When I got my license about 50 years ago, I believe the only punctuation marks on the test were the period, comma, question mark, and slash mark.

Once on the air, I heard and used the usual prosigns, [AR], [BT], [SK], [KN]. I also frequently heard and used [HH] to indicate an error, and dit-dididit (the American Morse ampersand). There were a few others less commonly used but generally understood when I started out: [AS] (wait), [VE] (acknowlegement), didit-dit (American Morse C, used to ask if frequency in use). Also [AA], used only in formal message handling as a separator.

That's it. Nothing else. But the internet today has tables of Morse code characters for all sorts of other punctuation marks and accented characters. (See Wikipedia or ITU Recommendation.)

I wonder if anyone has actually used any of these other characters, or heard them being used. Do hams who converse on CW in languages other than English ever use the accented characters? Is anyone using the new at sign (@) character that was added relatively recently? Who ever used those additional punctuation marks?


This is not an question about opinion as to whether or not the use of these characters is a good thing. It is also not a question about whether these other characters have been documented on paper or on the internet. This is a question about under what circumstances and at what times these seemingly-rare characters have been used on the air as a regular practice, rather than a theoretical possibility.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure how good a question this is. The answers would just be a list of yes/no. Maybe it would be better to try to reformulate the question. Furthermore, don't forget that Morse code is not here only for amateur radio. There are also other services using it (newest maritime mobile calling procedure is from 2012, and there are even relatively fresh chanel assignments, but don't forget historical use). Also don't forget dialects! There's a reason why the ITU's 27-letter code us called International Morse code. $\endgroup$ – AndrejaKo Jan 22 '18 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ Please consider rewriting the question to say something like "Are rare Morse code characters in ordinary usage?" As the question was originally written it's opinion-based, which is a no-no here, since this is a question-and-answer site rather than a forum. $\endgroup$ – rclocher3 Jan 22 '18 at 15:47

A few years ago, I used the @ symbol when transmitting my email address. The other ham did not know the symbol, so I re-transmitted the word "at" instead. After that exchange, I realized that the time to send the @ symbol (.––.–.) takes longer than simply sending "at". That was the last time I used the @ symbol.

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    $\begingroup$ It seems as though the @ symbol had a brief heyday after being approved by the ITU in December 2003, until hams having common access to online "callbooks" made sending email addresses over the air generally unnecessary. $\endgroup$ – rclocher3 Jan 22 '18 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ I use it to broadcast my passwords. $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Jan 22 '18 at 19:41
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    $\begingroup$ @PhilFrost-W8II Do tell. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Jan 23 '18 at 1:11

About 20 years ago I had a experience similar to Glenn's, only reversed. I was the one who had to look up the unfamiliar (to me) @ character that the other ham sent.

A ham proficient with and active on CW should be able to answer this. Have you been active on CW lately?


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