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  • Ahmed Saleh

Pre-modern era: Morse code vital for Saudi communication, highlighting early tech commitment

AlUla, March 11, 2024, Before the era of modern communication devices, Morse code played a crucial role in connecting the various regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, showcasing the nation's early commitment to the telecommunications and information technology sector. Faisal Al-Sharif, a seasoned wireless operator with over 40 years of experience, recently shared insights with the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) into the historical significance of Morse code in the Kingdom.

Al-Sharif described the operation of Morse code devices, highlighting the role of rotating crews who utilized a unique language of sounds and tones for communication, transmitted through both wired and wireless channels. Notably, the first wireless office in the Kingdom was established in AlUla province during the reign of King Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

One fascinating application of Morse code in the Kingdom's history involved the confirmation of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr moon sightings. Al-Sharif explained that witness testimonies in AlUla triggered a telegram to the Supreme Judicial Council in Makkah. This news was then disseminated throughout the Kingdom via Morse code telegrams, marking a tradition that began almost 94 years ago, specifically on 29/8/1351 AH.

Al-Sharif also shed light on King Abdulaziz's visionary efforts to modernize telegram centers, incorporating cutting-edge technology. These centers were equipped with advanced devices, including portable Morse code tools stored in what was referred to as a "wireless suitcase." To ensure uninterrupted communication, dedicated wireless operators accompanied King Abdulaziz during his travels, skillfully operating the devices and facilitating the transmission and reception of telegrams.

This historical account underscores the Kingdom's early embrace of telecommunications advancements and the pivotal role Morse code played in connecting and communicating vital information across its regions.

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