Welcome to the WB8YLO web site. The site is undergoing a major re-write.
Please be patient as the first bits and pieces are installed. Some things
will work and others won't. Expect that things will frequently change.
In the meantime, poke around the site and see what works, Again, welcome
to the web site and please check back often.
Steve Judd, WB8YLO
Learning the Morse Code – What does the “overscore” mean?
You may run into the term “overscore” while studying the Morse code. This
term is used to indicate a change in how characters in the Morse code are sent.
Prosigns are often used in sending Morse code as a means of conveying
information in an abbreviated format. For example, you might send the letter
‘K’ to mean “I’m done sending, now it’s your turn to transmit. The letter ‘K’,
in this case, is not used as a letter, but, is a prosign meaning “invitation
There are other prosigns in common use. Many prosigns are represented as
digraphs, i. e., a combination of two letters. An ‘overscore’ is used to
indicate that the two letters are actually a digraph and should be treated
as one character. Overscore refers to a line drawn over the two letters.
A commonly used prosign is AS. If you were to
send the letters ‘AS’, you would send: di-dah, pause 1 character time,
di-di-dit. When you make it the prosign ‘AS’,
which means “stand by; wait”, you would send it as: di-dah-di-di-dit. Notice
that the character time pause is missing. The overscore tells you that both
characters are to be sent as if they were one character with the codes of the
two individual characters combined into one.
Other common prosign digraphs are AR, meaning
“end of transmission” and sent as “di-dah-di-dah-dit”,
SK, meaning “end of work” and sent as
“di-di-di-dah-di-dah”, and HH, meaning “error”
and sent as “di-di-di-di-di-di-di-dit”.
In CW traffic handling, you use the prosign AA
as a separator between lines of the address or signature parts of a radiogram,
and BT as a separator between the address part
and text part and between the text part and signature part of a radiogram.
Amateur radiograms are usually sent as:
Address Part line 1 AA
Address Part line 2 AA
Address Part line 3 AA BT
Text Part BT
The prosigns AA and
BT are important in the transmission of a
radiogram and aid in the accurate transmission of the radiogram.
by S. W. Judd, WB8YLO
Posted: April 11, 2020
Station Activity Report - SAR
The Station Activity Report is report of your traffic handling activity.
This information is compiled by your section traffic manager to keep track
of the entire section's traffic volume and trends.
The Station Activity Report, or SAR, is a report of the traffic handled at
your station. It is filed monthly, normally with your Section Traffic
Manager (STM). In the report, you provide a count of the message traffic
handled by your station for the previous month. This information is used by
the STM to get an idea of the amount of traffic handled in the section and of
the trends (if any) in the traffic flow. Most STMs request that the SAR for
each month be submitted in the first two or three days of the following month.
Traffic in the National Traffic System (NTS) is counted in a specific way.
There are four categories of traffic handled in the NTS. These are
originated (ORIG), sent (SENT), received (RCVD), and delivered (DLVD). You get
credit for the appropriate categories for each piece of traffic handled.
An originated message is a message that is generated for a third party
(someone other than yourself) and is a function not performed on the air.
If you are at a Field Day event, for example, and a visitor comes up to
you and asks to have you send a greeting from the field day site, that
would be an originated message. For originating a message, you would
receive one ORIG point.
A received message is a message you receive over the air formatted in the
ARRL radiogram format. The message may be for you, it may be for delivery,
or it may be relayed to another station. In any of these cases, you
receive one RCVD point.
A sent message is a formal ARRL radiogram formatted message that you pass
to another over an amateur traffic net. When you send a message on, you
receive one SENT point for the message.
A delivered message is not done over the air. You receive a DLVD point for
each message that you deliver to a third party, whether by email, telephone,
or in person. A message given to another ham over the air is counted as sent,
not as delivered, even if they are the addressee of the message.
These are the raw numbers you need in order to send a SAR to your STM.
More information on counting messages is contained in Appendix B of the
NTS Public Service Communications Manual (PSCM) available at the
ARRL web site.
The format of the SAR varies from section to section. Appendix B, Chapter
Seven of the PSCM has several examples showing separate
ORIG/SENT/RCVD/DLVD types of SAR.
