to Morse code

Aug 5, 2014
Julie Caine

For nearly 100 years, Morse code was the official language of international communication for ships in distress. Then, at the end of the 20th century, it officially went silent on the world’s oceans, replaced by more modern technologies.

Before Chatroulette, there was ham radio

Aug 2, 2012

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.