Video: Morse coders beating SMSers

Video: Morse coders beating SMSers

Jay Leno did a text off between two text messengers and two Morse coders. Here’s a video of it (WMV). The Morse coders handily beat the young whippersnappers with time to spare. Comments from the Morse code guys here. It might be a fun phone app to make a Morse code messenger, if you kept your headset in and had an external sender, could be interesting. Perhaps a Morse code Skype device…[via Waxy].

16 thoughts on “Video: Morse coders beating SMSers

  1. DulcetTone says:

    Been there!

    In 2003, I created a Morse Chat client on the Danger hip-top. It was compatible with a web applet and could freely translate text to Morse and Morse to text.

    For instance, those wishing to hear the chat as Morse code could do so, or they could see flashing LEDs, or even receive it as long and short vibrations. Text entered by key would relay the original timing of its encoding for faithful synthesis on the receiving clients, and text entered by typing would generate robotically perfect pulse streams.

    My web page on it is HERE.

  2. airship says:

    My late father was a member of the ORT (Order of Railroad Telegraphers) and I remember sitting with him at the depot in the late 50’s/early 60’s as he ‘talked’ with other telegraphers. He’d listen to a quick string of dots and dashes and laugh, and I’d have to ask him to tell me the joke. It would take him longer to tell it verbally than it had for it to be sent by code!!!

    I inherited his ‘bug’, the automatic sending key he used. *sigh* all I can do with it is make noise. :(

  3. vinmar says:

    I typed in the message on my phone alongside the video on watching it through the second time and beat them both by a long way.

    I think the guy texting must not be using predictive text but multitap instead?

  4. says:

    Now, this is really stupid. Of course the Morse coders are going to win. If you’re going to use Morse code (or if you’ve memorized all the letter signals), chances are that you’ve had quite a bit of practice with it. The people Morse coding were professionals and the cell phone guy was just some kid they pulled off of the street.

  5. orndorffr says:

    Those were *not* some random kids off the street – they were champion text messengers that had won a text messenging speed competition. I think that makes it a fair competition. The morse code guys were not professionals, it’s just their hobby (Ham radio).

  6. SergeAStorms says:

    The error is that it takes a certain amount of time for the text message to travel through the phone network and reach the recipient. It is not instantly transmitted from phone to phone. That time can vary, but I have seen it take as long as 30 seconds. It’s not a fair test for the sms-er.

  7. whacker says:

    Fraid not Serge. If you watch the video, it’s clear that the sms sender is still trying to punch in his message when the morse sender finishes. I don’t see the network delay being an issue there.

    It’s a no brainer that morse is faster than typing with your thumbs.

  8. jörg says:


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