How to Learn Morse Code -- This Might Save Your Life One Day!

September 13, 2015

Long before we had phones, TV or radio, Morse code was used to communicate over long distances.

Samuel F.B. Morse developed the system in 1844, and back then it was groundbreaking. You could communicate in real-time over long distances, which would normally take hours or days by other means.

Despite being developed over 160 years ago, it is still very useful today. Due to it's simplicity, being made up of dot or dash, Morse can be done via a flash light, a broken radio, a lighter, a whistle, the screen on your phone, or a reflective mirror in the sun.

It's a widely used "language", even today, thought in the military, to pilots and to rescue crews.

Most importantly, it's extremely useful to know. It may very well save your life one day, so investing a few hours into mastering this new language is well worth it.

Morse Code: What is It?

For those who are not familiar with Morse code, you might want to take a minute to get a good overview of what this art is all about.

Morse is in principle very simple -- but it will take time to fully master it!

Every number and letter of the alphabet is being assigned with a series of dashes and dots. For instance, the Morse code for SOS is just ••• - - - •••. As you know, SOS is the sole universal distress signal and learning how to send this message in the form of Morse code can be really beneficial for the survivalists.

How Do You Learn Morse Code?

There are plenty of ways for you to learn Morse. The best thing is that these are now much easier to understand than it was in the past. Back in the old days, the only way is for you to just look for a book that will show you the complete Morse code alphabet and that is the only time that you will start to practice.

When I learned Morse, we used the form below to easily decipher the messages. After some time, you won't need the form anymore. It's like learning a new language. In the beginning you need to think about the grammar, translate the words in your head and frequently use the dictionary. After some time, the language grows on you, and you're able to just speak naturally.


It's pretty simple. Place your pencil or finger where it says 'start', and listen to the Morse you will decipher. For every 'dah' (dash) or 'dit' (dot), move your pencil down accordingly.

I've also included a form showing international Morse code below (credits Wikimedia CC)


At this day and age, there are already a lot of online tools that can make learning Morse code so much easier. One of the things that you can do is to just download an application to your smart phone or tablet that has been specifically designed for teaching you how to learn Morse code. The drawbacks of an application on your phone is that it's on your phone.

I mean, the small form above can be printed and kept in your wallet. For all you know, you may not even have your phone on you, or it may be dead, when you really need it.

I have to say I really like these survival cards. I've given them to family members and friends. My grandchildren really like them, because they look cool I guess. They show Morse, survival tips, snares and traps and other reference for survival. They're laminated plastic, inexpensive and durable (I've had mine for years). You can pick them up here at Amazon.
Featured photograph by Nathan Adams, CC

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