The method of telegraph coding, invented in the middle of the 19th century, is still used today as a means of non-verbal symbolic communication due to its simplicity and versatility. Moreover, Morse code formed the basis of all existing international systems of conventional signs and signals.
Among the variety of means of human communication, there are about seven thousand oral verbal languages. Along with this, there are dozens of other non-verbal communication methods - with the help of gestures and visual images, music and dance, heraldry and calligraphy, a police baton, a programming language. But the pioneers in transmitting information using symbolic encoding were three famous people: the inventor of the telegraph apparatus, founder of the National Academy in New York, Samuel Finley Morse; New Jersey mechanic and entrepreneur Alfred Lewis Weil; German engineer Friedrich Clemens Gercke.
Morse code characteristic
Morse code wiring is the first digital transmission of information. The encoding is based on the principle of correspondence of each of the attributes of written speech (alphabet letters, and punctuation marks and numbers) to a certain combination of two characters: a period and a dash.
For each written sign, a certain combination of elementary messages of various durations is selected: a short or long impulse and a pause. The duration of one point is taken as a unit of time. The dash corresponds to three dots. Spaces are related to dots in this way: the pause between characters in a letter is equal to one dot, the pause between letters is three dots, and the spaces between words are seven times longer than dots.
It is not the original Morse code that has survived to our time, but a modified alphabet, and here's why. Initially, only encrypted digits were transmitted by electric telegraph. The result, which was recorded by a writing receiver on paper tape, had to be decoded using a very complex dictionary-translator. Mechanic Weil suggested changing the coding. Combinations of dashes, periods and spaces were assigned, in addition to numbers, letters of the alphabet and punctuation marks. The modified alphabet became known as American Wire Morse Code. The assistant and companion of the inventor of the telegraph made it possible to receive signals by ear. However, there were some inconveniences in American Landline Morse, for example, pauses within characters, dashes of different lengths. In 1848, the German engineer Gerke streamlined the codes, removed almost half of the letters from the Morse code, which greatly simplified the code. Hercke's "Hamburg alphabet" was initially used only in Germany and Austria, and since 1865 this version has been adopted as a standard throughout the world.
After minor amendments were made to the Morse code at the end of the 19th century at the suggestion of some European states, it received the status of "continental". Since the First World War the name "Morse Code" has been assigned to this system. The Russian-language version of the Morse code, as soon as it began to be used in our country, was dubbed "Morse code". The current international version of International Morse dates back to 1939, when the last minor punctuation adjustments were made. The only new code introduced in the last 6 decades is the signal corresponding to the “et commercial” @ icon. Developed by the International Telecommunication Union, it was approved by the UN in 2004. Thus, the Morse code, having undergone some modifications and changes, has become a universal means of international symbolic communication and is recognized as a long-lived invention.
Mechanical key and electronic manipulator
When transmitting coded telegraph messages and radiograms, two types of keys are used: mechanical and electronic. The first mechanical key was made by the American inventor Alfred Weil. The model was called the Correspondent and was used in the first simplex telegraphs from 1844. The productivity of telegraphy in those days was low - with the help of an ordinary key, about 500 words could be transmitted per hour. To achieve faster typing speed and less operator movement, transmission devices have been continually improved.
The first to appear is a key, more convenient for the telegraph operator, equipped with an ebonite handle with a head. Due to the peculiar shape of the lever, it is called camelback (camel hump). A few years later, a spring-loaded regulator for adjusting the hardness of the key is introduced into the design, then a movable lever made of steel (rocker arm). A fundamentally new type of mechanical key has become, on which, when transmitting, the movements were in the horizontal plane. The Side Swiper devices have eliminated overloading of the operator's hand.
In the era of the wireless telegraph, portable transmission mechanisms were in demand. One of these is the semi-automatic mechanical wrench patented by Vibroplex. The device that generates a series of points due to the vibration of the pendulum weight was called "vibroplex" or "vibration". In the 20s of the last century, Vibroplex acquired a trademark logo in the form of a beetle. Since then, any such telegraph keys, regardless of the manufacturer, began to be called bug.
