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Further Callsign Subtleties
banner.gif FALSE TURNOVERS: Any call ending with the letter K poses the potential problem of false turnovers in CW mode. In noisy conditions especially, the DX operator can mistake the trailing K in a callsign for the prosign K, and begin sending while the other op is still sending. I have heard this happen many times over the years. W3KK poses a special problem- the lowband false turnover. The prosign KK is often used on 160 and 80 meters.
COMPETITION: What if you are a contester and are very interested in K3MM, but you know W3MM is a big contester- do you chance it? Frequently I hear two stations with similar calls sending simultaneously to the DX op. Both of them log the contact, but the DX only logs one of them. Getting a call that puts you in contention with big-gun DXers and contesters is risky.
DOT LETTERS: Not every dot letter is a problem- K3II and N3II do very well on the bands. Repeating characters like II and MM enjoy a definite advantage. The letter "I" seems to be just the right length to get through in CW under noisy conditions, and the phonetics "India" and "Italy" both punch through well.
It is similar with mixed dot-dash characters- K3RR and N3RR also do very well with their calls. Once again, the "RR" combination is short, symmetrical, and repeating. It would probably be much harder DXing with a 'dot-letter' call like K3RLF, however!
'MAGIC' LETTERS: Some letters carry well on phone without any need for phonetics. K3AO is a prime example, and K3KY is pretty good as well- all letters are distinctive and less likely to be mistaken for others. While there might not be universal agreement as to which letters have this 'magical' quality, there would probably be little disagreement that some are more difficult than others.
SYLLABLES: When giving a call on phone without phonetics, W is at a disadvantage because it has three syllables. All other letters have only one syllable.
CW RHYTHM: Probably most CW operators would agree that letters with all dashes or outside dashes roll off the keyer paddles almost effortlessly, whereas letters with outside dots are more trouble, especially at high speed. The sequence K3MM K3KY K3FL, sent fast, demonstrates this clearly- MM is very easy, KY is only a bit more difficult, but the wrist is *very* busy with FL.

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