I don't know how widely it has become known, but the U.S. Military Amateur Radio Services (MARS) discontinued the use (no longer permitting the use) of Morse code, on any of their frequencies, in 1997 and the British shore to ship stations discontinued monitoring 500 KC shipboard emergency distress frequency (C.W.) at midnight 12-31-97 after 67 years.
Lately much has been written about Morse code being obsolete, being supplanted by something called S.S.B. whatever that is.
Every body that watched the movie "Independence Day" knows that Morse code is capable of saving OUR earth from alien attack!
Let me tell you the truth! A month or two ago I was listening to a short-wave broadcast with the `general coverage receiver' in my M/HF transceiver when a carrier appeared near the center of the A.M. station I was listening to, I just reached over and pressed the "NOTCH" button on my transceiver and I rotated the "NOTCH" control until the tone from the heterodyne, caused by two carriers within 1,000 cycles of each other, disappeared 99.5%. I remember that I was pleased that I could continue listening to the broadcast without the annoyance. Later that evening when the B.A.R.S. C.W. NET began, I couldn't figure out why the other operator's signals were so weak, I have 3 antennae (on an antenna switch) that receive 15 meters, and each one was as week as the other.
Even though the other operator's signals were so faint that I thought my ears would soon start bleeding (after an hour of listening with my eyes clamped tightly shut, with and without my headphones) I kept up with the traffic as well as usual, with the tones so week I can't describe them.
About 3 minutes before the end of the NET I happened to look up (my transceiver is on the top of my roll top desk) and I saw the green light labeled "NOTCH" lit and I punched off it's switch, the signals instantly became NORMAL. I had completely forgotten that I had the "NOTCH" turned on!
You might ask what this story has to do with the price of eggs in China! Well with signals so week that if I was tuning past, I would not know they were there, (I only was there because I knew the time and frequency) I was able to copy down most of what was sent, I did as well as usual, and with NO special equipment, just my brain, known as skill, which is gained by practice, practice, practice.
When everyone says there is no propagation - no signal will get through, (We have NO spots!) C.W. contacts from California to Florida with 10 watts do happen, if any signal gets through, C.W. will work and weak signal conditions do not CAUSE a speed reduction.
Experienced C.W. traffic operators in NTS handle traffic everyday and are a nearly unbreakable mid to long distance traffic path into and out of every area of the U.S. and Canada. (The F.M. Handi-Talkie can form the short leg of the traffic path.) Morse code will be around for a long time because it works well. With some help you can learn the code and become a trained part of our emergency communications forces. Be a part of a national resource! I'm headed in that direction, join me! (You will UP-GRADE along the way, by the way!)