Morse Code Beats Text Messaging

At the Port Moody Station Museum we have a few telegraph machines. Every Canada Day we bring in some telegraphers from the Morse Telegraph Club to demonstrate their skills.

On Friday, these telegraphers went on to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to recreate a competition that took place in Sydney, between a 92-year-old telegrapher and a 13-year-old cell phone whiz kid. You can view the video of Chip Margelli K7JA and Ken Miller K6CTW here. (A little bit about the background of the Jay Leno competition reported here.)

You can also read about the original competition. Via Mirabilis, we found this (originally reported at the Times Online):

Thnk ur gr8 @ txt msgng? You may think you’re saving time cutting out all those pesky vowels when sending text messages to your buddies, but Gordon Hill, a 93-year-old Morse code specialist, just might prove you wrong.

In a competition staged by an Australian museum, Hill, a telegraph operator since 1927, was pitted against 13-year-old Brittany Devlin in a battle of the messengers. Hill was armed with nearly a lifetime of experience using Morse code; Devlin, with two years of text messaging experience and a slew of slang popular with chronic texters. A sentence was chosen at random from a teen magazine, and both contestants had to transmit the message as quickly as possible.

…..Hill transmitted the complete message in 90 seconds, while Devlin used texting shorthand and finished sending her abbreviated message a full 18 seconds later. Hill then handedly defeated three other young foes armed with their mobile phones.

The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, where the original competition took place, is a science-and-technology museum. Housed in the 1899-1902 Ultimo power station which closed in 1963, the museum took over the station in 1979, opening its doors in March 1988.

By Oana Capota


  1. Anonymous says:

    great some time old is better then new.

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