Why is CW question mark two things?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KE0EYJ, Aug 18, 2018.

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  1. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I share your views.
    Keyboard Morse in amateur radio often also implies the use of a Morse reader, which is as far from real amateur radio as you can get.

    To make a satisfactorily working Morse transmitting system even in the full duplex or QSK coast radio environment, "is easier said than done."

    In the early 80s, a computerised message handling system named "Infocoast" was built for the Swedish coast stations, where the messages were stored as text files in minicomputer disk storage, and were transmitted one character a time, also without buffering, so the operator could immediately stop and "back-off" one or more characters in order to handle a "fill request".

    This took a lot of programming effort, and it was also critically reliant on the performance of the real-time operating system.

    When the Infocoast system was to be implemented at the smaller coast stations, which handled MF radiotelegrams only from a single operating position, it was not considered worth-while to implement the quite complicated hardware solution, so a compromise was effected, where a local text-to-Morse converter in an early PC transmitted one character at a time, while the cursor on the screen followed the transmission.

    This system was used until the end of maritime Morse at February 1 2002.


  2. N5CM

    N5CM Ham Member QRZ Page

    To add to the fun, the question mark is used by some folks to indicate they're about to repeat something.
    W5BIB likes this.
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Wow, that's like old-time RTTY with a model 19 or something.:p

    I've used CW keyboards a couple of times, but not like that. They all had buffering, and I can type much faster than anyone could possibly send code manually, so the few times I used one I'd usually start typing while the other guy was still sending -- so, kind of "listening" and "replying" at the same time, but not sending, just typing.

    By the time the other guy finished, I'd just hit RETURN and my preloaded comments would all send while I stepped out for a beer.:)

    That's kind of fun!

    But even using a KB I still used CW abbreviations all over the place -- no periods, no commas, lots of shortcuts U KNO WAT I MN? So, it may have "sounded" like I was really sending while I was getting the beer.
  4. VE7PJR

    VE7PJR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I remember years ago that we often used commas and periods to break up our sentences. These days I hear a lot of guys simply send the double-dash ( _..._ ), and I find myself doing that as well. Mostly in the boilerplate parts of the usual exchange:

    UR RST XXX ( _..._ ) QTH... ( _..._ ) NAME... etc.

    After we get that far, if the other op doesn't immediately send "TU73HPECUAGNOMSKSK(dit-dit)" :mad: we get down to the real conversation. That's always much more enjoyable.

    In International code we have kept a few "loan words" from Old Morse. (Dang spellchecker wants to say "Old Norse"... uff da!)

    One of them is the use of "ES" to mean "and." In Old Morse "dit[short space]di-di-dit" is the ampersand. (International has dit, dah, and space as elements. Morse has dit, dah, medium dah, long dah, short space and long space. So "ES" is really only one character. It would be more correct to write it for International as a "prosign" with a bar on top, but that's not widely supported in most browsers. Oh well..)

    Here's an amusing thought: somebody should make an electronic keyer that can do Old Morse. Would need one dit lever and three dah levers. Let's just let that one sit on the shelf for a while so we can all look at it.
    NW6V and N0NB like this.
  5. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Also copied as a 'dash'.
  6. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
    WB5YUZ likes this.
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Maybe I'm lazy, but I don't even bother with that.

    Just leaving a space seems to work.


    I like to get the "standard stuff" out of the way, to start an actual conversation.:p
    WB5YUZ, VE7PJR and KA0HCP like this.
  8. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    "E" NN is even quicker - "E" is the "Cut number for 5" It really speeds thing up ! Here are the other "cut" numbers:


    FYI; Most Chinese msgs are 4 digit number groups. Using "cut" numbers was/is the norm for exchanging Chinese msgs. :cool: FYI ;)
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
    WB5YUZ likes this.
  9. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

  10. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I recall the BT was called a paragraph separator.

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