About Morse Code

In the previous article, we talked about the development of paper mail - its appearance played an important role in history, but before the invention of e-mail, letters went very long. But the speed of information transfer is sometimes of paramount importance - well, for example, during the war. Build horsepower in coachmen? No, no, once technologies were invented without the use of horses. For example, telegraphs are devices for transmitting a signal through wires, radio, and other telecommunication channels. But about telegraphs - next time, but for now - about the "language" used in them, Morse code.



Is it true that the inventor of the alphabet, and indeed the telegraph as a whole, is the American artist Samuel Finley Breeze Morse (1791-1872)? Actually, yes, but in reality - it seems like no. According to one version, Morse himself did not develop either one or the other - they say he is a humanitarian and he simply did not have free time for such things.

But there were two fellow engineers (Joseph Henry and Alfred Vale), who once talked about a device invented in Europe in which a coil of copper wire is controlled by remote signals and transmits the emerging electrical pulses. Morse instructed technicians to implement the idea - so in 1835 there was a recorder working from remotely transmitted pulses. Further more - several years of improvements, and in 1837 the first electromechanical telegraph apparatus for transmitting and receiving messages appeared (the design of which Morse also had only an indirect relation), and a year later Alfred Vale proposed the idea of ​​dots and dashes.

The second legend is longer, but also more beautiful - the atmosphere of a startup is felt in it, but Morse still became an inventor. Choose for yourself what you like best.

So, around the year 1830, Samuel returns from Europe on the Sally steamer. In a group of people, he overhears a discussion of experiments with electromagnetism, saying that an electrical impulse can be instantly detected at any point on even the longest wire. A thought was immediately born in the head of a genius about the transfer of information in this way, and allegedly already on the ship he sketched a diagram (or even more than one) of a primitive telegraph system. Moreover, leaving the ship, he said to the captain: “Once you hear about such a miracle as a telegraph, you know, it was born on your beautiful ship.”

In fact, as in the case of many startups, optimism diminished - Morse did not manage to really make even an electromagnet, although later he was told how to insulate the wire and how to carefully wind it on a horseshoe-shaped core. The result was a primitive apparatus in which an electromagnet attracted a pencil to a moving tape, drawing dots and dashes on it.

But the resulting device transmitted the signal only a short distance, so Morse went for advice to Princeton (New Jersey), to Professor Joseph Henry. By the way, he was already in full use of the electric telegraph, with which he connected his house to the laboratory (with the only difference being that a bell was used instead of a pencil). The inductance sensei barely refrained from uttering the phrase “Read The Fucking Manual,” but then he not only talked about the errors of the Morse circuit, but also introduced him to his wonderful invention - an electromagnetic relay, which allowed amplifying a weak signal while passing it along the circuit (the prototype of the amplifier repeater). So Morse pumped his electromagnetic telegraph, to which, out of harm's way, in 1837 he received a patent.

And everything would have gone well, but the "investor" was neither in Europe, nor in Russia, nor elsewhere - now it is Habr and Kickstarter, and then everything was somewhat more complicated. History says that on March 3, 1843, the US Congress began discussing a draft communication line between Washington and Baltimore - initially they wanted to make a network of semaphores, but Morse managed to lobby his idea, and they decided to give him a chance. However, they didn’t decide, but rather, they were lucky: 70 congressmen abstained from voting (saying that they didn’t understand what kind of telegraph it was), the rest 89 “For” and 83 “Against”. The victory of the insignificant majority brought Morse no less than $ 30,000 for the construction of the line.

Work (on laying wires through the trees, because it did not work underground) was in full swing until May 24, 1844 - on the morning of this day in one of the rooms of the Capitol (Washington), Morse sat in front of the telegraph apparatus. In Baltimore, his assistant Alfred Vale sat in front of the same apparatus.

Shortly before this, Morse asked Anna Ellsworth (daughter of the head of the US Patent Office) to pick up some cool phrase for the first telegraph message, but she did not come up with anything better than to take a phrase from the Bible: “What hath God wrought!” (something like “This is what God does!”, although more often they give the translation “Thy wonderful deeds, Lord!”). Having tapped these words, Samuel Morse publicly marked the beginning of the telegraph century, and all of America was soon covered with a network of telegraph lines. The start-up fired: a red piston, fur coats - yes, that’s all)
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However, according to other sources, the very first telegram (without a pump and fanfare) seemed to be sent on January 6th, 1838, to a distance of 2 miles (by wire at the Speedwell steel mill, not far from Morristown, New Jersey) and was the phrase "A patient waiter is no loser" ("Patiently waiting - not a loser").

