Using Morse Code to Communicate with a Telegraph

In order to communicate with another shelter or household, you will need a pair of telegraphs, and enough wire of the same type and size used to build your telegraphs, to lay in between the two communication stations as necessary, twice.  In other words, if you are 100 feet away from the other station, you will require 200 feet of wire…as the wire travels to the other set twice to form a complete circuit.  It is often best to bundle the wires together in order to increase the durability and toughness of the setup (in a bind you can use electrical tape and seriously bind the wires together, the entire distance). 

How to Operate a Telegraph Machine

Pressing down on the telegraph key creates the electrical current by completing the circuit from the key to the coil and back, including going through the batteries.  The sounder is an electromagnet which will pull the metal strip above it downward and make a click sound as contact is made.  Releasing the key will release the strip from the magnet and result in a clank sound.

Survivalist Tip: If you are having trouble with your telegraph or Morse code, please use the Survivalist Live Chat at the bottom of the website to get the help you need!

How to Use Morse Code to Communicate on a Telegraph (or otherwise)

It is easy to tell the type of symbol or letter communicated in Morse code as they are composed of a series of clicks and clanks in short dots and longer dashes.  An experienced Morse code communication expert will be able to listen to the clicking and clanking and determine the symbol output. In other words, a string of characters (dots and dashes in their own unique order) represent a symbol, and a string of symbols create a word or message. Sometimes experts refer to the dots as “dits” and the dashes as “dahs”.  Again, a dot is a quicker pulsed click followed by the clacking sound, while the dashes will sound like a longer transmitted dot (click), followed by the same clack sound. Honestly, the difference is very easy to get used to.

To send characters, you will need a chart which tells you how to compose the letters and numbers in Morse code. The American Morse Code was used by railroads and emergencies, while the International Code is still used today in warfare, emergencies, and other rare transmissions…but indeed was very common for early wireless communication and radiotelegraphy in countries around the world.

The American Morse Code Standard:

Legend:
DOT: DASH: -  LONG DASH: --
*Please note that sometimes there are pauses, these are represented by an “x” in between the other characters (i.e. the letter “C” is represented by two dots, followed by a pause, then followed by a final dot, thus looks like: C: . . x .).

A:  . -
B:  - . . .
C:  . . x .
D:  - . .
E:  .
F:  . - .
G:  - - .
H:  . . . .
I:  . .
J:  - . - .
K:  - . -
L:  - - - -
M:  - -
N:  - .
O:  . x .
P:  . . . . .
Q:  . . - .
R:  . x . .
S:  . . .
T:  -
U:  . . -
V:  . . . -
W:  . - -
X:  . - . .
Y:  . . x . .
Z:  . . . x .
1:  . - - .
2:  . . - . .
3:  . . . - .
4:  . . . . -
5:  - - -
6:  . . . . . .
7:  - - . .
8:  - . . .
9:  - . . -
0:  - - - - - -
Period:  . . - - .
Comma:  . - . -
Question Mark:  - . . - .

The Continental & International Morse Code Standard:

Legend:
DOT: DASH: -  LONG DASH: --
*Please note that sometimes there are pauses, these are represented by an “x” in between the other characters (i.e. the letter “C” is represented by two dots, followed by a pause, then followed by a final dot, thus looks like: C: . . x .).

A:  . -
B:  - . . .
C:  - . - .
D:  - . .
E:  .
F:  . . - .
G: - - .
H:  . . . .
I:  . .
J:  . - - -
K:  - . -
L:  . - . .
M:  - -
N:  - .
O:  - - -
P:  . - - .
Q:  - - . -
R:  . - .
S:  . . .
T:  -
U:  . . -
V:  . . . -
W:  . - -
X:  - . . -
Y:  - . - -
Z:  - - . .
1:  . - - - -
2:  . . - - -
3:  . . . - -
4:  . . . . -
5:  . . . . .
6:  - . . . .
7:  - - . . .
8:  - - - . .
9:  - - - - .
0:  - - - - -
Period:  . - . - . -
Comma:  - - . . - -
Question Mark:  . . - - . .

More About Morse Code

Morse Code was widely used up until the 1960s, however, now it is purely used for emergency situations and military communication. When it was in widespread use, there was a system which helped determine a telegrapher’s WPM (words-per-minute); the telegrapher would see how many times in a minute they could send the word PARIS (if they could telegraph the word PARIS 10 times in 1 minute, they had a 10 WPM score).   Generally to be considered good, by the standards of the U.S. Navy, you would need to be able to telegraph a minimum of 15 words per minute with zero mistakes to receive a radio certificate for telegraphy.

Some of the Best Telegraph and Morse Code Equipment

Here is some great telegraph and morse code equipment we recommend on amazon:


MFJ Enterprises Original MFJ-557 Deluxe Morse Code Practice Oscillator Straight Key w/ Volume Control


Eisco Labs Contact Key, Telegraphing/Morse Code, Single

Tags: how to transmit Morse code, how to transmit Morse code over a telegraph, how to communicate with a telegraph, communicating Morse code with a telegraph machine, Morse code letters and numbers, how to use Morse code, how do you do Morse code, using Morse code over a radio

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