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Author Topic: Abbreviations  (Read 8119 times)

Posts: 23

« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2008, 02:35:05 PM »

Billy commented:  "just done a google search and all i came up with is .-.-.- for period Huh"

If you do a google search for American Morse Code you should find several tables that compare American to International.  Under American (the old telegraphy code) you will find ..--.. for period.  One of the links that shows the table is

Some folks do converse using American Morse, but I have never heard normal International Morse qsos where anyone uses ..--.. for a period!  Maybe this a European thing?

(Billy had previously written:  "I also use .-.-.- for period as apposed to what i hear more commonly ..--..")

Posts: 3541

« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2008, 07:50:56 PM »

Maybe the problem is that the senders don't really intend to send a period.  From the time I was a Novice, just about the only actual periods I heard or sent were those in actual messages.  Most of the time, at the end of a thought, I'd send BT (_..._), and the folks I'd be talking to would do the same thing.

In the Navy, every punctuation mark was important (especially the slant bar in MILSTRIPs!).  And there, if the draft of the outgoing message indicated a period, I sent a period.  Period.

Ham radio QSOs aren't so structured; if you want to send .-.-.- , feel free.  I don't agree with mixing American Morse with International, though.  That's a little misguided, IMO.


Posts: 3018

« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2008, 02:07:12 PM »

"is there a site or article thats up to date and correct and above all agrreed upon by the majority who "speak" it?"

No, and neither will you get the same advice on English at a back county grade school as you would at Harvard.

There are different dialects of CW depending on whether the user is a contester, traffic handler, MARS op, 60 wpm CW ragchewer etc, etc.  

I heard ? used a lot as a period about 25 years ago (yes confusing)

I never use the old .-.-.-. I think I mostly just leave a brief pause before starting the next thought.  I'm a DXer/contester so I follow the standard practice in that area. Works fine.

Posts: 646

« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2008, 02:31:12 PM »

There are different dialects of CW depending on whether the user is a contester, traffic handler, MARS op, 60 wpm CW ragchewer etc, etc.

never thought of it that way. Thanks for all the replies.


Posts: 11

« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2008, 12:31:35 PM »

Everyone has his own homemade abreviations nowdays.  Goes well with the current illiteracy.  Welcome to the twenty first century tower of Babel.  

Posts: 3018

« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2008, 01:52:04 PM »

"Everyone has his own homemade abreviations nowdays. Goes well with the current illiteracy. Welcome to the twenty first century tower of Babel." [sic]
Geezer alert!   QBF... "are you flying in a cloud?"

Most old Q signals (and other abbreviations) are obsolete, as with QBF. Even once-vital ones become obsolete. There is little need nowadays to announce ones listening frequency with QSX. With crystal controlled radios in the 50s and before, QSX was common.

The Tone part of RST has been ignored for decades although I still hear a 598C or X handed out about once in 10,000 Qs. Anyone with a truly awful chirp is unlikely to understand a correct RST, anyway.

One useful ham Q signal was invented in the 60s/70s... QRL. The current usage is "Is this frequency in use?" That's not what the old 1947 QRL meant.

Here's a complete list of Q-signals from 1947. Most are hilarious now and probably were in 1947!

Good thing our language, Ham and English, is flexible.  

Posts: 2129

« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2008, 03:48:24 PM »

I was watching an old movie the other day and they actually used QDM and gave a bearing, on R/T

Mark N1UK

Posts: 1000

« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2009, 03:49:10 AM »

K0OD:  " I certainly never called a ham 'dear'"

"Dear" was and is a quite common form of address in DX QSOs.  "TNX FER CALL DR OM."  It's a polite yet personal form of address, particularly when you haven't copied the other station's name yet.  No weirder than opening a letter with "Dear Sir."  Like many CW conventions, this was popularized by Russian hams but widely picked up internationally.  Another convention popularized by Russians was the substitution of "OP" for name.  This made sense since during the Soviet era many hams operated from club stations. These were easily identifible by the "K" in the suffix, ie: UA3KXX.  Sort of a shorthand way of saying, "Yes, you may have worked UA3KXX before, but today the operator is Val (or Boris or Vlad)."

K0OD:  "...QRL. The current usage is "Is this frequency in use?"

Nope.  QRL means "This frequency *IS* in use." "QRL?" means "Is this frequency in use?"  Big difference.  Any Q signal is a statement, not a question, unless it is followed by "?"

K0OD:  "There is little need nowadays to announce ones listening frequency with QSX."

