Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Morse Code

We have made an appointment to view the house in Pingelly. The salesman is going to be a bit offside when we don't offer to buy as he also has a two hour drive from the city to open the house.

A couple of days ago I had a conversation with a chap who writes a newsletter for ex members of the W.A. Police Force. The Police Force in Western Australia was recently renamed the Police Service. I guess the 'Force' bit was a bit too heavy.

Peter is, along with others, establishing a Police Museum and he recently found a wonderful piece of equipment last used in policing in about 1950. It is a Morse Code machine. Morse Code was still used quite extensively up until then. The main trouble with sending Morse code with the traditional Morse key is the speed, which is on average a slow 15 words per minute. This machine is a two part set-up with a typewriter keyboard producing a punched 'ticker tape' type of paper tape which was transferred to a reader/sender which enabled fast transmission of messages. The Picture below shows the typewriter/setter and the sender on the right. This amazing piece is from an era of electro-mechanical devices.

About 15 years ago I found a piece of computer software that translated Morse code heard on short wave radio into words on the screen. Even then it was difficult to find Morse Code out there in cyber space.

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