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Author Topic: Over use of "BT" in a qso  (Read 6200 times)
VK2FAK
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« on: May 31, 2012, 04:43:57 AM »

HI all...

I was copying a short qso this evening and the "BT" seemed to be used like a full Stop..
After the rst and name "BT" then another few words followed by a "BT"..and so on...5 times it was used in about 3 lines of CW.....is that overkill..

Seems we go to so much trouble shortening words, but keep adding code in the form of "BT"

Would not, just leaving a longer than a word break be just as easy..

If you do need to pause for a few seconds or longer, then use it.

Or is there something I have missed about the use of "BT"...?

John
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AA4PB
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2012, 05:33:56 AM »

"BT" on CW is like "ahh" on voice: wait while I think of something more to say.
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N2EY
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2012, 05:46:18 AM »

"BT" on CW is like "ahh" on voice: wait while I think of something more to say.


No, it's more like a separator between thoughts, so you know one thing is done and another is beginning.

Of course it can be overused.

----

For many years, all US ham licenses required code tests. And most prospective hams in the USA learned the code at least in part by listening to it being used on the air by other hams.

Back then, most new hams in the USA started out as Novices. And most of them started out on HF CW. So even as raw beginners, they/we all had some experience in CW use even as newbies. The ARRL even had a policy for some years to send a copy of "Your Novice Accent" to every new ham.

But that's ancient history now. So the basics have to be explained again and again to those who are newcomers to CW - even though they may not be newcomers to amateur radio.

 73 de Jim, N2EY
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2012, 07:46:18 AM »

I've been known to use a few BT's in rag chews. For me it's basically finding my thoughts what to send next.. and letting them know that I'm still there and didn't keel over / station struck by lightning / radio died / etc.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2012, 08:08:42 AM »

FAK: 

Quote
I've been known to use a few BT's in rag chews. For me it's basically finding my thoughts what to send next.. and letting them know that I'm still there and didn't keel over / station struck by lightning / radio died / etc.

Same here.  This has been the practice for over 50 years than I know of. 

Funny how some innocuous thing can become a literal PIA in ones mind, can't it?  For me it's the use of the phrase, "ya know?"  In some cases I find myself counting the number of times a person uses it in a conversation. 

Most of the time I miss completely what they are trying to say because of this..... or if they actually said anything!   Cheesy
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N3QE
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2012, 08:20:41 AM »

While others correctly note that this has been going on for nearly half a century now... I have my theory for the caused the problem to be so widespread.

Beginning in the 1960's, and especially in the 1970's, most "all band all mode" HF rigs used VOX on SSB, and used the same VOX circuitry to implement "semi-break in" on CW.

This resulted in a great proliferation of folks who were afraid to stop talking, or stop sending CW, because this would cause the T/R relays to all drop out. So what was previously just an anti-dead-air tendency to use "ummm.... ahhhh...." or "BT BT BT BT" as fillers to begin with, got incredibly amplified and became very very commonplace on the bands because we were all too scared that if we stopped talking of sending, the relays would all go click and we'd be back in receive.

Now today... VOX isn't quite as common (it's still there) but still many rigs have poor QSK and default configuration is the "semi-break in".
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AA4PB
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2012, 08:24:29 AM »

"No, it's more like a separator between thoughts, so you know one thing is done and another is beginning."

That's what its supposed to be but in actual practice most ops use it as "ahh".
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NK6Q
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2012, 02:07:11 PM »

What I seem to recall (and I'm of the same Novice era as my friend N2EY) even back in the 60's was that BT was used as a shorthand period.  I still get a few ops who do the "di-dah-di-dah-di-dah" between sentences in their message. 

Most of the time when I'm sending I just pause and go on.  I will use the BT occasionally as punctuation during ragchews, but I try to use it judiciously.

Bill in Pasadena, NK6Q
BT dit-dit
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KE6EE
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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2012, 07:02:15 PM »

As a former clinician, I would offer a neuropsychological explanation for the overuse of BT = "ya know," didahdidahdidah, "umm" and the like.