In the Ohio Section, the current STM only requires the traffic total in
the SAR. The desired format is as follows:
1 R WB8YLO 3 TOLEDO OH JAN 2
HILLIARD OH BT
DECEMBER TRAFFIC 99 BT
In December, I had 0 originations, 33 sent, 48 received, and 18 delivered.
Add them all up and they equal 99. That is the number that is reported in
the SAR I sent to my STM.
Check with your STM for the desired format and timing of the SAR in your section.
S. W. Judd, WB8YLO
Posted: July 6, 2017
CW Shorthand - Cut Numbers
Cut numbers aren't hard to understand — once you know how they work!
Have you ever heard someone send a signal report of 5NN? Perhaps you knew
it was the same as an RST of 599. Sending the letter 'N' for a figure '9'
is called sending a cut number. While the N for 9 is the most common,
there is a shortcut or "cut" number for each digit 0 through 9, except
for 4 and 6. Another common use of cut numbers is sending a 'T' for a '0'
as in "am running 1TT watts" meaning 100 watts power.
Another place where cut numbers are common is in large cw contests such
as the CQ WW DX contest. The contest exchange is RST and CQ zone number.
A report of 599 in CQ zone 12 might be sent as "5NN AU".
Here are the cut numbers:
di dah dah dah dah
di di dah dah dah
di di di dah dah
di di di di dah
di di di di dit
dah di di di dit
dah dah di di dit
dah dah dah di dit
dah dah dah dah dit
dah dah dah dah dah
di di dah
di di di dah
di di di di dah
dah di di di dit
dah dah dit
dah di dit
S. W. Judd, WB8YLO
Posted: December 4, 2014
CW Training Nets
Are you interested in traffic handling by CW? A slow speed CW
training net is not a bad place to start. Check with your section
traffic manager to find a net in your area.
For anyone interested in handling message traffic via cw, a slow speed cw
training net is a very good place to start. These slow speed nets exist to help
the new traffic handler to learn the ropes of message traffic handling at
slower speeds than are typical for a section net or above. Most slow speed
nets run at about ten to twelve words per minute but will slow down for you
if you aren't quite there yet.
I participated in the Ohio Slow Net - a slow speed cw traffic and training net
that covers the state of Ohio. This is the slow speed net I'm most familiar
with and will use it's procedures as a model. Most slow speed training nets
will be similar. In fact, the Ohio Slow Net (OSN) was modelled after the
Maryland Slow Net and sounds quite similar.
So, what does a cw training net look like? Most nets in the National Traffic
System run in a similar manner. First is the net callup followed by a net
preamble that explains something about the net. This is followed by some
instructions and the net control operator is identified.
At this point, net members are invited to check into the net and list any
traffic they have to pass. Traffic can be either for someone on this net or
can be 'through traffic' destined for another net. The net control station
then sees that the traffic is passed to the proper persons in an efficient
The net control may make announcements, stations may have words with each
other, and all net business is taken care of. When the net's business is
complete, the net control thanks the net members and formally dismissed
them from the net. The net control station may make one last call for checkins
then closes the net. This is the general procedure for many traffic nets.
The following is an example of how a session of the slow net might run:
QRL? CQ OSN CQ OSN OHIO SLOW NET PART OF NTS OHIO SECTION ALL ARE WELCOME
OSN OSN QND PSE QNZ VVV VVV QNN W8NCS JOHN IN DAYTON
QNA BN TX K
DE W8AA GE JOHN VOL BN TX QRU
GE DAVE W8AA TU BN TX AS
OSN OSN QNI K
DE K8BB GE JOHN QTC K8DD 1 K
K8BB GE BOB R AS
DE N8CC GE JOHN QRU
GE TOM N8CC AS
DE K8DD GE JOHN QRU
GE JIM K8DD QNU AS
OSN OSN QNI K
UP 3 UP 3 FOR QTC K8DD 1 THEN BOTH QNX WID TNX K
GG 73 DE K8DD
GG 73 DE K8BB
OSN OSN QNI K
TU BN TX ES QNI NW QRU QNX 73 K
GE ES 73 DE W8AA
TNX QNI NW QRU QNX 73 K
GE JOHN 73 DE N8CC
OSN OSN LAST CALL QNI K
OSN OSN NW QNF DE W8NCS
Wow! If you are new to the world of cw and traffic nets, it may look awfully
confusing. There is, however, a lot of business going on here. In line 01, the
net control station (NCS) asks if the frequency is in use [QRL?]. Not hearing
any reply, NCS continues with the net call up [CQ OSN CQ OSN]. NCS follows the
callup with the net preamble [OHIO SLOW NET PART OF NTS OHIO SECTION ALL ARE WELCOME].
