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Target880 t1_iub98rj wrote

The pauses are of different lengths. How long a pause in between the dots and dashes depends if you are in a character (letter, digit, or other symbols), between characters, and between words. So if you learn it you will be able to tell the pauses apart

The timing is includes how long the dots and dashes are themself

  • dot 1 unit
  • dash 3 units
  • Pause between dots and dashes within a character 1 unit.
  • Pause between characters in a word 3 units.
  • Pause between words 7 units


You can use a website like and generate the sound, it is quite clear at low speed that it is different even for a novice. It is noticeable even at high speed that pauses are not identical even if you might not there the it exactly right.


Outcasted_introvert t1_iucru0t wrote

I guess with practice they learnt to do it naturally, like listening to speech. When we listen to someone talk, we can distinguish between syllables within a word or in separate words.

Edit: usually. I have poor hearing and I just realised that part of the problem is words blending into each other.


Cane-Dewey t1_iudf3z1 wrote

My dad sent and received Morse Code for the Air Force back in the 60s. He'll still hear random beeps and hear letters/words/phrases out of them. It's definitely like hearing a second language he says.


okt127 t1_iudpp1f wrote

This would be a good r/writingprompt idea. A person who hears and learns world secret through electronic beeps everywhere. Highly sought after by the MI6 and the CIA for his rare ability. LoL


Supraspinator t1_iuehpxm wrote

Same for my grandpa. He was a radio operator in WW2 as a very young man. One year in the 90s we got Walkie-Talkies for Christmas and he fired off a full paragraph of text.


powelly t1_iudtj25 wrote

Apparently radio operators could identify different people by their “accents”.


ntilley905 t1_iuduay8 wrote

Yep, it’s called a fist. In the r/AmateurRadio world we still use Morse code sometimes and I can usually identify someone based on their fist before they’ve fully identified themselves if it’s someone I talk to a lot.


bullevard t1_iudyf99 wrote

It is so interesting what we have idiosyncrasies in. I remember playing soccer growing up and when i arrived at practice i could tell from the parking lot who was here from a distance awqy because i could recognize people's walks and runs before being close enough to make out their faces.

It's fascinating that that would even come across in the tiny, highly constrained motion of just tapping out code.


koombot t1_iuds8bl wrote

My mother worked in a radio station listening to Morse transmissions during the cold war. She is fluent in hearing and transcribing Morse code, but only going from Morse to letters/numbers, she can't go the other way.


bullevard t1_iudypqj wrote

Yup. If you look at a sound pattern of a native speaker speaking you can't usually tell the breaks between words. It is something of a continuous wave pattern. Our brain is doing the hard work of parsing into words.


Lonely_whatever t1_iucrvvg wrote

Inalmostallcasesitispossibletoreadwithoutbreaks. Not very convenient but I think operators would get used to. So why did they not skip it? Or is it not time critical?

I guess I am thinking from the modern Era perspective where we are trying to compress data/time to send as much as possible


asking--questions t1_iuct12z wrote

The issue isn't deciphering where the words end, but which letters are being used. Etsborlaekdascas,wyshishedr. Yes, an experienced operator can guess from the context, but it will slow things down.


frenchtoaster t1_iud74bt wrote

The thing with morse is that there's gaps between each letter and if you can't tell where those are you are screwed because:

.- is A . is E

  • is T

anotherSeggsOffender t1_iudjhj3 wrote

Your formatting is off

- is T

>!use a \ to “cancel” the formatting Reddit uses. \ - makes a dash!<


fd4e56bc1f2d5c01653c t1_iue4d4k wrote

Well here's an example: analbumcover. What is it?


ohnoitsthefuzz t1_iuebo1f wrote

I'll take The rapists for $600


CyberSibey t1_iuffh1x wrote

Alex Trebek: Yeah, it was a trick question, Mr. Connery. Why don’t you pick a category?

Sean Connery: I’ve got to ask you about the Penis Mightier.

Alex Trebek: What? No. No, no, that is The Pen is Mightier.


STAMP_ON_MY_BALLS t1_iueak5u wrote

🤣 I am sure I remember alan davis and stephen fry doing a bit on QI due to analbumcover


ohromantics t1_iucosc2 wrote

Would you please translate the image of the invisible by thrice? The first 15 seconds or so are Morse. I want to use this as a template to break down exactly what you're explaining for a litany of other Morse amongst. Thanks in advance.

