No matter how old it gets, the traditional way of sending messages using Morse code is still used worldwide. This system of dots and dashes can come in very handy in an emergency when modern technology fails. If you want to get started with this cryptic language, here are some of the best websites to learn Morse code that will take you from a novice to an expert.
What Is Morse Code? Is It Still Useful?
Morse code is a form of telecommunication invented in the 1830s by Samuel F.B. Morse. It is used to encode characters into standardized sequences of two distinct signal durations. These signal durations are called dots and dashes or dits and dahs.
The international Morse code consists of 26 basic Latin letters, one accented letter È, the Arabic numerals from 0 to 9, and a small set of punctuation and procedural signs.
Are you considering a job as a radio operator? Perhaps you’re looking for something in special ops or cryptography. You may even want to just communicate secretly. If any of these describe you, you need to learn the basics of morse code.
1. Learn Morse Code
If you’re looking for an easy-to-understand and practical way to get started with Morse code, learnmorsecode.com is a good stepping stone. Even though the website has a very basic layout, it presents concrete information compactly.
It has simple texts telling you everything you need to know to start. Moreover, it offers a chart to decode Morse and MP3 audio files to encode Morse.
The chart is like a tree with branches for every dot and dash, and it provides a “map” to all of the letters in the English alphabet. Start from the top when the beeping begins and keep going down the chart until the beeping ends.
This way, you can start with decoding words letter by letter, and after some practice, you will eventually be able to decode full sentences in Morse code.
The website provides a set of 36 MP3 audio files that contain the Morse for each letter of the English alphabet and numbers from 0-9. There are several beeps of a given symbol in each audio file, starting from slow to fast so that a beginner can easily understand.
However, the website is quite limited in terms of versatility, as it can only teach you the basics and does not offer any platform to practice it.
LCWO is another simple website with a sober layout that uses the Koch method to teach Morse code. It requires you to sign up for a free account, but you can get past the login page by filling in “test” in the username and password field.
There are a total of 40 lessons for the Koch method aimed toward beginners. This method requires you to start by learning two symbols in Morse, then add a third when you’re comfortable with the previous two, then a fourth and so on. It also has a tool called the MorseMachine that provides practice MP3 files, which helps train your ear for Morse.
Additionally, you will find several speed practice tests such as Code Groups, Plain Text Training, Callsign Training, etc. What makes LCWO different from other websites that help you learn Morse code is that you can compare your test scores with others and gauge your fluency with Morse.
There is also have a forum on their website, and even though it hasn’t been updated in a few years, it’s still an active community of people to interact with.
This website is also great for people who have some prior experience in Morse, as it contains some very interesting tools and tests. These tools can help you refine your encoding and decoding skills and put them to the test.
But it still introduces the Koch method of learning Morse if you’re a complete beginner. Despite having elaborate tests and practice tools, it still looks out for amateurs to help them get started with Morse.
3. The National Association for Amateur Radio
The National Associate For Amateur Radio – or simply ARRL – is a very simple website with a ton of resources that help you learn Morse code. It includes a full library of MP3 files for 26 letters, 10 Arabic numerals and punctuation marks. You can access it without having to sign up anywhere.
Each file is played at a rate of 10 wpm (words per minute), which is an appropriate speed for beginners, and you can also download these files to be stored offline. However, the MP3 files are just the tip of the iceberg.
Moreover, if you want to learn more about the history of Morse code or how HAM radios work, ARRL has got you covered. However, this website lacks anything beyond a simple Morse conversion chart and more intricate tests.
ARRL also has an active forum where you can interact, ask questions, and build your own community of like-minded people.
AA9PW is another great website that offers multiple ways to sharpen your skills. It is a beginner-friendly platform that lets you start from scratch to take you from a novice to an expert in Morse code.
AA9PW teaches Morse using different levels, with each level increasing in difficulty. The first level is the Koch method, where you start by learning two characters, then keep adding one more character as you learn the previous ones. The second level is punctuation.
The third level combines letters, numbers, and punctuation. Finally, the last level is a practice of the FCC exam that you take to get your Ham radio license.
You can also complete practice exercises by selecting a test and clicking the “Generate Morse Code” button on the website to hear the coded sounds. Customize your test speed from 10 to 25 wpm.
Additionally, you can set the parameters for such things as how many groups of text are sent at a time and more. It is a nice way to challenge yourself and practice Morse against time.
5. Morse Code World
Morse Code World is one of the most detailed learning and training platforms. The website is very user-friendly, and you can easily navigate through the online resources that offer everything there is to know about Morse. The learning program is broken down into two parts: the International Morse and the American version.
Morse Code World boasts a variety of tools that can help you build a better understanding of Morse, including a Morse translator that converts text into dots and dashes. This translator provides accessibility for sensory-impaired people, as they can set up their smartphone to vibrate or have their screen flash to convey their messages in Morse.
You also get a decoder to help you convert Morse into readable text or use a keyer feature to turn your keyboard into a Morse paddle to encode the given text. These features help you get used to the timings in Morse to build up speed and accuracy.
Once you are confident enough with your skills, you can take on the training program. An expanding collection of helpful tools provides access to the CW generator, CWops beginner training, QSO trainer, word list trainer, and an instant character recognition tool.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is morse code still used in 2022?
Morse code is still a popular subject among amateur radio operators worldwide. Other than that, its simplicity enables it to be transmitted through various devices, making it a very reliable mode of emergency communication. Although it has lost some of its significance with time, it still remains relevant in 2022.
2. How long does it take to learn Morse code?
Typically, it only takes one to two months to learn Morse code, enough to copy words at the rate of 10 to 15 WPM. With enough time and practice, you will be able to recognize words as a whole.
3. How far can Morse code travel?
Morse code can be transmitted over hundreds of miles. The typical speed of this code is 4 bits/sec at max, which makes it very easy to detect, receive and decipher over longer distances.
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