(Rhey T. Snodgrass & Victor F. Camp, 1922)

M- -O- – – R . – . S . . . E . /

C – . – . O – – – D – . . E .

Have you ever noticed someone rhythmically tapping their hand on the side of their car door as they’re waiting in traffic? Noticed a light source seemingly display flickers at varying intervals? Have you ever needed to tell someone something without anyone knowing the secret message you wanted to convey? Well, it might surprise you that people do exactly that with countless means, possibly even around you while you’re utterly oblivious to the fact. One of the many methods of coding, is called Morse Code. Named after American Inventor Samuel F. B. Morse, the inventor of the telegraph.


There are three signals used in communication by Morse Code. To make it simpler the standard unit of time will equate to one second. First is the Dit ( . ), tap something for one second, that’s one dit. The next signal is referred to as a dah ( – ). The dah lasts for three units/seconds. The third signal, is communication silence ( / ).

The silence works in three ways:


After one component signal of one letter, wait one unit/one second before the next component is added. For example the letter “H” = . . . . Which equates to dit, pause for 1 unit/second, dit, pause for 1 unit/second, dit, pause for 1 unit/second, dit.

Letter is complete.


After the prior letter has been completed, you then wait a further three units/seconds before moving on to the next letter. Which might be the letter “I” = . . so after waiting the three unit/second interval, you would dit, pause for 1 unit/second, dit, if the airways remain clear, you have sent the message “HI”.

Word is complete.


Once a word has been completed and you intend to send another following word, you wait a further seven units/seconds. Then commence the process for the next word.

Substituting the dit . with a dah when necessary. Merely changing the units/seconds, 1 for dit, 3 for dah.



(Believed to mean “Save Our Ship/Souls” though that was actually a backronym that came about from people making something out of the three letters appearing in this continuous distress signal code.)

… / — / …

Dit, 1 unit/second, dit 1 unit/second, dit. Seven seconds. Dash, 1 unit/second, dash, 1 unit/second, dash. Seven seconds. Dit, 1 unit/second, dit, 1 unit/second, dit.

To save time there are many unique abbreviated codes used also, such as ..–.. which means ? or “say again?”

There are various means to aid in Morse Code translations, but as antiquated as the practice of sending slow time-consuming signals may seem, a time may arise when it could come in handy.

One method you can use to communicate Morse code quickly in close proximity is by using your hand. Index finger tapping equates to a dit, middle finger tap equates to a dah. Raising thumb, or palm of hand is a new word. The system can be refined depending on what suits you and whoever you’re communicating with.

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