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Way OT: Morse code telegraph question

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  • Way OT: Morse code telegraph question

    I've have half hearted researched this, and never really got a good answer. We've all see the old western movies, and the clerk clicking away or listening to the telegraph. My question is what kind of code did they use? I know there is a obsolete form of Morse code called American Morse Code, but it still is referenced as dots and dashes. How does this translate to a series of clicks? (hard to do a dash as a click)

  • #2
    the dashes and dots are long and short "beeps"

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    • #3
      What has always amazed me, is that those people who were really good at receiving (maybe sending too), with enough experience could come to recognize specific senders on the other end.

      This was a very critical concern to the British intel guys running the double agents against the nazis during the British "Double Cross" (XX) system during WW II. They knew the nazis could discern whether the signals being sent were being keyed by their "trusted" (NOT!) agents.

      Of course that ability demanded that one have had a longstanding relation with the sender in question. (Obviously!)

      That whole program is one of the most fascinating studies of WW II, and was probably the single most valuable element in the allies ultimate success. I'm kinda lumping the enigma coup in the mix here too.

      ...
      But as to the original question: I never heard of a different morse code ("American Morse"). I thought it was all just Morse Code.
      Of course it was invented here by Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph. Wasn't it?... my early school history is a bit faded.
      Last edited by lynnl; 08-25-2010, 03:38 PM.
      Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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      • #4
        Each dot or dash is actually two clicks, one when the armature comes down ("mark") and one when it springs back up ("space"). Hearing the interval between them tells the operator the difference. Experience and aptitude is the key.

        Joe

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        • #5
          The original Morse Code isn't the same as International Morse. I have to go to town now but if you look up Morse code vs Intenational Morse you will see the difference.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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          • #6
            There are several Ham radio operators here on this forum, I am one also.

            I routinely copy at about 25 wpm and during a contest after I get my sea legs I can copy up to 35 wpm. After you have some experience you find you aren't really copying the letters but, if sent fast enough, you're copying the words. The word t-h-e is really very rhythmical when sent fast.

            As for your question, timing is the only difference and I expect the good ops with the old system learned to copy words instead of letters also.

            QSL?
            de NV2A bk
            - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
            Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

            It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

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            • #7
              I'm not a HAM but I have Land, Air and Sea commercial tickets.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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              • #8
                Check this Leno test.

                http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80519289/
                Guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust, bend, chip, crack or peel

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                • #9
                  Optics Curmudgeon, I think you hit the answer I was looking for. There are two parts to the "click" and its this space between the parts that determines whether it is a dot or a dash. Seems it would be more difficult to learn, I think.

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                  • #10
                    Yes, I did the old 5 wpm to get my ticket, and promptly lost it.

                    But to watch my old instructor, albeit using a keyer, converse
                    at 40 wpm, it just flows like a conversation. He just writes down
                    the specifics, call sign, name and so forth.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lynnl
                      What has always amazed me, is that those people who were really good at receiving (maybe sending too), with enough experience could come to recognize specific senders on the other end.
                      Yes, it is almost like an accent, you soon recognize the way certain repeatable words are sent.
                      International news agencies use a machine transmission, (in case of human error), one of my favorites to learn on was Russia's TASS .
                      IIRC 25wpm. One of my first tune in's I got the news of the Sputnik launch from them.
                      The ones I dreaded working to was the Cable & Wireless guys, >35wpm and no patience!
                      Max.

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                      • #12
                        I learned Morse Code in the early '60s at a military school and the graduation level was 25 words per minute. I later used it quite a bit on coded weather traffic and air movement messages.

                        It is quite true that each character is learned as a sound rather than a sequence of discrete dits and dahs etc. As skill increases common words take up their own characteristic sounds but with coded data this does not happen.

                        We copied code and keyed it onto a typewriter at 25wpm+ while daydreaming about something else! Concentration on the content of the message was a sure way to make mistakes.

                        Later, I made a Morse Code keyboard, type in the characters and have code created automatically. It worked very well but it had its problems in that with my previous experience as I typed in a word I would hear it going out on the transmitter and my fingers would automatically type the same word again!

                        One of my first software projects was a Morse Code sender and receiver on a Z80 PC (a TRS80 clone). It could send and receive Morse Code in full duplex mode cable connected between two units at 1000wpm. This project taught me a lot about software and when demonstrated to various audiences (ham radio clubs etc) it showed that there is much exageration regarding speeds.

                        It is pointless hammering away at 30wpm+ when everything has to be repeated so on the aviation circuits I worked on speeds of 20-25wpm were the norm for error free copy.
                        Last edited by The Artful Bodger; 08-25-2010, 05:38 PM.

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                        • #13
                          As another ham, some operators have what is refered to as a "swing" that is readily identifiable on the air. They will varry the spacing and weight in thier own way. Even if you have never worked them before, you know they have a unique character right away! I sure the old land line ops were the same way.

                          73

                          Craig
                          N1ABY

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MaxHeadRoom
                            35wpm and no patience!
                            Max.
                            I think the same guys worked at Nandi Aeradio! I remember one guy at Samoa who used to taunt them. Nandi would call the four or so stations on the net for the regional broadcast,or somesuch, but Samoa would always respond 'QRL' so Nandi would get us all to wait until he finally had to send the broadcast without Samoa. Then he would call Samoa 'QTC1' and Samoa would immediately give him a 'K'. After a couple of words Samoa would break him and send 'QRQ' and would do this several times throughout the message while the Nandi operator tried to go faster and faster eventually degenerating in a confused pile of dits while his hand must have been near falling off. When he finished Samoa would reply 'R TU'

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ckalley
                              As another ham, some operators have what is refered to as a "swing" that is readily identifiable on the air. They will varry the spacing and weight in thier own way. Even if you have never worked them before, you know they have a unique character right away! I sure the old land line ops were the same way.

                              73

                              Craig
                              N1ABY
                              "Swing" is of course distortion and is rigourously discouraged by the instructors at the school I went to.
                              John
                              ZL2AYQ
                              ex ZK1AS ZK2AS

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