Transmitting morse code for the first time

Hi, has anyone seen this before, especially the youth out there?




If you said ‘telegraph key’, then you are right. I was on the radio last night transmitting Morse code. Before you say: “Wait! Isn’t that outdated?!? Who in the world uses this anymore?”, I guarantee you, people still use Morse code, at least radio amateurs anyway. And hey, on a noisy channel, what can you hear best from a fading station? A voice call? Or the tones from a station transmitting in Morse code?

A month before I took the Radio Amateur Exam here in Singapore, I read up the Amateur Handbook posted by IDA, the governing authority here. It was stated that new licensees may be restricted to transmit using only Morse code for the first year of getting their license.

So I thought, “Okay, why not learn the code?”. And I went on to do just that. I spent a few weeks, learning the code on and off (no pun intended!), using whatever spare time I had on the way from school, back, and so on. I did not just learn the code. I was hooked to it!

Each character, be it a letter of the alphabet, a number, or punctuation, had a specific rhythm to it. Using a song that I found titled ‘The Rhythm Of The Code”, which you could find on Youtube, I learned the code for all of the alphabets and numbers, but not punctuation, yet.

So, I got an old military telegraph key from Mr Yong Fu at NUS. After cutting and soldering up a new wire to go with his Yaesu FT-897, I decided to go on air and transmit messages using Morse code. I turned on the radio, tuned to an unused channel, listened a little and transmitted QRL, which meant: ‘Is the frequency in use?’.

After tuning into many channels, and after many ‘CQ’ messages later, I got no response. By 9:45 PM, I decided it was very late and went home.

Even though I didn’t manage to make any contact, it was a fun session on air. There are a few things to look out for, one of them being not to transmit faster than you can copy and all that. I guess, when I go down to the lab the next time, I will try again.

Anyway, many thanks for taking the time to read this little blog of mine! ^.^


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