Monthly Archives: April 2004

“@”-sign finally in morse code alphabet

The International Telecommuication Union finally introduced the “@”-sign in the morse code alphabet. The “@” will be then .–.-. from May on. The morse code itself celebrates its 160 year anniversary these days.

But is telegraphy still used today? Yes, in some countries you still need to take a morse code exam to get an amateur radio licence. However, many countries have abolished this requirement. I also had to take this exam when I did my amateur radio licence exam, but only with a reduced speed of only 25 letters per minute. The speed in real life is much higher than this and starts with 60-80 letters per minute.

If you want to have a QSO (for the non-HAMS, this is a conversation via the radio) in such a high speed there are also several computer programmes available that you can connect to your transceiver. This website links to several of these programmes.

Fuel prices’ all-time high and the SUVs

The prices for fuel in Germany have reached an all-time high since WWII. The average price for a liter four-star petrol (Super, 95 octane) was according to an article of the German magazine “DER SPIEGEL” 1.16 EUR / Liter. Also in Belgium, where I sometimes refuel my car, the price went up from 0.99 EUR / Liter in 2003 to 1.06 EUR / Liter now.

Drivers of Sports Utility Vehicles (these wannabe-offroaders that must not be dirty) are not very happy with this development, they have a fuel consumption from 16 liters per 100km or more. Jay Leno suggested in one of the last shows that these cars should now better be called “Stranded Utility Vehicles”.