Edit: image*


Revolutionary-Boss64 t1_iud3ym1 wrote

According to Wikipedia, it’s the name of the album (Vheissu) done by singer Dustin Kensrue.


ohromantics t1_iud68mf wrote

Thank you. So the dot/dash is just a translation of 'VHEISSU' ??? That opens up so many new avenues to that album and it's followup, Alchemy Index


copperdomebodhi OP t1_iues937 wrote

Gets more interesting if you know Vheissu is the name of a lost continent in Thomas Pynchon's book V.


JustaOrdinaryDemiGod t1_iub8fjh wrote

Like any language, if you are not used to hearing it, it sounds like jiberish. But once you learn it, it makes sense. There is a space between the dit and da in Morse code but at speed, you need a trained ear to hear it. Once you learn code, it is more like listening to music. Some words and phrases are repeated so often that it sounds like the entire word instead of each letter.

So experienced code guys can listen at 25 or 30 words per minute as well as transmit. It just takes alot of practice. I know these kind of guys and I'm an in pure amazement of what they can do. But they use it daily.


atomicsnarl t1_iubssbf wrote

Rhythm is a big part of Morse interpretation. From back in the WWII era, some Morse training was based on mnemonics for the letters. For example (from my Dad) with emphasis on the bold words:

F is .._. dit dit dah dit Payday to day

P is .__. dit dah dah dit The grand old bitch

and so on.

One of the openings for a general broadcast looking to make contact is CQ followed by your call sign.

C is _._. dah dit dah dit

Q is _ _._ dah dah dit dah (the inverse of F)

So CQ becomes: Can you hear me, answer my call

Which serves to show the pattern and remember the purpose of the letter combo!

And of course, the famous Beethoven's 5th Symphony opening:

V is ..._ dit dit dit dah -- V for victory! (WWII, remember?)

Most people can play Name That Song in however many notes. It's like that for Morse, and eventually whole words (the, and, or, go, etc.)


cjrs79 t1_iubwo67 wrote

I honestly do not understand this at all. Can you explain how these mnemonic devices work? For example: hot does “payday to day” hemp you remember that F is dit dit dah dit??


trbolexis t1_iubxsaz wrote

The bold letters are the DAH, the un-bold letters are the DIT. As for the word "answer", you have to dah for both syllables.


atomicsnarl t1_iubyjxe wrote

On the radio, how many songs can you recognize from just hearing the opening few seconds? It's like that. Some people can latch on to a phrase faster than just the dit dah sounds. If it works for you, it works.


Mox_Fox t1_iubxc96 wrote

I think it's just easier to link a letter to a phrase instead of a rhythm, even if they aren't related.


sirsmoochalot t1_iuc33mb wrote

Somehow, reading this has planted, "Shave and a haircut...Two Bits!" firmly into my brain!


drmalaxz t1_iudnc1h wrote

Swedish army telegraph training also used mnemonics like that, but with the added bonus that the first letter of the mnemonic was the letter it represented.


SnakeBeardTheGreat t1_iubu1e4 wrote

Also when you are"talking" with the same group of guys you learn how they each throw their key. Each is different like their tone of speech.


UncontrolableUrge t1_iubyabl wrote

Wartime intellegence included learning the "hand" of various operaters to trace movements, to distinguish false transmissions, and to try to fake transmissions.


DirkBabypunch t1_iuc7f6b wrote

Former submarine sonar operator on youtube is always talking about when they were following a target around, they eventually learned the differences between the drivers and such on each watch just by the differences in sound they'd hear.

It's amazing the amount of information trained people can glean out of enough noise.


thephantom1492 t1_iucabq6 wrote

Now, imagine what a computer can do. Provided that they have enough text, they can be pretty sure that you and that other person on another site is pretty much the same one, just by the style and typo you make.


DirkBabypunch t1_iucbfeo wrote

Yeah, but can they see why kids love the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch?


foonathan t1_iucdhox wrote

There was a test website that authenticated you based on the way you type your username and password. It appears to be offline though.


CWF182 t1_iucqndp wrote

It's called the "fist" not the hand. Source I still use Morse Code as a Ham Radio Operator.


