Tag Archives: Morse Code

Morse code training in the Air Force

 (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Pete Carron (W3DKV) who writes:

“Thought you might be interested in the following article from Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas, posted May 20, 2015. Apparently Morse Code still isn’t dead, not even in the military!”


Morse code training moving to Goodfellow

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Morse code training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, will transfer to the 316th Training Squadron at Goodfellow, allowing the Air Force to take the reins for future training.

The move stems from the Army’s redirection of training requirements, leaving the Air Force as the sole remaining branch attending the course taught at Fort Huachuca.

In the last 10 years, the Army renovated the course to cater as a secondary skill set and serve as a support function, rather than being a single source of intelligence gathering. As this happened, the Navy began teaching their own course at Pensacola, Florida.

The Goodfellow course will train 10 students annually starting July 1. Tech. Sgt. Ryan N. Kilcrease and Senior Airman James M. Gosnell, 316th Training Squadron Morse code instructors, will be the first to teach the course here.

“Morse will never fully go away as long as it remains the cheapest, most reliable way to communicate,” said Kilcrease. “Our adversaries will continue to use it, so we still need to be able to understand them if we want to be able to continue our mission successfully.”

Gosnell believes that the course still holds benefits for the Air Force.

The military recognized the benefits of Morse code for communication after Samuel F. B. Morse completed the first coded message in history by transmitting, “What hath God wrought?” from the U.S. Capitol to a railroad station in Baltimore, Maryland, May 24, 1844.

President Abraham Lincoln relied on it during the Civil War to gather intelligence and communicate directly with his generals.

The Department of Defense embedded it heavily into all armed forces as a communication device with the Army-lead training in Fort Devens, Massachusetts. In 1993, the training moved to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where Operating Location B, 316th TRS, is located.


Thanks for sharing this article, Pete!

I like Tech. Sgt. Ryan N. Kilcrease’s quote:

“Morse will never fully go away as long as it remains the cheapest, most reliable way to communicate”

If you listen to the CW (a.k.a. Morse code) portions of the ham radio bands, you’ll hear that CW is still very much alive and well. It is an incredibly reliable and robust communications medium.  As we CW operators say: “CW always gets through!”

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Aircraft Communications in 1915

A French communication system for use by airplane pilots in 1915: black powder could be puffed out into a Morse code message. Image: Scientific American, September 25, 1915

A French communication system for use by airplane pilots in 1915: black powder could be puffed out into a Morse code message.
(Image: Scientific American, September 25, 1915)

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Robert Gulley, who notes the following on his blog:

I found this interesting post from Scientific American concerning the lack of reliable wireless communication in aircraft in 1915 – just one of those fascinating historical tidbits.

You can read the full post on Robert’s website or Scientific American.

It is fascinating to see “old school” innovations that made long distance communications possible in 1915; before wireless technology became as practical and accessible as it was even only a decade later.

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The Juno Earth Flyby QSL card

Happiness is receiving the Juno Earth Flyby QSL card in the mail:

JunoQSLFront-Med

JunoQSLBack-Med

Many thanks to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory for making the Juno Flyby such a fun experiment. To read more about the flyby, check out our post from last year.

Were any readers able to “work” the Juno spacecraft?

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Work the NASA Spacecraft Juno (and get a QSL card)!

EFB_publicmap1-675Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Troy, who emailed us about a really fun and unique opportunity for amateur radio operators:  to send the NASA spacecraft Juno a Morse Code greeting [specifically, “HI”] when it passes over Earth tomorrow, starting around 18:00 UTC.

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains:

“NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly past Earth on October 9, 2013, to receive a gravity assist from our planet, putting it on course for Jupiter. To celebrate this event, the Juno mission is inviting amateur radio operators around the world to say “HI” to Juno in a coordinated Morse Code message. Juno’s radio & plasma wave experiment, called Waves, should be able to detect the message if enough people participate. So please join in, and help spread the word to fellow amateur radio enthusiasts!

This page will be updated with additional information as the event approaches. In addition, we have created a Facebook event page where you are welcome to a discuss[ion of] this activity.”

ham_morsecode_ditsTo be clear, this is a coordinated and unified message to the Juno craft; there will be no opportunity to hear a response from it.  Rather, the Waves instrument data containing the message will be shared by the Juno team after the flyby.  But still, what fun!

If you’re a licensed ham, and this sounds like something that you’d like to be part of, please check out the the NASA JPL page dedicated to this event. It has all of the information you’ll need to transmit to Juno, including a countdown clock–or to simply listen to everyone who does. Be sure to check out Juno’s Technical FAQ (click on the FAQ link) which answers a lot of the questions participants have already asked.

I’ll certainly do my best to be a part of the unified greeting to Juno.

I should note that I’m pleased to see the JPL page is running despite the US government shutdown. Many other NASA web pages have been affected.

Hi, Juno; we send our greetings!

juno-banner

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Passion for Morse Code, Night of Nights featured in NY Times

Many of you reading the SWLing Post are not only passionate shortwave radio listeners, but also amateur radio operators. My love of shortwave radio listening eventually led me to obtain my ham radio license, and as a result, to learn about Morse code. I had always admired Morse code–a.k.a. CW (Continuous Wave)–as a mode of communication in the amateur radio world.

The Italian, hand-crafted Begali Simplex is this author's way of sending code in style. (Photo courtesy: Begali)

Several years ago my passion for CW finally encouraged me to learn it, during which time I practiced it almost daily with my ham radio mentors. During the process of learning code, I went from struggling to hear the difference between “dits” and “dahs” to being able to distinguish letters, symbols, words and phrases. Today, we chat over the SW radio bands about all sorts of things–radios, the weather, our families–in Morse code, or what we like to call “the sacred language.” Indeed, it is sacred…in its simplicity and its efficacy. Morse code is more intelligible than voice-over long-distance radio transmission, because the receiver or radio operator only needs to distinguish between the short and long “dit” and “dah” sounds, truly form following function.

And speaking of function, Morse code used to have a vital role in our communications landscape. The following article, from the NY Times, sheds some light on a little maritime radio history. For a Night Each Year, the Airwaves Buzz With Morse Code

Morse code/CW frequencies–how to find morse code on the shortwaves

Don’t be fooled by the NY Times article’s title: the airwaves are always filled with the sounds of Morse code 24/7. Don’t believe me? Simply turn on the SSB (single-side band) mode on your portable shortwave receiver, then tune between the following frequencies:

1800-2000 kHz

3500-3600 kHz

7000-7200 kHz

10100-10150 kHz

14000-14150 kHz

18068-18110 kHz

21000-21200 kHz

24890-24930 kHz

28000-28300 kHz

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all frequencies where you’ll hear CW; rather, it represents the main amateur radio watering holes for CW/Morse code operations.

Want to learn Morse code? Check out this article on QRPer.com!

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Google commemorates 218th anniversary of Samuel Morse’s birthday

We woke up this morning to find the homepage of search engine, Google, in morse code. What a great way to commemorate Samuel Morse’s birthday. In case you missed this special Google Doodle, check out the screen capture below.

_ _. _.._ Google!

googleincw

Why not learn morse code and add that extra dimension to your SWLing skills? If you’re interested, check out these informative websites:

  • Go to the LCWO (Learn CW Online) website, create an account, and start learning morse code online today!
  • If you’re an amateur radio operator or are considering becoming a ham, check out this article. Code practice is easy if you have a code buddy!

Click here to read Wikipedia’s biography of Samuel Morse.

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