QSX is still very useful in DX operations.  Many DX stations announce their split listening frequency by using QSX.  "CQ CQ de DX1DX QSX UP 5."  Japanese hams recently gained 160m spectrum, but until their band expansion it was common to hear a JA calling CQ above 1900 kHz and announcing their listening frequency by "CQ CQ de JA1XXX QSX 18," meaning they were listening on 1818 kHz.

Posts: 3018

« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2009, 01:30:52 PM »

I rarely use ham lingo (such as OM, or handle or rig (on SSB)) that's not rooted in standard English. Some ham jargon or CW abbreviations never had much on-air acceptance but somehow gained a bit of legitimacy by inclusion in ARRL literature aimed at newcomers.

With the hobby's influx of teens in the 50s I guess it was decided in Newington that a secret language would appeal to the The Beat Generation who would find another code, in addition to Morse, to be Cool or Groovy or, for those a decade older, Swell. Think of Maynard G Krebs at a DX-40.

Later the often-ridiculed surfeit of jargon by CBers  drove many hams to revert to plainer language. There is a point when jargon becomes silly (Broderick Crawford's Highway Patrol overuse of "10-4" or the use of "Niner" parodied in the movie Airplane).  

Similarly I eschew other stilted euro terms such as "working conditions," another phrase (along with Dear OM/OP) that ker-plopped into ham usage around 1970.  

The acid test especially for weak signal work is whether a term aids or hinders communications. The unctuous "dear" may have been appropriate for Victorian-era letter writing. But if "dear" belongs in ham Qs, perhaps we should conclude Qs with YVT (yours very truly).

Posts: 1000

« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2009, 02:50:48 AM »

Wow.  While mostly delusional and hallucinatory, your post was immensely entertaining in sort of a James Joyce stream-of-consciousness sort of way.  Little brown froggy boys in leather aprons cavorting on a sandy beach while stringing open wire fed dipoles among the palms.  Great stuff.

Imagine, the ARRL made a play for the beat generation back in the ‘50s by inventing a secret language.  Who knew?  Maynard G Krebs with a DX-40!  I’ll bet he hooked it up to those dipoles on the beach…dah dah daddy-o!  If ol’ Maynard had that DX-40 on Gilligan’s Island maybe he coulda sent an SOS or QRRR or something.  Or handed out IOTA numbers, if indeed that’s what they do.

I always wondered what went on at those midnight Wouff Hong and Boiled Owl meetings.  I’ll bet they were secret poetry readings.  Surely they read Gregory Corso’s, “The Bomb” and Alan Ginsberg’s “Howl.”  I wonder if they left out the “F” word?  And to think when Kerouac went On the Road he was probably just going mobile on 160 meter AM!
Although I remember a rather protracted, if misplaced, play for CB’ers in the ‘70’s, I always thought the ARRL was more after those John Birch types and Goldwater Young Rethuglicans.  Remember the QST cover in ’64 with a tribander over the Whitehouse?  That was before Photoshop too.  Copthorn MacDonald advocated linking hippie communes by ham radio, but I think the ARRL lobbied the FCC to make that illegal.  

While not personally a proponent of the term “dr”, I was just trying to provide a little CW etymology (for those with considerably less experience than yourself, of course).  I certainly don’t get offended when someone directs it at me in a QSO.  And I most certainly don’t find it unctuous.  I just accept it for what it is; an attempt by someone to be friendly and/or polite…possibly in a language that they find difficult and unfamiliar…like those “4” stations on 75 meters.  Perhaps if you were a bit more secure in you own sexual orientation being called “dear” by someone of the same sex wouldn’t seem so threatening.

I understand that due to email, letter writing may soon be relegated to history.  However I didn’t realize beginning a letter with “Dear whomever” was so antiquated as to be regarded Victorian.  I still get lots of credit card solicitations that begin “Dear Sir.” These seem to be otherwise thoroughly contemporary.


Posts: 7

« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2009, 10:39:22 AM »

We used Q and Z signals in the army but most people don't know what they mean anymore. I still keep a list handy in case someone uses one,QTH QSO, QSL,QSB, QRN, QRM,QRN,QRZ and of course QRS are still out there also new operators can use ZZO. Qru INT QRU.

Posts: 32

« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2009, 08:10:40 PM »

Hi all,
Well after several weeks of Dxing I can safely say that many stations use 'DR' in QSO. JAs, Russian and European. eg. FB DR DAVID TNX FER RPT....

'DR' is in the 1997 ARRL handbook. DR = Dear

I'm also definitely hearing some VK hams in a local CW net using 'tre' for 'there'.  This must be local dialect as I haven't heard it anywhere else and seems no one on this forum has.  The VKs using it are old time maritime operators maybe they got it from there.

I think I will take advice mentioned in this post and use only the well known abbreviations.

I liked the article re:

Regards all, thanks for your comments.

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