Author Topic: Morse code exercise (perhaps)  (Read 2928 times)

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Offline androidTopic starter

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Morse code exercise (perhaps)
« on: August 10, 2016, 01:02:50 pm »
Would any of you Morse code experts out there make any sense of the codes below if you had received them, say, in 1948?

They are my somewhat arbitrary formatting of some hand-written characters as photographed here in an article about the Tamam Shud case...basically about an unidentified man found dead on an Adelaide beach in 1948. The Morse code hypothesis was raised by former UK detective as described here.


 M RGOA B AB D
 M LIAO I
 M TBIM P
   ANET P
        x         
 M LIAB O
   AIAQ C
 V TTMT S
   AMST G AB


Given the era, it is plausible that the photograph that this text is derived from could be of the hastily written scrawl of a radio operator either receiving or intercepting a possibly encoded message. I imagine that if you had to write down what you heard as fast as it was transmitted then the handwriting would indeed be a scrawl and that you would make mistakes - which I have indicated, assuming that they were mistakes, by struck-out characters and the bits in red).

For those that feel like having a stab at it, good luck!

Nobody has cracked it yet - and it may not even be Morse code (or any code at all for that matter).
Lecturer: "There is no language in which a double positive implies a negative."
Student:  "Yeah...right."
 

Offline German_EE

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Re: Morse code exercise (perhaps)
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2016, 08:19:29 pm »
When sending encrypted messages the Morse code is normally sent as 5-character or 5-letter groups, as these are all 4-letter I think it is something else.
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Offline hammy

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Re: Morse code exercise (perhaps)
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2016, 08:36:07 pm »
If you receive a CW message and you misheard something you cross a single letter, not the whole word.
This is not a cleartext message and crypted messages are written down letter by letter, not word by word.
Experienced operators "read" cleartext messages directly in their mind and they just write down essential information.

If this guy was a spy and he received something via radio, then I would expect single letters struck-out.

As far as I know messages from number stations where transmitted quite slow. The spy in the field, with simple equipment and not optimal station/antenna setup, cannot receive sucessful fast messages.

But maybe some older hams than I can tell you more about this old stuff.  ;)

Cheers
hammy
 

Offline voltz

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Re: Morse code exercise (perhaps)
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2016, 09:09:51 pm »
Without too much investigation, this came up:
https://ia902703.us.archive.org/10/items/Fm24-6/Fm24-6.pdf

Its a War Department Radio Operators Manual.

In this, some of the prosigns are explained. It really does look like morse code to me. And some parts look like standard radio procedure.
For example 'AB' meaning All Before, rather like a message ending.
'M' meaning start of message
'V' for a sent from callsign.
'D' could be meaning Deferred and there's a small chance thats the reason the following line was crossed out because it was not important enough?.
'P' would be priority and
'O' would mean Urgent!

Not all the characters are explained but some do fit the pattern. The actual 'payload' or message to convey though is a mystery. This could be absolutely anything if this was indexed in a secret code book. Anything from 'i would like a cup of tea' to 'drop the bombs now'...

 Edit: also see the 'x' exactly above the 'O' (urgent) character.. coincidence? or maybe a marker for it.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2016, 09:27:01 pm by voltz »
 
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Offline G0HZU

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Re: Morse code exercise (perhaps)
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2016, 12:34:31 am »
Yes, that looks like a fairly unskilled (or unprepared) operator has been trying to receive morse code and has written it down. I think I can see a lot in the way it is written because I was at a similar skill level when I was training for my morse code exam in the 1980s. I guess none of this matters now but I can see a few clues in the handwriting....

Some morse characters are 'nice' to receive and write down and some can catch you out. Some give you lots of time to write them down and some can come thick and fast and make your writing look scratchy. I can see evidence of this in the handwriting.

But the biggest clue that this is morse code is the AR at the end. This means a break in the message. This has been written with a flourish and possibly with some relief. It is much more stylish and fluid than the rest of the text in the message. At the end of every training transmission I ever received the di da di da di pattern (=AR joined together) meant an end to the frantic scribbling.

Also, look at the Q character. It looks nice because it is 'slow'  --.-  and it has another 'slow character after it in a C which is -.-.   So the Q looks nice and neat because you can spot it's distinctive (God save the Queen) sound as soon as it is sent and you have the whole of the 'C' character after it to write down the Q.

The C character looks scratchy because I think an 'I' was sent immediately after it in the next line and maybe the book had slipped under the pen making the C look cramped and small. Maybe when writing down that big fat Q the book slipped in the process? So maybe he readjusted the book and started on a fresh line after the poor attempt at writing a C ? I suspect that the last two lines are really just one line. I bet the I wasn't written properly the first time because the operator was catching up with the pen. So it appears reinforced and it kind of looks like a skinny V. The following TTMT characters are easy to read and write down but I think something went wrong again at that first S. I suspect that the operator was writing and holding the book/paper with one hand and these characters possibly made the book move a bit so the text goes smaller. You can see that the second S has its top tag misplaced and this suggests to me that the operator wasn't looking at the paper at this point.
Maybe he was looking at the radio but those last few characters look to have been written in some haste/discomfort... probably because the book had slipped slightly causing smaller and disjointed characters.

But then you get the lovely sweeping AR at the end. Look how stylish the A is compared to all the others in the message. Probably written a few seconds later as he (she?) was breathing out...



« Last Edit: August 14, 2016, 01:06:26 am by G0HZU »
 
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Offline G0HZU

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Re: Morse code exercise (perhaps)
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2016, 12:56:16 am »
I think the ITTMT characters are 'big' because it is a reaction to the little cramped C that precedes them and also because he may have had to readjust the book position. So these first few characters are bigger than usual.

I can spot other things in the text to do with how messages are prepared/sent but this is all a waste of time really.
 

Offline voltz

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Re: Morse code exercise (perhaps)
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2016, 01:22:43 am »
This may be way off base but i see two German phrases in the text:

IM PAKET - where the N looks like a K; this means 'in the package'

and

MT SAMSTG - which could be abbreviated as 'mit Samstag' meaning 'with Saturday' or 'on Saturday'.

 

Offline G0HZU

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Re: Morse code exercise (perhaps)
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2016, 01:40:42 am »
It might not be morse code, it could be something as innocent as a young person listening to a song on an old WW2 vintage radio and trying to record the lyrics by writing the first letter of each word in the song. The common line with LIA in it could be a kind of chorus. Or maybe someone was learning some lines, or could it have been a crib sheet for a test?

Whatever it is, it looks to have been written in a hurry using just one hand over a book that probably moved/slipped more than once as they were writing?

« Last Edit: August 14, 2016, 01:48:01 am by G0HZU »
 

Offline hammy

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Re: Morse code exercise (perhaps)
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2016, 09:45:00 am »
Yes, that looks like a fairly unskilled (or unprepared) operator has been trying to receive morse code and has written it down.
Some morse characters are 'nice' to receive and write down and some can catch you out. Some give you lots of time to write them down and some can come thick and fast and make your writing look scratchy. I can see evidence of this in the handwriting.
But the biggest clue that this is morse code is the AR at the end. [...]
Look how stylish the A is compared to all the others in the message. Probably written a few seconds later as he (she?) was breathing out...

Sounds reasonable ...  :-+
 


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