When one is absolutely comfortable with Morse code, one has a very good sense of how fast the ideas must flow in order to be translated into dis and dahs. Absolute comfort means essentially that all the code-related tasks are in deep memory, this includes such things as "muscle memory" and all the various cognitive, tone recognition, interpretation and other neurological tasks that are a part of using code.

I would liken this comfort level to that of an automobile driver who is 50 years old, who has driven 10,000 or 15,000 miles a year for well over 30 years, hasn't had an accident for 25 years and hasn't gotten a moving-violation ticket for at least that long. This driver can assess all sorts of things about the road environment and can make all sorts of sophisticated decisions about what is safe and what is not at a very subconscious level. He can focus on the talk or music on the radio and be driving very competently. And he can carry on a logical conversation at the same time with a passenger.

Compare this level of driving skill to that of a 16 or 25 year-old behind the wheel. Lots of near-misses, lots of tickets, no fun to ride with when he is driving.

Many people doing CW these days are in various stages of learning. Sending and receiving code have not yet gotten to the level of deep incorporation into the long-term memory system.

You can hear the BTs or the didahdidahdidahs endlessly when you hear code sent at 15 wpm or less. On the other hand, those DX chasers exchanging their 5NNs at 25 wpm don't send any BTs or whatever.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 07:05:06 PM by N6GND » Logged
NO2A
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2012, 02:49:21 PM »

I've been known to use a few BT's in rag chews. For me it's basically finding my thoughts what to send next.. and letting them know that I'm still there and didn't keel over / station struck by lightning / radio died / etc.
Same with me.  I send periods and commas too. Nothing wrong with that.
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WA7KPK
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2012, 02:55:34 PM »

"BT" on CW is like "ahh" on voice: wait while I think of something more to say.


I had a friend back when I was a novice who would send = = = = = = = HI HI = = = while he thought of something to say. I think he got embarrassed by all the "="s and the HI was embarrassed laughter. I'd get up and walk around while I waited for something to copy. ("=" is how I write "BT" - been doing it since before I got my license back during the Johnson administration.)

(No, not the Andrew Johnson administration, smart aleck.)
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G4AON
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2012, 01:42:12 AM »

The use of the break (BT) separator in CW probably originates from it's use in commercial  communications were it was used to separate parts of telegrams. We used it back in the 1970s in marine comms and it was included in the official handbooks of the time.

I use BT a lot, there is nothing wrong in using it... Maybe it is used less than it was as there are fewer ex professional operators around.

73 Dave
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W0FM
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2012, 02:41:33 PM »

If my memory serves me (and it probably DOESN'T at this point) I believe that my Novice Class code test in 1962 required that I know and copy all the letters of the alphabet, all the the numbers, some specific basic punctuation and a few amateur radio abbreviations that included SK (...-.-), AR (.-.-.) KN (-.--.) and BT (-...-).   BT was not a cute little diddy that we invented along the way.  It indicated a break or separator in the communication and knowing it was required.

As a result, today, I believe that I use BT just a bit more often than SK, AR, KN, etc in a CW contact.  That's only because it is applicable more often in a single QSO.  I don't really hear it being abused today, but then, I don't do as much CW as I did when I was 14.

73,

Terry, WØFM
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KC9TNH
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2012, 08:23:15 AM »

I don't much care, whatever the other op wants to use (within limits) isn't likely to bother me. If [BT] as a sentence or thought separator has been used for 50 yrs or makes the other op comfortable so be it. (In my (former) MIL world there were only 2 BT's in actual traffic, to separate actual text from pre-amble & other formatting.) If someone wants to use commas (or not) and [AR] to end their transmission, again, I don't care enough to not engage them in a QSO. If they like [BK] for their 'back to you' and can tolerate my simple K we'll get along fine.

. .  = cw street equiv of the happy face on someone's crackberry


Smiley
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73
Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
K5TTE
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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2012, 11:32:17 PM »

I've always felt that BT was a signal to the other guy that:
1- "I've concluded this particular thought and now I'll move on to the next."  OR...
2- "I'll keep talkin' and I ain't quite ready to send it over to you."

BT seems to suggest that you are still engaged in the conversation but you are just trying to avoid "dead air".
It suggests a politesse more than a laziness.

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