Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KJ4RZZ, Jan 27, 2017.
Yep, makes sense to me, thanks.
Well, not all the prosigns.
I would suggest AR (although there is great debate about how to use this one, you will hear it frequently), SK, and AS. Others will be able to make suggestions.
Perhaps almost as important as prosigns are the most common Q signals (QSL, QRS, QRL, ("QRL?" meaning "is the frequency in use, is perhaps the most important one), QRZ, QRQ, QRT, QRP, QRO, QTH) and abbreviations. Young people today actually have an advantage, as making abbreviations in CW is similar to doing it in texting TU for "thank you," GA for "good afternoon," etc.
There are a few that one still hears that are based on 1920s slang (remember, radio became a household object in the 1920s): FB for "fine business" (some of use remember BB for "bad business") OM for "old man" ("bro" in current lingo).
Tldr: After learning all the letters and numbers, I would suggest listening to on-air QSOs, picking up the common abbreviations and prosigns, until you find you understand most of what is being sent in most QSOs, and then starting to have QSOs of one's own.
In my journey I have found the most common pro-signs I use and hear are:
"BT" which seems to be used a period at end of sentence, esp. when changing topics
"AR" used less frequently when ending your transmission & before you key callsigns, and when answering a CQ with your call sign followed by "AR"
Remember prosigns are sent as a single character and I hear BT 95% and AR 5%
SK (end of transmission) & KN (turn over transmission to specific station) are supposed to be pro-signs but I rarely hear them sent as such. In 99% of my eavesdropping (and in my own transmission) these are sent as 2 characters. In fact....SK is usually sent as SK E E at the end of transmission. The same can be said of HH which is supposed to be a prosign for error, but usually comes across as a series of E's, and each op tends to send somewhere between 4 and 8.
IMHO, Q-signals, procedural signals (K, ES, DE, R) and abbreviations are more important to communication flow. Not just standard abbreviations, but new and different styles (for example copy is sometimes cpi, and sometimes cpy).
One other tid-bit I picked up was from K0JV who explained the "?" character (di-di-dah-dah-di-dit) sometimes used as an abbreviation for "repeating," especially between numbers (e.g. "5nn ? 5nn," or "SKCC NR 16480 ? 16480").
WF4W's advice is solid. There are some fists I can copy well, and others I struggle with. There are also some very distinct fists that I can recognize their patterns and identify by call sign when I hear, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what they're sending.
And let's not forget QRU...
QRU? at / near end of the QSO is an invitation to tell me anything else before we close and 73-SK.
That way I'm not shutting the door on the other op if they're not all finished conversing.
Many ops have no idea the meaning so I ask them to look it up.
BT is more of a paragraph separator to break off one line of thought to start another.
Yes, this is a better clarification of BT.
Work on copy first so that you can copy by ear. You can use a stick (pencil) if you want to, but having the code go in your ear right straight to your brain where it is processed is a far better practice than writing down on paper. When I went to the US Army, I was already copying without a stick, but the Army wanted me to use a "mill" -- an all capitals typewriter. Anyway, learn to identify words, not letters so that a sentence flows smoothly in your mind. Remember that your brain is a great computer. Just listen, concentrate and let the Morse music run in your ears.. 73, Dave -- Ham since 1954.
This made me laugh out loud it's just so true. I've heard some reasonably fast code that was sent so poorly neither I or FLDIGI could get a single word out of it.
With ya on that one!
And yet, amazingly enough, the guy they are in QSO with is apparently able to!
I don't see the point of sending all 8 dits. And IMHO I believe that it SHOULD be sent as a series of E's. But, let's face it, if you are copying and your partner misspells a word, pauses and sends a few spaced out E's (three is probably enough), then restarts the word, you'll know exactly what is going on. Heck, even if he stops mid-word, pauses and starts the word over, you'll 'get it'. So the need for the E's is minimal... I think.