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Prosigns spacing


WA2WMR
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I've noticed that in most CQ QSOs, prosigns such as BK are sent as two letters. These are supposed to be sent as a single character

(dah di di di dah di dah). Is it a matter of people not being with this convension or is it a matter of people using keyboards or memory keyers that don't have a provision for running two characters together?

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[AR], [SK], [BT], [AA], even [SOS] are prosigns which are sent as a single character. 

I don't know what the answer to your query is, although I imagine it's both a question of ignorance of the operator and a question of inadequate software design. 

Personally, I really haven't noticed a problem with prosigns.  But then again, I tend to hang out with CW traffic handlers, and they know their stuff...HI HI

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I remember my dad commenting on this fifty years ago. He lamented the lack of rigor. For him, what we now call pro signs (I can't remember if that's what he called them) were a single letter. The one that used to send him for a loop was SOS. One letter he would scream into the speaker 😂 

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Rather than hijacking this thread, someday I'll post some of his story. Mosquito pilot, escaped POW, civil engineer who built some fairly big infrastructure... oh yeah, and built a beverage antenna on a circular irrigator. Again, will someday post elsewhere...

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About SOS. I think that unless I knew I was sending it to people who knew it was sent as a single character, I would send it as three separate characters. If the only receiving station or other receiver missed it because they didn't know, it wouldn't do me any good. If I send it as three characters, anyone who knows "three dots, three dashes, three dots" will get the idea that there is an emergency of some kind while didididahdahdahdididit would go sailing over their heads.

 

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But how many weekend boaters actually know what either ...---... or ... --- ... means?
I don't like the "lets dumb it down so the dumbest anybody can understand it" reason for lowering standards.  

From my experince, and I've sent all my life on the water except for 4 years in Germany, your average dingbatter weekend recreational boater who lives in the city and boats one weekend per month during the summer isn't going to know what either means, and your licensed capn or merchant mariner is going to recognize both.  And the USCG Cap'ns course still teaches SOS, not S O S, as the distress signal (at least in the United States).

I was surprised though, when I decided to get rid of the flares on my boat and trade them for the USCG approved stobe light, and I turned it on for the fisrt time and saw it flashed dot dot dot <really long pause> dash dash dash <really long pause> dot dot dot.   Apparently the USCG has lowered their standards as well.  After the first three dots I thought it had stopped working.  I believe even a halfway competent attorney could make a great defense out of one not responding to an SOS call on the water because S O S isn't the International Distress call.  SOS is.

And FYI, the "USCG approved emergency strobe" that is legal to replace flares is about as worthless device as has ever been made.  Why USCG would approve that as an emergency signaling device contorts my brain.  We tried it when I bought it to see how it performed.  With the car headlights going over the bridges on the horizon, the lights from shore, the various blinking lights from shore, the stars, and the guys gigging flounder on the beach with flashlights, you couldn't even see the damned thing from offshore.  The only use I can find for the thing was if you are midway out in the Atlantic between NA and Europe, pitch black night, with no light pollution, maybe some other boat within a mile or two would see it.  I realize from a USCG MH-60 the stobe would be easier for a pilot to see at night with NVG's obviously, but if the USCG is over you in a MH-60, distress has already been sent and he's found you already so it's a mute point.

When you see a flare, you know what it is and what it means ~ it's a distinct signal you see nowhere else except on 4th of July or New Years Eve.  When you see a blinking light, you have to decide if its one of the above.

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2 hours ago, KD3Y said:


I don't like the "lets dumb it down so the dumbest anybody can understand it" reason for lowering standards.  
 

It's a bitch being an A+ person in a C- world. But that's the world in which we live. The average boater may not know what either mean but is more likely to know it when sent as separate letters and I doubt that someone who recognizes the single character is going to to say, "To hell with you! You didn't send it correctly".

 

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Quick note that my Nitecore flashlight also leaves a long pause between letters. Personally I’m still for being clear. If it were me sending an SOS I would pause between letters. This said, I’m fairly certain that anyone who knows what SOS is to begin with, would recognize either version. And if someone did not know what SOS was, they would understand neither.

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I'm just glad they changed it to "SOS" or "S O S"  from  "CQD".

If the dweebs can't comprehend   ...---...   there's no dang way they'd come to my rescue if I sent   -.-.--.--..  😁

 

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2 hours ago, WA2WMR said:

I doubt that someone who recognizes the single character is going to to say, "To hell with you! You didn't send it correctly".