UncontrolableUrge t1_iud28ro wrote

Do mid 20th century British writers use the same word?


CWF182 t1_iudf5sm wrote

I don't know. But I've been a Ham since I was a kid in 1982 and I know many hams that were licensed in the early 60's. I've always heard it was someone's "fist" that was unique. However most operators since the early 80's use what is known as a "keyer" and a set of paddles. One paddle make the dit (dot) and the other makes the Dah (dash). The keyer makes perfect spacing for each letter and therefore makes you sound less unique but better and easier to copy. Also using an electronic keyer allows you to send much faster (>60wpm in some cases) than a straight key like you see in old movies.


MDWLRK t1_iudmp5b wrote

This is fascinating. To think you could hear some beeps and automatically come to the conclusion, “that sounds like so-and-so”. Technology is completely fascinating. Even old technology.


SnakeBeardTheGreat t1_iudyrbn wrote

MY ex FIL was a ham radio guy. In all the years he was on he never used voice always key.. Had his own little spot for his radios was always on at the same times to talk with his group of friends.


MDWLRK t1_iue2vya wrote

Crazy. It’d drive me insane not hearing voices


SnakeBeardTheGreat t1_iufjzc1 wrote

This is just another language that you learn. The dots and dashes are part of it. They are the voices that you hear. Do you text? You don't hear a voice then Just the one in you head as you read it.


MDWLRK t1_iugktaz wrote

Yeah, if I could learn another language. 🤣


LittleMetalHorse t1_iucmw4x wrote

I was in the last course in the British army to learn morse code. As a signaller, I had to pass a test at 8wpm (nothing by cold war standards, but pretty hard work for a beginner).

I spent 6 months listening to cassettes and practicing (and eventually passing the test) in the certain knowledge that I would never ever use Morse anywhere as the army had stopped using it. My own little Yossarian moment.


b_vitamin t1_iubvsgt wrote

Is Morse still in use?


wizard2278 t1_iubyxe0 wrote

Yes. Often used in emergency situations and by US a mature radio operators (HAMs). It is required for most of their radio operator licenses. It can be transmitted better than voice - less power and through more interference. Some even bounce signals off the moon and reach others in states. Many reach every state. Hawaii and Alaska are the hardest for those not located in those states.

Military folks use similar communications sometimes, I would guess.


DalbergiaMelanoxylon t1_iuc28lt wrote

Morse code is no longer required for a US amateur license, nor for a marine radio operator license. That only happened in the last 20 years or so.


wizard2278 t1_iuc6nzp wrote

You may be right. When I last checked, years ago, it was no longer required for the most basic license. The internet says no longer required, abut works better than voice in difficult conditions. Thanks for the correct, current information.


the_original_cabbey t1_iucfiov wrote

Wait… what? I’m studying for my Technician license right now and it’s still in the guidebook supposedly last updated in 2020.


teh_maxh t1_iucmc5l wrote

The technician licence hasn't required morse since 1990. There was an option to get limited HF access with a morse test, but if you just wanted 50 MHz and up, you could skip it.


achambers64 t1_iue7c4r wrote

If you’re using the 2020 book it’s out of date. The questions were updated in July 22.


bob3725 t1_iucl0j5 wrote

The Belgian HAM license now has a an extra symbol on the license when you passed the morse-exam. But it's not it doesn't change the callsign...


LittleMetalHorse t1_iucn5qu wrote

Used in IR signal flashes in my personal experience, very useful low tech IFF.

Also, as a pilot in East UK where there are (were?) Lots of airfields, a flashing ident beacon you could see from 10k out made it easier not to land at the wrong runway...


Chewable_Vitamin t1_iuby3qi wrote

Probably mainly just HAM radio hobbyists.


b_vitamin t1_iubyext wrote

I got downvoted even though they said they know folks who use it daily. Reddit is weird.


WW-Sckitzo t1_iuc05d6 wrote

Who still uses it daily? Is it in certain industries still? I've had a few courses on it over the years but SOS is about all I can do was always interesting as hell to me.


JustaOrdinaryDemiGod t1_iucvwtd wrote

>Who still uses it daily?

Amateur radio operators around the world. I know plenty of guys who never talk on the radio but do code daily. It's just a preference.


WW-Sckitzo t1_iuehenr wrote

That's awesome, my entire life I thought it was a dead/dying skill set; had no idea it was still in common use. Thank you!


