Dot- Dash ratio

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by WL7PM, Dec 9, 2019.

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  1. WL7PM

    WL7PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Traditional ratio between Dits and Dahs was always 1 : 3
    One of my radio's internal keyers default is 1:2.8, and adjustable in the range of 1 1:2.5 through 1:4.5.
    What is the rationale for using other than 1:3 ?
    Do higher code speeds "flow" better with shorter DAHs ?
    Anything wrong with the 1:2.8 default ?
    Been licensed a good while, but I am still novice at CW !
    Love to hear from those with more experience in these matters.
  2. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I personally prefer slightly higher ratio - 3.5:1 - in that range.

    3:1 "perfect ratio" I just don't care for.

    Of course, I'm sure it just bugs the "Decode CW via software" folks nuts but so be it, I guess.

    N7BKV likes this.
  3. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was playing with CWTYPE today and at slower speeds the ratio of 3 sounded good.
    Speeding up to somewhere around 30wpm I thought 3.25 sounded better, just a bit more dash seemed to give it a bit of swing
    Back when I had the tube keyer from the old handbook there was an incredable range of ratio, I think you could reverse the dots and dashes or make them the same by adjusting the ratio control :D:D
  4. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Attached Files:

  5. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I probably would have never thought to change the ratio but I just went into my 817 and upped the ration to 3.2 to 1 and I find that I do like it better. It's closer to what I've been doing with my straight keys, I think.
  6. M6GYU

    M6GYU Ham Member QRZ Page

    3:1 ratio is simply the 'ideal' ratio when it comes to being able to hear and differentiate between dots and dashes for the average to good operator. A good friend of mine in my days at sea was really good at sending morse on a straight key at well over 25wpm and keep his dashes much shorter than normal when he sent msgs to me. Unless you were used to it many found it difficult to differntiate dots from dashes. It took a lot of concentration.

    Many folk with a bug send dashes with a much bigger ratio, dit dit daaaaaaaah dit. With a ratio of greater than 3 to 1 it doesn't make it any easier to tell the difference between dots and dashes. Some people think it stylish. The human ear can easily distinguish a ratio of 3 to 1. Which is why its used.
    W5BIB likes this.
  7. WL7PM

    WL7PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    "a much bigger ratio, dit dit daaaaaaaah dit."
    Hear a couple fists doing that, bottom of 40m...
    I am new at CW, so it's hard to copy,
    Can see why it's called 'Swing'.
    Sounds a little bit like a deep south drawl.
    M6GYU likes this.
  8. W9EBE

    W9EBE Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm curious as to what radio you're referring. I've noticed that some ICOM rigs' keyers seem to sound as if the dot/dash ratio seems to be a bit "off."

    I'm not a purist about the 3:1 ratio by any means, though! Being a straight key, bug, and cootie enthusiast (I also use a keyer), I kind of like the different ratios I hear -- kind of distinct "personalities" from various stations. :)
  9. AF2Z

    AF2Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    Another factor is weighting, which is different from the dash-to-dot ratio: it is the duty cycle of a dit cycle-- (i.e., the percentage of the dit cycle that is "on"). The normal weighting is 50%-- the dit transmit portion is half the dit cycle time. A constant WPM speed and 3:1 dash-dot ratio can have various weighting.

    Heavier weighting can be easier to hear under poor conditions. Too light weighting can be hard to hear. You can listen to the effect of weighting in fldigi, which has CW weighting control from 20% to 80%.

    For manual keys... You'd have to be pretty good with a straight key to vary the weighting by will. On a bug the dits can be set heavy or light (the dahs are of course independent of the dit timing); too light is difficult to copy. Cootie (sideswiper) keying is almost always heavy weighted.
  10. WL7PM

    WL7PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    ............. Good ear, In my case it is the ICOM-7300, default setting is 2.8 : 1 Dah-Dit ratio.

    I have adjusted the ratio to 3:1, and my novice ear likes it better that way.
    M6GYU and W9EBE like this.

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