NUMERALS

Sound                                       Meaning
didahdahdahdah , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1
dididahdahdah , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2
didididahdab , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  3
dididididah , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  4
dididididit , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 5
da.hdidididit . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . .  6
dahdahdididit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
dahdahdahdidit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
dahdahdahdahdit . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
dahdahdahdahdah , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,0

Erase Sign (eight or more dots)
Comma Sign III
Full Stop AAA
Commencing Sign VE
Ending Sign AR

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette – 023 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
Training -- The Morse Code

This eight page pamphet was received at the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum in June 2015. In World War II, It was given to potential RCAF air crew students in the Manning Depots to give them a jump on one of the subjects they would need to learn in advanced training. Admittedly, the Morse Code is a somewhat dry subject but a read of the text translation below will definitely provide some intersting points about the techniques and philosophy of Morse Code usage, an invaluable communication skill required for aerial combat. 

NO'l'E
This pamphlet is issued to all recruits on posting to Manning Depots for training as pilots, observers and wireless operators (air gunner). Its object is to allow men to get a start with the Code in the correct system prior to their courses of instruction. Use this continually and bring it with you when you are transferred to an Initial Training or Wireless School.

(Based on RAAF. Publication No. 81)

30:\1- 3-42 (1787)
H.Q. 560-11

 
THE MORSE CODE

INTRODUCTION

In 1836, Samuel Morse, an American, introduced the code system which bears his name, and the first message by using the "Morse Code" was sent by telegraph from Washington to Baltimore in 1844. The introduction of the Morse Code was a tremendous advance in signalling, since it meant that communication was no longer restricted to persons within sight of each other, but messages could now be sent day or night over long distances. Although the code invented by Morse was satisfactory for telegraph work certain difficulties were encountered with the rapid: advance of radio or wireless telegraph as it was called and at a convention in London in 1912 a new code was introduced, known as the "International Morse Code". This covers all the languages that use the Roman alphabet-English, French, German, Spanish, etc. The "International Morse Code" is the code used in the R.C.A.F. for signalling by means of wireless telegraphy. The international Morse Code can also be used to signal by visual means (Aldis lamps) and by sound (Klaxon horns for use in fog).

The International Morse Code (which from now on we will refer to as simply the Morse Code) is based on two types of signals which differ in the time taken to make them, namely a short signal and a long one, called respectively a dot and a dash. Letters, numerals and other necessary signals are made up of various combinations of these dots and dashes. The Morse Code has the advantage that, unlike the Semaphore Code, It can be used with various types of signalling equipment which can be selected to suit requirements. The use of this code provides a means of signalling over short or long distances both by day and by night. In visual signalling the dot and the dash may be represented by the exposure of a light for short and long periods (The Aldis Lamp). In wireless telegraphy the operator makes dots and dashes by pressing for short and long intervals a key, which actuates some form of electrical circuit. At the receiving instrument the dots and dashes may be reproduced by short and long buzzes on a telephone receiver or by means of musical notes of short and long duration representing the dots and dashes of the Morse Code.

A wireless operator depends for his job, on his knowledge of Morse Code. The standards required of aircrew in the R.C.A.F. are:

     - Pilots – Aural 8 w.p.m. - Lamp 6 w.p.m.
     - Observers – Aural 8 w.p.m. – Lamp 6 w.p.m.
     - Wireless Air Gunners – Aural 18 w.p.m. – Lamp 6 w.p.m.

The standards given above are the minimum standards required on completion of training. Higher standards are required on operational units after practice.

THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CODE

Morse is a "sound language". To an operator, Morse symbols speak as clearly as the spoken word. It depends on rhythm for its operation, and it is important that it be appreciated as rhythm from the start. It is usually written on paper in "dots and dashes." This is for the sake of convenience in writing it down. Unfortunately, most learners attempt to memorize the code in this form, It is easy to learn, and they have no trouble in reading Morse at slow speeds - say up to 8-10 words per minute. The reason is this. At these slow speeds, it is easy to pick out the dots and dashes, count them up, and compare them mentally with the Code as it was learnt, sort out the letter intended, and write it down. This, of course, is a long and involved process and requires a certain agility of mind.

At speeds greater than about 10 words per minute, the above process unfortunately becomes impossible and the learner, working on this system cannot cope with the higher speeds. However, as the speed increases, the ear gradually adapts itself to the increase in speed and change of sound and, over 15 w.p.m. it learns to recognize the letters themselves as sounds and not as collections of dots and dashes. Nevertheless, it goes through a continual process of readjustment as the speed changes.

The process after this is much simplified. The ear hears a collection of dots and dashes as a definite sound. This immediately registers itself as a letter and is written down automatically, often without the writer being conscious o! what he has written. It is clear, then, that the person who learns the code as sounds to start with, need not readjust his ear all the time as the speed increases, He also learns to write down Morse sounds as letters instead of first having to translate them into dots and dashes. A simple analogy is given here. The child learns its multiplication tables by the singing method. This singing not only allows the child to memorize the tables, but imprints them on the mind as a sound. - Ask yourself the following simple questions-7 x 7, 7 x 8, 7 x 9-the answers come to mind automatically without thinking. Now ask yourself 7 x 17, 7 x 18 - you have to calculate them, as you have never learnt them before. In actual fact, the simple multiplication tables are more than memorized. The sound 7 x 7, seven times seven, or however you learnt it, is part of a larger sound, the remainder of which is 49.

