PA3CLQ's Leuke Linken Nr. 374


Hi, I have an original poster of "Mc Elroy chart of codes and signals."
The poster I have scanned and printed with the original dimensions (A1)

The file is 158MB in size.

An image of the poster in small format is attached
73's Jan PA3EGH.

See eventual my PLL Nr. 346 dd. 28-05-14

73, Jan P. PA3CLQ



This was after the American Civil war 1861-1865

Also, before Horace Martin invented and patented the first Vibroplex in 1905.

You can determine when the PRESS started copying on a typewriter directly off the telegraph wire!

Bottom line ::: A good Commercial Telegrapher using a BUG and the PHILLIPS CODE sending to a good Commercial Telegrapher who was a proficient typist


J.Chris Hausler;


Posted by: G SCHRADER



I used Phillips code a lot as a commercial operator, but after I left the railroad I took a business course at college and had to learn Forkner Shorthand, which was a form of speed writing.

I did well in all the subjects except Forkner as I kept getting it mixed up with Phillips Code.

I still remember more of Phillips than I do of Forkner.

73, Lavina Shaw


Phillips Code and its impact on press stories, the abbreviations such as Potus, Scotus, etc., still in use today.

Many reporters filed their copy already written in Phillips code.

Also the special baseball Phillips code and how it was used in the early days of radio bradcasting to allow local radio stations to pretend to have live coverage of sporting events.

Plus "live" broadcastsof other sporting events, especially boxing.

Several well known sports broadcasters got their start doing thos "live" broadcasts
Good luck.
73 - Warren

I have seen press copy with " - 30 - " below the last line.

Might want to include that, which is straight from telegraphy.
Skip Luke



Yes! I have heard and seen 30 at the end of the last line of PRESS COPY.


Which is not straight from Telegraphy!



The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's journal has "SK" shown in dots and dashes at the end of each article.

It's not the long dash for "30", but "SK" is the wireless offspring.
73, Chip

To; Skip Luke;

Enclosed herewith is a sheet with the MANUAL TELEGRAPH CODES.  (see above, clq)

The writer was a Canadian National Railways Telegrapher and the instructions in our Communication Department manual showed showed the Punctuation as shown for the MORSE 1844. THERE WAS NO PUNCTUATION FOR 30--

I also worked joint CNR/CPR and the Canadian Pacific Railway Communication Department Manual was identical .

Throughout my career as a Telegrapher, I NEVER used the LONG DASH for the Figure Zero.

Everyone including the writer was using the . . ( dot space dot) the alphabet letter O

The second MORSE CODE SHEET was the one the writer learned.

As a Railway Telegrapher in Railway Line Agencies etc , we copied a lot of Commercial telegrams.

These were everything from coded Bank Telegrams to MODs ( Money Order Drafts) plus weekly Press from a Newspaper Correspondent in a village to a wire desk in Toronto! General store orders and much much more!

We used THE PHILLIPS PUNCTUATION CODE where ever and whenever it appeared in a Commercial telegram.

The writer would respectfully point out that Punctuation ---30 ---- was Phillips code.

Skip- I used to have a large supply of the MORSE CODE SHEETS with the PHILLIPS PUNCTUATION CODE for hand-outs.

Particularily at the Kinmount Fair Labour Day Weekend ( 1st Sept) Friday was children`s day and they took the material for `Show & Tell`` when they started back to school!

I wonder how many people today Know 73 & 30 ?????

gs@OA G. Schrader

J.Chris Hausler

Posted by: Lake Trump


Not strictly correct.
"30" was part of the old Western Union "number code" as was "73".
How about "1", "4", "12", "13", and "92" ?


My Grandmother told me to only believe 1/2 of what I SEE and nothing that I read

The writer had three Phillips Code books- of various years-

There were modifications!

73 was always around as far back as I can see on old records.


I do not have any of YE OLDE Code sheets from the Canadian National Railways predecessors-

The Montreal Telegraph- The Dominion Telegraph and the Great North West Telegraph Company of Canada!