Modifications of Morse keys of subsequent periods, due to their design and technical features, had very interesting names in professional jargon, for example, "hammer" or "klopodav". There are models "saw", "dryga", "match". All of them were successfully applied until the end of the 20th century. With the development of radio communications, the need arose for the transmission of radio messages at high speeds. Technically, this became possible by replacing the classic Morse keys with electronic semi-automatic keys. The structure of such a device includes a manipulator and an electronic unit. The manipulator is a switch equipped with two contacts and a handle. The handle can be either single (common for both contacts) or double (halves are located in parallel and each closes its contact with a slight deviation to the right or left from the neutral position). In any embodiment, such a manipulator is designed to provide an easy working stroke, to have no backlash, and to give a good tactile sensation at the moment of contact.
As a general rule, in special terminology regarding electronic keys, the word key is used for a manipulator and keyer when it comes to an electronic unit. If a shortwave radio amateur or sports radio operator of high-speed transmission says that he "works with an iambic", this means that a kind of electronic semi-automatic is used - a special iambic key. With the development of radio technology, fully automatic electronic keys, which are built into modern transceivers, have become widespread. Keyboard Morse sensors are also used.
Both constructive and functional modification of Morse keys is associated with the solution of two main tasks: improving the quality and speed of communication, increasing the transmission rate of elementary parcels; elimination of subjective peculiarities of operators' work, economy of movements when typing characters, prevention of “hand breakdown” (an occupational disease is an analogue of the tunnel effect that occurs during prolonged work with a computer mouse).
The famous Russian radio amateur Valery Alekseevich Pakhomov wrote the book "Keys that connected continents". And also the owner of the callsign UA3AO is the owner of a unique collection of Morse keys. The collection numbers about 170 items. The hobby began with a simple telegraph key, with which a signalman was demobilized from the ranks of the armed forces, where he studied Morse code.
Speed of "Morse code"
According to experts, the average speed of manual transmission of Morse code is from 60 to 100-150 characters per minute. It corresponds to the unhurried, rather slightly slowed down speech of a person. The use of special telegraph keys and synthesizers "dots-dashes" increases the speed and quality of transmission of elementary messages. In this case, the "ceiling" for manual dialing per minute is 250 characters. This is an indicator of the efficiency of human thinking when writing a text, the so-called "typical speed of an author's writing." When applied to typing on the keyboard, this result can be compared with the level of work of a confident user who does not know the technique of touch typing. High-speed radiotelegraphy starts at 260 characters per minute and is possible with electronic keys. The use of transmitters makes it possible to achieve a record of transmission of radio signals on the air of 300 zn / min.
Over a historical period of time of 170 years, the speed of the Morse symbolic communication method has increased almost 5 times. Today, a radio amateur who broadcasts a message at a speed of 15 - 20 words per minute does so almost as fast as a representative of the “thumb” generation can type SMS messages of the same length on a gadget.
The basis of signal communication methods
Historically, Morse code has been and remains the easiest and most affordable way to communicate. With the advent of new technology and the development of technology, it has become possible to transmit messages not only through current sending. Modern wireless telegraphy is the exchange of coded information over the air. Morse code is transmitted using a light pulse using a spotlight, flashlight, or simple mirrors. The encryption elements invented by Weill and Gerke almost two centuries ago have found application in the flag semaphore alphabet. Morse codes have become the backbone of all current international warning schemes that use symbols and signals. Here are some simple examples from everyday life:
- in the abbreviation ICQ, adopted to mean "ICQ", the "Q code" is used to call any CQ radio station;
- just as in the Morse code common phrases are abbreviated (BLG, ZDR, DSV), short acronyms are written in SMS messages: ATP, pzhsta, tlf, liu.
For many years, certain professions corresponded to the first digital method of transmitting information: signalman, telegraph operator, signalman, radio operator. Due to its simplicity and versatility, Morse coding began to be used in various spheres of life. Today it is used by rescuers and military men, sailors and pilots, polar explorers and geologists, scouts and athletes. In our country, since Soviet times, it has become so customary that a person who masters the skill of transmitting messages using Morse code, wherever he works, is usually called simply and beautifully - "Morse code".