Copying Morse Code

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DickH

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I suspect only one person out of thousands who might read this will have any idea of what I'm talking about, but if YOU do, you will likely find the subject interesting.

About 25 years ago I began copying Morse code and I believe it was (is) the Taiwan commercial fishing fleet. There seemed to be dozens, maybe hundreds, of ships and each ship sent a daily message back to Taiwan using Morse code. Each message consisted of four-number groups, each group representing a Chinese character. Uninformed people would think they were copying a mix of letters and numbers, but they are actually "cut" numbers; T for zero, A for 1, U for 2, D for 8 and N for 9. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are the normal Morse code numbers.

Since then, I lived in another country for many years, but after returning to the States I bought a used communications receiver. I tried finding those ships again without any luck and I gave up. Recently, though I thought I might dig out that radio and try again.

So, I wonder if anyone out there has ever heard those guys and are they still around? They used to operate around 11 to 12MHz, as I recall.
 

k9rzz

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Well, tune around. Do you hear ANY cw on any frequency that's not in a ham band? LOL! Yeah, there's a little, but not much. BTW, ham contesters on CW often substitute "T" for zero, "N" for nine, and sometimes "A" for the number one.
 
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kb0nly

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I'm not talking about numbers stations, I'm talking about normal CW traffic.
Unfortunately no, what your seeking doesn't exist anymore. They have likely moved to satellite or other communications methods. You don't hear CW used for stuff like that anymore.

About the only CW i hear on the commercial bands is repeater ID'ers on LMR repeaters to satisfy the FCC ID regulations.

I tune around on the shortwave bands now and then, i don't hear any CW there anymore, sure now and then a numbers station somewhere if your lucky to catch it. But a lot of them have moved away from CW also, a lot of reports of numbers stations using digital modes.

About the only CW i hear on a regular basis is in the ham bands.
 

GrayJeep

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A couple of weeks ago I tuned across 12.993Mhz and found station KPH sending a maritime bulletin at 20 or 25 wpm. I looked them up on the net - they commemorate maritime CW traffic handling by operating the station on Saturday mornings. Interesting set of articles about about the art now gone.

Long ago I sat down next to the spooks aboard my ship and copied Russian morse code along with them. The cyryllic letters I'd never heard before wrecked my copy for a few letters after every one but copying code groups at about 15 wpm impressed both the spooks and the homeboy radiomen who thought officers couldn't do s**t (because they couldn't remember the 5WPM they'd learned in RM school).

Maybe the Russians are still using manual morse? (I have NO idea where to look for them)
 

SCPD

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The ability to receive / send cw is a skill. A skill that not that many people have anymore. Yes probably the only people you will find that have this skill are hams. But I think that due to the present licensing structure, you will find that in 10-20 years there will be no more hams left that have this skill. You have to just go on the bands and see that there is little to no cw being sent these days. It is a skill (one that I wish I had), but very much a dying skill.
 

k9rzz

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Here you go CW hotshots: 3488khz Barranquilla Radio, Columbia sends weather bulletins in CW. Speed is around 20 wpm but in Spanish!

I find it very hard to copy Spanish CW because what letters you expext to come next don't, that throws me off and then I have to play catch up. Very humbling, like learning it all over again.
 

GrayJeep

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Here you go CW hotshots: 3488khz Barranquilla Radio, Columbia sends weather bulletins in CW. Speed is around 20 wpm but in Spanish!

I find it very hard to copy Spanish CW because what letters you expext to come next don't, that throws me off and then I have to play catch up. Very humbling, like learning it all over again.
Um, how do you know it's weather?

The Russians I was listening to were sending coded groups. No way to know the accuracy of my copy except compare against another op.
 

elk2370bruce

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The ability to receive / send cw is a skill. A skill that not that many people have anymore. Yes probably the only people you will find that have this skill are hams. But I think that due to the present licensing structure, you will find that in 10-20 years there will be no more hams left that have this skill. You have to just go on the bands and see that there is little to no cw being sent these days. It is a skill (one that I wish I had), but very much a dying skill.
I respectfully disagree. There are an increasing number of "no-code: operators that have voluntarily made the cw portions of 80 and 40 CW (old novice segment) begin to rebound. I'm no cw world beater at 18 wpm and began in the slow 40 about 3 years ago at the astounding rate of 5 wpm. I learned that cw is fun and the dx can be awesome - especially when voice conditions are terrible. It seems that removing the requirement has increased voluntary use - especially in the ad hoc, gentleman's agreement, slow speed frequencies. Once you get on the air with your straight key, (my old original J38) you find that your copy speed increases faster than you realize through practice and making contacts. In the beginning (before Creation), I called one op in Malasia who was WAY faster then me. Sent him a QRS (Please send slower) and we had a great, patient QSO. I repeated this many times over with great hams who have helped my technique until now I am not totally embarrassed with my receiving skills and have graduated to a Bug keyer.
 