"The individual letters of "SOS" are transmitted as an unbroken sequence of three dots / three dashes / three dots, with no spaces between the letters."  ~U.S. Navy Training Course, Radioman 3 & 2, pages 135, 177, and 402.

It takes the same amount of time to teach it the wrong way as it does to teach it the right way, Brother.  Somewhere, some "Elmer" (who should know better)  is teaching his newbies that it's OK to send S O S just because in his opinion, he feels its OK to change the rules to suit his personal belief.  Now if you're boat is sinking and the water is up to your nose and you're three minutes from dying, and all you can manage to bang out on your key is S O S,  I'm certainly not going to blow you off because in a crisis moment you broke the rules.  But everywhere else, emergency notwithstanding, it should be done and taught properly.   And thanks to that lazy Elmer, there'll be a whole new generation of hams arguing with me that S O S is proper and believing they're right because their "expert" that they hold second place to God told them it was.

Furthermore, if we stopped spreading the SOS misinformation, everyone would recognize SOS and we wouldn't have to make an S O S exception for the lower IQ inhabitants on our planet.

If you think sos s o s is confusing, you shoulda seen the do-do Storm that happened the day I was on CQ watch and tried to send to the runner to bring me a SOSage brotwurst from the imbiss stand for lunch about the time the guy vacuuming the Battalion CQ office accidentally yanked the plug out of the wall after I send SOS from Battalion HQ.  Had the rest of the base been taught the difference between sos and s o s, my spelling error wouldn't have been a court martial offense.  😁

I recall an old adage, "We train like we fight".  That's because when you do it right in training, when an emergency happens and you fall back on motor skills during the crisis, you're going to do it the way you did it in training becasue you're acting on instinct.  Back in the 90's when I was copping in Houston, and we all had revolvers, they taught us at the range that once you fired your six rounds, you ejected the empties into your hand, then put them in your pocket.  The logic was, there'd be fewer accidents at the range from people slipping on shell casings, and the range officer would have less work to do becasue he wouldn't have to clean up empty shell casings all over the range.  After it was studied years later, it was determined that more cops were KILLED because in close range incidents when they were in a panic, they instinctively tried to catch the empty shell casings in their trembling hands and put them in their pocket during a fire fight, giving the shooter an opportunity to engage them.   After that study, TCLOSE banned the practice and taught us to dump the empty casings wherever they fell, reload, and continue to engage.

The "we do it like this because it's just training, but in an emergency we do it like this" is false doctrine.  Under stress, with the adrenaline pumping, you always fall back instinctively on muscle memory, not cognitive thought.  The ham that practices all his life to send s o s will send s o s when his life depends on it, even when he knows sos is the correct procedure.

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1 hour ago, KD3Y said:

I'm just glad they changed it to "SOS" or "S O S"  from  "CQD".

I am glad, as well.  I don't know who's brilliant idea it was to use "CQD" as a distress call.  It seems to me that, that given certain band conditions (QSB, QRN) a "CQ DE NS7X" could be easily mistaken for "CQD".

 

 

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Call me dumb, but I never thought of that. CQ De... is, indeed, CQD. Yup, I definitely prefer 🆘

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13 minutes ago, NS7X said:

I am glad, as well.  I don't know who's brilliant idea it was to use "CQD" as a distress call.  It seems to me that, that given certain band conditions (QSB, QRN) a "CQ DE NS7X" could be easily mistaken for "CQD".

Hey Brother, when you're the guy that owns all the patents for wireless technology and the rest of the world is still communicating by smoke signals, you get to make whatever silly rules you want.   LOL

Just my opinion, but Marconi was a genius.  Not because of his technology advances, that was inevitable given time, but because of his business model.  He owned every wireless station and leased them, and then he leased the operators to the businesses.  So the operators were his employees and you rented them from him.  The equipment was his, you leased it from him, paid him to install it, you paid him to maintain it, then you paid him royalties to use it.  He was sort of like the Microsoft of the 19th century.  If you wanted a wireless station and operator, you got it from him or you built a fire.  LOL

It wasn't until after the Titanic sank and lives lost that the International Radiographic Conference in London decided that type of monopoly wasn't going to continue to be the norm.   The Marconi monopoly suffered the same fate that Standard Oil Company monopoly would get a few years later.

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28 minutes ago, K3MRI said:

Call me dumb, but I never thought of that. CQ De... is, indeed, CQD. Yup, I definitely prefer 🆘

It just occured to me as well, but I had to read it three times. 
CQ de KD3Y...

