CW question

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by KB3SDZ, Jun 17, 2010.

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  1. AG3Y

    AG3Y Guest

    I had never heard of the "Farnsworth" method either, when I taught myself the code. Rather, I started out at FIVE WORDS PER MINUTE, with EACH and EVERY letter drug out to an excrushiatingly SLOW pace. I could NOT figure out how in the world someone could learn Morse Code that way! I was right, but I didn't know it!

    The Farnsworth method sounds out the letters at a rather fast clip ( 12-15 wpm or better ) but puts additional spaces between the letters and the words, so that you have more time to think about what you just heard, before the next letter comes along. It is a very good method to learn, because as the spaces get shorter between the characters, you are already familiar enough with the sounds of the letters themselves, that you really don't have to make that adjustment from "counting the elements" to "hearing the letters and words".

    Once you start hearing groups of words which form sentences, you will be well on your way to mastering the language known as Morse Code!

    Good luck! You will find lots of support here and on the air. Look for SKCC ( Straight Key Century Club ) and F.I.S.T.S. operators. They are more than happy to help you out !

  2. AL7N

    AL7N Ham Member QRZ Page

    Learning Morse...

    The very first thing you want to do is develop a mindset that you ARE gonna learn to COMMUNICATE with other live persons using Morse.

    Then tackle the Morse by learning the SOUNDS of the letters and numerals. Learn them at a fairly rapid character speed. Get a good straight Morse key and learn to send them correctly as well while you are learning how they sound.

    NEVER work from the visual "dot dash" depiction, always try to asociate the unique sound with each letter or numeral. Avoid getting into the habit of counting dits and dahs, all that will do is get you into a habit that is difficult to break and slow your progress.

    Don't "overuse" taped or recorded material because you will soon subconciously memorize it and then it's value is compromised.

    As soon as you can, get a decent receiver and listen to real people sending Morse to each other, and listen to the W1AW code practice sessions and bulletin transmissions.

    As soon as you can begin to recognize words, even the shorter ones, bite the bullet and get on the air and start using it to COMMUNICATE with other persons. Don't worry about speed, that will come naturally with practice and use.

    Nothing else you can do will gain proficiency as fast as actually using it. Morse will soon become a comfortable communications tool that you will take with you the rest of your life. Using Morse to communicate with others soon becomes as comfortable as speaking with someone, just another language.

    Once correctly learned, Morse is like riding a bicycle or flying an airplane, you never lose the ability to use it.

    I've been at it since 1957 and Morse is still my absolute favorite mode of radio operation. It has a special attraction to it that just doesn't exist with
    any other mode.
  3. K7IHI

    K7IHI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Learning CW

    Lots of great ideas in some of the posts to this question. There is a great website that you can learn and practice code with your computer. It does not require any downloading... all you do is go to the website and you can 'send' and 'receive' CW ... and build your speed. The website is: The site is 'Learn CW On-line'.... sign on with 'test' and create your username and password.

    Have fun, CW is great(even with all dits in your callsign, hi)

  4. KG4NSF

    KG4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    CW start..

    I am starting CW too, and I was pointed to Just Learn Morse Code--free software using Koch's method and Farnsworth timing...

    After 3 minutes, I was about 96% accurate with K and M (still remember them hours later. What I didn't get so well was the "spaces..."

    Any suggestions?
  5. K3ROJ

    K3ROJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Take your time

    I remember back in the late 50's in the US Army learning code on my own, not to use during my Army career but for my own use since they had a nice radio club on post. I remember looking at all street signs and billboards while either walking or driving past them, converting them to Morse code as if I were sending. It certainly pays to know someone who can teach you or at least have a receiver and simple wire antenna to listen to hams on the air, all around the world. Most hams will quickly donate or lend a receiver to a newcomer since CW should be our predominate mode.
    I never begain using Morse Code that often but in 1999 after retirement, I started working DX stations to receive certain rewards and eventually was able to have complete conversations with only jotting down their Callsign and Name for logging.
    Another great benefit of using CW is it increases your brains ability to function faster and a recent study in Japan found it increased their IQ considerably.
  6. NC4JB

    NC4JB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sorry to dig up this thread but rather than add to the hundreds of threads on learning CW I thought I'd just tack my question on here. I have been using Just Learn Morse Code and the G4FON trainer for a couple months now, and I've found that copying by hand on paper with the G4FON trainer is by far my preferred method, even though I think JLMC is an excellent program with great features, my lacking of typing skills distracts me a lot from actually learning.

    My problem is that around about 3 minutes into a copying session my hand starts to hurt and I start to lose focus. What I'm wondering is can there be any harm in doing shorter sessions, say 2 or 3 minutes rather than the standard 5, and just doing a couple sessions with each group of letters rather than one long marathon session? Once I've actually learned all the letters and numbers again I think it'll be easier for me to copy 5 minute practice QSOs and so forth.
  7. NY3V

    NY3V Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Worst way is the way I learned!

    I was 12 years old and didn't have a code practice audio oscillator, key, receiver, record, or anything except a written copy of the code.

    I memorised the code characters and practiced by whistling it to myself when I saw a sign as I delivered papers on my paper route.

    Needless to say, sometimes I was overheard and given strange looks.

    I just know they thought I was going to be a future nerd, lol.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2010
  8. KF7ATL

    KF7ATL Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are lots of methods and online sites out there. Whatever works for you is probably good, but I agree with the people who said don't learn by counting. It's a bad habit. When you can copy 5-6 wpm fairly well ( it doesn't have to be perfect) get on the air. That will help you more than anything, and it's fun!

  9. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't think the method matters that much. If you spend 30 minutes a day for 30-45 days you will know morse code well enough to start making contacts.

    It's been too long since I learned but I just made 5 letter groups, wrote the code under each letter and my dad sent them to me. I started with 5 letters, would learn them and then dad would send to me for 30 minutes. Dad did not know CW!

    This was about 35 years ago!
  10. WA3UCR

    WA3UCR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Buddy system

    I had a friend in high school (1972) and we learned the code together. It was fun having a buddy to learn with and we learned to associate the SOUND to the character, and then groups of sounds to words. We had an "Elmer" that got us started learning this way. Once we had the basics down, we each got HF receivers and took advantage of the W1AW code practice transmissions. I remember we used to compare notes on the phone after the transmissions ended. But hey, we were 15 years old and I expect being so young was somewhat of an advantage. We should have probably been talking to girls on the phone instead of comparing notes on what W1AW had just sent! The big advantage of the W1AW practice was that you learned how to copy through QRM and QRN and it turned out to be a real bonus once we passed the Novice test. I still use CW almost every day and it is by far my favorite mode. Good luck and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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