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Learning morse code (what?!?!?!)


that 4th latter (K M U R) is a killer when added! :slight_smile:
my neural net is not yet trained for that…


is that not trying to run before you can walk?
It’s clear from your previous postings, you say you are having difficulty learning the code.
You can not skip the learning stage out and go straight for advanced!
As I said in a previous posting, learning is about disengaging the brain.
The text should flow straight to your pencil, keyboard or memory without any mental awareness of translation.
Only when it becomes as natural as speaking should you try and push for higher speeds.
To be honest, unless you’re going to contest seriously or you just want to show off, working at 40wpm is a goal most of us wouldn’t be aiming for. You can have very meaningful contacts at half that speed.

Whilst as a mere youngster, I found no difficulty with 40wpm, today I am let down by my poor shot ears after too many decades sitting listening to beeps and loud rock music.Now I find it hard to differentiate tones at those sorts of speed.
Like other parts of the body, the brain is willing, it’s the other bits that are letting me down.

Keep practising!



I downloaded an app called MORSE IT that had Morse mnemonics for the characters, a few characters I struggled with this helped and as time goes on you will probably come with your own as the days go by.

Have check on this link http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morse_code_mnemonics


That fills me with sorrow :cry:
A sad day.

Nothing in comparison to this one however.
Listening to all those old familiar coast stations running A1A.
Lands End, Niton, Cullercoats, North Foreland, Ostende, Malin Head …
You used to be able to identify individual stations not from their callsign but from their individual tone!

And how the ears prick up at 6:20, buried under all those Safety messages! Quite amazing what you tune into.



An era when the ‘T’ report wasn’t just for decoration :wink:


That’s the bit I don’t seem to be able to get. I know the characters (at least A-Z, 0-9, /, BT and ?) even when they’re sent quite fast, but I have to pay attention, to concentrate on listening. If I stop concentrating on the sounds they stop meaning anything, so anything that breaks my concentration leaves gaps on the page, and it can take a while to get back on track…

The tricky bit is finding effective ways to practice. I’ve found plenty of ineffective ways, chief among them the Koch exercises on which I wasted two years. In general I find computer-generated Morse quite painful, and therefore ineffective, and most of the recordings on the Net seem to be pitched somewhere between 600 and 800 Hz which is like fingernails on a blackboard for me. I’m not convinced the word and callsign exercises on LCWO are all that effective, but I do seem to be getting better at them (for the moment) so they may be of some use. Mixed-mode GB2CW broadcasts (when I can catch them) are certainly helpful. CW-only GB2CW and W1AW broadcasts aren’t quite so useful, but I catch them when I can. I’ve yet to convince my local clubs to resurrect Morse training…

73, Rick M0LEP


Various CW organizations run either on air classes, or will assign an ‘Elmer’ to help people out. CWops have an Academy system to help people to learn.

My personal experience is that, like learning any new skill, you hit times when nothing seems to be learnt and then suddenly something just clicks in place and you are off again.

In some places there are evening classes to go along to, which helps as often the support of others having similar difficulties can help support the others to keep going.

In the UK, there are on-air slow CW transmissions and the ARRL also transmit passages of text and numbers for practice.

If you are struggling to get the alphabet and the numbers, one thing I did was to convert car number plates in my head as I drove along. You do need to get all the numbers and letters in your head 1st of course…


GB2CW Schedule: http://rsgb.org/main/operating/morse/certificate-of-competency/gb2cw-broadcast-schedule/

It is a bit out of date. On HF the only broadcasts I’ve heard have been the Thursday morning mixed-mode ones by G3UKV and the Monday evening ones by G0IBN. On VHF I know that G0TDJ stopped doing broadcasts at least two years ago.

W1AW Schedule: http://www.arrl.org/w1aw-operating-schedule

It quotes UTC times, but actually operates on local Eastern time, so US daylight savings changes can cause some confusion for folk outside the US. They’re transmitted on several frequencies simultaneously, but reception’s at the mercy of the propagation gods…

If you want Morse classes in the UK, then I gather Norwich is the place to be. I’ve not found any within sensible reach of my QTH.

