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Hi all

Its a cold and wet day here also Mike, so I thought I would introduce a non-SOTA but radio related topic.

Those of you who use the noble mode of CW probably never realised that ‘Morseitis’ is a recognised disease. Back in my sea-going career, other Officers would regularly tell of ‘Sparkies’ who could not resist using their fork handles at the meal table, to tap out messages whilst engaging in non-related conversations. This was obviously in the days before bug keys and paddles. Another symptom is to hear code in non related sounds such as music or band noises, only to rush back to the Radio Room to be greeted by silence!

You might like to know that the code invented by Samuel Morse and termed Morse Code, is not the code anyone uses these days. Ours is International Code and varies considerably both in terms of the letters and numbers from the original.

I could go on to talk about the Golden Rivet, the ubiquitous fu-fu valve in the engine room and reveal where the green oil for the starboard lamp is stowed but you would not be interested!

Best 73’s


In reply to G4CMQ:

Ah, great stuff Dave and I have to admit to having some of the symptoms of morseitis, especially picking morse sounds out of music.
When I was learning cw approx 23 years ago, crikey is it that long already, I used to drive behind vehicles and be whistling the reg plates out in cw, even street names too. I don’t suffer any more, I just get on with it and enjoy it.

I know all about the Golden rivet, fu-fu valves and green oil, hi, along with the glass hammer, the long weight, a bucket of steam and tartan paint.
All good stuff Dave, a steep learning curve for many an apprentice, hi.

73 Mike GW0DSP


In reply to GW0DSP:

Hi Mike

Even I cannot remember the glass hammer or the bucket of Steam. Must be because I was never asked to go and fetch them !!!

When I was learning CW back in 1956 at the Colwyn Bay Wireless College, to convert all signposts, number plates and other signeage, was a recognised way of learning the code, so don’t feel bad about that symptom.



In reply to G4CMQ: I started at the bottom of the ladder when BT was the Post Office Telephones - never heard of a fu-fu valve, but no doubt it was near the base of the engine, but did get sent off to the stores for a ‘Long Weight’ (and missed my tea break!). I worked with an ex-telegraphist for a time - anyone any idea where the term ‘TUNHO’ came from?

Regards, Dave, M0DFA


In reply to G4CMQ:

Hi David,

I remember back around 1970 as a relatively newly licensed G8 making a visit with friend Peter G3YCT to the shack of Chas G3ELJ. Chas was formerly a Navy radio op and was a very interesting character. His shack was in the outhouse - a KW2000A on top of one of the rabbit hutches! Anyway we were engaged in a very serious conversation about the arrangements for HF Field Day when suddenly Chas placed his hand on a morse key by the side of the hutch and started sending. Peter and I halted the conversation only to get chastised for it. It transpired Chas was working a VK2 on 21MHz while discussing details with us. I can’t manage to speak even a short sentence while I’m sending.

As for all the dubious items you and others mention, I avoided the long weight, but was half way out of the door before I realised that obtaining a left-handed door knob from the local ironmongers was utter nonsense.

73, Gerald

Seems the pre-bonus season is in full swing, Hi!


In reply to G4OIG:

In reply to G4CMQ:

but was half way out of the door before I realised that
obtaining a left-handed door knob from the local ironmongers was utter

73, Gerald

I don’t know of a left handed door knob but I found out recently that door handle’s are handed. We just had new doors put right through the house and I fitted them with brass handles of the lever type. Some of them point left of the spindle and others point right.

73 Mike


In reply to GW0DSP:

Some of them point left of the spindle and others point right.

Well I built a shed the other day, and was most disconcerted to find that about half the nails provided to fix the cladding had the heads on the wrong end. It took me a long time to work out that they were for the other side of the shed…

73 de Paul G4MD


In reply to G4CMQ:



In reply to G1INK:

Great piece of research Steve…if Google had been around in the fifties and sixties, much heartache could have been avoided!!

In reply to G4MD:

That gave me a good chuckle Paul.

In reply to M0DFA:

‘TUNHO’ has me beaten Dave, what was the context in which it was used? Perhaps it was only a PO Telephones gag.



In reply to G4CMQ:


I suspect that TUNHO is one of the hundreds of 5 letter procedural signals previously used in the International Telegram Service, which were another version of the International Q code.

Other examples were:

GUHOR Delay or QRU / Nil Heard
DADRO Go ahead (QRV)
DADXA Change Freq (QSY)

When two operators knew each other they would also make up their own private codes with meanings known only to themselves.



In reply to G4SSH:

TUNHO could also be a FLA (5 letter abbreviation) similar to the numerous TLA’a (3 letter abbreviations) currently in use in the military today. An example of a FLA which, I believe, originated in the RN is ROMFT - Roll On My F*****g Time.

73 Glyn


In reply to GM4CFS:

I think the most commonly known of all these is FUBAR

73 Mike


In reply to G4SSH:

Great spot Roy.
Found all the details here :

‘TUNHO’= We are in Agreement

Amazing what one can learn on quiet SOTA days!!!



In reply to GW0DSP:

I think the most commonly known of all these is FUBAR

…and don’t forget SNAFU…


In reply to G4MD:

What are we like? Roll on winter bonus, hi.


A couple of links to cure (or cause) the severe form of Morseitis:

(turn your speakers on)



In reply to G4MD:

…and don’t forget SNAFU…

That FLA describes the military very accurately!!


In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom,

Pre-bonus season blues cured by Tom Sawyer… sure you know what I mean if others don’t!

73, Gerald


In reply to G4CMQ:
Brunel Tech, Bristol, mid-70s.
First ship Jan '78.
Swallowed the anchor late '91.
All sorts: coasters, general cargo, reefers, bulk, tankers, from 8k DWT to 464k DWT (that was 13th larest in the world at the time).
Fond memories, but it’s all changed now. Not a way to see the world anymore and since 9/11 (sorry for the Americanism) there are many places where one cannot go ashore…

  • …- … . . …-

Graham G4FUJ


In reply to G4FUJ:

Hi Graham

Knew there must be a few more of us old ‘sea-dogs’ around in SOTA. Glad to hear about your exploits. Were you a ‘Sparky’?

Yes, all has changed now. They were the last of the good days to have been at sea.

Best 73’s