As a child I was always intrigued with the sound of Morse Code though I could not understand it, and now as a Morse Operator I am mystified why people watch me and I know they don’t understand anything I am sending. When my club opened the Radio Museum at East Kirkby Airfield it was decided to only use SSB on the amateur station GB2CWP that was located within the museum. Visitors to the Radio Room just walked round looking at the exhibits and left showing no interest in our active station till one day we changed mode to CW and Morse filled the air. It seems we don’t need a flute like the Pied Piper of Hamlin, we just have the volume of the radio loud enough for the Morse to be heard outside the Radio Room and the visitors come flooding in and surround the operator. Why?
So what’s good about Morse Code and is it worth the pain of learning?
Firstly for communication purposes it is an international language and by using standard international abbreviations and Q Codes your are able to understand any station irrespective if they can speak your language or not. Sometimes on SSB it is difficult to understand the other station because of his accent or the way he says things.
Secondly Morse Code can be perfectly readable where other modes of communication fail, using less power and narrower bandwidths than other modes more stations can work side by side on the bands. It is a mode favoured by the QRP community and I have personally worked into Eastern Europe with only 800 milliwatts and a long wire aerial.
Thirdly (this is the bit I like being a Scotsman) You can have an operational CW Morse station very easily for a few pounds without having to get into debt. My first station was a small 800mw crystal transmitter, an old Minimitter Receiver I paid a fiver for and fixed, my antenna tuner was a coil of wire wrapped round a ferrite rod straight into a random long piece of wire strung down the garden. I worked many stations including America with this set up and the only problem I had was the old Minnimitter receiver drifted and you had to keep retuning the station you were working.