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jackj

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CW is, IMHO, not so much a skill as an ability. I think that CW isn't so much an art as a language. I'm not now or have I ever been good at coping CW but I did make 13 wpm for my Advanced Class license. It took me forever, well over a year of nightly, on the air practice. It seemed like my speed stayed at around 7 wpm forever and then jumped to well over 13 in just a few weeks. BTW, this was back in the dark ages when the actual FCC gave the ham tests.

Jack
N8BSR
 

elk2370bruce

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CW is, IMHO, not so much a skill as an ability. I think that CW isn't so much an art as a language. I'm not now or have I ever been good at coping CW but I did make 13 wpm for my Advanced Class license. It took me forever, well over a year of nightly, on the air practice. It seemed like my speed stayed at around 7 wpm forever and then jumped to well over 13 in just a few weeks. BTW, this was back in the dark ages when the actual FCC gave the ham tests.

Jack
N8BSR
I still remember heading into NYC to take my test in NYC testing Center way back in 1960! They had this evil looking guy who administered the test and he was more than slightly intimidating to a youngster of 14. Passed my 13 on the second try -
 

N0IU

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BTW, this was back in the dark ages when the actual FCC gave the ham tests.

Jack
N8BSR
I have only been licensed for a little over 17 years so all of my testing was through the VE system and I am curious to know... what is it like to walk uphill BOTH WAYS to an FCC Field Office???
 

kb2vxa

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If you attended a parochial school in those days where the nuns carried rulers stuck in their sashes like a pistol in a holster you would know. FCC examiners holstered something that resembled a Wouff Hong and were just as evil so it was pretty much the same. Just to make it interesting there was no published question pool and no multiple choice, either you gave the correct answer with a hand drawn schematic to the technical questions and they were legion or you learned real quick how evil the whole testing session was. I don't know about walking to 201 Varick Street in New York, with all the public transportation in "the city" I never did much walking except around the shops along "Radio Row". I did however have to walk 2 miles uphill each way through 6' of snow in high school but that was in New Jersey.

Next time one of your elder Elmers gives you a lecture on how easy you have it complete with "when I was your age" don't laugh or walk away, he has an interesting story to tell about horses, Conestoga wagons and the Tennessee Valley Indians... dit dit.
 

elk2370bruce

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I have only been licensed for a little over 17 years so all of my testing was through the VE system and I am curious to know... what is it like to walk uphill BOTH WAYS to an FCC Field Office???
Well, being barefoot and walking through all that blizzard in the middle of July, it had its moments! Actually, taking the NYC subway was probably at higher risk of injury!
 

k9rzz

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Um, how do you know it's weather?

The Russians I was listening to were sending coded groups. No way to know the accuracy of my copy except compare against another op.
It's Spanish, not Martian.

"temperaturas bajas al amane r.

cilo des jado amedo con recuperacion termina

del este y sureste

km/h oleaje de 1.0 a 2.0 metros.

grados c.y temp. min. 14 a 16 grados c., region aumento de"
 

jackj

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I took the test for my 2nd Class Radiotelephone license the last time that the FCC gave it at no cost in Indianapolis. That must have been around 1963 or 1964. I didn't eat breakfast so that I could be there when they opened the door, I was about 20th in line. The test took over 5 hours to complete. The examiner took about 10 minutes to grade it, told me I passed and I headed out for lunch, I had one h_ll of a headache.
 

cwman_TR

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I was a commercial CW operator at KPH for 15 years.

I would like to list my availability to answer all questions members might have about maritime CW. My email address is wreese@radions.net and my amateur callsign is K6GC. I am regularly on the air and available in the mornings on 40 and 80 meters. Rarely on 20.
 
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