Thursday, September 13, 2012

Whither "DE" ???

Listening to some QSOs on 30 and 40 Meters tonight, I have noticed an increasingly less usage of "DE".

VERY often, I seem to be hearing (for instance) "W2WK W2LJ" instead of "W2WK DE W2LJ".

Was "DE" tossed out the window?  Did I not receive the memo?  I know it's gone by the wayside in contests. Lord knows, the hour and a half it takes to send two letters will really cut down on the ol' QSO per Hour rate.  But in casual rag chews?

Call me a curmudgeon, call me old fashioned, but I'll stop using "DE" when I stop using my rotary phone, my 5.5" floppy disks, my Smith Corona typewriter and stop wearing my spats.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


  1. I think it's because more people are bringing VHF repeater habits into CW. It's very rare for me to hear something like "W2VB this is K2RTG". It's almost always "W2VB K2RTG" <pause for a few breaths and repeat if no response> 3 times, then if still no response, and no one else calls, "nothing heard K2RTG clear" Every once in a while, I hear someone say something like when ending a qso, &quotW2VB and from K2RTG 73". Not quite sure where that came from. Sounds really bizarre.

  2. I agree! In addition, I have fallen into the habit of not responding to a CQ with the call sign of the station but rather with call only. The way it is done over here. But, it can be confusing at times.

  3. I thought skimmers required " DE " as a signal that they are about to receive a callsign. Perhaps the intent is to avoid detection by skimmers?

    Julian, G4ILO

  4. I wrote a little bit about this when I revisited the old Your Novice Accent article:

    In many cases, CW operators dispense with sending the other guys call. In that case, it isn't necessary to use DE. I haven't heard this business of sending both calls without DE -- that seems improper to me.

    However, I have literally thousands of contacts completed where I never sent "DE". Particularly contesting and DXing.

    The trend in CW operating over the years has become less and less formal, and procedural niceties that are mostly redundant have fallen by the wayside. Such it appears to be with DE

  5. Well maybe they are afraid it will be interpreted as duh! or doh! Oh! You're talking CW, so it must be that they are getting close to 100.000 thousand fits/dahs guarantee limit on their key...

  6. Larry,

    What's a "typewriter"?

    Bob K0NR

  7. Scott 2E0OZI5:35 PM

    Ant to think I have only been doing CW 6 months and have only just started using the "DE" :-)



  8. Dit conservation. We can't afford to run out of dits!


    73, Jeff

  9. Anonymous2:07 AM

    Omitting the DE can be confusing, but it's not as bad as sending QRL on CW. QRL means "The frequency is busy" and is normally in answer to QRL? meaning "Is the frequency busy?". If I hear someone sending QRL, I presume they are answering QRL? from a station I can't hear, so I stay quiet ... but sometimes the station that sent QRL goes on to start CQing, believing he/she has done the right thing by checking the frequency. Very annoying if I'm listening to some weak DX.

    73 DE Gary ZL2iFB

  10. Larry, I was sitting here listening to some records on the Victrola when I read your posting about the use of DE. I'm with you 100%. When I was a newbie CW operator, I NEEDED to hear DE so I knew the callsign was next. A lot of times they were too fast for me, BUT I tuned my ear holes to pay attention to dah-di-dit dit so I could concentrate on the callsign...then I'd wait until they were done and fire off a W2LJ DE KB9BVN to see if I could horn in on a tailender. It worked a lot of times but I would have never copied the call if it wasn't for the little DE in there. Time to feed the chickens! 73 DE KB9BVN