On the May 13, 2005 episode of The Tonight
Show, Jay Leno held a Morse code vs. SMS speed contest between two Ham Radio operators using
Morse code and two Millennials using their smartphones for texting (SMS). At
least one member of the audience thought texting would win. Watch the video to
see if she was right.
Mr. Chip Margelli (K7JA)
did the sending. He declares, "Let me assure you that we never saw that message
before I flipped the blue card over. Each message, in rehearsal, was different.
The character count was the same as the one during dress rehearsal, though, to account
for the time slot. And they put the card on the table "upside down" creative to
how I flipped it, as you can see on the video."
Mr. Ken Miller (K6CTW) did the receiving.
The text messaging team consisted of world text-messaging champ
Ben Cook (Guinness record holder in 2004,
2005, and 2009), of Utah, and his friend, Jason.
A detailed synopsis of the event is provided in the May 20, 2005 issue of
Newsletter. It gives radio equipment models (Yaesu FT-817 transceivers and a
Bencher paddle) and the transmitting frequency (432.200
MHz). The Hams say the code sending rate worked out to about 29 words per minute
(WPM), which is about half their capability under ideal condition (i.e., without
a 20-million-strong TV audience).
Morse Code vs. Texting
Posted October 25, 2021
(updated from original post on 8/15/2016)