NCS continues with line 02. After another net call up [OSN OSN], NCS sends
the Q-Signal QND. This tells the net that it is a formal, directed net and all
communications must go through the net control. This is followed by a request
to zero-beat your signal with the net control's signal so all net members are
on the same frequency [PSE QNZ VVV VVV]. The QNN signal tells all the net
members who the net contol station is [QNN W8NCS JOHN IN DAYTON]. Even though
this is a formal net, we can all be friendly and on a first name basis.
In line 03, the NCS asks for the Buckeye Net (BN) transmit liaison station to
check in. In the OSN, the Buckeye Net transmit liaison is a volunteer. In
higher level nets, the liaison stations are assigned. The Q-Signal QNA asks
stations to check in in a prearranged order. Since the OSN is a training net,
most of the traffic goes either to the net manager or to the Buckeye Net for
eventual distribution elsewhere.
In line 04, station W8AA identifies itself [DE W8AA], says good evening to
the NCS [GE JOHN], volunteers to be the Buckeye Net transmit liaison
[VOL BN TX], and finally says he has no message traffic [QRU]. You are probably
getting the idea that abbreviations are important on a cw net - and you would
In line 05, the NCS welcomes W8AA to the net, thanks him for volunteering, and
asks him to stand by using the prosign AS. In
line 06, the NCS continues and asks for any checkins [QNI].
In line 07, someone transmits the letter B. This is called a 'sine'. A sine
is just a shorthand way to get the NCS's attention in a quick and easy way.
The NCS sends the same sine back in line 08. This is the NCS's way of letting
the sender know he heard him and to go ahead and check in.
In line 09, the station K8BB identifies himself [DE K8BB] Note - the DE is the
French word for 'from'. Ham radio is a truly international hobby. He then says
hello [GE JOHN]. The GE is short for good evening. Then he tells net control
that he has one piece of formal message traffic for station K8DD [QTC K8DD 1].
He finishes by sending 'K' which is shorthand for "I'm done talking, it's your
turn to talk". In line 10, the NCS acknowledges K8BB [K8BB GE BOB],
acknowledges Bob's traffic [R], and asks Bob to stand
In lines 11 - 14, N8CC checks in and tells the NCS that he does not have any
formal message traffic [QRU], and is acknowledged by the NCS.
In lines 15 - 17, K8DD checks in and tells the NCS that he has no formal
traffic. In line 18, the NCS checks him in and tells him that the net has
traffic for him [QNU] and that he should stand by.
In line 19, NCS asks for more checkins [QNI].
Upon hearing no more checkins, the NCS , in line 20, calls K8DD, who has a
message waiting for him and waits for K8DD to answer. In line 21, K8DD answers
"I'm here" [HR].
In line 22 the NCS checks that K8BB, who has a message for K8DD, is still
here [ES K8BB]. Note - the 'ES' is French for "and". K8BB is still here so in
line 23 he tells the NCS that he's here [HR].
Line 24 is a big one with lot's of information. In this line, the NCS tells
these two stations to move up 3 kilohertz [UP 3 UP 3] and that they should pass
the one piece of traffic k8DD [FOR QTC K8DD 1] and when they are finished with
the traffic, they should both check out of the net [THEN BOTH QNX] and to go
with the thanks of the NCS [WID TNX].
In line 25, K8DD, the receiving station tells the NCS that he is going to the
new frequency [GG] then says a friendly goodbye to the NCS  then identifies
his station because this is his last transmission on this net [DE K8DD]. In
line 26, K8BB does the same as K8DD and they both move up 3KHz to pass the
traffic, say thanks and goodbybe to each other , then go on about their
business. When they finish the traffic, they are out of the net.
