What would you change about CW protocol?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KD2RDG, Sep 13, 2021.

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  1. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Punctuation in transmitting messages, train orders, etc., is somewhat different than it would appear in print. The period is seldom used
    except at the beginning of the body of a message or train order. The comma is invariably used to serve the purpose of the period....
    Punctuation marks are not used after abbreviations."

    "The Telegraph Instructor"
    --G.M. Dodge, 1st revised edition, 1901
    W5BIB and M6GYU like this.
  2. M6GYU

    M6GYU Ham Member QRZ Page

    That was before they started sending telegrams at sea by wireless. Commas, apostrophies, hyphens, open/closed brackets ( & ), full stops/periods, speech marks, semi-colons etc., were used in telegrams and signal traffic in most military organisations.
    W5BIB and WA1GXC like this.
  3. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Absolutely. ZUE.

    The one that occasionally threw me (good thing I was copying behind) was when some merchant-ship Master threw-in the "Addition or Plus-sign" (+)---
    AR in the middle of text. Kept me from nodding-off

    ...I believe it might have been you who related the saga of the semi-colon appearing in messages because some certain military agency demanding total
    conformity to the written text. Used to type lots of colons on the Mill, but during my tenure in 1970s, the semi-colon did not appear on any ITU list
    of approved symbols for record communications, either as Morse or teleprinter.

    M6GYU likes this.
  4. W5ESE

    W5ESE Ham Member QRZ Page


    I expect that I probably have done every one of those; some of them probably for years. Face it; between 3700-3750 KHz and 7100-7150 KHz, you heard 'MY' and 'HR IS' a lot.

    I'm grateful that most of the thoughtful OP's I've worked on the air over the years had the grace to leave me space to successively refine my operating technique at my own pace (which has taken 45 years so far).

    And FWIW, the international language should be Irish. Start practicing now.

    Dia duit!

    Dia is Muire duit!

    Dia is Muire is Pádraig duit!
    K5TSK likes this.
  5. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    balloonmix (1).gif DANCING CW PATTY.gif balloonmix (1).gif
    K5TSK and PU2OZT like this.
  6. KB1CKT

    KB1CKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I still do. If the other station is doing that, then me doing "599 NH 73" type of exchange is probably not what they are after. I figure, one protocol for contesting, one for ragchew, and stay flexible regardless.
  7. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    As have I--as have we all. As many continue to do.

    It's all good--and it's no big deal. My thought is, however, "Since you asked....", might as well put it all out there so everyone can refine his
    or her style. As jazz genius-pianist Thelonius Monk was once quoted, "There's mistakes that sound good...And then there's mistakes that sound bad..."

    And as I used to tell my subordinates at work for many years, "If you want to bend the rules, you need to learn what The Rules are, first."

    I'll tell you, that Gaelic sure has a lot of letters with "dits".
    Growing up in Boston, I was about 18 until I learned that people with the last name "Meagher" pronounced it "Marr".

    M6GYU likes this.
  8. K1APJ

    K1APJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Prosign R, sent as E T E.
  9. N7TAT

    N7TAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wow, thanks for the detailed reply! After 45 yrs on CW I guess I'm still learning.

    I send periods. Because during a rag chew, I tend to revert to common english. For example I'll say "nice to meet u frank. xyl and i visited CO last fall and loved it." And I send commas with qth. "qth salem, OR ? salem, OR". Why? Because if conditions are rough QRM, QRN, or the other op just missed something the period, or comma are meaningful break points where BT is just a generic break.

    I have been doing this for 40 years and I do it for a reason. Back when there were signals on the band I'd tune across and hear the back end of a strong call. Something like "9abc, wa9abc k" and wonder if he was calling CQ or not. I'd like to answer but I have to wait. He comes back with a CQ call but this time at the end two other stations answer him and I missed my chance and wasted time. Or it takes a long time then I finally hear "W1ABC DE WA9ABC R ..." and realize he is in a QSO. So as a service to others and to be more clear, I began CQ CQ CQ DE N7TAT N7TAT CQ K which is the equivalent of "CQ CQ CQ this is N7TAT, N7TAT calling CQ and standing by" on phone.
    KD2RDG likes this.
  10. K1APJ

    K1APJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, I learned back in the "Olde Days" that "K" meant "Go ahead anyone," which sort of implies a CQ, but "KN" means "Go ahead only the called station." That distinction is apparently lost today. Your CQ K accomplishes about the same thing.
    WI3U and M6GYU like this.

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