eHam.net - Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net



[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

CW Practice Materials

from W8GX on July 14, 2011
Website: Keith Hamilton
View comments about this article!

I have found several ways of practicing CW. While many of these may be known to you, others may not. In the spirit of Ham Radio I wish to share my methods with you. Please add your comments below!

The first method I use is the W1AW code practice sessions on the air. The schedule is posted on the ARRL website. The material is always new and fresh with a combination of numbers and characters. It is available at various times during the day so it can be used anyone!

The second method I use is the K7QO Code Course Version 3. This course contains a lot of practice material of different types. It is available from the FISTS CW Club; The International Morse Preservation Society. Go to www.fists.org/howdi.html Then scroll to the very bottom of the page. Instructions for ordering at a VERY minimal cost are there.

The third source of CW practice material I use is at www.k7qo.net Chuck Adams K7QO has made available books in Morse Code. They can be ordered in any speed and can increment the speed as they go. They are made available at a very minimal cost for his time.

The fourth source of CW practice material I use is the very handy "Ham Morse" iPhone app by AA9PW. This versatile Iphone app is available in the Apple App Store for very little cost. It teaches code by the Koch Method and can send any combination of numbers or words or letters you can imagine. It can also send you news highlights in Morse Code! Just turn this handy app on for a wonderful CW practice session anywhere, anytime!

I am sure we all have our favorite CW practice materials! What is yours?

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KD2AJN on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
A great method of cw training that I use is to have another ham rattle off some code on a practice keyer while you try to copy it. after a few minutes you switch positions. This works great and it helps build your sending skills as well as recieving.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by K4IA on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
Just get on the air. It's the best practice there is.
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by K0YQ on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
Morse Runner and RufzXP are a blast.
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by NK6Q on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I've found the code practice file archive on the ARRL website very useful. Just like on the air, but you can do as many as you want at any of the speeds offered.

And it's free!

http://www.arrl.org/code-practice-files

Bill in Pasadena
NK6Q
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by W0FM on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
QSO, QSO, QSO, QSO, ........

73,

Terry, WØFM
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KF7QGA on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I make a CD of W1AW practice files and listen to them in my car.

My car's stereo will play MP3 files, which lets me put an astonishing number of practice sessions on one CD. I use wget (a Linux utility) to download all of the mp3 files for a given speed, burn them onto CD, and listen while driving. With more than 100 sessions on a CD, I won't be memorizing them any time soon.

I started with 10 WPM, since it was a bit faster than I could reliably copy. As soon as I was reading 10 WPM pretty easily, I graduated to 13 WPM. It's pleasant to experience the slow but steady improvement in how much I can copy in my head. I look forward to getting 13 WPM down and making a CD for the next speed.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by N2RRA on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with K4IA!!

Put the work in and reap the rewards. There's no such thing as I can't ,too difficult or not good enough practice tapes and alike.

Put the work in by associating the actual sound on the air one letter at a time by looking at a chart. Go with the speed that suits you. There are plenty operators running 3wpm to 50wpm.

DIT DAH! those are the only two sounds you gotta remember. Can't be any easier. DIT DAH! Just like your pronouncing it right now as your reading this.

From there take one letter at a time and scan around the band and even as your hearing faster CW listen for that same DIT DAH, letter (A).

Do the same with every letter and before you know it your gonna see how quick you pick up in speed. Take your key and set your rig in CW MODE to break/off and practice sending. Mimic sending with proper spacing and getting that one letter to sound as youve heard it on the air. Note:

The separation in DIT DAH's for each letter should be milliseconds apart. The separation for each word should probably be a second apart for the slower guys. Could be more for each word like maybe 2-3 seconds but the point is that you go at a proper space so your sending is clean ,precise and sounds as it should.

So get on the air, listen and start jotting down letters. Before you know it it'll turn to words then sentences then a QSO of your own.

73!
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by N2RRA on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
KF7QGA also as a great method!
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KB2DHG on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
For me now the best practice is getting on the air and having a QSO. BUT for those who are not as proficent as they think, I use "JUST LEARN MORSE CODE"
If you google just learn morse code there is a FANTASTIC FREE down load that to me is the best training tool for CW ever.