SierraTango501 t1_iuemfdr wrote

Aviation still uses morse heavily in ground based navigation (VOR/NDB) identifiers.


Sedixodap t1_iufia6d wrote

It's still pretty pervasive in the marine industry, however most of the time the letters don't matter so much as what they mean. I've forgotten half of the alphabet, and definitely couldn't translate a sentence from the flashing light the way I was trained to, but I encounter at least one of the various single letter codes just about every day on the water.

Racons (radar beacons) transmit an identifying letter that appears on our radar, letting us visually identify important points of land. For example I can easily distinguish the entrance to the Fraser River from the sandflats at Robert's Bank because they have different letters.

Flashing morse A lights are used on fairway buoys to mark safe water.

Flashing morse U lights are used on oil rigs to signal a danger.

Morse O is the emergency signal for a man overboard. Every crew member knows where to go and what to do immediately upon hearing that signal.

Different morse sound signals can be used to indicate you're turning to port, starboard, overtaking a vessel, moving astern, or concerned about what the other vessel is doing - given the prevalence of radios only the last two seem to be used regularly, but if someone wasn't responding on radio it gives me a way of letting the other ship know what I'm about to do.

Similarly, others are used as fog signals to indicate what type of vessel you are and what your status is (for example I can tell a normal power driven vessel from a tugboat or vessel restricted in its ability to manoeuver).

And as the aviation guy mentioned, we've got some aviation electronics on board transmits our identification code when we're doing helicopter operations as a backup to help them find us.


das_goose t1_iuc4234 wrote

Honest question, who is still using Morse code and in what capacity?


JustaOrdinaryDemiGod t1_iucvzin wrote

>Honest question, who is still using Morse code and in what capacity?

Amateur radio operators. They use it in conversations and passing information on daily nets. You can tune around the spectrum and hear it 24hrs a day.


Hudwig_Von_Muscles t1_iuc8aq7 wrote

Just wanted to add that I grew up across the street from a WW2 vet who still used Morse code into the 90's. He would communicate with people all over the world. From how he described it, it was sort of like random connections but you could also dial up buddies.

There was, probably still is, some government agency monitoring those communications. Every time he spoke with someone he'd get a post card in the mail several days later listing the address and the length of the conversation.


Senpai_Pai t1_iuc8v4y wrote

Hey, thats super interesting! I have another question if you don’t mind. How would people be able to correct a mistake if they made one while using morse code? Would they Pause and start before the mistake and the listener would have to use context to make sense of it? And you know people using it daily as in their hobby or profession and if so what profession still uses morse code? Military?


fubo t1_iucgike wrote

> How would people be able to correct a mistake if they made one while using morse code?

........ (that's eight) is used to mean "error", and then just send the correct text.


UserMaatRe t1_iuca43j wrote

Not sure about Morse code, but early teletype terminals had special characters that would act as "backspace a symbol" or "backspace a word". I imagine it's the same thing.


HorseNspaghettiPizza t1_iud8p3x wrote

Who is still using it daily?


JustaOrdinaryDemiGod t1_iudcis3 wrote

>Who is still using it daily?

These two for one example....

And you also have Field Day operators

And various CW nets around the bands daily. Here is one example.

Code is alive and well. The guys who are fluent are awesome at it and it is amazing to watch.


HorseNspaghettiPizza t1_iuddg1j wrote

Interesting thank you


JustaOrdinaryDemiGod t1_iudilka wrote

In all seriousness, there is code in the air 24/7. Some guys just prefer it. When it comes to contesting, they can talk to way more people in bad conditions than you can with voice. It's an art form that it really amazing. If you want to see it first hand, the easiest time is during ARRL Field Day. Look it up and find a station near you to observe.


imnotsoho t1_iube3jr wrote

My uncle was a Morse code operator in WWII. He told me he could send and receive at the same time.

Also during WWII there were Allied coders who could recognize the signature cadence of Nazi operators so they could tell when certain units had moved from one location to another.


p33k4y t1_iubjs0i wrote


A family member also operated Morse around that timeframe.

He told me in comm rooms there were constant chatter of Morse code in the background from traffic meant for other stations.

