W2EGB
Technical Information

Morse Code

Although the Morse Code is no longer a skill required for amateur radio operators, CW remains a large — some would say an essential — part of the hobby. (For an extensive resource directory on the history of CW, see History of Telegraph in Communications at ShoreTel Sky.) The club strongly encourages the learning and use of CW by all members.

Learning Morse Code

ProSigns and Other Procedural Signals for Morse Code

Prosigns are symbols formed by running together two or more individual characters into one single character (without the customary space between characters). These are abbreviations for the most commonly needed signals. They are usually written with a bar over the characters (e.g., AA). (See the ARRL's National Traffic System Methods and Practices Guidelines, Chapter Three, "Sending Messages on CW" for their authoritative list of prosigns.)

Table One: Common Pro Signs
ProSign Meaning
AA End Of Line
AAA Full Stop
AR End of message
AS Stand by; wait
BT Separation between message blocks ("break"), e.g., between address and text, between text and signature.
HH Error in sending (8 dits): transmission now continues with last word correctly sent.
II Short form of above <HH>
IMI "Say again" or "I say again" (difficult or unusual words or groups)
NR Number follows
SK Out; Clear; End of Work (i.e., end of communications: no reply expected: "Out")

The following (without the bar) are other commonly used two letter procedural signals: some Hams run them together, others do not, depending on their own preference; e.g., many operators add a space between the "C" and the "Q" in the "CQ" call.

Table Two: Additional Pro Signs
ProSign Meaning
BK Break
CL Going off the air (closed)
CQ Calling any station
DE From ("This is ...")
KA Beginning of message
KN Go only: i.e., invite only a specific station to transmit
VE Understood

Table Three: Commonly used single-letter ProSigns
ProSign Meaning
C Correct; yes ("Affirmative")
K Go ahead; invite any station to transmit ("Over")
N no "(Negative)"
R All received OK ("Roger")
V Test (commonly repeated three times)

Overall, the most commonly heard prosigns are probably CQ, DE, HH, AS IMI, R, K, and SK.

The Code Itself

For the non-code licensees, here is the code.

CharacterMorse Code
symbolas spoken
A • — dih dah
B — • • • dah di di dit
C — • — • dah dt dah dit
D — • • dah di dit
E dit
F • • — • di di dah dit
G — — • dah dah dit
H • • • • di dit di dit
I • • di dit
J • — — — di dah dah dah
K — • — dah di dah
L • — • • di dah di dit
M — — dah dah
N — • dah dit
O — — — dah dah dah
P • — — • di dah dah dit
Q — — • — dah dah di dah
R • — • dit dah dit
S • • • di di dit
T dah
U • • — di di dah
V • • • — di di di dah
W • — — di dah dah
X — • • — dah di di dah
Y — • — — dah di dah dah
Z — — • • dah dah di dit
1 • — — — — di dah dah dah dah
2 • • — — — di di dah dah dah
3 • • • — — di di di dah dah
4 • • • • — di di di di dah
5 • • • • • di di di di dit
6 — • • • • dah di di di dit
7 — — • • • dah dah di di dit
8 — — — • • dah dah dah di dit
9 — — — — • dah dah dah dah dit
0 — — — — — dah dah dah dah dah
Period [.] (full stop) • — • — • — di dah di dah di dah
Comma — — • • — — dah dah di di dah dah
Colon — — — • • • dah dah dah di di dit
Question Mark [?] (query) • • — — • • di di dah dah di dit
Apostrophe • — — — — • di dah dah dah dah dit
Hyphen — • • • • — dah di di di di dah
Slant Bar/Forward Slash [/] — • • — • dah di di dah dit
Parentheses [()] (brackets) — • — — • — dah di dah dah di dah
Quotation Marks ["] • — • • — • di dah di di dah dit
At Sign [@] • — — • — • di dah dah di dah dit
Equals Sign [=] — • • • — dah di di di dah

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Revised: 7 May 2014
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