In the same way, the Morse Code symbols should automatically become letters. Thus didah brings to the mind "A" automatically - not didah is dot dash, and that is ``A". It is possible, then, to learn Morse by letters and not by dots and dashes and it is for the above reasons that one should start with the correct method .and not with one of the various methods often found in use. It is most important that the above principles be studied and understood before proceeding further.

LEARNING THE CODE

The Code is easy to learn. One or two hours' concentration will allow the student to master it, whether he learns by dots and dashes or by any other method. Many students attempt to practise the code and may practise for weeks without really knowing the symbols for all the letters. This is merely wasting time. The student must ensure that he knows the code thoroughly before attempting to practise it.

MORSE CODE IS EASY TO LEARN

When a child is taught to speak, it is shown an object and the name of the object is repeated until the child is able to form a mental picture of the object whenever the name of the object is mentioned. Conversely, when the object is presented, the child is able to repeat the name of the object and thus a WORD vocabulary is built up. A similar· procedure is used to .learn the sound of letters,figures and punctuation marks in Morse Code. Just as the sound of a word conveys to a child a mental picture of an object, so· does the sound of a letter in Morse Code convey to a wireless operator the letter it represents. It is imperative, therefore that the sound of any letter, figure or punctuation mark should always be sent the same way in Morse Code, with no variations. The first step, therefore, in learning the Morse Code is to learn the proper SOUNDS of the letters, figures and punctuation marks. THIS IS VITAL4Y IMPORTANT. The sounds of all letters, figures and commonly used punctuation marks are shown in this pamphlet. Memorize them, always making the same sound for a particular letter, figure or punctuation mark. Do NOT one time say da·didahdit, to represent the letter "C" and next time say da di, dadit. In other words do not try .to SPELL out the. components of the sound which represents a particular letter, figure. or punctuation mark - merely repeat the sound as a whole.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TIMING OR RHYTHM

No one can write a sound but a standard set of symbols can be used to represent the sounds of the Morse Code in the same way that music is written, e.g. the letter "A" translated in to Morse Code consists of an interrupted sound and is written Didah - the "Di" indicating a sound is heard for a fraction of a second and the "Dah" that it is heard for a slightly longer period of time. In their words, the SIN.GLE sound "Didah" when sent at 5 w, p.m. or 25 w.p.m. always represents the letter "A" and is always sent as "Didah" NEVER as "Di, Dah." If the transmitting wireless operator sent "Di Dah", he would be sending TWO sounds. The receiving wireless operator would translate these TWO sounds as "E.T." The interrupted sounds representing the letters, figures and punctuation marks would always be considered as SINGLE sounds NOT as several sounds joined together. For instance when speaking the SINGLE word Canada, it is never broken down into Ca na da, as it loses its word meaning. This timing or rhythm in making the sounds of the Morse Code is very important and unless thoroughly understood great difficulty will be experienced in becoming a first rate wireless operator.

After reading and understanding clearly the remarks above, the pupil can proceed to study the code. A glance at the code symbols (page 6) will show that the code is not written down in dots and dashes, but in the form in which it sounds to the ear. This immediately eliminates one mental process - that of translating it from dots and dashes to sound or vice versa. It will also be seen that the sound is shown first and the meaning second. It is important that the student should learn it in this manner - a sound representing a letter and not vice versa: e.g., learn that "didah’’ means ``A" and not "A’’ is ``didah". It will also be seen that full emphasis is placed on the dashes while the dots arc slurred. In other words, the tendency should be to stress the length of the dash thus contributing to the rhythm. First, turn to (page 6) which shows the code and cover up the column showing the letters of the alphabet. Second, learn to sing the Morse symbols, slowly at first, and later faster and faster. Nominally the time for a dash should equal that for three dots. If you accentuate the dash you will get the idea much better. Try to slur the dots together, and sing the symbol. Finally, uncover the letters and discover the meaning of each sound after you learn to .sing it.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SEND THE CODE WITH A BUZZER OR BY ANY OTHER MEANS AS YOU CANNOT HOPE TO MAKE THE SYMBOLS WITH A BUZZER UNTIL YOU HAVE LEARNT HOW THEY
SHOULD SOUND

You can actually learn Morse by this system up to 6 or 8 words per minute, or even faster, without ever hearing a Morse signal. Continue singing the Morse symbols until you can’t sing the sounds any faster. By this time, you will have got the idea of the rhythm of the code, you will know it, and should be able to receive it. Try singing to yourself Morse symbols for the, signs, oil billboards, street names, etc., as you go about your daily duties. It is of the greatest importance that you get an even flow in all your Morse characters and not a jerky or uneven sound. Many of the letters become unreadable if they are not made correctly. One of the chief errors usually arises in the letter "C". This is, of course, dahdidahdit. Learners make various errors in this such as .dah dit, dah dit, or dah, didah dit. the letter "F", dididahdit, - becomes di dit dahdit - "L", didahdidit, becomes didah, didit, and so on. Concentrate on getting a smooth and continuous sound and do not separate the elements of any Morse symbol.