Yet at times even when he was half asleep / dozing off from fatigue while on duty, his hand would automatically reach for the Morse key "clicker" and start to respond subconsciously whenever his station's "dit-dit-dah" code came on air.


Beneficial-Shower-42 t1_iubvdxp wrote

My father in law was also a Morse code operator in WWII in Alaska and he listened to the Japanese transmissions. He said they would change the code mid stream so all of a sudden you had no idea what you were listening too.


danmessy t1_iuc39sk wrote

What happens if you make an error in the sequence? Like is there a code to send to "backspace" or restart the letter/ word?


sr20rocket t1_iuc6mgb wrote

The longest character in Morse code (which includes numbers and punctuation) is only 6 "characters" Long. For example 5 dots in a row is the number 5. 5 dashes in a row is the number zero.

Punctuation is typically 6 "characters" of dots/dashes. For example ? = . . - - . . But there is no official Punctuation for 6 dots in a row or 6 dashes in a row.

A mistake is typically indicated by a series of 6 or more dots in a row.

"Shorthand" in code is huge and can greatly increase word count and comprehension with practice. Think of it like all the acronyms that people use while texting sometimes. Same thing happens in Morse code. For example DE in code means "this is" as in introducing or announcing who you are. WX = weather. HIHI is laughter because it rhythmically sounds like it. 88=XOXO (hugs and kisses). 73=thanks for the chat.


flapjack3285 t1_iuccjhd wrote

>"Shorthand" in code is huge

But that how you get 3 morons almost killed by El Guapo because they think infamous means more than famous, that is "in famous".


Canadian_Guy_NS t1_iubrdlo wrote

I was a commercial radio operator. I qualified sending and receiving international morse at 20 words per minute.

Later, in the Military, I knew people who could receive at 60+ wpm. At those speeds you can hear whole words.

So, at the slower speeds, you have an element of time that is 1 unit. That is the length of a "dit", a "dah" is 3 units long. The space between the dits and dahs of a character is 1 unit long. The space between characters is 3 units long, or the space of a dah. As you get faster, the timing should stay the same, but what happens once you get proficient, the dits get shorter, and the dahs just become slightly longer dits, say 1.5x the length of a dit. Then you make the spaces within a character as short as possible, and shorten up the spaces between characters as well, but keep them slightly longer.

A good operator has a nice rhythm, and will work with the receiving operator up to that operator's most efficient speed. It is the rhythm that makes it all work. Think of it as like someone's speech cadence.

Also, most modern movies just have nonsense, and you don't hear the whole message because it would take too long.

dah ditditditdit ditdah dahkit ditditdit, ditditdahdit dahdahdah ditdahdit, ditdahdit dit ditdah dahditdit ditdahditdahditdah


TwentyninthDigitOfPi t1_iuc9jbn wrote

How does the sender figure out the receiver's top efficient speed? Is there some sort of "hey slow down" or "go faster if able" code (formal or informal)?


teh_maxh t1_iucndsc wrote

QRS to slow down, QRQ to speed up.


Canadian_Guy_NS t1_iuf6g89 wrote

absolutely, if I was on a duplex circuit (two freqs) the receiver would send a dah, for every word received correctly, and if he wanted it resent, then send a ditdit.

People are lazy, so didn't really have to use Q codes in that situation, you just increased your send speed until either you weren't comfortable, or the receiver started asking for lots of repeats.


GoodmanSimon t1_iue20ut wrote

Sorry, can I ask a sub-question that I think you can answer.

How did operator 'A' know the speed operator 'B' could read/understand?

I mean, by your example if one guy is firing 60 words a minute, how does he know he wasn't talking to 20 words per minute guy?

Ho about new guys? Were they all expected to understand 60 words per minute? If not... How would they tell the sender to slow down?


the_original_cabbey t1_iuev3ay wrote

From what I’ve seen/heard so far, most folks if they don’t know the party on the other end will start fairly slow, and each response will be a little faster than the previous until one party or the other stops accelerating, or there is interference and they have to request a retransmission. But if they know each other, they’ll just start at whatever speed they are mutually comfortable at.

There are also a whole pile of three letter shorthands called Q-Codes. They act as meta or control instructions, and speed adjustments are one of the universal uses. They function in both a question and statement mode, and often have madlibs style fill in the blanks. Eg:

QRQ? Shall I go faster? QRQ40 Go faster, up to 40 words per minute.

