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Is this frequency in use?

Subject: Is this frequency in use?
From: n6tv@vnet.ibm.com (Robert A. Wilson)
Date: Thu Feb 25 00:40:44 1993
I love CW too much to let this go the way it is going.

On CW, the correct way to ask "is this frequency in use?" has always

   DIDIT DIT  (.. .)

This is the old American Morse (i.e., old time telegraph) character "C".
Telegraphers would send "didit dit" on the land line as a way of asking
"clear?"  I know I read this a long time ago in some ARRL publication,
but after 30 minutes of searching I could not find the reference.

On the other hand, "dit dit" is what you send AT THE END of a QSO.  It
means "bye bye!"  Please don't encourage "dit dit" as a way of asking
if a frequency is in use.  "Didit dit" was made for this, as it can
mean nothing else.  Please educate all fledgling CW operators in the
use of "didit dit" as by far the least intrusive way to ask "is this
frequency is in use?"

If the frequency is in use, the correct reply can be any of the

   dit  (.)
   dah  (_)
   dahdidahdit (_._. C -- which means YES)
   didahdididit (AS -- which means STAND BY!)
   Or just call CQ

"QRL?" means "Are you busy?"  It does not mean, and has never meant,
"is this frequency in use?"  I would love to know how the French,
German, Russian, or Japanese Q-signal tables translate "QRL?"  Any

Unfortunately, the latest ARRL publications recommend using "QRL?"  I
find "QRL?" an abomination that covers up far too much of a QSO.
Please, ARRL HQ, fix this in the next version of the Operating Manual
and Handbook.

While I'm on my favorite subject (CW), if I have to ask for a
confirmation in a contest, I'll say something like:

  MI?  ("Michigan?")

if you are in Michigan, then the correct reply is:

  C ("Correct," "Si" (Yes), "Confirmed")


  R ("Roger, I received your last transmission")  (What good does that do me?)
No matter how weak you are, I can usually pull out a single "C" to
know that I got it right.  But send me "RRR" and I'll think
you're trying to resend me some correction.  Don't do it!  If I've got
it right, just send me a single "C," NOTHING ELSE.

"Roger roger, that's a roger," is something only done on phone.  Long
live CW!

Bob, N6TV

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