I use it a lot to this dayand it has herlped me not only to perform good profecient CW BUT helpped my speed! SO look up JUST LEARN MORSE CODE download ti and GO!
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by W7KDH on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with KB2DHC on Just "learn morse"an would just like to ad my favorite as being "G4FON KOCH TRAINER"also free an very good.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KH6DC on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
For me with trying those electronic boxes, Morse Academy, ARRL tapes and computer training aids, only Code Quick helped me from 5 wpm to 20 wpm. I had a severe mental block against morse code but Code Quick's system of converting dit dahs to mnemonics helped me overcome code phobia.
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by W4KVU on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
Get on the air --- No keyboard - no morse copier -
just the computer between your ears.....
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KE7KUS on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
http://lcwo.net

This is an excellent training tool for a variety of methods and it's free to access. Highly recommended.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by N0AH on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
A great place for all the wonderful digital ops living in the CW DX windows to learn about what all those di's and dah's are that they interfere with all day and night-

hands down, MorseRunner-
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by TKENDALL on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I completely agree with N2RRA:

"DIT DAH! those are the only two sounds you gotta remember. Can't be any easier. DIT DAH! Just like your pronouncing it right now as your reading this."

Exactly. My father who has also been a Ham for the last 55+ years gave me the same advice. He also holds a Radiotelephone License and did it all back in the "old days." Today he is more into golf and tennis, and now I have taken over the radio enthuisasm :) but I get to use his old radios (mostly VHF/UHF mobiles and HTs) and the total cost to me = priceless.

Like N2RRA said, just copy one letter at a time on the air. Great advice! I couldn't have said it better. Like driving a car - you gotta do it!
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by KI6H on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I heartily agree with KE7KUS: http://lcwo.net is a terrific and free site offering many different ways to learn the code.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by AD5VM on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I have struggled with this.... for me.. becoming proficient with the computer generated code didn't transfer to being proficient with on-air conversational CW... I could copy random text/numbers/symbols on the G4FON software at about 25 words per minute, words at about 35 words per minute and with the rufzxp program I'm in the toplist with a CPM rate of 192. However, when I would get on the air, I would struggle at 12-15 wpm... I just ordered a CW only rig (TenTec 40/30) to encourage me to get on the air and practice with real people.. but it's not the first time I've tried this strategy.. (I've built two K1's, a KX1 two NorCal40A's, a DSW-II, 38 special, T-Kit 1320, OHR-100A, a couple rock mites, a hi-mite, tuna-tin, pixie and I even spent way more than I'm willing to admit here on an unbuilt HW-8...) Only to make maybe one or two contacts with the rig and then sell it on ebay... I'm NOT going to do that this time... I'm gonna get on the air and fall on my face a few times and I'm gonna stay with it until I KNOW code.
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by N2RRA on July 14, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
AD5VM,

Reason is not tapes, CD's or computer programs are not using variables.

Band conditions, band noise, QRM, and QRN. The most important variable is how many different ways people send morse. Everyones fists are quite different. So adapting to hearing each letter, word, or sentence differently can only be done effectively with on air on hands training.

The sending/receiving morse rule of thumb basics still apply but computer generators ,CD's and tapes can't compare.

73!
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by K2DC on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
My favorite cw practice materials were:

- Kenwood TS-520SE

- J38 straight key

- 40M half sloper

followed a few months later by:

- Kenwood TS-520SE

- TenTec Keyer

- Vibroplex Vibrokeyer

- 40M half sloper

Almost everyone first learns the code in the same way - counting dots and dashes, associating the count with a letter and writing it down. And many hit a wall at just above 10 wpm because there's a limit to how fast one can do that.

To build speed and to get through the wall, there is NO substitute for interacting with someone just a little bit faster that you are. In time, you can begin to associate rythm patterns directly with short words and syllables. Thats where the speed comes from, and what got me to over 35 wpm. I'm not as often on CW and a little rusty, but after 30 years I can still hold my own at about 25 wpm.

A couple of the earlier posters had it right - QSO, QSO, QSO.

73,

Don, K2DC



 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by N3LCW on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
Live copy.

