More with Morse Code – cool app

I have lately posted some items about Morse Code.  One of you readers sent me a video, dated from the beginning of April, of a very cool alternative to those nasty and inconvenient touch screens on our iPhones.



You know, some people send and hear Morse Code at speeds of even 40 words per minute.  This could be a good option!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Scott W. says:

    Ha! Here is some more morse code humor:

  2. tzard says:

    The interface is pretty bad, but the idea is not.

  3. Father G says:

    I smelled something fishy as I was watching this. Then I saw how “Todd Smith” bears a striking resemblance to rapper LL Cool J!!!
    Good Prank!

  4. pledbet424 says:

    I am a bit rusty on my code, but in my prime years ago, I was around 30 or so…you don’t hear individual letters so much, but whole words.

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  7. Fuquay Steve says:

    Hysterical. Funniest thing all day. Thanks.

  8. markomalley says:

    My personal favorite practice site is: You can cut and paste whatever text you choose into the applet (for example, learn to copy code by pasting in sections of Caritas in Veritate) and then set the speed as you’d like. Then there’s PA3BWK’s Morse Code Supersite: — which covers all things CW —


  9. Bryan Boyle says:

    pledbet424: I was only good enough to do the old extra class exam back in the day. My dad (USNavy Radioman 1st) was at 30, but never touched a key after his discharge (Korean War vet/tin can sailor).
    You either use it or loose it, I’m finding out, struggling to get my fist back up to speed.

    After reading about the different techniques to learn…I’m of the opinion that you should just learn at the speed you want to operate at. Once you start to get the swing of listening for words rather than individual letters, going from 15 to 30 is just a matter of concentration and listening.

    I’d love to hear Fr Z give a podcast in morse.
    –… …– / .- .-.. .-.. / . … / –. ..- -.. / -.. -..- / -.. . / .– -… —– -.– .-.. .

  10. rodin says:

    Using Morse code sounds like a great idea. I’ve been promising myself I am going to learn it, but sending two messages at once?! My brain waves would become hopelessly braided.

  11. Yep, this sure looks familiar! My friend, knowing that I’m a ham radio traditionalist, actually sent me this video and for a moment I completely fell for it. Then I noted that the message was, as Fr. Z puts it, “dated from the beginning of April.”

    I knew it was too good to be true!

  12. Mike Morrow says:

    A few historical notes on Morse code:

    The long-standing officially documented Morse speed record remains, AFAIK, T.R. McElroy’s 75.2 words per minute (wpm) record from 2 July 1939. Unofficially, a fair number of hams claim to have exceeded that in recent years. In comparison, WWII- and early cold war-era automatic teletype machines functioned at a significantly slower 60 wpm.

    I held a commercial FCC Radiotelegraph Second Class license 30 years ago, required for merchant marine radio officers as well as other commercial Morse operators in non-maritime service. It required demonstrated send/receive proficiency at 20 wpm with plain language text, and at 16 wpm with random letter/figure/punctuation 5-character code groups (by far much more difficult than the 20 wpm test). I have friends who served in commercial and WWII naval service who easily copied and sent plain language Morse at 55 to 60 wpm. However, a decent run-of-mill Morse send/receive capability of around 25 wpm sufficed for almost all professional needs in any commercial service. Typically, above about 18 wpm manually *sending* decent quality Morse starts to become much more difficult than *receiving* it.

    The merchant marine radio service was the last surviving US commercial operation that used Morse. Other various police, transportation, and non-military government Morse operations were mostly out of service by the early 1960s. Merchant marine Morse continued until 12 July 1999 (less than 13 years ago), when US-licensed shipboard and coast stations ceased operation. If you can remember hearing Morse code signals on your AM radio at night, that was from merchant marine coastal stations which were actually transmitting below the low end of the AM band. Currently, each year on 12 July, the only remaining non-ham Morse operations take place between some museum ships and old coast station facilities in commemoration of the passing of an important and romantic service.

    The US military has in recent decades wavered between totally banning any Morse use on military frequencies, and a reluctant interest in maintaining some specialized capability. (Mostly the former.) Thinking TEOTWAWKI, almost 35 years ago some commands in my branch (ballistic missile submarines) decided (wisely, IMO) that all the fancy automated computerized communication modes which had been at the core of missile submarine communications would likely be useless after a global weapons exchange. In response, an emphasis was placed on getting submarine radiomen usefully proficient in manual Morse skills. On my boat, the best instructors in that process were not from the operations department. They were engineering department officers who also happened to be ham radio operators!

    Most US land-based Morse operation in the late 19th to mid 20th century used the early (1844) American Morse code, while all other services worldwide by 1865 used the simplified-timing (1848) Continental/International Morse code. That’s been used universally in radio service, including ham, since 1912.

    I believe it is a false statement that Morse code reception ability declines with non-usage. If one experiences that as a significant defect, then it is likely that one was not *ever* particularly comfortable at the speed in question. But manual key operation can suffer, if for no other reason than the decline in fine motor control that most experience with age.

  13. AnAmericanMother says:

    If you get a Bencher paddle, you can go MUCH faster than with a key.

    I’m glacially slow, so I could use two nails and a battery and it wouldn’t make any difference.

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