learning CW

Discussion in 'Videos and Podcasts' started by KC8NXZ, Aug 1, 2020.

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  1. KC8NXZ

    KC8NXZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Would like suggestions on tools available for learning and practicing CW
    chuck (KC8NXZ)
  2. PD2R

    PD2R Ham Member QRZ Page

    Go to CW Academy from CW Ops. It is in my humble opinion the best program to learn the code. I managed to get on air in two months with the help of this program. It's not magic, you do have to put in the time, there is no other way. But this program makes it a lot of fun and make you want to keep at it. They use an online program that will help you learn all the letters and numbers you need to make a QSO. The program starts with the most used letters and numbers like A, E, T, N, 1 and 2. The great thing about this is that it allows you to learn to copy simple words, sentences and call signs from the start. For example words like TEA, TEN, ATE, AT, a sentences like: ATE AT TEN and calls like AA2T, N1EA and EA2TNA. To me that worked far better than trying to learn all the letters and numbers and only then get to copy words, sentences and calls.

    If you have learned to the code, then programs like MorseRunner and RufzXP are great. MorseRunner is a contest simulator which might not be for you if contesting is not your thing. RufzXP is a program to help you copy callsigns faster. If you set it at 20 WPM, the program sounds the first call a 20 WPN. You get two shots at copying the call. If you copied it correct, it will sound the second call at 21 WPM. If you failed to copy the call, it will sound the next call at 19 WPM. RufzXP could also be programmed with words instead of callsigns. During the CW Academy level 1 course I followed, we programmed RufzXP with the 100 most common words. That made it a helpfull training tool for copying words.

    Although I personally can't praise CW Academy enough, I realize that other people might favor other programs such as the "Just learn Morse Code" program which help you learn individually.
    Other helpful training/learning tools are made by G4FON but I can't say much about them because I haven't used them that much.

    http://cwops.org/cwa/Using Morse Runner.pdf
    http://cwops.org/cwa/Using RufzXP.pdf
  3. PU2OZT

    PU2OZT Ham Member QRZ Page

  4. PD2R

    PD2R Ham Member QRZ Page

    The 1950s just called, they want their audio recordings back ;-)

    All joking aside, I think it's poor advice to focus on just one way of learning the code and disregard software, especially when you provide no reason as to why you shouldn't use it. I see this a lot, people who learned the code a long time ago by using a method that was used back in the day, claim that that still is the only way to learn the code. Some of them even believe that learning the code should be hard and difficult a by no means fun.

    We live in 2020 now and although I'm definitely not saying the old methods are useless, one shouldn't disregard more modern ways to learn the code. Software can help you tremendously when learning the code by making it less difficult and more fun. That being said, you still have to put in the time and effort.

    Edit: Look at the link below for an interesting thread about learning the code:
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020 at 9:32 AM
    W5ESE likes this.
  5. PU2OZT

    PU2OZT Ham Member QRZ Page

    GM Maarten. I am not that old! And I am still a very fresh CW-to-be operator, not much above lid level today. Desiring to learn code, to be a ham, for 4 decades, maybe I am stuck to when my dream flourished, back in the 80s. I am so grateful my ham-dream did not vanished with years. At least a dream that comes true, another one, a career in the Merchant Marine, was rotten from the start, short-lived, very afar from the 50s or from being a R-O, poor hearing oblige.
    Dividing my mind into listening and typing on a keyboard or smartphone did not worked for me, that is, and if I am not alone, avoiding months of confusion to just one ham justify exposing my (contrarian) and apparently old (ouch ;)) point of view.
  6. PD2R

    PD2R Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Oliver,

    I didn't mean to imply that you were old at all! I apologize if that is how my message came across. Everybody learns in their own way and one has to find the best way for himself. That is why I never said he should only try the CW Academy way but also look at other possibilities. I started by trying to learn the alphabet first using "Just learn Morse Code" but I got tired of that pretty soon. Then I discovered the CW Academy and applied for the level 1 course. Right before summer holiday I received a message from my Advisor that the course would start in two weeks. I had completely forgot about it because several months had passed since my application. I decided to give it a go anyway and I'm very glad I did. Learning together with a small group of students was a big motivator for me. Also the fact that course is planned so that by the end of the two months, you should be ready for your first QSO. I spend at least half an hour per day training but often even more. I did it in sessions of 10 to 20 minutes tops. We had two online training sessions per week with the group and it was great to see everybody's progress. I Also took the level two course but because of my career in the Air Force, I didn't get on air much. No I can only make contest QSO's but I plan on making regular QSO's more just to get back in the game. Who knows, perhaps we can work each other one day, I certainly look forward to it!
    73, Maarten PD2R / OV2T
    PU2OZT likes this.
  7. W5ESE

    W5ESE Ham Member QRZ Page

    The method most of us used "back in the day" was at that time, morse proficiency was a requirement for any level of amateur radio license. So when any club wanted to help newcomers become licensed, there was a morse training component to that. Typically, this was a once-a-week meeting, with time split between a lecture for the written element, and a morse code class typically taught out of a booklet like this one


    That ship has sailed; and a "once per week" class with nothing in between never worked very well, anyway.

    I think CW Academy works well because it enables you to continue to learn morse as part of a group (though now a geographically dispersed one), and the software tools available today are light years better than the LP records or cassette tapes we supplemented the Novice classes with back in the day.
    PD2R and WD6USA like this.

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