Learning Morse Code

I would like to learn morse code so I can chase all those CW activated summits that I can here out there. I know everyone will say practice practice practice but just getting started remembering the code us a problem for me let alone competent enough to work another person without holding up the pile up. Any suggestions for a CW newbie? Books, keys, all POV welcome. Thks rb

Stage 1:

Learn the alphabet with justlearnmorsecode.com or lcwo.net

and in-between your sessions on these, search for CQ calls on the HF bands. Don’t worry about copying the callsign of the station calling yet, just recognise the CQ.

Also: listen to the HF CW segments at other times as well - while driving in your car, doing household chores etc. You will soon start to recognise often used bits like DE, RST, 599, TU E E and 73.

Let me know when you’ve done that (plenty to keep you going there) and I’ll tell you Stage 2.

(Note: no keying or sending yet - important).

73, Tom M1EYP

Current conventional wisdom says use the Koch method to learn to hear the Morse characters, and learn with the letter speed set fast (18wpm minimum). Some find it much easier than others. There are a whole bunch of Koch training programs and websites. One place to start is http://lcwo.net/ and a trawl of the reflector’s archive is likely to throw up a whole lot more.

73, Rick M0LEP

In reply to M0LEP:

One place to start is http://lcwo.net/
and a trawl of the reflector’s archive is likely to throw up a whole lot more.

What he says!


In reply to M6MGB:

I can suggest the “HQX”-software of the
Swiss “Helvetia Telegraphy Club,HTC”.
You´ll find it under this link (I hope it works)
(then open: setup_morsetrainig_3009.zip

Vy73 Fritz DL4FDM/HB9CSA

In reply to M6MGB:

I think if I had it to do over again, the Koch method would be my choice. Copying from ARRL practice broadcasts is helpful after you learn the characters. Copying QSOs off the air is sometimes a problem because some hams’ sending is pretty awful, and the ARRL practice sessions are perfectly sent.

But in going to cw you are on the right track! We SOTA Jerks are having a blast, and mostly use cw since we can almost always have a successful outing. And cw only rigs are simpler and lighter. But even if you do not do activations, or even chasing summits, cw is elegant fun and you will get lots of pleasure from operating.

N1FJ Frandy, one of the SOTA Jerks, NE1SJ

If I do another activation on Saturday, it will be 4 in one week…

From a six-pointer on Tuesday, 9 of the 10 QSOs I made were with hams I had worked before, and most of them were dx. For instance, I have worked HA7UG 11 times since starting SOTA activations in July 2010. Join the fun!

In reply to M6MGB:

I originally started learning the code immediately after sitting the RAE. I built myself a simple practice oscillator & began learning following a method from a 1950’s book. This was called “The Schoolboy’s pocket book” or something similar & had allsorts of interesting things in it, including Morse Code.

The method suggested by this book was to learn the dot letters E I S H first Then the dash letters T M O

Then followed by the reversed pairs (mirror images of each other) BV,QY,FL,DU,AN,GW.

Then Opposites (eg dah-dih-dah the letter K & dih-dah-dit the letter R) KR,PX.

Then oddballs that are on their own, C J Z

All of the methods already mentioned above are easier & quicker than this & with the online tutors now available you should able to have a simple QSO in no time at all. A tip you may have already heard is that when you “speak” letters, do not say “dot dash dot”, use “dih dah dit” instead as this will get you used to the rhythm of Morse which as a standard has a ratio of one dash being the same length as 3 dots.

Another thing that I found very useful was the GB2CW slow morse transmissions, these consist of passages of plain text sent at different speeds, from 3 words per minutes up to 12 WPM & above. These transimissions were virtually abandoned when the official requirement for CW competence on HF was scrapped, but thankfully given the number of new amateurs wishing to learn Morse several transimissions now take place each week. Even if you are not within range of a GB2CW broadcast, many clubs are now holding on air Morse lessons, & as with GB2CW, you will be more than welcome to try your hand sending once you feel ready.

Best of luck learning the original mode :slight_smile:

Best 73,

Mark G0VOF