CW, I know it's been done to death but

There are many threads on this reflector and indeed online regarding learning CW. In my opinion there is not one method that suits all. What works for one will not necessarily work for someone else. I have in the past attempted to learn CW on several occasions but not really stuck at it. Kevin G0KEV ran a course at Otley A.R.S where we spent one hour a week learning to receive slow CW. He started off week one with E,I,S,H,T,M and 0 and added characters as the weeks went by. There were about ten of us sat around a table writing down what we thought he had sent then after about 25 characters he would ask one of us to read out what we had. It was light hearted, stress free and I can’t thank Kevin enough. Mistakes were made but we just laughed it off and moved on. I got K and R mixed up on more than one occasion! I combined that practice with using the Koch trainer at home adding the letters as we went. I printed an A4 sheet with all the letters and numbers on and pinned it on my shack wall. I was also told to look at car number plates and imagine sending the letters/numbers in CW. To my surprise things finally started to stick as the weeks passed and I felt I was finally getting somewhere.

So now I am reasonably confident receiving all the letters, numbers and of course the forward slash with the characters at 15 w.p.m with about a 2 second gap between them. I’m happy with 15 w.p.m and plan to shorten the gaps as time goes by. This is what has worked for me. We all learn differently but the end result is similar.

I know that there are a plenty of reliable CW chasers out there. I expect there will be mistakes and nerves but I believe what I have to do now is take the plunge and try a CW activation. Weather permitting I will try and get out and activate something soon. Hopefully chasers be patient and will slow down to my speed. Patience and QRS please!

73 Chris M0RSF


Good luck with your cw activations, when things get tough with ssb cw can be a great help.

73’s Wal VK2WP

…that’s terrific! I hope that it infects you and that you learn to really enjoy CW! It’s its own language…

Remember the only one who does not make a misteak is the one who doesn’t try, LOL. I am certain the UK chasers will work with you. I find SOTA folks to be very gentlemanly. “Damn the mistakes full speed ahead.” For me, once I had the code down pat I found working contests helped me increase my speed.

Welcome to CW! You will do well.

If you’re at the 15wpm stage, you will find CW SOTA activating much easier than continued CW training, yet it will progress you much faster. It’s also infinitely more enjoyable. Best way to keep the progress and practice going now is to do lots of repeat activations of an easily accessible summit (G/NP-028?). Zero activator points - but more enjoyable, and more effective than continuing the CW training in the club or shack.

Oi! G/NP-028 is mine! :wink:

Chris, against the advice often doled out by grumpy, old fashioned, folk, Tom is right, using Morse for real gives you more reward and then you start to enjoy it, it’s no longer a chore, you’re learning without realising it.

Go for it, and remember, amateur radio is a hobby, if you make a few errors, does it really matter? You’ve got little to lose and lots to gain!

VY 73,


Good luck Chris with your CW adventures! My big eureka moment came when I started using longhand rather than lettering or printing to record the text. Jump right in with both feet and try working CW QSO’s when you’re not chasing or activating. Don’t worry about mistakes, CW is a language of abbreviated words not a test of spelling correctness.

73, Gary

Welcome to cw Chris! the teaching method is not important…better if you have a company.
and persistent. Once you learn, the prize is huge! :wink:

73! Ivica 9a6cw

you must get your callsign changed to M0RSE that would create such a stir on the bands. but I guess it has already been allocated… :frowning:


Many thanks for the replies and encouragement. I have found a trap, a trap that I know I must not fall in to. I have done lots more receiving on the G4FON trainer and indeed listening on the bands. This evening I thought I would practice sending…


As what the RBN website recommends. My 817 was set to practice so not actually transmitting. The problem I have found, and I’m glad that I found this at home and not on a summit is that because I know and am quite confident at what I’m sending I speed up by shortening the gaps between characters. Obviously people returning my call may send a little fast for me. I must not get excited and slow down!

73 Chris M0RSF

RBN couldn’t care less whether you include the “SOTA”. If you’ve posted an alert then RBNHole will spot you if your CQ seems to fit the alert, callsign- and time-wise.

That said, I find RBN spots me more reliably if I’m using an automatic keyer to send the CQ call…

Indeed, and applying my software engineer’s hat to the problem, I’d even suggest the SOTA might make it worse in marginal conditions. RBN looks for key patterns to determine callsign and sending speed, being CQ, DE and from there intercharacter and interword spacing. If conditions are marginal, I’d suggest a tight “CQ CQ CQ” would be better than “CQ SOTA CQ SOTA CQ SOTA”, which increases the chances the QRN or QSB starts taking out random characters as it’s longer.

Shorter also means reduced spacing variance, which means RBN guesses the next character’s starting point more accurately, which in turn increases accuracy of the entire decode.

But, as in most conversations on the internet, I’ve got nothing to back that assertion up.

An automatic keyer removes the variance in spacing, so should always be more reliable; see above.