QRS20 Go Slower, 20 words per minute max

QOD12? Can you communicate in English or French? QOD073 I can communicate in Dutch, Norwegian, or German.

QRE KRST? What is your estimated time of arrival at/over KRST? QRE KRST 0945 I will arrive at/over Rochester Intl. Airport at 9:45a UTC

There’s a pretty thorough list in Wikipedia:


Canadian_Guy_NS t1_iuf63au wrote

Yes, pretty much. If you are on a duplex circuit, the receiver will throw a "dah" for each word received, and if they missed something in that word, will throw a "ditdit", and the sender will resend the last word.

When you are doing this style, you can quickly figure out how fast the other guy is.


Sutartsore t1_iubfvwh wrote

Morse isn't binary (dot and dash), but turnary.

There are three characters: [dot] [dash] and [space].


purple_pixie t1_iucqqis wrote

It's binary - sound or silence.

If different-length silences are all the same character, so are different-length sounds.

You could say it has 5 characters (dot, dash, 3 different blanks) or 2, but 3 doesn't make any sense.


sr20rocket t1_iuc5if1 wrote

Theoretically it's even more than that. As several people have explained the timing of the [space] is important as well.

So there is [On Short] for dot, [Off Short] for spacing within a character, [On Long] for dash, [Off Long] for spacing between characters, and lastly [Off extra long] for spacing between words.


shinarit t1_iuccwte wrote

No, it's ternary. How many silences you use doesn't make it have a larger alphabet. It has three letters.


robbak t1_iuclq9l wrote

If you think of Morse that way, the you can call a 'dash' two 'dots' in a row and make it binary again.


shinarit t1_iucsdnj wrote

You can call anything anything else, but that doesn't make it so. A dotdot is not valid morse code.


robbak t1_iucues1 wrote

Then the character breaking words, SpaceSpace, isn't valid either and is a separate character to the single space, and Space^7 is also a separate character for the word break, making Morse code a 5 character language.


shinarit t1_iucw5vy wrote

You can name all combinations and then it's a regular 27 character language. That doesn't make it so, that's an abstraction. Every language can be deconstructed into binary, but Morse has an obvious ternary system that is closest to its actual usage.

Dot dot is not valid. Dot space dot IS valid. Space is not valid. Seven space is valid. Do you need me to draw up the formal language rules?


robbak t1_iud6nvg wrote

Are they differennt from:

Dot - length 1.
Dash - length 2 (so could be considered 2 dots together).
Space between dots/dashes - length 1
Space between letters - length 3 (so could be considered 3 spaces together)
Space between words - length 7 (so could be considered 7 spaces together)

If you recognise the dot and dash as 2 different things, then should you not also recognise the different length spacings as well?

If you were considering Morse as a computer encoding, you'd recognise 4 symbols - Dot-space, or 'high-low', for a dot, Dash-space (High-high-low) for a dash, 'low-low' (following the 2 above with a trailing space) for a letter delimiter, and 6 spaces for a word delimiter. But we'd still call this a binary encoding.


borisdidnothingwrong t1_iubde62 wrote

Telegraph operators practice quite a bit so they can tell the spacing between letters.

Once you learn telegraphy you can even tell who is sending the message based on their "hand," or how distinct their pattern is.

It's a skill that you get better at the more your use it.


MountainHigh31 t1_iub8a7n wrote

Honestly they just practiced and got incredibly good at it. It was a valuable skill to develop but it had to be tough to learn and get good at.


jaa101 t1_iub9nwy wrote

There's a bigger gap between dots and dashes in different letters. If a dot is 1 unit of time then a dash is 3. Dots and dashes in the same letter are separated by 1 unit whereas there's a 3-unit gap between letters and a 7-unit gap between words. With practice it's not hard to hear, even at relatively high speeds. You don't listen for the individual dots and dashes but instead you learn the rhythm of each letter and even common short words.


Snoo92843 t1_iubv9ff wrote

It’s based on the length of the dash. Spaces between the integers of the letter are 1 dash length (time) apart. The spaces between letters are 3 dash lengths (time) separate. The spaces between words are 7 lengths apart. Last did it years ago but that’s what I recall


wizard2278 t1_iubz7z9 wrote

One notes that if one “misses” the end of the word, one can often work out what was meant, just as if one misses aspace in typing, as I just did.

