back to article Fancy dropping into Pitetsbkrrh?

Grant Tower, a Pittsburgh landmark topped with a radio mast and a flashing light spelling out the city's name in Morse, has instead been spelling out the word "Pitetsbkrrh" for some time. The mistake wasn't noticed until one Tom Stepleton, a Radio Ham familiar with Morse, recognised the letter "K" in the flashing sequence and …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some mothers

    Do we all know that the theme tune to Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em actually spells out the title in morse code?'Ave_'Em#Theme_tune

  2. Mike Moyle

    Easy to find out whodunnit...

    ...just look for a building maintenance worker who's a Trekkie -- clearly it's the Klingonese spelling.

  3. mittfh

    Courtesy of a Morse Code Translator...

    .--. .. - . - ... -... -.- .-. .-. .... (Current sequence)

    .--. .. - - ... -... ..- .-. --. .... (Correct sequence)

    Perhaps someone encoding it by hand (before the days of online translators) had had a few, and his finger slipped a few times...

  4. Hugh_Pym

    Just wondered...

    ... how different they were in Morse. Perhaps it was just missing a dot or something making all the following letters incorrect but no at least two errors. There is an erroneous extra dot for the 'e' between the two 't's and then it's just wrong.

    If it has been going for a long time it could be something mechanical wearing out.

    Pittsburgh .--. .. - - ... -... ..- .-. --. ....

    Pitetsbkrrh .--. .. - . - ... -... -.- .-. .-. ....

  5. Stevie Silver badge


    Frskunk hxll!

  6. Chronos
    Thumb Up


    The traditional response to this sort of brass-pounding. It was never an official Q code, but it has been accepted as meaning "please try sending with your LEFT foot on the next over."

    --... ...-- -.. . -.-. .... .-. --- -. --- ... ...-.-

  7. LuMan
    Thumb Up

    @AC - Some Mothers

    BLOODY HELL!! It does, as well!!

  8. zedee


    Or the person just had no sense of rhythm

  9. CapitalW

    That is pretty observant!!

    I've caught a few boo boos similar; mostly in movies (then again, most special effects people are clueless about using anything halfway technical in a realistic fashion).

    The US also no longer requires CW (Morse Code) to be part of testing for any ham licenses. I'm glad because of being unable to copy code due to the dits and dahs sounding the same after a dozen or so characters. I messed up on a First Class Radiotelephone Operator's license in the early 80s as a result; I had everything but CW. Aced the written, but hosed the code......

    I am wondering if they are using the original mechanical stepper or upgraded to a mis-programmed electronic keyer.

  10. Jerome 0

    @ Some Mothers

    Barrington Pheloung's theme tune to Inspector Morse spells out "MORSE". The name of the killer (or sometimes another character, as a red herring) is often spelt out in the incidental music during the episode. Morse actor John Thaw was known to carry a small lizard in his jacket pocket during filming, in case of Morse code related emergencies.

  11. Steve Evans


    It's never a good idea to blindly use an online translator, have you not seen the Asian bar?

  12. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

    @mittfh -Mutations

    Thanks for that, saved me doing the same thing.

    Analysing the changes, I think that's one insertion (a dot, 'e' after the first 't') and two inversions

    ..- 'u' > -.- 'k'


    --. 'g' > .-. 'r'

    I wonder if it's the original device which switches the neon lamp? If so, it's almost sure to be mechanical, so perhaps it's just wearing out.

    Beer, 'cos, well, I'm going to open a bottle.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Morse still pops up every now and then

    Not unless he's become a zombie... you're more likely to see DS Lewis round the manor these days.

    (and yes, that is an oblique reference to the use of morse code in the theme tune)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Could be worse...

    The workmen building the new stand at a local football club worked out that the illuminated letters on top of the building could be unplugged one by one to spell a rather NSFW word (and yes, I saw this from one of the upper floors of our office block)

    The name of the team?

    manChester UNiTed...

  15. jake Silver badge

    Probably mechanical.

    Similar to a music box. Some of the "fingers" flattened out over time, and a blob or two of bird/bat shit added a bump or three where not wanted. Should be easy to fix.

  16. Red Bren

    @AC #c_538199

    Yes. And the theme tune for Inspector Morse spells "MORSE"

  17. lukewarmdog


    If the original intention was to inform pilots where they were (obviously the days before gps, maps of the sky, flightplans, radio towers etc.) then clearly todays pilots don't do morse or don't care where they are.

    "Where are we co-pilot, I'm totally lost and the button to activate the autopilot has got stuck down, stupid keyboard"

    "well skipper, seems we're somewhere called "Pitetsbkrrh", sounds like one of those new fangled redneck shopping malls"

    "no no no, co-pilot, don't you read The Register? That's how they spell Pittsburgh nowadays, those years of a Bush government really killed off the education system"

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    From the department of home land security

    It's to confuse terrorists, and for proof no one has crashed a plane into Pitetsbkrrh!

  19. imposter

    I for one would like

    to welcome our badly spelt overlkrghs

  20. Pat Volk

    Could be worse I suppose.

    Maybe they drank too much 'Arn. Could be worse... They could've mispelled it Cleveland. Or one that really riles people up, Pittsburg.

    Funny. First international trip, land at lovely Heathrow Airport. Have a day room at the Hilton. Asked me my address. Pittsburgh I said.

    What was on the receipt? Phishdursh. I did not have any drinks on the flight.

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