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I met the "Slasher" on the air...

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by N7BKV, Nov 17, 2018.

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  1. N7BKV

    N7BKV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I hear that too, and was wondering what its correct meaning is. In my training materials -...- is an equal sign, or double hyphen: =

    It has a meaning, but I don't what it is unless maybe it is a QSO between engineers discussing mathematics.

    And I guess there is some fluidity and variation in the language. Colloquial to time and place as well perhaps. Maybe old timers hang on to former protocols and newer ops adopt new ways. Asian, Euro, N American differences too?

    And toss in some unofficial adoptions, like ending a conversation with dit dit. Or QRP ops sending regards as 72, rather than 73. Kind of an insider wink about their craft.
  2. N7BKV

    N7BKV Ham Member QRZ Page

    How rigid does the Ham community in USA stick to the ITU rules per their document:!!PDF-E.pdf

    Especially page 5. What I hear in real life on the air seems a bit different to me.

    I defer, since this is all new to me and you have been around the block, like for ever and ever.

    Brian N
    M6GYU likes this.
  3. N1OOQ

    N1OOQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, yes that (pg. 5) is approximately how a QSO flows, but nobody on the ham bands is very rigid about format. There's a handful of prosigns (like BK, SK) that are commonly used, but you get used to those after just a few QSOs. Once in a while, you might hear an usual one... DX ops, for instance, tend to use AR, but American ops don't. It's all relatively casual... Nothing life or death about what we're doing on the bands for the most part.
  4. KI7RS

    KI7RS Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's not an = it's B and T without a space. It's a pause or informal period.
    WB9YZU, WB5YUZ, W5BIB and 1 other person like this.
  5. N7BKV

    N7BKV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes and no, I guess. Just like an X is an N and A without a space. But ITU specifies -...- this way (quoting from their own document referenced above):

    Double hyphen............................................................... [=] − . . . −

    But it's not a point of argument for me. I am just looking for the common usage and meaning. Which you clarified. Thanks for that. The ITU document does not explain that. Just says a "double hyphen". I commonly associate that with mathematics, not conversational communication.

    I wish ITU would have added some explanation.
  6. M6GYU

    M6GYU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Common usage of BT? As the ITU document suggests, in the commercial world it is used to separate portions of a telegram and in the military portions of a signal.
    In the Ham world its just a separator between things like your name, QTH, Rig, WX etc., or/and a pause whilst you think, what next. (A full stop or hyphen is also used and very occasionally a comma. BT is not too much difference from the ITU meaning in usage anyway . And I've never ever come across it being used as an 'equals' sign. I can't say I ever heard of two maths professors on CW anyway.:eek:
    W5BIB likes this.
  7. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    For further confusion, "CW" software (for computer-generated Morse) is inconsistent for what key you press to send prosigns.

    CWGet/CWType is rather rare in that it lets you completely define both the received prosign display, like <AR> <AS> <BT> or AR AS BT, and the key you press to send it. Keys + % and = are typical for these three, but CWType lets you pick any special key you don't normally use in Morse and define the pattern it sends.

    I think Fldigi always displays Morse in lowercase, prosigns as <AR> and there is a limited ability to define the key used to send prosigns. There may be a setting to force uppercase received text, for consistency with RTTY.

    And the Elecraft KX3 utility shows Morse in uppercase, and prosigns with no special delimiters. I believe this is because it is just tapping into the KX3 native Morse decoder and isn't running separate decoding software.

    I am going to guess there is a certain amount of confusion about "=" and BT because that key was used to send the prosign and I'll bet early software showed it as a "=" when received.
  8. M6GYU

    M6GYU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well I never!!.
    This is the 1st time I've ever heard the problems of sending/receiving morse using a keyboard. It must be tough. :eek: By the way the letters BT sent together have always been shown as an equal sign by such authorities such as the ITU, ARLS, ALRS, RSGB, ARRL, GPO, ACP131, AQZ 125 but it is absent from my Nicholson's guide 1930.

    Have you tried a morse key?;);)
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
    WB5YUZ likes this.
  9. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am just now setting up an interface for digital modes and I may try computer generated / decoded Morse to see what it's all about. From what I've read, my expectations aren't very high.

    My intent was just to explain that, because our language doesn't have a character to represent each prosign, various ways have been devised to generate them (from a keyboard) and display them. And because these are inconsistent between programs, there could be another point of confusion. Maybe most use just one program?

    There is absolutely no problem, of course, with this if you use your ears and a key.

    I have been using paddles since last spring and am trying to get into SKCC activities with a straight key. I like this just fine. Just a week or so ago I copied most of a fairly long QSO between two gentlemen in Illinois and New York on 80m. The KX3 decoder showed maybe 5% and I could copy it by ear at 75-80%. I think they were using bugs. F's would sometimes show as IN, etc.

    I'm probably going to try PSK31 and RTTY, too. But so far I like CW mode (hand-generated) best.
    KJ4POM and M6GYU like this.
  10. M6GYU

    M6GYU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thats because decoders can't read crap morse.
    KJ4POM likes this.

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