This is similar to the Japanese and Chinese style writing where each “character” is made up of different sub parts.


LordAries13 t1_iuc6wqw wrote

I'm no expert on Morse code, and several others have given far more detailed information than I can, but I will add that from watching a British reality show in which contestants were put through Ww2 SOE (counterintelligence/espionage/sabotage) training, one of the tasks was learn how to transmit and receive Morse code messages. The show mentioned that mistakes were pretty common, but could usually be corrected via common sense. Just like in modern day texting conversations, missing he "t" in "the" is usually a pretty simple and easy to override mistake.


aaaaaaaarrrrrgh t1_iucqm2f wrote

>so fast it's hard to tell

That's actually part of what makes it work so well. An experienced operator won't think in dots and dashes, just like you don't think of individual lines but whole letters when reading a written text.


BlueBonnetCruze t1_iud97sq wrote

Because you don’t hear the individual dots and dashes. After a while, you hear them combining into words. That’s how I learned it. It starts to sound like a monotone song.

Source: me. I used to be able to send and receive upwards of 20 words per minute. That was many years ago, and I’ve lost a good bit of it. But if I hear a snip go by in a movie or something, the words still jump out.


Eszed t1_iudmad2 wrote

Everyone else has answered your specific questions, but if you want to go deeper into the social conventions and culture that early Morse coders developed among themselves, there is a fascinating book, The Victorian Internet, which delves into those. It's about 20 years old, so it predates "Web 2.0", and social media, but it points out many fascinating parallels between Morse operators and early-internet chat rooms.

The gist is that between messages operators would talk amongst themselves, gossiping and becoming long-distance friends. People gained status by transmitting and receiving faster, or by doing so with especial elegance. They invented lots of private acronyms, and conventions to express personal messages, and sub-textual feelings. Romances developed across the wires. It was a whole, shared, nerdy, long-distance world, the first to exist.

Anyway, read the book. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.


kd7wrc t1_iudvg7g wrote

The thing that i haven't seen anyone mention is that don't ever go by what you see in movies. If they are doing something not many people understand, for example Morse code, they will do the bare minimum to make it understood what they are doing. They will put zero effort into making it technically accurate.


writegeist t1_iuc6rtm wrote

I worked with an experienced coder who had a hard time with me because I was sending letters while he worked with whole words. It’s a whole different mind set for sure.


Psycheau t1_iucy31g wrote

When people first began to type on mobile phones they were slow, now people can type at 100's of words per minute, same thing applies to almost any physical skill. We got good over time.


hilary_m t1_iudtnz7 wrote

Had master morse code expert who could listen to three streams of morse at the same time. Just like you can follow three speakers. At a party.


Unclerojelio t1_iudu1xv wrote

Morse code is full of acronyms and idioms. The sound of these are recognized as whole words.


B_B_B_S t1_iudw2wc wrote

During WWII my papa used to do that. He then taught us to use Morse code so we could keep secrets from my grandma . But he would do it so fast we would have to write out what we heard and figure out where one word ended and the next began.


eastwestnocoast t1_iue3ogz wrote

Was just watching The Hunt For Red October and was wondering the same thing. Thanks for asking!


Cyborg_666 t1_iue5qzp wrote

My question is, what if the receiver misses the first few dots and dashes for some reason or they're transmitted before he could start writing , how does he find out the first few letters or words?


Randomperson1362 t1_iueyq8c wrote

You would just ask them to repeat the message, or to repeat the beginning of the message.

Perhaps the person who sent the message is gone, so you just write down what you have, and make the best of it.


[deleted] t1_iud1vpy wrote



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[deleted] t1_iuc9y9o wrote



naslundx t1_iuctt9m wrote

This is not true.


MsTponderwoman t1_iuf2r7w wrote

Then what’s true? Do you just like telling someone they’re wrong?

I find Reddit is often a terrible forum. Forums are for discussion or sharing ideas and information. When you’re the kid in the class or person in the audience who just wants to feel right by simply calling someone wrong rather than contributing your own answer, know you’re the problem and the reason why Reddit is a poor forum for ideas and information.

I’m perfectly fine with being wrong btw. 🙂 I don’t use Reddit to fluff up my (fragile) ego.