learning cw

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by 2E0OKC, Feb 23, 2014.

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  1. 2E0OKC

    2E0OKC Ham Member QRZ Page

    hi all my name is Andrew
    I was thinking of trying to learn cw.i don't have any problem with my ears but I find it very hard to pick out the letters.
    is there an easy way to start to learn cw and how long would one think it might take to get the hang of it,
    I havnt used cw so I would be at the very beginning .

    any ideas thanks for taking the time to have a look at my post kind regards
  2. WA9ZZZ

    WA9ZZZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are various methods and computer programs for learning Morse code. The G4FON Morse trainer http://www.g4fon.net/CW Trainer.htm seems to be quite popular. I am not familiar with it myself.

    From my experience teaching Morse code (with code practice oscillator, not computer program) most people learn the basics in about a month or so of daily half hour sessions. You don't have to study every day, should be reasonably consistent and work on it most days in a week.
  3. MI6OTW

    MI6OTW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello Andrew, i learned the code using a program called just learn morse code ( jlmc ). It worked well for me,just have to keep at it and practice most days of the week rather than once a week. Better to learn the sounds as you look at it on paper ie didah and not .- ( DOT DASH ) . Also listen on air if you can find any slower code around and get used to listening to this,over time the letters and words will gradually make sense to you . Keep at it as its really worth it in the end good luck.
  4. G4COE

    G4COE Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's tough at the beginning but it does get easier and 'is' just like learning a tune, you don't learn a tune all in one go, learning line by line is far quicker, so it is with Morse better to learn bit by bit, a handful of letters at a time rather than all of them, concentrate on letters rather than complete words until you know the alphabet.

    What you are doing really is listening for the code, training your brain to recognize it and decode it then writing it down AND all in one go, to start I would say learn in shorts burst rather than spend an hour or so at it so that frustration is held to a minimum.

    Have some slow Morse on when messing about in the shack, like you would back ground music, you will be surprised at what letters you start to pull out, these will eventually lead to words or abbreviations... cud = could, BCNU = be seeing you, and so on.

    I used to listen to commercial Morse stations, they send the same things over and over again, dunno if they're still there, a long time ago I'm going back, I called them the QSX lines because they always was listening on another frequency for the reply.

    Then there's the Datong Morse tutor which is ideal along with computer programs and never sends the same things repeatedly.

    In my day's there were no such things, records and tapes yes, but the trouble is after playing them a few times you knew what was coming.... I reckon this can lead to bogus results because it's not like receiving a 'unannounced message' or varied text, at the beginning anything helps in my view.

  5. 2E0OKC

    2E0OKC Ham Member QRZ Page

    thanks for the advice all think its going to take me a little more time but I will keep at it,

    going to get a key aswell , so I can get my hand used to the movment I know it might sound silly but if I have these things it will make me not back out so fast and try to push ahead

    cheers all have a nice evening,
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Andrew, like most things, experience counts -- try, try again for sure.

    But I didn't see anyone mention this, so thought I might:

    If you're listening to a speaker, try headphones instead. I've always found Morse much easier to copy with headphones than with any kind of speaker. The dits and dahs can be pretty closely spaced, and the faster the code is, the closer they are. Any room echo at all can create a jumbled mess. That all goes away with headphones.
  7. KJ4RZZ

    KJ4RZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Search youtube for "morse code song". Listen to it while your driving.

    Also, youtube the US Army signal corps for old morse code training films. These are great.

    It took me a couple months to get the basic alphabet, and I have been practicing off and on for a few years. When I was drive I code the license plates I see saying them out loud (dahdahditdit ditdah etc). Signs also... trying to code them fast out loud before they pass, kinda challenging on the highway.

    After awhile even the water running or the ice maker sounds like morse code. The other day I stopped mid sentence talking to my wife because the dish washer started sending. Did not copy all of it but now she thinks I'm losing my mind and I probably am.
  8. 2E0OZI

    2E0OZI Ham Member QRZ Page

    The programs mentioned are very good, and I think we are very lucky nowadays to have them to learn with. As the other guys say, using the Morse Machine program after about 4 weeks of practice 2 x 30 minute sessions a day I was able to recognise the letters and numbers, then start listening to a few QSOs and the ARRL practice files. Once I had the letters and numbers I went on the air. I'm not fast, but unless there is a lot of distraction I can do OK and 30 metres is a great place to operate, much more casual than 20 and no contests. 40m ain't bad at times either, or 17....
  9. K9KXW

    K9KXW Ham Member QRZ Page


    I had a tough time learning morse code myself. I had four (4) strokes in two (2) years, so I had to really push myself. The g4fon code trainer is good , but it wasn't for me. What I found that helped me tremendously was learning through hypnosis. The one I used was by Peter O'Dell at Success is Easy. Its a download played on your computers media player, here is the link.


    I was QRT for 3 years and I'm going to use the program again just to brush up on the code again. You should be able to get the code down with practice, practice, practice. Even after 4 strokes I was able to do it and the code actually helped my recovery from the strokes. As was pointed out, there are a LOT of amateurs willing to slow down and work with you and are very patient.

    PS: The 40 Meter band was where I was able to find most of the amateurs that worked with me. Have fun ;)

    Good Luck and 73 De Jim
  10. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My own local club is starting a class for CW, and as a part of that effort, I've put together a brief overview of some on-line resources for learning. See http://ag6qr.net/learncw.html

    That's not an exhaustive list, and much of it is pointers to good work that others have done. It includes pointers to the popular Koch method trainers that have already been pointed out on this thread.

    Some info on that page is specific to our club's location (such as info on a local CW slow speed traffic net), but most of it is generic. Enjoy.
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