What is the proper way to calculate or determine the amount of time between words (the key up of the last character of one word to the key down of the first character of the next word) when using Farnsworth timing?

When using the answered time for 18 WPM characters sent at 5 WPM overall, will this calculated time result in exactly 5 canonical "words" sent every minute? Or more? Or less?

How do hand key and paddle operators determine this inter-word delay time in actual over-the-air practice?


First of all, let's look at the best source I can find, ARRL's QEX article relating the desire to use Farnsworth for the W1AW broadcasts. Of interest is this quote:

There is no standard for Farnsworth Timing.

That withstanding, here's the general rule:

  1. The character speed should be at 18 WPM minimum. A standard word is 60 Morse units of measurement, 1 dit or spacing between characters.
  2. The characters are spaced out further than normal. Typical spacing is 3 Morse units, equivalent to a Dah.
  3. The words are spaced out. I would apply the same factor that is done to the characters to the words.

In theory, the 5 canonical words should be sent out in exactly 1 minute with 18 WPM. I think some algorithms do this slightly differently, but that's okay too.

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