Entry Level CW with a Keyboard (CW Programs)

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W5AZL, Aug 26, 2020.

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  1. W5AZL

    W5AZL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Question for the Masses? I have an IC-7300 is there a program i can use to send and receive CW from my PC? Other than getting a MFJ-464. I'm a new HAM and want to get into CW . But i seen some people on YouTube use some programs . Any advise would help, Thank you.
  2. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Send with a keyer, or the MFJ-464 with a keyboard - but receive/decode with your ears and brain

    Virtually NO electronic device will "decode" Morse even remotely accurately in "real world conditions"

    K4PIH, K9ASE, N4UP and 12 others like this.
  3. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Learning Morse is not as hard as you think, but it does take practice. The great thing about being able to copy CW without a computer, or other appliance is you can copy signals that the decoders can't. When the signal is weak and there is a lot of noise, or QSB nearby, your ears will do what no computer can.
    K2MMO, N4UP, NK2U and 9 others like this.
  4. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    VERY well stated

    KA4DPO likes this.
  5. KD4ZFS

    KD4ZFS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Greetings and welcome! :)

    I'm glad you like CW!

    As W7UUU and KA4DPO said, it's easy to get a computer to send Morse code, but almost impossible to teach a computer to receive it reliably. If the reception is solid and clear and the sending is perfect, machines can do great. The problems come with noisy signals, fading, and variations in sending timing.

    I have a K42 from K1EL. It's similar to the MFJ, and it's great! I use it as my daily keyer with no keyboard and no decoding. But I did use it a bunch as a tutorial device and it was super helpful when getting back into Morse.

    For better or worse, learning to receive is a manual skill. Think of it like learning a physical skill like riding a motorcycle, driving stick shift, or playing music. It takes work, but there is great reward in mastering it! :)

    There are lots of threads here about learning, and lots of resources like lcwo. You can get apps for your phone. You may want to join SKCC. They have a schedule (sked) page for making contacts.

    I'll offer you the usual and correct starting advice. Do NOT think of pictures of dots and dashes. Think only of the sound and feeling of the rhythm of the letters. When you hear the first sounds of a favorite song you immediately know which song it is. That's the sort of recognition you should aim for.

    Don't worry about speed. Aim for Accuracy. Speed will come naturally with time.

    This takes time.

    Immerse yourself, and enjoy the journey. :)

    vy 73 de KD4ZFS
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2020
    WA9SVD, K8BZ, WN1MB and 4 others like this.
  6. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, DM870 in HRD will decode quite well and CW type will key your radio from your PC keyboard, they are the best of the bunch. All the experts will tell you this that and the other based on their biases and perceived notions of what is and is not morse code, but this is an actual answer to your question, from someone who has used both programs. I cannot copy fast code to save myself and use DM870 in contests mostly because they send to fast for me or as backup when someone wants to rag chew me and I am only a 5nn tu 73 kind of morse guy at best..
    W5ESE and K3EY like this.
  7. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

  8. W5TTW

    W5TTW XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    That ain't "getting into CW." BTW, it's not "HAM." It's "haM."
    W4NNF, W4HWD and WN1MB like this.
  9. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Computer programs can usually decode computer-sent Morse well enough. They tend to have trouble with hand-sent Morse, especially if sent with a straight key since the spacings and durations are very variable. Noise, interference, weak signals also interfere with computer decode. The brain, with experience, can do a lot better than computer programs for those marginal signals.

    It's good that you're interested in exercising your Technician CW privileges on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters. I'd encourage you to work up to trying CW manally (receive by ear, send by hand) because that's really what the mode does best, and many of us enjoy doing it the traditional way.

    As for computer programs. DM 870 already mentioned. FLDIGI has a CW decode mode, works but not as relaible as some others. I haven't used computer Morse decoders in a long time, since I prefer to do it manually, but MRP40 and CWGet both seemed to be reasonable of the ones I tried years ago. Don't know if they're still available and maintained.
    K8BZ likes this.
  10. AG4RT

    AG4RT Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    W5TTW and WN1MB like this.

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