My CW journey

Started by BlinkyBill, March 16, 2015, 05:01:17 pm

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In response to madball's posts ragarding CW academy, I decided to get serious and create a thread where I could progress my learning.  Accountability is an amazing thing.  So if you don't hear from me for several days, feel free to post here and give me a kick up the backside.

I've been using, but haven't been back in a couple of weeks, so starting today, I'm going to do 15 min's a day, and see how I go.  Weekends may not happen (I try to stay away from the computer), but will see how I go.

I'm starting at 20WPM characters, with bigger spacing between them for an effective 10WPM.


Good Job Bill.

Let's kick each other.


I think lcwo will convert plain text to a Morse sound file.  I know G4FON will do that.  I have several chapters from story book in my iPod at various speeds.  Sometimes when I'm out hiking or driving I'll listen to it.  It's one more way to get some head-copy time.


Yes Bob, I had used, and was playing poems from Kipling in the background.  Pretty hard to code though with CW in the ears :D .  I need to find another time to listen as I don't have a commute.


OK, so having completed my second day, I've learned a few things.

1.  Don't try it while the kids are at home.  Doing the 5 minute continuous test with the slightest noise in the background totally distracts me and I need to start again.

2.  Trying really hard to focus on the feel/sound/groove/melody of each letter, rather than the dits and dah's.  Seems to make it easier and faster to recognise.

3.  I am astonished at the level of concentration required for a 5 minute test.  Like hard physical exercise, it leaves me exhausted, yet elated at the end.

4.  I'm doing letters at 20wpm, but with a bigger spacing between letters, otherwise I can't type fast enough.  The Koch method suggests that's fine, as once the letters are intuitive, you can reduce the spacing with little effort.

So, as of today, I have K M U R in the test group. 

Today's 5 minute test of 220 chars, I only got 18 errors.


Not bad at all. You're getting there, keep at it.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin



I started this morning with the Gordon West Audio CD's. i was able to listen while i drove to work and picked up a few letters and was able to string together simple words.


Hopefully somewhat on the topic of hearing patterns, not letters, here's a short article that says the distress call S.O.S. doesn't mean Save Our Ship but was selected because of the pattern in Morse.  It also describes the first 4 times SOS was ever used.


Last night during dinner I was telling the kids about my journey, and they were most excited.  My eldest daughter (15) wanted to see, so after dinner I ran the 5 minute test.  I sprouted off the letters for the first several groups, and then stopped, expecting a "WOW dad, you're amazing", instead she kept going, missing about half bit still rather impressive.  I asked if she remembered them from months ago when we did some during afternoon tea one day.  Her response... "No, but you just told me what the sounds were".  Now she is a very smart girl, but I wasn't expecting that.

Anyway, the letter E was added to the group today.  Found it totally mucked me up, as all the letters to date have some sort of melody to them.  E is just a dit, and breaks the "music", making me loose my concentration.  Had to spend a little longer to get comfortable with that in the group.

I'm finding when I get flustered I can muddle K (daa dit daa) and R (dit daa dit) up despite their different melody.  I assume this will be resolved with practice.

Letters in the test group: K M U R E
5 minute test: 230 chars, 15 errors, 93.5%

An in honour of cockpitbob's SOS comments...


Kids are like that! My daughter 16 said to me "I want to try" so I played her name a couple times on the machine and she immediately took over and did it with out error right up to 20wpm. This was when I was still learning E,T,A and N.

Keep going!



Hey Blinky! Its been a month, hows the code going?

I know how hard it is to stick with it as I'm learning myself way too slowly!

I've found that the Droid app "Morse Machine" is the best way for me so far.  I'm at a measly 4WPM on copy and only 90% through the alpha after weeks, but like all things it's because i don't dedicate a block EVERY day.

Hope you stick with it!


Thanks for checking in KG7OVN.

My progress came to a screeching halt due to some terrible personal circumstances that hit the day after my last post.  Things are back on the level again, so will get back into it. 

Again, thanks for the nudge!



If you have an android device check this app out. It has helped me a bunch.

Glad to hear things are better!


Hi, I am new to this group, and new to cw.  I started three weeks ago.  Have all the letters and numbers.  In perspective though, I cant copy at all.  I started using an android program called Morse Toad.  Yes, Toad.  With it you learn the letters by sound at full speed ( i guess about 20 wpm) and assign the sound to the letter as it plays them.  Now that I know the letters I am going to try other systems so I can learn to copy.  I just bought a Elecraft KX1 kit, so that should keep me excited for a spell.

I remember reading about something where people could practice together over the net, plugging their key into a sound card and meeting at some portal on the net.  Anyone know of anything like that now?  If so it would be a great way for us newbees to practice.

Great forum, glad to have found you!



Welcome BW!   :) :D ;D

I haven't heard of Morse Toad before, but it sounds like you are doing it right:  learning by sound at full speed.

A KX1!  Nice  8)   It looks like you are doing everything right.  I've got a KX1 (didn't build it) with the tuner and 4 bands and it's awesome.  It's amazing how you can work the world on 2-5Watts into a piece of wire {some day I'm going to try the proverbial wet string with tuner just to say I did it  ::) }.

I also haven't heard of doing morse over the web, but it sounds interesting.  Once you have the basics down, there's no better way to develop your skills than actual QSOs.  Meanwhile, if you've got any kind of HF rig, or short wave radio, just listen.  Something to try is the ARRL's code practice transmissions.  They send QST articles in Morse.  Here's the schedule of times and speeds.  Also, they've archived code practice files you can download and listen to.