Andy
N3LCW
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by KC9TNH on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
K7QO course, W1AW for exercises; and one of the sites that lets me create & snag .mp3 files for use at times. These things early let me understand what good code - with proper spacing - sounds like. Good code = faster copy by me. The other is simply making QSOs. Hang out around the SKCC and also occasional chats with couple of gents who can challenge me velocity wise... also the occasional WES and trying to pickout KE7KUS' 4x4 net from the hinterlands of AZ. ;) It's getting there, and it's all good. Not long in the tooth on this stuff, but I think it's very important for someone initially to hear what good spacing is. Please, do that.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KB2DHG on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
For beginners, I truly reccomend downloading JUST LEARN MORSE CODE...
But if you have the code to memory, truly the best practice is actual on the air QSO's Also use a streight key... no computer or iambic... You see tapping the code directly will also help cordernate your mind and hand and to me helps keep me proficent...
 
CW Practice Materials  
by N2RRA on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
For those that say "I can't do it" here is a suggestion and something totally different that you will not find anywhere else in any other thread in any web site anywhere.

This will help you in time improve copy/ sending morse code and over all healthy life quality. Herbal medicines have been used for centuries and still used today. There is a reason why they still exist and have been passed on through generations.

1. Gingko Biloba – This is known as of the renowned memory herbs. There are a lot of studies that show that it this herb helps to improve the blood circulation in the brain. It as properly as has antioxidants that defuse harmful totally free radicals. The Gingko enhances the alertness and the memory.

2. Hawthorn – With tough OPC antioxidant, this herb cleans out the brain toxins and strengthens the tissues and the blood vessels. The Hawthorn as well as facilitates that nutrient and the oxygen that is transport towards the brain.

3. Gotu Kola – This herb is native to Europe and Asia, it enhances the circulation of the brain and also the retention and the mental performance.

4. Brain O Brain Capsule – It can also improve the intellectual capability, memory and concentration and also lessens the time studying.

5. Rosemary – This is the renowned culinary dish, this helps improve the function of the brain and increase the concentration and memory

6. Schisandra – This assists improve the memory and also the metal awareness and the sense of nicely being.

These are the proven herbal remedies that you can employ to improve your memory.

If you don't see the value of this just to improve your FISTS or learn morse code then you may see the value in at least improving your health. Either way it's a win win situation and at least you won't just be sitting in front of a radio rotting away.

73!
 
CW Practice Materials  
by WS6Z on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I actually decided a year ago that we're going about things "the wrong way" when it comes to CW training. I've been meaning to put together a youtube video behind my thinking (I've given talks on it at meetings before, but I haven't recorded a talk yet).

In the end, I've created some new software for CW training that does a number of things that I think are missing in the field:

CuteCW -- http://www.hamtools.org/cutecw/

(my next release has some keying practice training too, which is almost done).
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by KF7QGA on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
WS6Z, A Linux version? I could kiss ya!

Were you inspired by Ward Cunningham's (K9OX) excellent program at http://c2.com/morse/ ? That's a fine base to build upon. I look forward to trying your program.
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by KE7KUS on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
KF7QGA,

There's a cross-platform browser-based version of Ward's (K9OX) CW Machine software available at http://lcwo.net. It runs in your web browser and has a variety of selection options which make it usable on pretty much any machine. I regularly run mine on my Linux machines and it works quite well. Give it a look!
 
CW Practice Materials  
by N4MJG on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
My favorite is using cd called: rhythm of the code ! i can put it in ipod while i'm at work !!!!!



73
Jackie
N4MJG
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by WS6Z on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
KF7QGA: One thing I realized is that most of the software for, well, pretty much everything is windows based. So yes, CuteCW runs on windows, OSX, linux and even some phones (more hopefully coming).

I wasn't inspired by anything in particular. I actually came about it from a fresh perspective rather than basing my work on the past. Specifically, it's designed to break your training into smaller parts.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KJ4IOR on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
When I started learning CW, I dug out the tape that came with the Novice book (yeah, it was that long ago, lol) that I bought when I was in high school (I studied the material, but never took the test). I listened to that to get the letters down, and now I'm downloading the QST files from ARRL to listen to and copy. I just started about a month ago, and I'm at 7.5 wpm. I have yet to make an HF contact, but when I do, I'm going to try code, and see how I do (and that way, you all won't hear me sound like Ernest T. Bass with a cold (kudos if you know who that is)). As soon as I get a decent antenna (which I'm working on), I'll be on my way!
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by VA7CPC on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
FWIW --

RufZXP

It speeds up until I can't copy, slows down until I can. Just a gentle push . . .

