Learning Morse Code is just like learning a new brand new language and as such needs a plan of attack and practice. Here are some ideas:
Morse Code Tip #1: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Begin to learn Morse Code by starting out with the easiest and simplest letters in the alphabet.
Some of the easiest letters are:
- E (. or dit)
- T (- or dah)
- M (– 0r dah dah)
- I (.. or dit dit)
These Morse Code letters are the only letters in Morse Code that use one or two dits and dahs and do not combine the dits and dahs.
From there, the next easiest step is to move onto the simple dit and dah combinations, those using only 2 or 3 dits and dahs.
Here are the next Morse Code letters to learn:
- A (.- or dit dah)
- D (-.. or dah dit dit)
- G (–. or dah dah dit)
- (H) (…. or dit dit dit dit)
- K (-.- or dah dit dah)
- N (-. or dah dit)
- O (dah dah dah)
- R (.-. or dit dah dit)
- S (… or dit dit dit dit)
- U (..- or dit dit dah)
- W (.– or dit dah dah)
Finally, ending with the more difficult letters like “C”, “L”, “Q”, and “X”, that combine 4 dits and dahs in no particular “order”.
Here are the more difficult Morse Code letters:
- B (-… or dah dit dit dit)
- C (-.-. or dah dit dah dit)
- J (.— or dit dah dah dah)
- L (.-.. or dit dah dit dit)
- F (..-. or dit dit dah dit)
- Q (–.- or dah dah dit dah)
- P (.–. dit dah dah dit)
- V (…- or dit dit dit dah)
- X (-..- or dah dit dit dah)
- Y (-.– or dah dit dah dah)
- Z (–.. or dah dah dit dit)
Morse Code Tip #2: If at all possible, try to avoid visualization.
- Your ears hear the code
- Your mind says, “Hey, that’s Morse Code!”
- Your brain tries to bring up an IMAGE of the Morse Code letter or number you’ve heard
- Your brain tries to match the IMAGE to the SOUND
- Finally, you decide on a sound, or you miss the letter, and try to go on to the next letter
Morse Code Tip #3: Listen to Morse Code as often as you can.
Thanks to modern technology, you can find recordings of Morse Code just about anywhere – and you can find versions that are played back slower than what would be considered “normal” conversation.
Take advantage of these options to listen to More Code and use these recordings and videos as tools to test your learning progress.
This is especially important for learning the timing and spacing between letters and between words, as well as being able to instantly and effortlessly tell the difference between a dit and dah length of time.
Morse Code Tip #4: Use Your Own Voice!
Like most languages, Morse Code is both a written and auditory language. To prepare for listening to and translating dits and dahs, many people find it helpful to use their own voices to sound out letters and sentences as they practice.
Another way of incorporating the learners voice is to translate a short story, children’s book, or paragraph while recording. This is a great way of creating a simple test that can be “graded” without any outside assistance later.
Morse Code Tip #5: Have Fun!
As with learning anything, the more personal, entertaining, and a part of everyday life the new skill becomes, the quicker it is learned and the better it “sticks”. This can easily be applied to Morse Code. Emails, texting, grocery lists, notes to loved ones, and journaling are all great options for incorporating Morse Code into everyday life for a little bit of fun practicing as well as getting others around you interested in a new hobby as well!
Mac is an 8 year old attending regular classes and has Cerebral Palsy. He is quite the character and has a great sense of humor, and is using Morse Code to communicate!
Mac learned Morse Code through an Excel spreadsheet his mother created. It is a very nifty tool for learning Morse Code.
Here’s a video of him using two buttons to work with Morse Code, and here’s a link to Gina’s Excel spreadsheet she creating to help him learn Morse Code!
Here’s a Morse Code video I created which gives the Alphabet in Morse Code.
I basically give the Morse Code alphabet one letter at a time – plus, there’s a secret message in the beginning of the video which will be fun to decode! Email me if you figure out what the secret message means.
W0w, I just came across http://buzzbuka.dsemeas.com/Buzzbuka.html which looks like its a pretty cool SmartPhone app for iPhone, Droid, or iPads.
It looks like you can communicate in either Morse Code or with a different type of code that is not Morse. Using your volume key buttons for dashes and dots, you can pound out a message to your friend in Morse Code.
But – that doesn’t solve the problem! You need to LEARN Morse code before you start using it in conversations with your friends.
Still, this app might be a great way to hone your skills and give you motivation to learn Morse Code – because if you don’t know the Code, how will you send it to your friends?
So, for $0.99 cents, why not? Give it a try. You’ll be sending and receiving Morse Code before you know it, and eventually may love it so much you decide to get your Ham Radio license!
