How To Easily Learn Morse Code For Survival Situations

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Morse Code InfoGraphicToday I’ll be talking about a skill that could be very useful in a survival situation and that is the ability to send and receive Morse code messages.

Many preppers plan on banding together so that they are stronger during a survival situation. If each member of the group knows Morse code, they can effectively communicate without others knowing what they are saying or being able to intercept their communications.

The reason for this is that not many people in this day and age actually know Morse code. With all the advancements in modern communication devices such as cell phones, emails, instant messaging, and even inexpensive walkie-talkies, the art of Morse code has, for the most part, gone by the wayside.

What is Morse Code?

If you’re not familiar with this type of code let me take a minute and explain it to you. It’s really quite simple. Each letter of the alphabet and number is assigned a series of dots and dashes. For example: the SOS Morse code is simply ••• — •••. As you probably realize, SOS is the universal distress signal so knowing how to send such a message in Morse code could be quite beneficial for survivalists.

How to Learn Morse Code

There are many ways to learn this type of code and they are actually quite easier than in days past. The old-fashioned way was simply to get a book showing you the Morse code alphabet and start practicing. Fortunately, there are many online tools that make learning Morse code much easier in this day and age. My advice would be to download an application for your smartphone or tablet that is specially designed to teach you how to learn Morse code. There are also many Morse code decoder tools available on the Internet that you could use for Morse code practice. You can also find many good Morse code translator apps and websites that will help you to become proficient at this cryptic method of communicating.

How Could the Skill Be Practical in a Survival Situation

If you ever find yourself in a survival situation, this skill could be very practical and useful. A couple of ways that you might be able to use this type of a code to send messages are with signal mirrors or even with small handheld walkie-talkies or HAM radios that have the ability to broadcast tones that could be used to send and receive Morse code transmissions.

International Morse Code Chart

Below you’ll find a Morse code chart that I put together that you can print out to use to practice with it if you like. At the very least, it will give you an idea of how simple this code is to learn. It not only contains the alphabet code but also the Morse code numbers. Please note that if you would like to print it out, click on it first to enlarge it.

Make sure that you take the time to become proficient and that you just don’t spend 10 minutes learning Morse code SOS.

Morse Code Chart

I hope you take advantage of this opportunity to learn how to communicate using this type of code and that someday it might be of benefit to you in some way.

Morse Code Sound

If you’ve never heard what this type of code sounds like, here’s a little 9 second video that basically just gives you an example of how it sounds.


9 Responses to “How To Easily Learn Morse Code For Survival Situations”

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  1. Schneb says:

    I’ve pondered about having a ‘family code‘–seemed like it could be fun, as well as–in a SHTF scenario–actually useful. I tried to invent one around playing cards, with each card having it’s own meaning. It was an interesting mental exercise to figure out what words would be most useful to have as the meanings for the different cards. There was also a way to spell out words.

    But after a while I realized I probably would be the only person who ever learned it (and even that was a bit iffy). It just wasn’t on anyone else’s to-do list. I’m the only one in my family who’s at all active as a prepper, though occasionally I can get some interest in whatever project I’m messing around with. But getting others to study up on a code? Not very likely.

    BUT–morse code might be more of a possibility. Because it is simpler, and because of it being possibly useful outside of our family, maybe. Also, morse code could be used with signaling mirrors, radios, etc. whereas my playing card code would have to be in a written form.

    I went a bit further than just the code itself though, when working on my playing card code. I had in mind that there would be certain ways to signal to others that there was a message, and where/how to leave messages. With morse code, being possible in a written and non-written forms, there are more permutations to consider as far as when/if/where to look for a message. Also, you’d maybe want a way to verify who was sending/receiving since anyone who was fluent in the code could pose as a member of the group (since there’s no voice to recognize and know on that basis who you’re communicating with).

    Interesting to ponder these sorts of things. I hope mentioning them here doesn’t deter people from learning morse for the reasons mentioned in the article–it’d be a useful skill even if you left it for common sense to work out later, as far as some of the possible complications I’m raising.

    Thanks for the article!

    • Patty Hahne says:

      Hi Schneb,

      Thanks so much for your insightful comment and you’re most welcome for the article! I like your idea about having a way for members of my group and/or family to verify that the message is actually coming from me. I’ll have to give that one some serious thought.

    • Kelly says:

      A fun way to learn the code is just writing short notes back an forth with the kids. After a while they don’t need to use the key to translate anymore. Two sources to check out are ” morse in a minute” and the Cub Scout manual (Cdn) morse in a minute has a rely cool translation tree allowing you to translate rather than using a look up table. For Cubs we built a morse key with a block of wood,a piece of metal banding, a piezo buzzer an a 9 volt battery, a few screws and a bit of wire. A couple AA batteries instead would have been quieter!

      • Patty Hahne says:

        Hi Kelly,

        Thanks for your comment! I hadn’t thought about the cub scout manual as a possible learning tool. Your comment serves to remind us that there are a lot of fun and easy ways to learn Morse code.

  2. .-.. .- .-. .-. -.-- -. --- . says:

    It’s just good to know and not need it rather than need it and not know it.

    • Patty Hahne says:

      Very clever comment Larry! For those of you who don’t know Morse code, he used it to sign his name. Translated to LARRYNOE.

  3. Sorcha says:

    One way to get family members to consider learning Morse Code would be to point out some real life situations where it could be very useful, and/or fun. What if you were very sick or injured. Maybe you can’t speak, but can tap on a table. What about when you are out to dinner and want to converse without the next table listening in? As for the “secret family code”, each family member gets a name. Be it a stuffed animal they used to carry or a pet they used to have. No current pets. each convo starts out with a mention of that name, other person responds with either ‘Here’ or ‘Not Here’. While both answers allow you to know it is indeed who you wanted to speak with, they also convey either a positive situation (here), or a negative one (not here).

    Just a couple thoughts that came to mind while reading this excellent article, and the comments that followed.


    • Patty Hahne says:

      Thanks for your insight and comment Sorcha!

  4. DC says:

    There’s another code called Tap Code which is much easier to learn than Morse Code, and it was used by POW’s in Vietnam, although it’s slower than Morse. It’s so simple, you can learn it in just a minute or two:


    Notice that there’s no K, so use C instead. Just remember the letters A F L Q V in the left column, as in American Football League Quarterback Victory. Suppose you hear 4 taps, then a quick pause, then 2 taps. You think A…F…L…Q when you hear the 4 taps, then after the pause you think Q…R when you hear the 2 taps, so you write down “R” (or just remember it). Use X for a period, and Q would work for a question mark. Using abbreviations as in texting speeds up messages. A space between words is a longer pause. If you miss a word, tap a few times to ask the sender to repeat the last word. To let the sender know you got the message okay, tap twice. Tap shave and a haircut to start a conversation (KNOCK knock knock KNOCK knock), and the other person replies “knock KNOCK” (2 bits) if he wants to talk. The POWs would knock quickly a few times to say that the guard was coming, so wait till he leaves to continue the conversation. You can also flash a light or reflect sunlight with a mirror, flat glass, shiny plastic, aluminum foil or metal to someone even miles away in a direct line of sight in good weather, for instance up on a hill, or you can blink, or tap someone with your finger for secret messages, or pull on a string, any countable signal really. I like to call it the Affle-Quiv code, from the AFLQV.

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