the following article by:
OM Louis SZONDY VK5EEE / VKCW-NET
The following Nations are certainly still using CW:
- Russia — several navy and military stations on a regular basis, some diplomatic missions
- China — military stations, sending cut number code, 3 or 5 figure groups (plain text Chinese in CW is also 4 figures)
- Israel — 4XZ military or intelligence agency station, was very active just ahead of, during and after Paris terror attacks
- Indonesia — 7CJ/7CB (P5O) national resilience institute and/or Indonesian Navy broadcasts 6635, 9945, 12235, 18980kHz
- Pakistan — AQP Navy Station (not heard lately? certainly was active in 2015 and maybe early 2016)
- Korea — S. Korea coastal stations active on 8, 12, 16 and 22MHz maritime mobile bands for some remote fishing vessels
- Japan — at least one coastal station active (16 or 22MHz marine band?) owned by a fishing company, heard sending telegrams
- India (Port Visakhapatnam)— heard VTP6 on 8646.0 kHz.
- Algerian Army (tactical callsigns) incl. 17991kHz C/S 6V10 QSO 6V11 etc… 6V18 QRK5/5 QRU? K
- Central African Republic, Ministry of Interior (used C/S “130” simplex with “101” on 16301kHz 0639z
Russia sends some weather reports in Russian from the Naval Stations such as RCV. Much encrypted military traffic, a very active daily communication network around Russia.
China may have finally dropped 500kHz CW, and was one of the last to do so. There were still one or two, possibly three or four coastal stations using CW on other MF frequencies in recent years. CW appears to no longer be used on the HF Maritime bands, though in recent years it was still in use. Much military traffic can be heard around top end of 40m band in the evenings, recently heard 3 figure Chinese cut numbers on 7298kHz.
South Korea and Japan, the two most technologically advanced nations in Asia, and certainly more advanced than Australia (even China is more advanced than Australia), continue to use CW although only for a few fishing vessels. We keep hearing that CW marine radio is dead and gone, but that is not true, Japan and Korea, though in their own languages CW, continue to use it.
Israeli station 4XZ remains very active, with its characteristic “==” dah-di-di-di-dah dah-di-di-di-dah sending encrypted traffic. Some say it is a navy station, some say it is Mossad the intelligence agency with its motto “by way of deception”. It was active on many frequencies, including 7050kHz, HOURS AHEAD of, during and until just after the Paris terror attacks sending a large volume of urgent messages. As usual agencies seem to know of or be involved in such events.
Pakistan Navy was still to be heard on the 6MHz maritime mobile band, at least fairly recently, perhaps the last of the navies to send the traditional style tuning wheel, which now can otherwise only be heard from the South Korean stations HLW, HLO, HLF, HLG etc. Tune around 8, 12, 16, and/or 22 MHz marine bands and you will have no trouble hearing the Korean “wheels”, which are quite worn (holes in a tape presumably) as the automatic CW sent for tuning is no longer perfect, but still very readable.
Gone are the days when HF was full of signals from the ICRC, Interpol, police forces, militaries, navies, embassies, and others, but thanks especially to South Korea (I’ve heard them sending traffic lists, but haven’t listened long enough to hear any telegrams) and Japan (I’ve heard Japanese CW being sent to and from a Japanese ship), and the Indonesian and Russian authorities, CW is still in good use outside of the amateur radio bands with the latter two showing no signs of giving it up.
There are many in the west who regret the GMDSS having totally replaced CW and the Radio Officer, but money, expediency, profits and cost saving led to the demise of radio officers, like many other things in the west, without any union to defend them.
77 de Lou, VK5EEE