Morse Code Terminology

There are a couple of points to be made on terminology for anyone who may be new to Amateur Radio or Morse code.

CW/Morse Code

The terms Morse Code and CW tend to be used interchangeably, however strictly speaking Morse Code is the alphabet and CW stands for Continuous Wave i.e. the switching on and off of a carrier signal to transmit the pulses of the morse code.

Morse code can also be sent as an interrupted audio transmission, this is sometimes called modulated CW or modulated morse. As an example this can be used to practice Morse Code over 2m with a standard FM rig. Using the side-tone from an HF rig or an oscillator you can key up the mic close to the speaker and transmit morse.

Dits and Dahs

Most of us when we first learn about morse code think of the written dots and dashes, but actually when talking about Morse Code we tend to use the terms dit and dah because it’s much easier to speak out morse code that way, compare dot-dash-dot-dot to di-dah-di-dit, much easier to say.