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Author Topic: Prosigns  (Read 2246 times)
W5HTW
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« on: November 03, 2001, 09:27:35 PM »


When did "BK" replace "K" as the standard "go ahead" (invitation to transmit)  on CW?

When did we drop "DE" Huh   LIke:  CQ CQ CQ W5HTW W5HTW W5HTW BK

Will we soon be saying:  "OK OM, TKS UR RST 589 QSL?? BK"

Really, what happened to "K" and "DE?"

Ed W5HTW
 

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W9GB
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2001, 11:21:08 AM »

Ed -

News to me.  While I listen on 15 or 40 meters, I have not noticed this change.  The CW contacts that I have had do not do this.  ??

Greg
w9gb
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N5XM
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2001, 02:11:12 PM »

There are idioms in every language ( not IDIOTS, hi ) and I don't see it as a matter that "We" changed anything. There is no "we". Some use a period, others use a pause. So what? With age differences from teens to nineties, do you really expect everyone to use prosigns the same way? I don't. There are a of things that bother me more, for example: The other day I was sending CQ on 40 meters, and I heard this guy come back to my call, and not only did he not care to take the time to even half-way zero beat my frequency, he sloppily sent his call only one time. Jeez, I copied his call, and adjusted my frequency to his, and we completed our QSO, but how inconsiderate that this clown was too lazy to send his call twice as is considered good practice, and heaven forbid he could be on frequency enough that I could copy him. I'm thinking, if you are too lazy to even tune me in, go take a nap or something and we can work after you get rested up. This kind of inconsiderate behaviour bothers me a heck of a lot more than the fact that someone might prefer different prosigns than I use.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2001, 04:50:29 PM »

I agree prosigns don't matter, much.  There's always been a reluctance to send any extra data than is absolutely necessary in contests, for example.  When trying to hit 300 QSOs per hour in a DX contest, every extra dit sent is a time waster.  In a casual ragchew, there's time to burn, so do whatever feels good.

The first time I noted the difference between "regular" and "big gun/contester" prosigns was more than 30 years ago, when I realized the guns all sent TU to indicate the end of a contact.  Thinking a bit, this made sense.  It does indeed indicate "I'm done," since it means "thank you;" it's also courteous, and takes less time to send than TNX or QSL or CFM or anything else that might have similar meaning.

73 de Steve WB2WIK/6
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K0RS
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2001, 01:37:59 AM »

Prosigns get abused regularly.  I had plenty of time to study proper QSO etiquette between passing my novice exam and the arrival of my ticket.  I sure didn't want that dreaded "novice accent" when I finally got  on the air!  No one seems to care much about standardized operating practice anymore, and they sprinkle prosigns about randomly.  Relaxed ID requirements by the FCC have done a lot to eliminate the formal ID sequence that was common at the beginning and end of each transmission years ago.  I agree it makes no sense to use BK at the end of a CQ.  What makes even less sense is KN at the end of a CQ.  Talk about illogical!  Yet I hear this frequently.
 
I don't see a problem with using BK during a ragchew once signal reports have been exchanged and both parties know that they are comfortable copy with one another.  It's speeds up the natural flow of the conversation.  CW abbreviations have always been about improving the economy of the text...saying more with less.  This seems to me to just be an extension of that.  I have a friend who uses full break in (QSK).  When QSO'ing we need NO prosigns.  If I want to comment on something that he sent, I just drop a single "dit" in after one of his words and he pauses for my remark.  It's almost like face to face conversation.  

Dropping the DE between callsigns seems to something the Russians came up with to speed up exchanges.  Now the Europeans have picked up on it and it has become common practice in DX QSO's. Like the spoken word, the language evolves.   Again, I see no problem as long as both parties understand what's going on.  It just speeds things up a bit.  I normally use this type of exchange during a QSO, but on my last transmission I will insert the DE to make to more obvious "who's who" for the benefit of anyone listening that might wish to call.
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W5HTW
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2001, 05:54:12 PM »

I see I failed to make my remarks very clear!   So, my last comments on the subject follow.  Here's what I'm referring to:

W1XXXX DE W3YYYY RR SAM TKS UR RST 589 QTH BIMBO NAME BOBO BT HOW COPY? W1XXXX DE W3YYYY BK

BK W3YYYY DE W1XXXX OK BOBO QTH HERE DUMBSQUAT, UR RST 599 NAME JABBY WX FB HOW? W3YYYY DE W1XXXX BK

Yes, I hear that frequently.  No, not as the predominant method, but enough to make it obvious there is a change in the works.  My guess would be 15 percent of the contacts I monitor.  

As to shortness, why "BK" at all?  I learned long ago something like this:

RR BOBO TKX ARE YOU GOING TO WATCH THE BALLGAME TONIGHT? K

YEP.  RIGHT AFTER DINNER K

No "BK"s needed.   In fact, in using QSK not even a "K" is needed.