Further, I have never seen old Western Union nor Postal Telegraph code sheets!

I am sure they vary!

gs@OA G. Schrader

J.Chris Hausler


The US Navy was still using American Morse on radio in 1912.

You may recall that the ops on Titanic brushed the Navy ops off because they weren't using the new "Continental Code."

There were also a number of wireless shore stations in which the ops used both codes ..... taking traffic off the landline and sending it over the air with the new code. ----
It is so very easy to see how these codes and practices became spread over both spectrums, as the ops in the old days tended ro roam around a lot.

Canadians worked in the US during the winter and maybe went back north during summer.

A number of US Ops would likewise work in Canada.

The border in the late 1800's - early 1900's were very porous.

My Grandfather was a Boomer Op.
73, Skip


During WW II, the Navy was still using landline, American Morse to transmit traffic from Washington to its radio stations on the East and West coasts, where the traffic was put on the air in International Morse.

When I was in boot camp they told me that I didn't have enough American Morse experience (about two years) to be assigned to that duty. Instead, I was sent to aviation radio school.
73 - Warren

Bleeding over of codes ......

Hi Skip:  

Before the International Convention in 1912, American Morse was the standard for Great Lakes shipping.

All Great Lakes shipboard ops used American Morse Code.

When licensing emerged with the passage of the Radio Act, and the Department of Commerce was bound by treaty to specify the Continental Code for shipping, the Lakers transitioned to Continental Code.

However, according to some of those who were operators at the time, one continued to hear American Morse commonly used well into the 1920s.

The Amateur Radio community had its share of telegraphers in its ranks as well, many of whom were interested in radio communications and therefore brought their procedures with them into Amateur Radio.

The American Radio Relay League was originally built around radiogram traffic handling.

The American Morse comma is still used by NTS operators after each line in the address of a radiogram, and the "FN" is still transmitted at the end of each radiogram.

The format for these messages is essentially the same as the commercial message formats used by commercial telegraphers, with just a few necessary modifications.

It all makes sense in that the likely source for the first wireless telegraphers would have been men and women who were already skilled in Morse Code. Employers would have likely sought out people with prior experience and these individuals would have brought their commercial procedures with them.

73, James Wades


HI Warren et. al.

Grant Storey (SK), who was quite active on the hubs, was assigned as a supervisor at Great Lakes during WW-2.

He once told me of an incident in which they had a power failure, which rendered the teletypes inoperative.

He sent all the highest priority traffic out via Morse while crews worked to restore power.

He was the only person on duty who knew Morse.

All the women who were assigned to Great Lakes as teleprinter operators could do nothing more than clerk for him or stand around watching. LOL.

    The costal radiotelegraph stations also used Morse.

Ops used Continental Code for communications with ships, and then transferred the radiograms to the commercial telegraph companies using landline Morse. Some of the better ops could do it simultaneously; receiving the radiogram traffic and transmitting it to WU several words behind.

73, JW


Hi Gren,

30 is from the W.U. "92 Code", not Phillips.

This of course was turned into the International Morse prosign SK meaning end of transmission in both cases.

Press ops using American Morse would used a prosign FN for "finished" to indicate the end of an individual message within a transmission as I understand it.

I don't know where that came from as in Phillips FN seems to mean "15" but one of the telegraphers in that video of Morse Day in 1983 used it to mean "finished".

In International Morse it became the prosign AR.

Of course, the comma in American became the prosign AA in International.Of course, all have the same dot dash pattern in both codes and I expect in all examples it was a case of American Morse "bleeding into" International practice. But that's just my supposition.

73, Chris Hausler


I think Chris have never seen the list above "The Phillips Punctuation Code" ?



I remember reading somewhere that the -30- came from newspaper reporters.

The editors would commonly tell the reporters to write 30 lines of text for their report and they would put the -30- at the bottom of the report to indicate that was the end.