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Similarly, when it comes to telegraphs, the very, very first electromagnetic telegraph seems to have invented and created (in St. Petersburg, between the Winter Palace and the building of the Ministry of Railways) several years earlier (in 1830-32) Baron Pavel L. Schilling von Kanstatt, simply his circumstances did not work out. Subsequently, the electromagnetic telegraph was built in Germany (Karl Gauss and Wilhelm Weber, 1833) and Great Britain (Cook and Wheatstone, 1837), although all three of the mentioned telegraph apparatus belong to switch type electromagnetic apparatuses, while the Morse apparatus was electromechanical. There were other attempts to create such systems (almost from the 16th century), but they are interesting only from a historical point of view.



In general, as it was, we are unlikely to know. Nevertheless, in 1854, after numerous hearings, the Supreme Court recognized Morse as the sole inventor of the system, and therefore the device / alphabet was named only by his name.

Telegraph morse


The design of the device is very simple. The transmitter of the Morse apparatus is a telegraph key, the receiver is an electromagnet that controls the operation of the writing mechanism.



The transmitter serves to close / open the electric circuit and is a metal lever, the axis of which is in communication with the linear wire. The lever at one end is pressed by a spring against a metal protrusion with a clamping screw, by means of which it is connected by a wire to the receiving apparatus of the station and to the ground. If you press the other end of the lever with your hand, it will touch the other protrusion connected to the battery, while, of course, the current will go to the line to another station.


The main parts of the receiver are: a vertical electromagnet, a lever in the form of a rocker arm and a clock mechanism for pulling a paper tape on which conventional signs are left with a lever. When an electromagnet passes current through it, it attracts an iron rod located at the end of the lever; while the other shoulder of the lever rises and presses the steel tip at its end to the paper tape, which continuously moves above it through the clockwork. When the current is interrupted, the lever is pulled by the spring to its previous position. Depending on the duration of the current on the tape, the tip of the lever leaves traces either in the form of dots or dashes - various combinations of these signs make up the Morse code.



Keys:



Morse Code


All telegraphs use the so-called telegraph code - an accepted conditional notation in which each letter (or sign) corresponds to its own combination of elementary electric currents. The elementary premise (code element) is the shortest; all the others are made up of them. The number of elementary premises for designating each character in a code can be different (uneven codes, for example, Morse code) or the same (uniform codes, for example, Bodo code). The number of values ​​that an elementary premise can acquire in the process of transmission is called the code base — by this criterion, codes are divided into binary (binary), ternary, and some others. Depending on the number of elementary premises for transmitting characters, uniform codes of 5-element, 6-element and so on are distinguished.



“Morse code” (aka “Morse code”) is nothing more than an uneven telegraph code, in which signs are indicated by combinations of current packages of various durations. The duration of a point is taken as a unit of duration, and the duration of a dash equals the duration of three points. The pause between the characters in the letter is one point, and between the letters in the word - 3 points. The pause between words is 7 points. All characters in the Morse code form the so-called Morse code:
How do you remember all this? Well, as you know, Moscow wasn’t immediately built ... on a letter a day - and everything will work out :) By the way, on the vast expanses of the Internet there are a lot of amateur sites and forums on which there are not only information and practical tips for remembering, but also all kinds of applications ( including Android / iOS) for training.

It is noteworthy that the original table of the "Morse code" significantly differed from those codes that today sound on the amateur bands. Firstly, it used packages of three different durations (dot, dash and long dash). Secondly, some characters inside their codes had pauses. The encodings of the modern and the original tables are identical for only half of the letters (A, B, D, E, G, H, I, K, M, N, S, T, U, V, and W) and do not match for any digit. Moreover, to build the code of some characters in the original "morse code", other principles were generally used. So, in addition to “dots” and “dashes”, there were combinations of “double dashes” (letter L) and even “triple dashes” (number 0), and some characters included a pause. The Latin letter C, for example, was previously transmitted as “two dots-pause-dot”, that is, as the letters I and E transmitted sequentially - similar nuances noticeably complicated the reception of radiograms. Including for this reason, various telegraphic alphabet versions soon appeared that did not contain codes with pauses between packages (Phillips, Balna, “marine”, “continental”, etc.).


We'll talk about telegraphs in the next article. The
modern version of the international “Morse code” (International Morse) appeared relatively recently - in 1939, when the last adjustment (the so-called “continental” version) was made, which mainly concerned punctuation marks. In modern telegraphy, the Morse code is used mainly by radio amateurs, since it was almost replaced by a uniform telegraph code with direct-printing telegraph devices (which we will discuss in the next article).


Today, users are like cheese in oil: they need neither telegraphs, nor magnets, nor knowledge of secret languages ​​and codes. You enter the text, press the "Send" button and in an instant it reaches any point of the world. Cool? Undoubtedly.

Read the rest of the posts on page of the special project .

! important: This article does not purport to be complete and accurate.

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