Perhaps I am just lamenting the passing of the uniformity that once made us valuable as "trained radio operators" for national call - up.  By using accepted military-based procedures we proved ourselves invaluable in WW-II, Korea and Vietnam, as people who could be quickly assigned to the field with a minimum of training, as we already knew general standard procedures.  

That need no longer exists, I realize, and probably military procedures don't exist anymore either.  So maybe it is just the nostalgia of what once was, the loss of those strict procedures( DE was definitely one of them)  we learned and followed, rather than the "I'll do it my way, you do it your way" approach.  Yet  that is the approach that is popular today, and I admit I do know what they mean when they send "BK" where I expect a "K."  So we ARE communicating.    

Yes the language is changing, as does everything, but when we speak of the language changing we mean for everyone who uses it.  We add phrases like gigabye, and modem, and we all know them.  It is when we each head off in different directions that we lose communication.  A few prosigns, obviously, won't disrupt the world, or even the world of ham radio.  But change, just so we can say we made a change, may not be a valid point.  Change because no one taught us procedures, may reflect on those who are supposedly doing the Elmering.  Change because we don't "need or want" procedures may be disruptive.  Disorganized change 'is' disruptive.  When one person calls it a 'modem' and the next calls it a 'jelly sandwich,' then we introduce confusion.  

BK is (was) the "Break" signal, meant for quick breaks (actually originally meant for 'breaks in text or message components.).  "K" was the CW equivalent of "over."  So we have renamed them.   "BK" is being used frequently as the "Over" of CW.   But "K" is shorter and easier to send!  

OK, guys, I adapt!  I'll use BK when I'm talking to someone who uses it instead of "K". I doubt I'm going to drop the DE, though, so forgive me, please!

73
Ed W5HTW


.  

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N5XM
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2001, 07:12:32 PM »

I think you should continue to do it just as you see fit, but don't expect everyone to want to do it your way, which, believe it or not, is not the only way to do things. Remember that there are a lot of new CW ops on the bands, and yes, they need to learn the "right" way to do things. They don't do these things to intentionally anger us. I have read where some have espoused the importance of cutting things to the bone, where you send only the barest essentials. I see CW as very idiosyncratic, that is, very personal. As long as I understand what the guy on the other end means, that is all I care about. I am more concerned about the lack of etiquitte on the air, people not caring if the frequency is already in use, digital QRM coming out of nowhere, in the CW sub-band, folks that REFUSE to send at the speed of the person whose call they answer. We could find a thousand things to gripe about, and what bothers me a lot is not gonna bother you at all, and vice versa. That's the way it is.
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AA1UY
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2001, 10:18:59 PM »

I agree whole-heartedly with W5HTW and think that proper use of prosigns should most definitely be adhered to.

If everyone knows how to behave and what to expect (which in this case means the proper use of prosigns), then there are no mis-understandings.

With reference to the two misdemeanors W5HTW mentions, quite often when eavesdropping on a QRQ QSO, I know when to listen for the ID when I hear the DE; even if I can't follow much else. If there is no DE then I miss the ID in the flurry. This is indeed, an abhorrent practice.

BK is fine when a quick reply to a question is requested, however, it should never replace K or KN; that's just ignorance of its proper use.

As regards contest (and many DX) exchanges, a great many of them are illegal as operators 599 TU QRZ? to the baying pile-up without IDing for QSO after QSO after QSO (and I use the term QSO very loosely here).

I'm afraid the replies thus far are symptomatic of the flawed "I'm all right, you're all right" attitude. There *is* a right way of doing things and there is a sloppy wrong way of doing things.

We can all see what sloppy operating procedures have resulted in on SSB and 2 meter repeater phone operation.

I know from having spent many years as a software consultant that neophytes tend to copy what they've seen those with more experience do in the hope that they'll be thought of as being similarly "experienced". Quite often however, the practices of the "experienced" are poor. In this way, poor practice is perpetuated.

We have to set a good example in order for this sloppiness not to be perpetuated.
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N5XM
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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2001, 12:35:44 AM »

Let's just be careful not to preach to the choir here gentlemen, because I am absolutely in agreement with the "proper" usage of prosigns, but let's be honest if we can, and say that this is Amateur Radio, not Amateur Military Radio, or Professional Radio.  I'm sure you will take this the wrong way, but in the name of honesty, I have to say it...no one here, not me, not the originator of the thread, nobody on this great board is the arbiter of what should be considered "proper" prosign usage. Heck, I might well do it a way you don't like, just because I know it pisses you off. As far as I can tell, nobody here is CW God, sent down from Morse Heaven to set us all straight. I'm not trying to put anybody down, but the learning curve isn't the same for everyone, and it shouldn't have to be. I'm much more concerned about the lack of courtesy and selfishness that seems to be filtering down from the phone bands to the once tranquil world of CW. Go ahead and shoot me, I don't care.
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KB1HJW
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2001, 03:08:00 PM »

