Army no longer teaching Morse to G.I.s

Started by cockpitbob, May 04, 2015, 09:20:33 am

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Two articles.!

In short:  The army has dropped its Morse course. 
QuoteIt isn't going away entirely, though. Because some low-tech military forces use the code, troops will have the option of going to an Air Force Morse code course taught in Texas.

Quote"We train [for] Morse code because the adversary still uses Morse code," said Germain, who, along with another course instructor, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joshua Henrichs, are training two airmen to serve as Morse code instructors in Texas.

Air Force Tech Sgt. Ryan Kilcrease agrees there is a continued need for Morse code training. "It remains the cheapest and most reliable means of communication."

Everything has a finite useful life, then morphs or dies.  Morse has done well and I expect it to be around 25 years from now, but with the rapid advancement of technologies I would be surprised if it was in common use in 50 years.  Meanwhile I'm having a blast with it.


Quote from: cockpitbob on May 04, 2015, 09:20:33 am
Quote"We train [for] Morse code because the adversary still uses Morse code," said Germain

This is just hearsay on my part, but I read somewhere that Russian bomber crews use Morse code on their flights.  If so, that might provide some incentive for maintaining the capability for awhile.



I wasn't aware they were still teaching it in the first place. It does make a sense though that somebody on our side should know Morse code, even if we don't use it ourselves our enemies sure could.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin



You would probably be fairly safe betting a fairly large amount of money that NSA has very sophisticated software that still copies a fair amount of Morse, both machine and manual, and it's probably pretty good at adjusting to a variety of 'fists'.

Chinese STC (Standard Telegraphic Code) is transmitted using Morse numbers and is still in pretty wide use because oral/aural Chinese is very ambiguous with the same sounds meaning many different things. Context is everything in Chinese, and there's often not much context available in short radio messages. Even in voice traffic you'll occasionally get bits of STC to specify proper names or special terms.

If you do hear code in four digit numerical groups there's a pretty good chance it will be STC. The STC code has been around for a long time and there are websites to translate four digit Morse into Chinese characters (or characters into Morse), although military and diplomatic messages will almost certainly have a layer of encryption on top of the 'simple' STC.

There's a wiki page about it.


While it is true that some branches of the service no longer use or teach Morse Code, in a variety of circumstances, that means nothing. To understand that requires a well rounded view of the situation from a variety of perspectives. Morse isn't obsolete. The military has structured their needs to higher speed communications, involving fewer operators. Morse is a very effective means of communications. It is anywhere from 11-17 db more effective than SSB voice communications. To give you an idea what that means, if an SSB station is employing 1500 watts output, an identically prepared station running cw (Morse) can be equally effective with 30-120 watts. Amateur radio and prepper communications should include Morse as one of its tools. The military in most circumstances has an unlimited budget and can afford to structure itself to high speed RTTY and error correcting data communications. However, even the military is realizing that there is still a use and need for Morse in certain circumstances.


Hi RRB, welcome to the board!  You're already pro-Morse so I guess I don't have to warn you about being on the receiving end of a pile-up urging you to learn the code ::).  Hang around a while.  The site's been quiet lately, but that will change with the cooler weather coming.