In line 27, the net control station asks if there are any more checkins [QNI].
In line 28, the NCS calls N8AA. N8AA answers in line 29.
In line 30, the NCS thanks N8AA for volunteering to be the Buckeye Net Transmit
liaison [TU BN TX] and for checking in [ES QNI] and that now the net has
nothing more for him [NW QRU], that he is checked out [QNX], and best wishes
. The NCS is done talking to N8AA [K].
In line 31, N8AA replies "good evening and best wishes" [GE ES 73], then
identifies [DE W8AA], and is out of the net.
In lines 33-35, N8CC is checked out.
In line 36, the NCS makes a last call for check ins and in line 37, the NCS
tells everyone that the net is no longer formal and directed but is now free
for anyone to jump in and talk [QNF] and identifies his station since this
was his last transmission.
Whew! Even a net without a lot of traffic has a lot going on. As the amount
of traffic increases and the number of places the traffic is going to
increases, the net can become somewhat more complicated. People can be sent
up or down to several different frequencies, there can be liaisons to several
nets, some members may go and be checked out while some may be sent off
frequency, come back, and be sent to another frequency!
At any rate, most slow speed cw training nets have little traffic and are not
so complicated. Mistakes are made and corrected. Everyone learns something and
gets to be better traffic handlers. Most of the participants on the Ohio Slow
Net are Extra Class amateurs with many years of experience. Most of them are
active on local FM voice nets, on the voice and CW section nets, and/or the
Eighth Region Net and Eastern Area Net. Although most aren't beginners, they
hang around because they are interested in training newcomers and in
encouraging them to continue improving their traffic handling skills. Besides,
we all have fun and enjoy each other's company.
If you have any interest in CW traffic handling, check out your Slow Speed CW
training net. It should be a good experience.
by S. W. Judd, WB8YLO
Posted: November 25, 2014
Introduction To The International Morse Code
This article introduces the International Morse Code as
used by radio amateurs. The formal document that describes the
International Morse Code for use in radio
telecommunication is ITU Recommendation ITU-R M.1677-1 (10/2009).
While there are extensions to handle languages other than English, we will
be concerned with the English language only in this article.
The International Morse Code is an aural language. It is
important to keep this in mind, especially when trying to learn the code.
Don't try to memorize dots and dashes. That is guaranteed to slow you
down. Instead, say the dits and dahs out loud. Better yet, listen to well
formed code being sent. The object of learning the code is to visualize
a particular character when you hear a particular sound sequence.
It is also important to realize that the code is made up of two sounds,
dits and dahs. It is also made up of the absence of sound, that is, the
spaces between dits and dahs. If you ignore the spacing between dits and
dahs, you get a very run-on sounding code that is difficult to comprehend.
Unfortunately, this is all too common on the air.
The length of the dit and dah sounds and the various spacings are all
based on the length of the dit. If the dit sound has a length of one,
then the dah will have a length of three dits. Again, with the dit as
length of one, the spacing between the dits and dahs within the same
character is the same length of one. The space between characters in the
same word/group is the length of three dits. The space between words or
groups is seven dits.
The ITU Recommendation specifies letters, figures, punctuation, and
special signals. This article shows only the first three items. The
special signals will be explained in a separate article. There is more
information about the sending and receiving of the code contained in
the ITU Recommendation. You can find your own copy of the recommendation
The International Morse Code:
S. W. Judd, WB8YLO
Published: November 25, 2014
International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet
Sometimes it is difficult to get a message across the circuit correctly
and you need to resort to spelling the words of the message. This is
'International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet'
The International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet was
originally used by the International Civil Aeronautical Organization
(ICAO) and called the ICAO Phonetic Alphabet. It
used standard words and pronunciations of those words to allow airplane
pilots and air traffic control operators from around the world to
understand each other. The alphabet has since been adopted by the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) where it is called
the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, by the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU), and by the American Radio Relay
League (ARRL) as well as several other international organizations.
The alphabet covers the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet and
the numbers from one to zero. Most of the letters and numbers are
pronounced as in common English usage, however, some are distinctly
different. It is important to pronounce all of the letters and numbers
in the specified manner in order to ensure maximum understanding. The
syllables in boldface type are emphasized in the pronunciation of the