The downside is that "callsign copy" is not the same as "QSO copy". So my "contest speed" is considerably faster than my "normal QSO speed".

I need to get on the air more . . . <g>

Charles
 
CW Practice Materials  
by AB7KT on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I have a 70+ mile comute to work. I recently started utilizing my time by listening to CNN Headline News in CW (Google it) using my iPhone playing through the stereo in the pickup. I have been at it for about 24 days now and it has really helped me copy in my head. I am not sure of the speed. There is a fast and a slow version. I am using the fast version. I probably copy about 1/3 of what is being sent right now but improving all the time. Of course listening to the code is secondary to driving. But when I can string together four or five words, I get really excited about it.

I work plenty of CW on the air FWIW. At the speeds I work on the air, I can pretty easily copy the QSO in my head, which is something I have been trying to achieve for years. Of course getting faster is always another goal.
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by G8UBJ on July 15, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I use Learn CW Online

http://lcwo.net/

Something to do over your lunch break?
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by N1DVJ on July 16, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
Back in the 70's I was told to sound everything out. All the time.

Like when you're driving, sound out every sign you see. The stop sign, the street name signs, everything.
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by NW9T on July 16, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I have to agree with most that have already posted,On-The_Air live QSOs. My CW is a bit rusty, but after a few minutes of listening to a few QSOs with the CW being sent by live operators using straight keys, it comes back fast. Very few operators send perfect code, some running words together, as well as using CW Shorthand will send a newcomer's mind into confusion causing them to miss a lot of the transmission.

I remember back when I was using primarily CW I'd catch myself automatically copying CW being sent while watching old War Movies without realizing I was doing it. After a while it just comes naturally.
 
Pay for "Free" apps  
by WA4D on July 16, 2011 Mail this to a friend!

I agree with the "Just Say Morse" application endorsement by several here. I would add 2 more points.

1--- Do NOT Download "Just Learn Morse" or any other app for that matter without contributing to the author's efforts. Good learning apps and their authors deserve compensation.

2--- It's all about consistency. Daily practice/Daily Practice/ Daily practice.

Or like quitting smoking, weight loss, et. al. you won't reach your goal.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by TG9ADM on July 16, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
NuMorse + Morse Runner + HF ham radio receiver... nice blend!
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by TG9ADM on July 16, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
...and almost forgot to say, live on air practice with my good old straight key.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by LU1DZ on July 16, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
TNX for your experience post.

I LSN all my SMS MSGS using the SMS2CW android add to convert the SMS text and sender phone number into Morse Code audio.

