Recently I've read Zen And The Art Of Radiotelegraphy by Carlo Consoli, IK0YGJ. I must say, it's a great book, and as a new CW operator I've found plenty of useful information in it.

What especially catched my attention was:

This freedom of manipulating a telegraph key produces very interesting phenomena: the laughter, HI, for example, is not transmitted accurately H (four dots), followed with the proper spacing by the I (two dots), it but is transmitted as four-dots, a light syncope, a dot, another syncope and a final dot. The resulting sound is incredibly similar to that of a real laugh. Once heard, it cannot be forgot.

Sadly I couldn't find a recording of a proper HIHI sound, nor I encountered it on the air. Maybe someone knows a video on YouTube that demonstrates how HIHI supposed to sound? Or, if it's not too much trouble, could you please record this sound?


1 Answer 1


People sending HI tend to fall into two camps. Some people send a correct HI, as if they learned that HI means laughter, and they want to send that accurately at all times. The second camp learned by listening, and they tend to send something that sounds more like HEE. This latter version is the one being described in the text you quoted.

The HEE version sounds more ‘playful’ than the HI version, to my ears, and I think that was the original intention.

You can find examples of this by listening to the bands - especially the lower bands such as 80m, where you can usually still find a good rag chew on CW between old-timers.

  • $\begingroup$ Electronic keyers sure have flattened a lot of the character out of Morse code... (Full disclosure: I use a keyer most of the time, although I do have two straight keys.) $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 0:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Agreed. I always use an electronic keyer these days, but recently tried a straight key for the first time in years. It was actually fun! But it did tire my wrist quite quickly. I clearly need to practise more :) $\endgroup$
    – Scott Earle
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 1:53

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