Wednesday, January 11, 2012

FTV 1/11/2012 Communications on Sea and Land

Today, with instant messaging, we can hardly imagine that 150 years ago it might take months for 
word of the outcome of a presidential election to spread.  But Morse's invention tapped into the 
potential the electronic communication that is so prevalent today. On May 24, 1844 the U.S. 
Democratic National Convention was held in Baltimore, Maryland. Van Buren seemed the likely choice, but his opponent, James K. Polk, won the nomination. This news was telegraphed immediately to Washington, but 
skeptics refused to believe it. Only after persons arrived by train from Baltimore to confirm the reports were many convinced of the telegraph's value.  Now we've come to  trust electronic communication, and to even take it for granted!  But…did you know that until 1999, International Morse Code, tapped out on a telegraph key, remained the international standard for long-range maritime communication.  

What happens when the telephones are all down and we can't get spoken messages through? We turn to radio where morse code is a universal language. Morse Code is used to communicate in lots of other circumstances as well. Ships at sea can communicate with it. Kids can do it for fun. Lost hikers can use it for distress signals.

Morse Code can be transferred by sound or by light. Sound is preferable. It can be done with a flashlight, an airhorn, any object that makes sounds or produces light.

Morse Code is divided into longs and shorts. A long is a long continued sound or burst of light (about 3 seconds) while a short is very quick (1 second). I will denote a short with the . and a long with the _ Between each short or long is a second of silence (darkness).

To learn about electronic communications click here
Make an electronic communications tool

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