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Practicals

Morse Code
AKA: Digital Signals

Summary

Students send a digital message using morse code.

Operation

Morse code is a method of sending signals from one location to another using dots, dashes and spaces. It has been used in the past to transmit complex messages over long distances.

The method can be used in school science to demonstrate the effectiveness of sending information using digital signals, morse code being a classic example of one.

Equipment required (per set)

  • Battery or labpack
  • Lamp or buzzer
  • Connecting wires
  • Push switch
  • Morse code key
Students can set up a simple circuit consisting of a lamp or buzzer, push switch and power supply, either a battery or labpack. Lamps work better than buzzers if the whole class is using the equipment as students will find it difficult to hear the transmitting buzzer they should be concentrating on. Also the combined noise of 15 or more buzzers can be slightly irritating! Using lamps is not only quieter but students can send signals over a greater distance. Torches can be used instead of the circuits in the classroom or if used outside, signals can be sent over massive distances.

One student usually comes up with a message to send and then uses the switch to produce quick flashes of light (dots) or longer flashes (dashes). The receiver deciphers the dots and dashes using the key and translates the message back into text.

Below is the morse code key.

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

Safety

 CautionThe contents of this page are for information only. Please refer to CLEAPSS or ASE safety advice and/or publications before undertaking any preparation, practical experiment or using any equipment featured on this site or any other.