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CW difficult? Nahhh


Watch this 9 year old !!



In reply to ON3WAB:
I have been trying to master CW for nearly fifty years - and you go and rub my nose in it! :slight_smile:


Brian G8ADD


it hurts doesn’t it :o)



In reply to G8ADD:

Hi Brian,

Me too mate, I got through the CW test in 1985 ‘on a wing and a prayer’,
and have never had a CW qso. I stand in awe of those who can master it
easily, but I still have to believe that anything is possible, so I will
stick with it, - perhaps the best incentive is the sight of all those
CW spots on SOTAwatch!


Dave G0ELJ


In reply to G0ELJ:

Tom M1EYP set you all a fine example, you can do it, if you remember the 3 simple rules…

  1. Practice.

  2. Practice

  3. Practice.

If that fails then Practice.

Good luck to all who are learning the code.




In reply to ON3WAB:

Thank you Peter. What a little CW star!
A couple of points… the way he moves his hands away from the paddle between letters is strange. We were always taught to keep our fingers in contact with the key knob or paddle. The other is the height of the screen. Operating with it at that height above eye level will cause problems. On the other hand, he is going to grow.
Most enlightening.



In reply to GW0DSP: Practice is fine, but without putting it to use defeats the object. Its the inevitable pile-ups that put me off. Perhaps a dedicated (Q)QRS event for those, like me, who are working on it but haven’t the confidence to put fist to key on the air?

Don’t all jump at once tonight, please

Regards, Dave, M0DFA/G6DTN


I look forward to watching the vid later.

Mike is very kind, but in all honesty I have not mastered CW yet. I am a long way from being able to hold a proper conversation at a decent speed. However, I can activate and chase on CW, and that, after all, was my target. That’s quite easy because it follows a very predictable and repetitive format, and most should be able to get by with it.

I agree with Mike’s “Practice practice practice” advice - it does work, but it can be boring and irritating, so here’s some tips from my own learning experience, and from my ‘dayjob’ experience of turning learning that is boring and soul-destroying into that which is motivating and uplifting(!).

  1. Practice

I started on G4FON Koch morse and justlearnmorsecode.com, both freely downloadable from the 'net. That latter is the one I’d recommend, because it does all your progress analysis for you. Get the alphabet and numbers learned at this stage.

  1. Practice

When you get bored and fed up with that, start listening to CW on HF. There’s plenty in the mornings around 7.020 to 7.030MHz, and in the evenings around 3.550 to 3.570MHz that is slow enough to copy, but fast enough that you get to recognise that patterns of the regular words. You will soon recognise CQ, RST, 599, TU, 73, DE. SOTA QSOs are good to listen to with their formulaic format. Start some practice skeds with a friend. There are many on here that will do a practice sked with learners.

  1. Practice

This stage of the learning and practice stage, for me, started with going out and doing a SOTA CW activation, at 10wpm. That became quite addictive, and I lost interest in computer programs and practice skeds. Perhaps to become fully fluent in CW you need to keep going with those, but I was having more fun doing SOTA! Taking part in the CQWW CW contest took my speed up by 5wpm within 48 hours - and got me a load of DXCCs - that was fun. The format here was even shorter, simpler and more preditable than SOTA! Later, I downloaded RuFZxp from the 'net, which is a fun game for copying callsigns and cranking up the speed. Every ten or so activations, I was able to turn the keyer speed up by 1wpm, until I levelled off at 18wpm.

So that’s what ‘practice practice practice’ was for me, and hopefully doesn’t sound so boring. Which it can be - so keep changing HOW you practice, like I did.

As I said, that has simply got me where I can do SOTA chasing and activating on CW; but no more - I am not fluent at conversing in CW. Like John G4YSS, I dread the " …–… " hi!



In reply to M1EYP:

Good advice Tom and like you say SOTA QSO CW is very predictable. One very important point, NEVER be too proud to send PSE QRS (please send slowly).

Nobody will laugh at you, quite the contrary, CW ops in general are a very accomodating bunch of chaps and couldn’t care less if your speed is 50wpm or 5wpm, it’s all about a common bond through Morse Code.




I’ve had no comments about me asking QRS. On the contrary everybody tries their best to send QRS.

After all everybody did start at a slow speed I presume.



In reply to ON3WAB:
I bet there’s another “AAV” here that wishes he could send like that. :slight_smile:

Yes I was one of those folks that did the test back in 1985 “because I had to” and didn’t really use CW much afterwards.

However in recent years, it’s become my favourite mode because it’s so effective in marginal conditions with lower power.

73 Marc G0AZS


In reply to G0AZS:

Hi Marc,

I did my test in 1982 at Trusthorpe (Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire). The examiner was a regular radio op and he said that they used 14 wpm as their standard. I generally use this speed when calling as I find that it is a pleasant “conversational” speed, though as Mike said anything from 5 to 50 wpm can be found on the bands. Unfortunately quite a high proportion of the high speed morse is sent badly and lacks what I would term a lyrical nature - no doubt sent by morse egotists. I say why send fast badly and have to spend time repeating what you have (or think you have) sent.

Having learnt morse specifically to use on 23cms under marginal conditions I was determined to keep it up. Even so, like everyone I have good days and bad days.

73, Gerald