Is CW a true, pure digital mode?

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by KC0BUS, Apr 2, 2019.

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  1. KC0BUS

    KC0BUS Ham Member QRZ Page


    Is CW digital?

    I've seen a few books recently that include CW under the 'digital' category.... this is what has caused me to ask.

    Thank you
    K1LKP likes this.
  2. AA5CT

    AA5CT Ham Member QRZ Page

    According to a search on Google:

    CBS and Warner Bros. partnered to create a new network called The CW which they launched in September of 2006. The “C” stands for CBS and the “W” stands forWarner Bros.
  3. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a digital lightswitch on my wall, its either on or off.
    K4AGO likes this.
  4. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    To begin with "CW" is not a mode, but a technical characteristic of the transmitter.
    "CW" is often equated to "Morse telegraphy" which is factually wrong.

    The modulation type that is known as "CW" has the emission designation A1A if we go to the final authority about emission nomenclature; Appendix 1 of the ITU Radio Regulations, "Classification of emissions and necessary bandwidths".

    Here, the first symbol A stands for:

    "1.2) Emission in which the main carrier is amplitude-modulated (including cases where sub-carriers are angle-modulated)
    1.2.1) Double-sideband; A"

    Then the second symbol 1 stands for:

    "2.2) A single channel containing quantized or digital information
    without the use of a modulating sub-carrier; 1"

    And the third symbol A stands for:

    "3.2) Telegraphy – for aural reception A"

    On-off keying the un-modulated carrier using Morse telegraphy or "CW" is indeed a digital mode in the terms of the ITU-RR, but the encoder/decoder is often a human, which makes it somewhat of a special case.

    It can be argued that human encoded/decoded telegraphy modes are not "digital" as no computing machinery is needed for the signal processing, but this does not change the definitions.

    Morse (or other telegraphy) that is intended for machine decoding has its own
    designator A1B, where the last symbol B stands for:

    "3.3) Telegraphy – for automatic reception B"

    This mode is a nowadays extinct radiotelegraph mode usually used for fixed circuits that predated radioteletype or "TOR" systems.

    Currently, when Morse keyboards and readers have become common among
    "no-coders", the distinction between A1A and A1B is somewhat blurred.
    We have to take into account the mixed cases where a keyboard is used for sending, and the receiving operator reads Morse by ear, or the other way around.

    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
    K1LKP, K4AGO, KK5JY and 1 other person like this.
  5. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    What, in your opinion, makes a digital mode "pure"?
  6. K3RLD

    K3RLD Ham Member QRZ Page

    .- .-- / .--- . . --.. --..-- / -. --- - / - .... .. ... / .- --. .- .. -.
    KB4GTR likes this.
  7. KA2CZU

    KA2CZU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    _._ _ / _. _ _ _ _ / .._ _..
  8. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    sameul morse (1).jpg
    samuel morse quote (1).jpg
    73 - K1LKP
    WA9UAA likes this.
  9. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I would agree, unless one is under the jurisdiction of the US FCC. For the purposes of their rules, they have defined the term to mean an International Morse Code emission.

    But yes, "Continuous Wave" was originally a term to distinguish it from the damped waves of spark gap transmitters. I don't like the FCC's redefinition of the term, but I accept that they have more authority than I.

    As for the original question of whether CW is a pure digital mode, like the questions of whether Pluto is a planet or Australia is an island, these are not questions about the nature of the objects, but rather questions about the definitions of the terms.

    If someone can tell us the one precise and unambiguous definition of "true, pure digital mode", it should be a straightforward matter to determine if CW qualifies.

    But without that definition, the question is rather meaningless.
    K4AGO, AC0OB and KK5JY like this.
  10. W5DXP

    W5DXP Ham Member QRZ Page


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