(This explains how to send Morse code -- click to go back to the story: Libby and Henry at school.)

Morse Code

You can send Morse code messages, too, if you learn the code.

What Morse was for: In the old days (before telephones and of course, before computers) Morse code was used to send messages. You may have seen men in old movies tapping out messages with little clickers? They made long or short taps and sent them over wires and, after radio was invented, into the air from ships.

You can use Morse when you can't talk, or write a note, but want someone to get your message. So you'll need to learn it with a friend, or teach a friend after you've learned it. Then the two of you can tap out messages to each other with your fingers, or the eraser on the end of a pencil — or sit next to each other and tap on each other's arms or legs. Or send flashes of light: you can make up all kinds of signals.

How it works: In Morse, long and short signals represent letters. For example, instead of writing the letter e, you make one short signal (one quick flash of light, one quick tap).

You write the Morse signals with the dots and dashes on the right. When you signal with Morse, a dash should last three times as long as a dot.

Combinations of signals make words, just as letters do. When you're sending a message, you pause for three dots between each letter and for seven dots between each word. That way, the other person knows when one letter has ended and a new letter is starting and when one word is ending and a new word is starting.


It takes a lot of practice to get this right!

Writing in Morse is easier than listening. To try it, write the dots and dashes for the word "the." (Even though it's not the way professionals did it, I put lines for the pauses between letters and words when I write Morse; it's easier to count lines than spaces!)












__ |||. . . .||| . |||||||  


Want to try more words? How would you write "I love you" in Morse? Remember to make a line or leave one space between letters and leave a long space between words. (AFTER you've done it, scroll to see how I did it.)



Morse code translates the alphabet into
these dots and dashes, which you can send as
long and short sounds or flashes of light.




Pause for 3 dots between letters -- I use lines for the pauses.

Pause for 7 dots between words.


Now tap it out -- or say SAY the sounds out loud, using any noises you make up with your friends for the dots and dashes:

..||||||| . __ . .|||__ __ __ |||. __ __ __ ||||. ||||||| __. __ __|||__ __ __|||..__|||||||
dot dot dot DASH dot dot | DASH DASH DASH | dot DASH DASH DAH|dot DASH dot DASH DASH | DASH DASH DASH | dot dot DAH
I L        | O            | V             |E Y             | O           | U


When you're learning, The easiest way is to print out the code with the letters under it and use it to translate letters into dots and dshes. When you want to send a message,write each letter down, then translate it into dots and dashes, then tap it out to send it.


When you're RECEIVINB a message, write down the long and short sounds and pauses you hear, then use the code to translate them into letters.


If you use the code a lot, and are good at memorizing things, soon you won't need to look at the print out -- you'll just know it by heart.


_ _ . |||_ _ _|||_ _ _|||_ . .  |||||| . __ . .||| . . _|||. _ . _|||

(That is a message from me to you and I'm not going to translate it — you can!)

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