73, Rick M0LEP


Rick, I am totally confused here.

Why in 2013 & 2014 have you logged using CW from 5 summits (16 QSOs) also chased using CW from as far back as 2012 and now say you cannot learn morse?

Is this a classic case of cart before the horse!


Victor GI4ONL


I didn’t say I couldn’t learn Morse. I said I failed to learn Morse using the Koch system. I wasted the best part of two years trying to get somewhere useful with the Koch progression before abandoning it and looking for other ways.

The CW QSOs I’ve logged have almost all been simple exchanges of callsigns and signal reports (and references from summits) of the kind you said “Oh dear :cry: about earlier, and often involved much repetition. CW SOTA chasing is fairly easy because all you really need to be able to do during a QSO is recognise your own callsign being sent back correctly, and send and catch the required RSTs. The reference and activators callsign can be listened for repeatedly during the activation, and confirmed against SOTAwatch spots. On the occasions I’ve tried using CW during an activation it’s almost always been because SSB wasn’t producing the necessary contacts (and once because I got myself set up on a summit with everything I needed for a nice relaxed activation except my microphone, which was still hanging on a hook back in the shack). I’ve found SOTA chasers are usually good at slowing down to my speed for what it takes to conduct a minimal SOTA exchange.

To make any use of Morse outside of SOTA, however, it seems it’s essential to be able to manage at speeds above 12wpm (some would say 20wpm), but while I can read single short words and callsigns at greater speeds, I’m having considerable difficulty reading more than a few words at a time at anything more than (on a good day) 8wpm or so. Yes, I know it’ll take practice, but when you’ve been practicing for months and months without any noticable improvement it gets a little discouraging…

73, Rick M0LEP


You don’t want it enough.


If I didn’t want it enough I’d have given up long ago.


You want it. But you don’t want it enough.

However, I’'m not sure you know what it is.

I can do SOTA QSOs (calls, reports, refs) at 18wpm comfortable and 22-25wpm if I concentrate. I cannot ragchew at a reasonable speed. I tested myself last night I can get random words/phrase at about 12wpm with 1 repeat. Not good enough for normal QSOs but perfectly acceptable for SOTA activating. Which is all I learned Morse for.

Since I now know just how bad my copying is I can come up with a target and a plan to improve.

From the figures you quoted for callsigns, SOTA activations should be trivial. Trivial because the chasers want to know you have got their call correct. All you need are calls and reports. Useful is to be able to spot REF? RPT? TKS FER SOTA RICK. But even if you can only spot ? then all you need to do is send the report and ref again. You’re not transcribing life and death material.

Everything else comes with practice, something I’ve not done enough off which is why I can’t do it. I don’t want ragchewing enough to have worked at it. Yet.


That’s because you mustn’t know the basic rhythmic character sounds, and you’ll never learn them at that speed IMHO and the only way you will is by listening and practising and LEARN TO READ BEFORE SENDING! That way you will at least know what it should sound like.

Regarding where to listen, any evening 80 or 40 Metres should have enough QSOs at reasonable speeds to let you practice on RX.

It’s obvious you would like to be proficient in CW but it requires a lot of determination and willpower. Please take advice from those who are trying to help, start listening at around 15 to 20 wpm with spaces between characters if necessary AND practice, practice, practice and eventually you will get there.

Ring a bell?

Good luck.

Victor GI4ONL


This thread has served only to encourage me to give up again.


You don’t want it at all! :wink:


So encouraging


come on guys :slight_smile:
I can’t copy a singe char and you are fighting over speeds!! :smiley:
Don’t take comments so serious… after all its on the internet… nothing can be serious :smile:

Back on topic: I think its right to say that learning (like muscle memory) the ‘musicality’ lets say of its character is the key.

Im still trying to get 4 letters together. K M R and U… when U came… everything collapsed heheh



Advising and fighting are very different scenarios :wink:


…and I was remiss, above, in not mentioning the weekly SOTA Morse Practice Net that is being run by Ron VK3AFW on Thursday evenings (Eastern Aussie Time) to encourage VKs to activate (and chase) more using CW…