Morse Code by decision tree

Morse Code is made of dots and dashes (or dits and dahs), which until today I thought of as a flat lookup table. And then I discovered this awesome chart:

Of COURSE! I knew that it was designed so fewer dits/dahs were needed to encode common letters like E and T, but I had never seen it laid out like this.

This chart is meant as a learning aid; rather than trying to memorize Morse code in a flat table form, you can follow the tree while you’re listening to Morse code coming in. Go left for dah, right for dit. It’s beautiful! You can try it now by going to the site linked above and listening to their sample codes. Listening to the alphabet and tracing it through the tree is a magical experience.

With practice, I imagine you start seeing the chart in your head, and then later you’ve got the letters memorized and no longer need it.

I love discovering clever aids to learning, and new ways to organize information that illuminate it in truly useful ways.

4 of 4 people learned something from this entry.

  1. Scott Van Essen said,

    November 8, 2011 at 9:52 am

    (Learned something new!)


    Morse code has always been impenetrable to me. It’s awesome to know that if I ever needed to learn there’s useful tools.

    I was going to comment that as cool as this is, I’d never actually use it, but then I realized that due to countless hours in the lab, I can read hexadecimal off of an oscilloscope pretty easily, so I guess it’s just a matter of necessity.

  2. Hugh Parker said,

    November 18, 2011 at 10:26 am

    (Learned something new!)

    Good stuff!

  3. Gromit said,

    November 20, 2011 at 6:55 am

    (Learned something new!)

    A great representation of the logic of Morse, a medium which seems to have so little logic at first glance except for the numbers. It appeals on an analytical level. In practice, to learn morse and be able to read it at sensible speeds requires that it becomes instinctive, like reading a book, as you simply miss the next character if you have to think rationally about the last one. A kind test engineer gave me lunchtime practice for several months to get me through my 12 wpm radio amateur qualification years ago. Only unthinking sound pattern recognition would cut it! None of which detracts from the elegance of this tree structure, and I will enjoy it for its own sake.

  4. Sid Feinleib said,

    December 25, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    (Learned something new!)

    Two years ago, at a meeting of IEEE LIfe Members in Tokyo, there was
    a presentation by NTT about the failure of the communication networks
    after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. No communication at all.
    I proposed that all engineers know Morse Code and that NTT sponsor
    games and competitions in schools. There were loud guffaws. Then the
    senior member and manager got up and said he completely agreed. When
    all else fails, you still need a basic communication tool. It was noted in the
    next report, but I have not heard of any follow-up.

  5. What I Learned Today » Blog Archive » Learning Morse code with CW Academy said,

    May 19, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    […] So far I have learned (E, T, A, N), (O, I, S, 1, 4), (R, D, L, 2, 5), and (C, U) (they come in batches). My favorite letters are O and C, and my biggest challenges to send are L and R. My D and U also need some work. Letters are introduced in (roughly) order of complexity which also corresponds (inversely) to frequency. Here’s a great visualization of the alphabet and numbers 0-9. […]

Post a Comment

I knew this already. I learned something new!