My Morse Journey

As I’ve mentioned many, many times.  My attempts at learning Morse code or CW as a teenager were unsuccessful.  While I’ve mentioned my excuse was too many distractions (cars, sports, girls).  I also believe my failure was a learning block which I couldn’t overcome.  Perhaps another way to word this was a learning block I didn’t know how to overcome. 

Since getting my license in 2007, CW has been a mode I’ve wanted to operate.  I will admit that I’ve fiddled around in Ham Radio Deluxe DM780 and have also downloaded and installed other software applications to decode via the computers soundcard to text translation.  I’ve decoded many times, but have never actually attempted to send via these mechanisms. 

Please understand that what I’m going to say next is my opinion and only my opinion.  But if I have to use computer software to send and receive CW signals, I might as well stay away from that mode.  Again…this is my opinion for my own operational style and my own way of thinking. 

So having said that, I am in the process of researching methods of learning Morse code.  I’ve spent some time talking to some friends and researching information on the internet.  I plan to wrap up this discovery phase and get started in the next few days.

While I know many learned CW from simply studying the dots and dashes which make up each letter or from listening to code tapes.  I’m looking for alternative methods as I’ve tried the code tapes and studying an A is .- with not much success.  Of course, I also understand I’m a much different person now than I was 30 years or so ago.  Most of this will be similar to overcoming my obstacles with earning extra last summer.  Meaning, I just need to focus and get it done but at the same time not setting unnecessary pressures on myself. 

Morse code is very much alive on the bands and it is a mode I dearly want to enjoy.  I’ll be certain to most frequent updates to share both my successes and frustrations along my Morse journey.

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK 

Category(s): Amateur Radio, Morse Code
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8 Responses to My Morse Journey

  1. I have been studying for two years now since I got my license. I have been using I study hard for a few days and then take 2 or 3 weeks off. When I resume again I am better and it gets easier each time. I never have had any problen sending morse code but my trouble is receiving. I learned morse code 40 years ago and learned to send first. I should have learned to receive first. I think I am getting close to breaking through the barrier. I can listen to cw qso’s on the radio and half ways understand what is being said now. All I can say is keep at it and eventully it will come.

    73 de N0LWF

  2. Learn code on line is how I did it LCWO

  3. I’m there with you. I learned the wrong way (Code Quick) just well enough to be able to pass the 5WPM test, barely. Now I decode so slow I might as well not even know it at all. Like you, I want to be able to use it, but I don’t think my brain will ever catch on. If only it was transmitted in HTML 8^)
    73 de KB9TMP

  4. Jerry

    I will be interested in learning what resources you found.

    There is the good old W1AW code practice. Complete with QRM and so on.

    Various CDs. There are computer programs that you can enter a block of text and let it send you code.

    I have played around with RufzXP. More you copy correctly the faster it goes.

    There are the Farnsworth and Koch methods.

    Practice, practice, practice.

    CW will be a good resource as you start doing more Summits.


    Gurbux Singh W6BUX says:

    My suggestion is learn the code and not use any code decoding software etc. I studied it the old fashioned way to pass my test at 13 wpm and that was 56 years ago and I still enjoy making contacts strictly on code and stay away from the mike. There is a whole different world out there on CW. There are many programs available on the internet and and the key is to practise sending and receiving correctly. Good Luck.

  5. I am 62 now and learned CW to be one of the last Hams to pass a code test to get my General a couple of years back. Then it all went away. With a little practice I got it back and practiced each day with a fellow Ham and did OK, then I took a couple of days off and it went away AGAIN!
    So, I will start again, it gets easier but I still have some difficulty “Hearing” it. What i have learned is, for me, I have to listen every day foe a brief time. If I take two days off it is gone !….Has to be an age thing..

    For software I have to recommend G4FON ‘s program. I like to study at 18wpm with a 7 WPM spacing. The nice thing about this program is it will convert text file to CW and create MP3’s to download and listen while you are away from the radio.
    Remind me to Just Do It

  6. Jerry,
    You really need a method that focuses on the sound of the character and never, ever, ever, never, never, ever refers to dots and dashes. I was surprised to find that some of the iPhone apps for learning Morse code still show the dot/dash tables. This is bad, bad, bad. You have to learn the sounds.

    I took a quick look at and it looks pretty good. I especially like the MorseMachine, which is based on the Ward Cunningham work back in the 1970s, see This works well for people that have decent typing skills — you just train yourself to punch the right letter after you hear the sound. If you are correct, it gives you a new letter…if you got it wrong, it sends it again. Very tight feedback loop.

    73, Bob K0NR

  7. Hi, I’ve also started learning CW. I’ve looked at many ways to learn it. I like lcwo and G4FON but found that I personally wanted to learn how to copy by writing with a pen on paper and not via a keyboard so I could copy CW while out /p.
    I know, its best to be able to copy in your head, but I think that will be a later step for me. I have settled on using the Koch Trainer app for ‘i-Applegadgets’ and macbooks etc. I use it everyday and really find it useful, portable and easy to use – iPhone, notepad and pen. I’ve set the settings to 20WPM, and Words 1. This way I get varied length words from 1 to five characters in a word. It follows the Koch method and order of characters. To mix things up a little I also use other apps – Morse Test and Ham Morse. These together with the likes of Morse Runner on PC are great for improving once you’ve got the hang of it. With all these accessible and wonderful learning tools there really is no reason not to get ‘up to speed’ with CW! Enjoy your journey.

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  1. […] ARRL Outgoing QSL Bureau Service Information Ham Nation Netcast QSL Self-Inking Stamps from W9XR KA0XTT’s QRZ Page KD0BIK’s My Morse Journey Blog Article   KD0BIK’s Website – General information about Jerry’s amateur radio activities […]

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