Why waste time learning Morse code? HERE IS WHY! And, how to do it.

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by WA7DU, Aug 25, 2015.

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  1. AG6QR

    AG6QR Subscriber QRZ Page

    Younger is probably easier. I was discussing this with one of the senior members of our ham club, and he told me, "The best way to learn Morse Code is to start when you're nine years old". I told him, "Thanks for the tip. I'll be sure and do that next time around".

    But in this life, for me, learning it at nine years old isn't one of the available options.

    On the other hand, I don't know of any better way to keep a mind young than to continuously learn new skills. Don't get set in your ways. Stretch your mind by doing something hard, different, a bit outside of your comfort zone. And if you are one of those who already learned CW at the age of nine, consider learning to play the piano, or to speak a foreign language, or to juggle, or paint, whatever. You may not become as good at these tasks as someone who started so early, but you can be good enough to have fun, and to keep your brain active.
  2. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I did learn CW before the age of 9 and it didn't take as much effort as it would have being older. However, if you are older some tasks can be completed, although at a slower pace. For instance, I learned oil painting a lot later in life and probably paint slower that others...but it doesn't matter. Like wise other skills might take a bit more time...but again, it doesn't matter.

    However speed is required in CW, which makes it one of those rare skills. JMO
  3. WA4BRL

    WA4BRL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just knowing the code can come in handy at times even if you don't use it. My wife learned Morse in the early 1970s in order to earn her Novice license, WB4YPD. She made maybe three contacts on CW before giving it up and upgrading to Technician.

    About twenty years later I asked her to dupe-check for me at our club's CW station at Field Day -- no computers, just a paper log and dupe sheet. She countered the she didn't remember the code, but I told her I'd tell her the calls and she would only need to check for dupes and add worked stations to the sheet. This worked out well during the contest, and after about two hours of my operating, she had me stop calling out the stations as she was copying them -- 100% -- in her head. As soon as I tuned in a station, she'd call out "Work him!" or "DUPE!" She hadn't even used the code in nearly twenty years, never above 5-wpm, and here she was smoothly handling the duping while I was operating at 20-wpm. The structured transmission of a contest exchange makes a big difference in apparent copy speed because you know exactly what to listen for and when, but I was amazed!

    CW skills can be very fluid, ebbing and flowing with the immediate need and application. Better to know it and not need it than the other way around.

    N5WVR likes this.
  4. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    It was also about the only option.

    Consider 60 years ago (1955)....

    The typical American had these communications options: broadcast radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, movies, a telephone, telegrams, and the post office.

    Radio, TV, newspapers, magazines and movies were pretty much "one way" communications, from the few to the many. Sure you could write a letter to the station or the publisher, but that was about it.

    The telephone was great for local communications with people you knew, but beyond that was long distance, and it was EXPENSIVE. The post office was inexpensive but slow, telegrams charged by the word.

    Amateur radio was a completely unique thing. Anyone with the know-how, a license, and a station could communicate instantly with like-minded folks hundreds or thousands of miles away - directly, with no intermediaries! And you could take a station in your car, on vacation, even backpacking. How unique was THAT?

    Much has changed since then.
    W5BIB likes this.
  5. KE4HTS

    KE4HTS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ok I have to admit this topic has me intrigued. I earned my Extra a couple of months ago, never learned the code (sorry to those of you who think I am not a real operator). Honestly I never had the desire, I don't talk in letters.

    That said, I needed something else to do. I started learning code last week after reading this thread. I am dyslexic and Ks and Rs are a real problem. In one week I am +90% on 7 letters U,E,M,S,K,R, and N I obviously have a ways to go but quite frankly I am enjoying it. I am easily distracted, and I am hoping that with some more time that will not as big of a problem. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

    Now I just need to get some HF gear so I actually get on the air. :)
    WA4BRL likes this.
  6. WA7DU

    WA7DU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good news. You don't "do" code in letters either. After practice and experience, your brain will listen for familiar and meaningful combinations of letters, i.e., words. Your call sign will be sent as "KE4HTS" rather than as "K-E-4-H-T-S," and you will receive often used-words as "word units" rather than as "letter units."

    Q-signals, pro signs, and abbreviations will also be included in your "word unit" vocabulary after some experience. WX. TU, TNX, CQ, AR, K, QSY, QRN, QRQ, and words you use a lot will be included.

    73 <<<---(NOT 73's !!!) dit-dit.
    WC3T, W5BIB and KE4HTS like this.
  7. KF5QZM

    KF5QZM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have been kicking around learning code for a while. Today I ordered a training CD for 7.50, then found this thread. Now I have the G4FON program and I'm getting started. I also bought a really clean Speed-X polished brass straight key. I have some maple stashed away that I have been saving. I'll make a base for the key out of a piece of that. That key will be part of the incentive to keep going so that I can use it someday.
    WA4BRL likes this.
  8. WA7DU

    WA7DU Ham Member QRZ Page

    A shiny brass key on a wooden base looks very pretty. But, it may not be heavy enough to keep your key from walking around on the desktop. A lot depends on your particular "fist." Some operators are heavy-handed, others less so. You may find at some point that a heavier base is desirable.

    It may be enough to hollow out some portion of the wooden base, and backfill with lead from old fishing weights. That, and some non-skid material on the bottom of the base may make sending code without having to chase the key across the desktop easier than without the weights and non-skid material.
  9. N8XE

    N8XE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sometimes you will see people "Write out" the dots and dashes in an email or online. I translate what I see to "dots and dashes sound" in my head to understand it HIHI!

    Thanks for the suggestion. I love my bugs (and I have some sounders as well). Just purchased the book. I am getting my book reading list together for the winter. Thanks OM!

    Jason N8XE
    dit dit

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