Speak Morse Code is a web based application designed to give you the ability to both learn Morse Code as well as interact with others. Based off of an idea by Bryan Campbell and Andrew Hallinan, this tool will be available to the public soon.
What really motivated use to create this tool was a heartfelt letter from Esther Medina concerning her son, who was the victim of a gunshot wound to the head which made him unable to speak and almost completely paralyzed. Here is Esther’s letter:
After searching everywhere for some way for my son, Phillip, to communicate I would like to explore the possibility of using Morse code. Phillip was a victim of a gunshot wound to the left side of head. He is very aware of his surroundings, basically it is the motor skills that he lost. He cannot speak and his only usable hand (left-he was right handed) is very awkward and hard to pinpoint his finger on a key or small button. His eyes do not track together well so visual inputs are out. I tried sign language alphabet which he learned and knows very well but his hand is unable to correctly form a quickly recognizable letter for many but the simplest letter signs. He can only stretch the index and thumb.
He can hit an ipad screen button if it is large (such as 2 – 3 on a screen.) So I am imagining him hit one button for a dit and another for a dah and one for end of word… 3 buttons in all.
The problem is how can it be translated since the hospital staff at the subacute where he lives will probably not learn Morse code. Is there an app/program that can interpret? He has been without a voice for 6 years now and am so afraid that when I go (I am 65 yrs and he is 42) he will be left without a voice and no one really taking the time to see what his pointings and gestures mean.
I will google these questions myself but perhaps you can offer suggestions on learning (he has a good memory) and interpreting his messages.
Thank you so much for reading this,
Esther, Bryan and I can’t wait to provide you with a solution!
Morse code was first used to communicate more than 160 years ago when it was created and adapted to use as a simple, quick, and straightforward way of communicating over the telegraph. All this for the purpose of being able to communicate (though limited) over long distances, practically instantly. Also known as CW, is the language of the telegraph, which relays communications through the combination of electronic sound. In the case of Morse code, two sounds (known as dits and dahs) are used in different combinations to represent each letter of the roman alphabet. When written, the dits and dahs, short and long sounds, are signified by dots and dashes. One huge advantage to CW is that it can be used to communicate and interpreted through many different mediums by using sound, touch, and light, enabling long-distance or even silent communication. The only requirement: the pattern of dits and dahs is kept constant, over the years, distances, and mediums used.
While many people think dits and dahs are practically an ancient way of communicating, in reality there are still many people in this modern time who learn and know CW. And some of those people have brought up the idea of incorporating Morse code into the modern and heavily used technology of cell phones.
One of the first ideas that comes to mind, that would be the most universal in usage for those who both learn and know Morse code, is by turning the audio use of dits and dahs into a ringtone. There are currently websites available that have mp3 format audio files of individualized dits and dahs with thousands of common names and other everyday contact list entries (such as “home”, “work”, “school”, etc). Or, combine any three characters to make up an “audio monogram”, as it were. This “audio monogram” would be most effect for those who learn Morse code who have multiple friends with the same name. Learn Morse code to use a very sophisticated from of caller id.
- Other Cell Phone Alerts
Other reasons to learn Morse code and then apply that knowledge to your cell phone can extend to the other various alerts phones give off besides incoming call ringtones. Audio dits and dahs could also be used to let an cell phone owner know they have a new voicemail, text message, or something on their calendar.
- Silent Vibrations
As mentioned before, because Morse code can also be communicated through touch, all the afore-mentioned uses of audio dits and dahs on a cell phone can also be extended to the vibrating ringtone phone profile. Where a normal cell phone is much more limited on the vibrating setting than on the normal ringtone setting, by using Morse code, the vibrating profile setting would not limit what is trying to be communicated to the owner.
What better way to learn Morse code than through a medium most people use multiple times a day. As the old saying goes “practice, practice, practice”, and turning a cell phone, something that is so heavily used and relied upon by many people, into a means of practice is a brilliant idea.
When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I would come home from school to my father pounding away on a straight or paddle key sending Morse Code back and forth to some person from an unknown destination. I always wanted to know how to send and receive Morse Code, but I was never able to understand.
One day, I asked my father, “How do I learn Morse Code?” He sent me over the the Encyclopedia Britannica set that we have, and I studied Morse Code for days. I memorized the dots and dashes and was able to quickly learn Morse Code easily.
I was able to write down the entire Morse Code alphabet, but learning to hear Morse Code was a totally different story. Learning Morse Code by ear was much harder than learning Morse Code by looking at it from an encyclopedia! The only problem was that I learned the wrong version of Morse Code, and I had to re-learn the entire thing!
Today, it’s much easier to learn Morse code, especially since you can now learn Morse Code online!