I'm as new as new can be to CW, (3.5wpm - hope to pass the code test in a couple months). In anticipation of that, and becasue of the content of this thread, is there somewhere that I can learn the rules of etiquete, either written or unwritten "gentlemen's agreement" ones?
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N5XM
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2001, 07:48:47 PM »

Congratulations...you gotta start somewhere, and you've cleared the first hurdle by passing the exam. Be patient and presistent. Be polite. Always send "QRL?" before you start sending CQ.  Don't get discouraged if you get blown off by self-styled CW "legends in their own minds" who refuse to slow down to your speed.  You'll find plenty of fine CW ops who will, and they'll make you feel good about yourself because you're trying to develop CW skills instead of trying to make you feel bad because you can't keep up with them. Rome was not built in a day, and some of these folks truly seem to have forgotten they were once beginners themselves.  I'm not naming names, just stating a fact. Practice your sending as well as your copying.  You will be judged by your fist before you'll be judged by your ear, and nothing will make someone on the other end want to send 73 es CUL faster than a terrible fist.  If you have an e-mail address, e-mail me, and I can send some stuff to you that will really help. Good luck, and get on the air.
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AA1UY
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2001, 12:17:46 AM »

Glad to hear you have an interest in cultivating CW skills. It really is a lot of fun and a skill, which in time, you will take pride in having had the dedication to master. You *will* meet a great bunch of people on the CW bands too (from age 8 to 80+).

You should get yourself a copy of the ARRL publication "The ARRL Operating Manual", every ham should have one. Here you will find all you need to know to get started in all the popular modes (including CW).

You may also want to check-out the "Code Buddy" scheme operated by Fists CW Club (http://www.fists.org). You don't have to be a member to participate and they will pair you up with an experienced ham who will practice with you (via on-air contacts) and show you the ropes.

Also, you *must* read "A Beginner's Guide to Making CW Contacts by Jack Wagoner WB8FSV" which can be found at http://www.extremezone.com/~nk7m/cwguide.htm

As far as improving your speed, regular practice, say twenty minutes at a time a couple of times a day (every day) is necessary to begin with, but before long, you'll be ticking along nicely. On-air practice is also invaluable (if a little nerve-wracking at first).

Best of luck and hope to meet you on the CW bands some day.
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N4KJF
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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2001, 11:42:35 PM »

From the way I've seen it used on the air, BK at the end of a transmission is a short way of saying "back to you", at least that is the way I understand it.
But now I'm confused, if BK means break what does BT mean?
I have noticed that sometimes it takes me a little to get comfortable with the way the other op is sending and the "dialect", meaning the prosigns and the abreviations that are used and the way they are used. Most of the time no problem, but sometimes I go "HUGH?" and decipher what was meant.
Although it would be nice for everybody to be on the same page, everybody has their own style. It keeps it interesting.
But in the end we all understand each other.
  73,Al
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KG4PYM
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2001, 08:10:44 PM »

Well,

It's all good to me- people. Really, I like the DE and the BK- tell you the truth it gives me time to get ready to respond.  And,  CQ CQ CQ callsign callsign callsign is just as well!

I answered a call from an Old-Timer, egads I don't recall his callsign, I'm not at home now, no log access, but I can say his name was PROSE-with a name like that, surely he must be legendary in the CW world but I'm relatively new again, so... I do not really know, but do recall him being from Tallahassee & now he's in Rochester. Perhaps his call was W4BW...

And if I'm not mistaken he's 91 years wise, hamming over 77 years I think I heard him say...   By the cadence of his CQing you could just tell he was inviting anyone to break in at any time. So,

regarding BK, if I'm sending using QSK and I hear a dit, sending BK instead of K may well be, a more definitive acknowledgement to the other party that says I hear you breaking in and I'm responding in kind go ahead. And certainly, if two ops know each other well enough, a pause will certainly suffice  just as well; however if band conditions are marginal, BK is a nice thing. If one is not certain that the station calling CQ is QSK, then BK is nice- hey, perhaps that's one of the legitimate reasons for BK.  

Like I said, it's all good to me.  CW floats my boat, and to that end, regarding CW, whatever communicates and works is good, whatever blows your skirt up is fine.

Regarding omission of DE when calling CQ, hey nothing wrong with that, obviously, if you hear CQ then a callsign, unless the CQer is having a conversation with themselves, they are obviously sending their callsign and not someone elses.

DE or no DE it's all splendid. CW is a wonderful world.
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KG4PYM
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2001, 09:00:51 PM »

AMEN BROTHER. LOL!
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