Magic Morse Arduino Trainer


Magic Morse is a mathematical algorithm that [Ray Burnette] wrote a few years ago to make it easy to send and receive Morse code. When he first wrote it, he designed it for a PIC, but since then he has re-written it to use as a training program for the Arduino platform.

It can run on the Uno, Nano, Pro Micro, or even home-brew Arduino boards. He’s demonstrating the program with a Nokia 5110 LCD, but has also included code for the typical 2×16 LCD displays. The Magic Morse algorithm is copyrighted, but he has released the Arduino code as open source in an effort to get people using Morse code once again — it is pretty awesome.

So how does it work? The algorithm assigns weights to the “dits” and “dahs” as received — when there is a longer pause, the algorithm creates a pointer which calls the character out of an array stored in the EEPROM. He’s included an example of this in Excel on his page.

Now you have no excuses about learning Morse code! Oh and if you don’t have a fancy telegraph key (the switch), [Ray’s] also published a handy method of making your own Morse code key out of popsicle sticks and magnets.

21 thoughts on “Magic Morse Arduino Trainer

    1. If he wrote how the algorithm works, i suppose he owns the copyright on that document. Not that that would have any bearing on who could use the desribed algorithm. But I suspect there is a misunderstanding somewhere (and i will not rule out it is on my part :).

      1. Replying to myself. Bad form. punish me if you must.

        The implementation (his code) is released as open source, and it seems the copyright is just on the text documents describing it. So HAD can not post the text without his permission (but that is the same for every written work, so i am not sure why they bother mentioning it)

    1. My questions for hackaday:

      why aren’t we reading about this project right now instead?

      why is there a “hackaday” article about a project where the actual “hack” is proprietary information? “here, kiddies, look but don’t touch”

      1. The code’s open-source, according to mh. The describing documents are copyrighted but you only need to understand them, not re-publish them. If you’ve got the code you can do what you like. No problem.

        I think the “copyright” on the code is some mistake somewhere. Code itself is copyrighted, software mechanisms and methods themselves are patentable. Horribly, wrongly, patentable.

        1. Don’t take my word as an authority on the issue. I was musing about in the hope someone else could clear it up :-) (Attempting to get a “someone is wrong on the internet!” reaction, so to speak :)

      2. The reason this article is here another another on is that this was the one someone sent in to HAD.

        I doubt there is anything they can post where someone somewhere dont have a “better” write-up. At least you got this 2nd choice in the comments of this. so its effectively a two-for-one deal ;-)

    1. I know the argument is “in an emergency you could always key CW”, but how often does that happen? Are many rescues effected nowadays of people who couldn’t get voice or data to work, but used Morse and were found? Just seems bizarre Morse gets any use, after 150 years, for anything other than a hobby. And as a hobby it’s a pretty wierd one for nowadays. To me it’s like bit-banging RS-232 with a pushbutton.

      1. Well apart from emergency use, its fun. Maybe you have to try it to understand and read about the underlying technological advances of CW. QRP and homebrew gives a extra dimension to the hobby. Check out this website: -You will get it.

        And at night when everybody sleeps, you dont have to shout in a mic or staring at screen using a digitalmode ;) Headphone on and a cold beer = quality time

      2. LOL on the RS-232 – surprisingly that latter is still used on some things.

        Part of the CW thing is the transmitter can be as simple as a spark gap. Granted, a dirty signal but still – easier to build a CW transceiver than an SSB transceiver.

      3. I like when someone tells you “this you should learn because it would be great if X happens”. Taking the emergency as an example, it might be knowing first-aid is better? it might be having a good physical condition is better (for helping out others or getting out of a collapsed building). The best thing you can have in an emergency is people with a lot of different usefull skills. If everyone knows morse it becomes rather pointless for me to learn it too (unless im interrested anyways, i fully accept people doing stuff for their own interrest) – And just how much skill does it take to key out “… — …” well enough that someone might pick it up anyways? (this is not meant as an insult to those who have morse under their belt or as an interrest – just to those who keep pushing their own opinions of what is important or interresting down on others)

      4. It’s not “bizarre”, it’s in wide use, not a niche thing at all even today. Spend some time listening to Morse transmissions, especially during a contest, and you’ll get a sense of how fast and furious modern-day Morse is. And people are not beating out Morse with a straight key, most use paddle keys and electronic keyers that are faster and easier to use than the antiques you see in these Hackaday articles.

  1. Shameless plug too. I just made a Morse Keyboard with Arduino, and I wanted it to be so simple, that anyone can get it working (so geared towards novices). If you’re looking to make one, check it out:

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