We are pleased to welcome Tynemouth Radio Club members back to the Old Low Light Heritage Centre for this free demonstration of Morse code, which is still widely used by radio amateurs to communicate with each other all over the world.

It is also used to transmit identification beacons, for aircraft and ships and for identifying orbital satellites and spacecraft. The military still have the facility to use Morse, in case more sophisticated systems fail.

The Morse code alphabet was devised by Samuel Morse in the 1830s. It was demonstrated in 1837 and patented in 1840.

Morse got a grant to build his first telegraph line between Washington DC and Baltimore in the USA in 1844. It was an improvement on the original telegraph system and was such a success that it was rolled out all over the USA and later the world. Within 19 months of its launch the Pony Express was discontinued, previously having been the only way to get messages from one place to another quickly.

Morse was originally sent mechanically and printed on paper. It was realised that the tapping of the machine meant that it could be read by ear. It changed again with the development of radio. There was some use in World War One, but it was used extensively in World War Two, especially for agents behind enemy lines, and a special “suitcase” radio was devised for them.

Tony Regnart from the Tynemouth Radio Club said: “We hope that our display will explain the enduring power of Morse, let you hear it, and have a go at sending a message.”

The club meets at the Scouts Headquarters, Norfolk Street, North Shields

The club’s call sign is G0NWM.

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