Any truth to that story?

Sorry I can't remember where I read it.
73, Mike SV


Hi Mike et. al.

    The "30 lines of text" is one of those "urban legends," probably started by someone who needed a plausible explanation for the practice but didn't want to do the research.

    The origin of "30" has been well researched by knowledgeable individuals, not the least of whom were Lou Moreau, the telegraph historian (deceased) and H. L. Mencken, author of "The American Language " and noted newspaper editor and magazine publisher.

    The origins are rooted in the Western Union wire codes and the meaning is "end of work." Press telegraphers adopted this wire code for use at the close or end of an article.

From there, it likely spread from telegraphers to telegraph editors and then to other newspaper men (real old-time newspapermen never referred to themselves as "journalists" or so I have heard).

Phillips did reference it in at least one of his publications, but this was likely recognition of existing practices. "30" does not originate with Phillips Code.

    Wireless telegraphers and international convention adopted "30" as a prosign ("SK") indicating that a traffic exchange had been completed.

Those familiar with military procedures (ACP-131, etc) will recognize it as being the radiotelegraph equivalent of the proword "out" which is transmitted when two stations have completed their business and have released the circuit to its default, which is usually the circuit being guarded by a net control station.

    By the way, someone brought up "FN." The is one of those abbreviations / prosigns that likely arose organically.

It simply indicates "end of message." Radio operators recognize it as "AR."

NTS CW ops still send it after the signature in radiogram messages.

In this latter context, "AR N" means "end of message, no more to follow," whereas "AR B" means "end of message, more to follow."

73, Jim Wades MorseKob- & SlowSpeedWireGroup



When I copied stories from Canadian Press and Reuters they always finished with 30that was in the early 50s

73, Lavina


Hi, Lavina,

I understand that was the standard "no more" ..... (on my railroad we used "NM" when all the traffic had been sent.
As I have said, I have seen "30" used even in recent times.

Wish I could remember exactly where.

Pretty sure they were in raw news releases.

73, Skip

-30- ... it was a railroad code, too.
    I have a fair collection of railroad rule books ..... many from long ago.

Many do no show "30" but looked in my Chicago & Northwestern Railway rule book from 1893, and there it was:
Page 47, Rule 165 in a list under Signals: "30. The end. " See attachment. (see below, clq)
So, it had found its way onto the rails, at least on some railways.
73, Skip


Even into the 1970s, the Associated Press ended each story (via teletype) with a -30-!

I have an 1884 Western Union rule book that shows -30- as end of transmission.

Otyher references go all the way back to the mid 1850s.
When I was editor of Dots and Dashes I had a long article on the origin of 30, and others I am sure, have done the same.
My favorite explanation is the rythm of the old saying....

Shave and a H-AA-I-R cut six bits (Dot) (Dot) (Dot) (Dash) (Dot) (Dot) (Dot) -- 30 --

John Barrows, Helena, Montana



All in ALL we have accounted for different versions of 1844 Morse Code ( by Vail) or near similar type code 3 in genl use.

American Morse 1844

Intl/Continental 1851

Navy Code & Bain Code

The Phillips Code used for Press work the letters and numerals of this code are the same as MORSE but there are differences in some punctuations & other symbols.

Western Union and others used variations suited to their ideals-(I guess) It is interesting to note the WPM in 1907 before the Vibroplex Key Two U.S.Operators using reception by sounder,typewriter and Phillips Code!!!!! (Good thing it was not permitted for ordinary telegrams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have learned considerably from all the comments Im beginning to wonder how I survived amongst ALL the OLD HEADS as a young CUB in my formative years!!! 73 & 30

gs@OA G. Schrader (pse see below, clq)

All railroads in the US and Canada used AMERICAN Morse on their wires up until the absolute end.
I believe your NYC "presenter" was in error.
Someone should press him for hard evidence to back up his statements.
Ed. FB

73, 30, your editor. pa3clq

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