I am 31 yo and I want to learn Morse Code

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by CT2FZI, Feb 16, 2010.

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  1. W4TF

    W4TF Ham Member QRZ Page

    another vote for g4fon
  2. W6UX

    W6UX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Though I've had a license since 1996, I hadn't done much until just a few months ago when I setup my first HF rig. I started learning the letters using Code Quick, and I'll be supplementing with G4FON. BTW, I'm turning 38 next month, so I have quite a bit of brain impedance to deal with too!

    My goal is 20 WPM within a year. I took the plunge and got myself a K8RA P-4 (it's heavy so it won't move). I knew I'd eventually want a paddle, so I'm going to learn with it. Seems 50/50 on opinions as to whether you start with a key or paddle. Do whatever floats your boat, just be persistent.

    I've read 30 minutes a day will really help move you along. So make a commitment and practice practice!

    Code Quick recommends learning to copy and send at the same time, so if you want to do that, look for one of those devices that will translate audio to text for you so you can verify you are sending proper letters/words in real time. I think MFJ sells one; some rigs such as the K3 will do this for you.
  3. KE5FRF

    KE5FRF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Forget all the "brain impedance" stuff guys. I was 33 when I started learning code (I'm 37 now) and it only took me about 7 to 8 months to earn my 25 WPM proficiency certificate. By the end of my first year working CW, I was having QSOs with guys between 30-40 WPM. I was QRT for about two years, and it took me only a week or so to be head copying 30 WPM again.

    Not saying all of this to brag! I'm illustrating that age didn't hinder me. For the first few months I was learning code, I WENT TO SLEEP copying code with my MFJ pocket practice device. I was sounding out code when I read traffic signs, when words flashed across the screen on TV. I made it a point to learn code as a LANGUAGE and not an alphabet. By the time you have a vocabulary of 100 words (all the common ones come first THE, RIG, ANTENNA, WATTS, QTH, OP, NAME, DIPOLE, CQ TEST, etc) well, all of those words multiply upon themselves....You learned R-I-G....You learned T-H-E....before long words lke "RIGHT" pop out at you, because you know syllable combos. When you head copy, you don't always copy a word, but if you catch a syllable and a few other words in the sentence, you fill in the blanks. Pretty soon you are anticipating words (which can be good or bad, it depends) even at high speeds! IN FACT, the 30,40, 50 and up QSOs are where Morse begins to become a language instead of an alphabet. I swear, when I hear the word "name" I don't even register the alphabetic characters. The word itself has a distinct melody, just like when a big contest is going on and you hear the chorus of "dah dit dididit dah!!!!" say that real fast, "dah dit dididit dah!!!! musical eh?

    I must confess, with an 8 month old baby and all the associated distractions of life, I am having a hard time getting solid head copy above 30 WPM. My mind is too clouded and I don't get as much operating time as I used to. I think the general band conditions are in play as well. At night, when I operate most, I am stuck fighting the QRN and QSB on 80 and 160 meters...when the noise floor is nearly pegging the S meter and only 3 or 4 signals are significantly higher on the band, it is difficult to copy an entire QSO reliably.
  4. W6ONV

    W6ONV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used Morse Learner as my primary software, but also G4FON and others to supplement my training. Since I was like you starting out and did not have a key I decided to get on the air immediately.

    After learning Morse, when I could distinguish all letters and numbers being sent I decided to participate in a contest, not in any serious manner, but to provide me real time conditions.

    Since the exchanges were usually '599' (or 5NN) and a serial number (starting at 001) I was able to concentrate on deciphering call signs. This helped to a degree. I also used MRP40 to help assist receiving ability. To date CW is my second used mode behind RTTY.

    I posted this tidbit on my web site a month of so ago.

    "The January 2009 issue of QST ran an article titled, Morse Code: Efficient or Over the Hill? by William E. Packard, NN9U. The article discusses the "art" of CW and if it an out of date communication technology. The ARRL removed the 5-wpm requirement in 2007. It's not my position to make the decision for you to pursue CW or another mode in amateur radio. What I did find interesting about his article were some of the tools he created in order to learn CW.

    Some of his recommendations (which might also be recommendations of others who have taught CW), "For speed, copy words instead of letters." Learn letters that appear in groups, for example, 'ING,' 'ER' or 'OUGH'. These two letters represented by a single sound are called a digraph, while three letters are a trigraph. Learn certain words that appear more frequently, such as 'THE'.

    He then created 7 tables in order to build your CW skills up. The tables are:

    1. Most Common Digraphs
    2. Most Common Trigraphs
    3. Most Common Double Letters
    4. Most Common Two-Letter Words in English
    5. Most Common Three-Letter Words in English
    6. Most Common Four-Letter Words in English
    7. Most Common and/or Frequently Used Words in English.

    These are some great tables and come from Deaf and Blind dot com. By making these tables in to text files you could incorporate them into a program like G4FON and learn all the tables."
  5. KI4TWB

    KI4TWB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thomas, that's a GREAT looking key! Good job!!:):):)
  6. KJ4RZZ

    KJ4RZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks! I have a Kent key on order, but I got tired of waiting and built something in the meantime! Still have not gotten the nerve to make contact. Have called out CQ for awhile but decided to stop before I got myself into a conversation I couldn't hang in. Any beginner (read slow) CW's out there want to meet up in a tech CW band and practice?
  7. DL1OLI

    DL1OLI Guest

  8. CT2FZI

    CT2FZI Ham Member QRZ Page

  9. DL7GEM

    DL7GEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    ...and do get on the air!

    If you trust your skills for >5wpm, try getting on the air. QRS traffic can often be found close to the QRP calling QRGs (3060, 7030, 10116, 14060... in EU).

    73 & 55
    Marcus DL7GEM
  10. KJ4RZZ

    KJ4RZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    CT2FZI, did you get a key ?

    I received my Kent and you can have my home built one if you want it :D It's made from bamboo flooring and a hack saw blade but it works.
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