Next think of Morse as dots and dashes and avoid such methods as learning opposites. You will find that, after a few days, Morse letters come to you automatically and, by the time you are ready to start serious practice, you will be well on the way to a speed of 8 to 10 words per minute.

HANDWRITING

As the primary function of a wireless operator is to translate radio signals into written words, he must be able to write a neat, legible hand at fairly fast speeds. Try writing from dictation at a speed of 25 words per minute (1 word equals five letters) and continue practising until you can do this easily (writing with pencil only). Develop a free easy style of handwriting, always using a pencil of at least 4 inches in length, never smaller.

SPACING RULES FOR LETTERS, WORDS, AND GROUPS

     (i) the dots and dashes, and spaces between them, should be made to bear the following relation one to another as regards their duration:
          (a) A dot is taken as the unit.
          (b) A dash is equal to three dots.
         (c) The space between any two of the elements which form the same character (letter, figure or symbol) is equal to one dot.
          (d) The space between two characters is equal to three dots.
     (ii) Any number and combination of letters, figures or symbols signalled consecutively so as to form one entity is termed a group. A group consisting of letters forming a word in plain language is termed a word. The space between two groups or words is equal to five dots (for speeds of 20 w.p.m. and over).
     (iii) For speeds below 20 w.p.m., the space between characters and between words should be inversely proportional to the speed, i.e. the slower the speed, the longer the space . The elements forming each character must always be made at a speed which, with proper spacing, is equivalent to not less than 20 w.p.m. This is necessary in order to preserve the correct rhythm at slow speeds.

MODIFICATIONS TO MORSE SYMBOLS

     (i) A horizontal line over letters expressing a sign denotes that the elements forming these letters are made as one Morse Code symbol and not as two separate letters.
     (ii) The term "barred" is used to denote any accent or modification to a letter. In describing a letter phonetically the term "barred" is used after the letter, e.g., "A barred" means an accented A, and is written A with a bar over it.

INTEREST IN MORSE CODE IS HALF THE BATTLE

If you learn the Morse Code in the manner just described you will find it very interesting, and also your progress will be rapid and sure, and, more important still, you will not forget it. It is, however, very necessary to CONCENTRATE to the best of your ability during the Morse Code instruction periods, as it is a MENTAL process and no one can learn it for you. YOU are master of your own destiny. If you do not concentrate your progress will then be slow-you will lose interest-your progress will then be slower still and so on, until finally you begin to detest the Morse Code instead of enjoying it.

MAKING MISTAKES

If, while receiving, you make a mistake or miss a letter DO NOT get excited or try to think of the sound of the letter you have missed. Relax and wait for the next sound and copy it. It is easier to relax and wait for the next sound if your mind and writing hand are occupied between the time the mistake is made and the next sound. A good way to occupy yourself during this period is to make one or more "X's" where the missing letter should be. This tends to prevent nervous tension and results in less mistakes.

SENDING THE MORSE CODE

If you listen to good Morse sending at any speed you will notice the rhythm. The dots and dashes bear the correct relationship to each other and the spacing between the elements of each character, and between characters and words, is in accordance with the principle laid down in this pamphlet. Timing is the essence of good sending. Everyone has listened to a mediocre piano player who THOUGHT he was making music. It is the same with the poor sender - he THINKS he is sending Morse. Do not try to judge the correctness of your sending yourself. If the other fellow says it is bad, it IS bad. Do not be too anxious to practise sending before you reach your first training unit. Instruction in sending must be practical to be of value - it cannot be given in a pamphlet. You should be able to receive at a speed of 6 words per minute or more before you attempt to practise sending.

REMEMBER

There is only one person who can make you a first class wireless operator, that is Y 0 U R S E L F.

THE MORSE ALPHABET

Sound                                         Meaning
didah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A
dahdididit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  B
dahdidahdit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C
dahdidit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D
dit  , , , , , , , , ,  , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  , , . E
dididahdit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  F
dahdahdit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .G
didididit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .H
didit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I
didahdahdah , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  J
dahdidah . , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , K
didahdidit , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  L
dahdah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . M
dahdit , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  N
dahdahdah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , , , 0
didahdahdit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , , , P
dahdahdidah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , , Q
didahdit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , , R
dididi t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , , s
dah , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,T
dididah , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  U
didididah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , , , V
didahdah , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , W
dahdididah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , ,  X
dahdidahdah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , , , Y
dabdahdidit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  , , Z


AIR FORCE PAMPHLET No. 11
(August, 1941)

DOMINION OF CANADA
The Royal Canadian Air Force

THE MORSE CODE And How to Learn It