What Inspired You Or Lit Your Fire To Learn Morse Code?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by N8AFT, May 30, 2019.

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  1. W9RAC

    W9RAC Subscriber QRZ Page

    When I first become licensed I dreaded Morse Code. I struggled to learn 5 and then 13 WPM test, I despise everything about it which I am certain contributed to my slow learning of it. I considered it a complete waste of time. I learned it just to get the license and then I never used it again, at all....... until I had finally lived long enough to achieve the wisdom to understand just how fun it is, some of us are slow learners in life....but then some never learn. These days I am 90% CW. I finally understand the comradery of being part of the Morse Code elite group of users. What I was never smart enough to understand before is crystal clear now. In today's world with all the trash on fone modes its just such a pleasure to use. I have met nothing less than true Ladies and Gentlemen on the bands. Just too bad I had to wait so long to learn its real value. 73 Rich
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
    PY2RAF, N7BKV, N8AFT and 1 other person like this.
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I learned the code when I was 12 or 13 years old, to achieve my Novice license at age 13 in 1965.

    Started out by just looking at the dots and dashes on a card, and practiced by "saying" them: Like "di-dah" for A, etc. Didn't even have a key or oscillator or anything.

    Practiced with my friend David who became WN2WND when I became WN2WIK, we'd "chat" in code just walking to school and back home again, and did that for about a week.

    That was "enough" to easily pass the 5 wpm code test.

    Once the license arrived, worked only 40m CW as I had nothing else and made several hundred contacts over the next few months (the Novice band section was full of activity every day, so this wasn't hard -- many contacts were quite local), and before the year was out had three logbooks filled with CW contacts.

    The General at 13 wpm seemed very slow, as by that time we were probably going about 20 wpm, just by using it every day.

    Still use CW more than any other mode, today.
    WB5YUZ and N7BKV like this.
  3. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I learned CW in four to eight weeks or so from a phonograph record so I could get my Novice ticket in '76. I had stumbled onto hams having SSB conversations as an SWL a few years earlier while listening to Moscow and others in the old 41m band (which overlapped the North American 40m ham band). At first I couldn't understand what and why all the Donald Duck-sounding stuff. Then one day I figured out how to use my Heathkit AR-3's BFO to decode sideband...

    I always swore that once I got my General ticket I would never work CW again. But after a few months on sideband, I started wandering back down the dial every now and then. These days I am almost exclusively on CW, although I test my mike every now and then into a dummy load.
    N8AFT and N7BKV like this.
  4. W5LZ

    W5LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why did I learn CW? Because it was required to get a license.
    When was that? Somewhere around '65. In highschool.
    How long did it take to learn it? Don't remember, that was some time ago. Probably a month or two, and that depends on what you mean by "learning it". You don't start off at 20wpm, you work up to it.
    Do/Did I ever use it? Sure. Had several places where it was either required or just came in really handy. Still do.
    Do I think everyone should learn CW? Not really, but it'd sure come in handy at times. Certainly wouldn't hurt.
    How did I learn it. By listening to an old 'Instructograph'(?), club meetings. The key is that you have to LISTEN t0 it!
    Whats the 'best' speed I ever got? Something around 30wpm, but 15-18 is comfortable, no strain, you know? (I could think faster when I was younger.)

    Learning CW is only as hard as YOU make it. I haven't met anyone who "just couldn't", even blind and deaf people. More people 'think' themselves out of that any other excuse.
    WB5YUZ, N8AFT and N7BKV like this.
  5. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    It was a challenge and I won!
    I was 37.
    DL4QB, WC5P, WB5YUZ and 3 others like this.
  6. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Story here similar to a few other "old timers" on here. :D
    Started learning Morse and building a simple receiver, when in Boy Scouts, to earn the Radio Merit badge . Heard some CW on my Hallicrafters S38 D short wave receiver and finally could copy what some of the Novices were sending.
    Wanted to get a ham Radio license and join those voices and CW signals I heard !
    Had to really learn that Morse Code to get the license !
    Finally, Got it. Novice license at age 16 !
    Still love CW and Morse code after 58 years on the air.
    W1BV, N8AFT and N7BKV like this.
  7. KE6EE

    KE6EE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yep, me too. 1957 age 13. Had to learn the code in order to get the Novice ticket. So I just did it.
    Took a couple of weeks.

    Back in the day, and especially childhood days, kids did things because that was "the way it was." We just
    did it. We played at it naturally like kids used to do. Talked to one another in code. We didn't have anxiety attacks at the prospect of
    learning ANYTHING not prepackaged on a screen. Not much on TV back in '57 anyway. There was real life which was
    not all that bad.

    When you are a kid (hint: you can be a kid in any decade of your life) you just do things. Your brain is an
    automatic learning tool. You don't tend to fret about things you "have to do." You don't worry if you can
    find just the right software which can teach your brain how to learn. Which human brains have been doing
    for thousands of years. Long before the age of the computer.

    Later on in life, if your childhood wasn't too damaging, you get to enjoy doing all those things you
    simply took in as a kid, without complaining or fighting. I stopped hamming for 50 years. Then I
    realized I still could understand Morse Code. I still know how to break windows too, but that's not
    so much fun anymore now that I have windows of my own.
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  8. N7KO

    N7KO Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is something I can not explain, It is a pure language. When you are copying you can not tell if the person is a woman, a Man, a boy. Or what language does that person use in there native tunge. Are they Hispanic, Black, White, Blue or Green. CW breaks all of those barriers. We are just the same person that enjoy each others company.

    And CW is a challenge for me, for years I knew I could never learn CW. I am not fast by any means but I get a kick being able to copy letters, Words from a language that most people do not even understand, not even Kings, Presidents, Movie Stars, The majority of them anyway. And I can say brass pounders seem like my kind of people.
    N7BKV and N8AFT like this.
  9. N7BKV

    N7BKV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Makes one feel like an Old Testament prophet of sorts, doesn't it!
    I like it for the same reasons you do.

    Commence pounding.

    N7KO likes this.
  10. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, there was good ol' JY1A, the late King Hussein of Jordan. I heard him on the air often, but never got to work him - couldn't get through the pile-up! His son, the current King, is a ham, too, but isn't active anymore.

    There was also K7UGA, Barry Goldwater, who didn't become President, but at least got nominated.

    As for movies stars, there was a man named James Stewart, not to be confused with the much more famous Jimmy Stewart. He is largely forgotten today but was considered a star in his own time; he is the reason why the James Stewart we all know had to call himself Jimmy in the very beginning. It is almost impossible to find out anything about him on the internet, but I remember when he died, some years before Jimmy, his obit in QST gave his callsign.

    As for THE Jimmy Stewart, he wasn't a ham, but he was a member of the CW fraternity; as a bomber pilot he would have been trained in the use of CW, although he may well have learned CW before then as a civilian pilot.
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