See fellers, them spaces matter! 😁

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I do not enjoy CW, in fact I have a memory disorder that works against rote memorization. That said I have taught many Tech classes where I ALWAYS emphasized learning code as one part of the hobby. One thing I stress is learning SOS as a minimum. Worldwide, many people recognize this call for help in any language so if you learn nothing else SOS may save a life. Are there other prosigns we could recommend at minimum for newbys?

P.S. After 30 years of trying, I did manage to Pass 5wpm test to be a Tech+, two years before the CW requirement was lifted.

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Hi K5DOK,

Nice to meet you.  I can understand your medical disadvantage.  I suffered a traumatic brain injury that put me in brain surgery for 20 hours.  Learning doesn't come easy for me either.  I can send pretty well but receiving is difficult.  I'm deaf in my right ear from the explosion  and I find I just can't hear the dots and dashes unless they are very slow.  I've also noticed that I used to be an great typist.  My degree in computer systems and networking required keyboarding and related classes.  I was probbaly up there in WPM typing back 10 years ago.  But I've noticed over the last few years my typing is getting terrible and I think it's cognitive related as I always spell the same words wrong the same way when typing.   That's why you'll see on most of my posts that I've edited the post 3 or 4 times.  I just type typos and people think I'm a 4th grader so I go back and read my posts then edit them for corrections.  LOL  I know the correct spelling but it seems sometimes the connection between my brain and my fingers isn't there.   Sometimes like yesterday I make so many errors the time to edit expires.

I suspect as I go out I'll be one of them wierd dudes with alzymers or dementia that can't remember anything and does wierd stuff. 

But I still like CW just because of the steampunk appeal of it.  Even if I'm not good at it, the key looks cool sitting on my desk. 

73, de Anthony KD3Y

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I believe that CQ was always a general call to any station. Dropping in a D at the end for distress did kinda make sense in the design phase. Perhaps it was only after its failure that they came up with SOS. By the way, is CQ supposed to be sent as separate characters or as a single character. I don't think I've ever heard it sent as a single character.

If one is teaching Morse Code, SOS should be taught as a single character. However, many people get their knowledge of SOS from various media such as movies or television where the dialog talks in terms of ESS OH ESS. 

 

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7 minutes ago, WA2WMR said:

I believe that CQ was always a general call to any station. Dropping in a D at the end for distress did kinda make sense in the design phase. Perhaps it was only after its failure that they came up with SOS. By the way, is CQ supposed to be sent as separate characters or as a single character. I don't think I've ever heard it sent as a single character.

If one is teaching Morse Code, SOS should be taught as a single character. However, many people get their knowledge of SOS from various media such as movies or television where the dialog talks in terms of ESS OH ESS. 

Call me absolutely totally stupid but it did not dawn on me that CQD was a CQ plus a D. I've seen CQD my whole life and it did not hit me. 🙄

As for CQ as a single character, I've never heard it that way either, nor have I ever sent it that way; always two.

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K3MRI
This post was recognized by K3MRI!

"NS7X is the type of member that every community dreams of. She is smart, resourceful, experienced, and to boot she's a tenacious CW advocate. Thank you for being here MaryAnn."

NS7X was awarded the badge 'Great Content' and 2 points.

As a CW operator, I had just assumed that prosigns were standardized throughout the code world.  I recently learned that I was very, very wrong.

In the US and Canada, the prosign for "end of message" is [AR].  It is used by formal traffic handlers following the message signature, and marks (surprise, surprise) the end of the message.  It is usually followed by an "n" (meaning no more messages to follow) or by a "b" (meaning another message or more messages follow).  Until the receiving station responds with an "R" or "QSL," the sending station waits for requests for fills or corrections.  This is pretty SOP for the National Traffic System which has been around almost as long as the ARRL which has been around almost as long as ham radio...

Turns out, that this use of [AR] on the ham bands is recognized only in the US and Canada.  Being as how other countries don't enjoy formal third party traffic  privileges, the use of [AR] is a whole lot more fluid in other countries.  It can be used in QSO's and mean [K], [KN], [SK].

And then there is the use of [AR] in the US military.  I have been told that in the US Coast Guard, [AR] means "out." No if's, and's, or but's.  Period. 

It seems to me that [AR], like [SOS] or [S O S] should be taken in context.  Usually, taken in context, the intent of the sender is pretty obvious.  

Just sayin'.  DE NS7X [AR] N 

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MaryAnn, you teach us so much, seriously. I am regularly amazed by the depth of your CW knowledge.

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