Morse code @ "At" Symbol
This article has been on the wb7tjd.org web site since the creation of the @ symbol, whose name is pronounced "At." Ten years after its creation a Special Event station, N1A, celebrated the tenth anniversary on the HF bands, and was heard on at least four continents.
The article below remains unchanged except for some standardization of the display of the sounding, di-DAH-DAH-di-DAH-dit, a few changes to headings to highlight the sources of information, and some errors caught along the way in the page's transfer from the old site to this wiki page.
- -- WB7C
New Morse Character Created in May 2004
The Morse code has been around for 150 years, but its newest character was born in 2004, in the 21st century. It is not widely known, but it has been in use on the amateur bands, particularly in ten meter beacon messages. These propagation beacons send their QSL email address as a part of their message text, and instead of saying "username at yahoo.com," they can come right out and say, "username @yahoo.com." Click the "@" to listen.
New Morse Character is Official
This is a confirmation that indeed since May 2004, the International Morse Code officially has a new @ symbol. My thanks to Rick Lindquist, N1RL, at League Headquarters for digging up some information that I could link to for authentication of this story. Until now, not much information is forthcoming on the Web in terms of the newest addition to the Morse code, especially in amateur circles; the highest-ranked search results point to news organizations not affiliated with amateur radio.
Quote from Rick Lindquist, N1RL
"The relevant document is RECOMMENDATION ITU-R M.1677
International Morse code, published in 2004," Rick Lindquist reports in an email, saying the document is available for purchase from the ITU web site. He wasn't sure, but thought it may be possible to obtain up to two Recommendations per year for free.
The International Telecommunications Union is the international body which is responsible for maintaining standards in radio matters, established by treaty.
Excerpt from ARRL Letter of April 30, 2004
- N1RL's research leads to this excerpt from The ARRL Letter, Vol. 23, No. 18, April 30, 2004:
- NEW MORSE "@" CHARACTER BECOMES OFFICIAL MAY 3
- The International Morse code officially gains a new character on May 3. That's when the now-familiar "@" symbol joins the Morse lexicon as the letters "AC" run together (di-DAH-DAH-di-DAH-dit). Known as the "commercial at" or "commat," the @ symbol never rose to the level of usage that demanded a unique Morse character until it gained currency as a critical component of e-mail addresses during the past decade or so.
- Last December, the International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) Study Group 8 agreed on the wording of a Draft New Recommendation ITU-R M.[MORSE] that specified the international Morse code character set and transmission procedures and included the new Morse code character.
- The pending change has attracted some attention in the media, including mentions on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and in The New York Times.
--From The ARRL Letter, Vol. 23, No. 18, April 30, 2004
The original 2003 announcement of an IARU proposed new character to the Morse code
Excerpt from ARRL Letter of December 12, 2003
Excerpted from ARRL Letter, Vol. 22, No. 49 of December 12, 2003:
- International Morse Code Gets New ITU Home, New Character
- The 2003 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-03) may have eliminated the treaty requirement for prospective amateurs to demonstrate Morse code proficiency to gain HF access, but the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) hasn't forgotten Morse code altogether. In Geneva on December 5, the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) Study Group 8 agreed on the wording of a Draft New Recommendation ITU-R M.[MORSE] that specifies the international Morse code character set and transmission procedures. It also includes a new Morse code character to cover the "@" symbol used in e-mail addresses.
- Once it's made available in English, French and Spanish, the draft new recommendation will go out to ITU member-states using a new procedure for simultaneous adoption and approval. On December 3, the draft new recommendation won the approval of Working Party 8A, which is responsible for the Land Mobile and Amateur services.
- Within the ITU, the international Morse code has been defined by the Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), which is responsible for the public telephone and telegraph network--mostly landline. A couple of years ago, the ARRL pointed out to the US delegation to the ITU Radiocommunication Advisory Group that Morse code's role more properly resides in the radiocommunication realm, not wire, and should be the responsibility of ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R).
- The transfer was agreed to, and International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) President Larry Price, W4RA, proposed the draft new recommendation at the November-December Working Group 8A meeting. The draft new recommendation is almost unchanged from its ITU-T text.
- "No one wanted to disturb something with more than 150 years of history," said ARRL Technical Relations Manager Paul Rinaldo, W4RI.
- To keep up with the times, however, the IARU proposed adding a new character--the commercial "at" or @ symbol--to permit sending e-mail addresses in Morse code. The draft new recommendation proposes using the letters A and C run together [Sounds like di-DAH-DAH-di-DAH-dit — WB7CRK] to represent the @ symbol.
- While the draft new recommendation is still a working document, it's expected to become a Recommendation within six months or so, pending approval by member-states.
From ARRL Letter volume 22 Number 49, December 12, 2003