I like to practice my Code and to watch the faces of the people near me...hi hi

Alberto LU1DZ
 
CW Practice Materials  
by W2CSH on July 16, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I used Code Quick to learn morse code up to the 20 WPM needed for extra. Then I shied away from using CW on the air. Digital modes were more interesting at the time. I then received a Mercury key as a gift from a friend. He went to all that trouble so I began to practice again using the on line Koch trainers and the iPhone ap. I found that Code Quick was actually a crutch that hold you back from copying words and phrases. I can do 15 wpm but it's stressful and I have to really concentrate which is a lot of work. Now I practice common words and Q codes and can effectively copy 10-12wpm without a lot of concentration. The suggestion of getting on the air is not the whole answer. Finding someone who will actually converse is very difficult. A few of my friends and I have been setting up internet QSO's to practice with each other. We don't take up bandwidth and are free to tell dirty jokes in CW which makes them all the more fun.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by AD5VM on July 16, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
The first time I met a ham radio operator was when I went to take my technician exam in June of 2000. I had purchased a study guide at Radio shack a few weeks before, it was covered in dust on the bottom shelf and was on clearance for $2.99 I studied the material and called the number in the back of the book (ARRL) who told me when and where the closest VE session was taking place and told me to bring my checkbook and my drivers license.
I passed the test and drove back to Radio Shack. They ordered me my first rig, an Alinco dual band mobile and sold me a 10 amp regulated power supply and mag mount antenna.... In addition to this, the clerk pulled out a dusty plastic box containing four cassette tapes from WB6NOA, Morse code tapes.... Two tapes to get you up to five wpm and two tapes to take you to 13 wpm.. Well, the 5 wpm tapes taught me to copy code at 5 wpm with a 5 wwwwwwooorrrdddd ppppppeeeeerrrrrr mmmmmiiiiiinnnuuuuuttttteeee character speed.... It took years for me to get over that.... This combined with the fact that neither Gordon nor anyone else ever told me it was a HORRIBLE idea to associate dots and dashes with the 'sounds' of cw. I just didn't know any hams! so for the year leading up to my general class exam I practiced listening to the 5 wpm slow code tapes and when I wasn't doing that, I practiced writing pages of code in my notebook, just transcribing random thoughts into dots and dashes on the pages... I believe these two terrible first steps have caused me a lot of problems. With the use of the G4FON software I was able to get my speed up to 25wpm with random characters and about 35wpm with random words, I was also able to consistently copy callsigns at over 40 wpm on the rufzxp software but this didn't really translate to 'on air performance' I struggled with 12 or so wpm in QSO. I bought and built many CW only kit rigs including two K1's a KX1, DSW-II, OHR-100A, NorCal40A, 20, 38 special, T-kits, Cub, tuna tin, a bunch of rockmites and once I spent way more than I'm willing to admit on an unbuilt HW-8 on ebay... I always thought, 'once I buy and build this, I'll be compelled to get on the air and use it' wrong.. I'd make one or two shaky Q's and then sell it on ebay. Well, I just ordered another CW only rig, the TenTec version of the YouKits 40/30 meter rig... And while I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, I also ordered the little MFJ pocket code reader. I'm gonna give it one last try. It's been a couple years since I even tried to copy CW so I just downloaded Simons new iPhone app, 'Ham Morse' it's just like the other programs but I like the fact that it will send you news or sports scores from 25 different publications in CW. So that's what I'm using now while waiting for the UPS man....
73,
 
How do you learn to ride bike? You ride bike!  
by KASSY on July 17, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
1) Get on the air. Focus on ops who are sending faster than you can receive.

The worst advice in the world is "slow down to the other operator's speed". If you want to improve you must be pushed to do so. The perfect speed is 20% faster than you can receive perfectly.

2) Contest. I am always 5-10 wpm faster after a contest than before.

5) If the bands are dead, and there are no contests, then use RUFZ, as it will push your speed very hard.

Trouble is, RUFZ is without propagation issues, bug-sending issues, etc.

There is no #3 or #4.

On-the-air is absolutely the best. There's no substitute. Turn on that radio.

- k
 
How do you learn to ride bike? You ride bike!  
by KASSY on July 17, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
1) Get on the air. Focus on ops who are sending faster than you can receive.

The worst advice in the world is "slow down to the other operator's speed". If you want to improve you must be pushed to do so. The perfect speed is 20% faster than you can receive perfectly.

2) Contest. I am always 5-10 wpm faster after a contest than before.

5) If the bands are dead, and there are no contests, then use RUFZ, as it will push your speed very hard.

Trouble is, RUFZ is without propagation issues, bug-sending issues, etc.

There is no #3 or #4.

On-the-air is absolutely the best. There's no substitute. Turn on that radio.

- k
 
RE: How do you learn to ride bike? You ride bike!  
by ZENKI on July 17, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
On the air practice at a low/normal CW speed is the equivalent of training roughly at 2 times whatever speed you use in CW trainer. You better off training at whatever speed you can handle on the air rather than training on a trainer.

A trainer is better than no CW practice at all!


For sending I like using the HST sending competition sheets. Randomly generated CW 5 letter group sending is a good technique for training your fist.

The problem is that you when you use regular text you know the spelling of the words, so your speed is naturally higher. Try sending a page from the newspapers versus a page from the HST practice sheet. You will find that you make more errors because of non familiarity with the HST 5 number/letter group sheets than regular written text.

There is no software that I know off that generates random 5 letter HST type sending groups. There is no practice sending sheets on the HST web page, so I dont know where or how you can generate or get them. Bottom line is that sending with HST practice 5 letter/numbers groups improves the sending dexterity and speed of your fist


 
RE: How do you learn to ride bike? You ride bike!  
by KB4MB on July 17, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
On air is best, of course - but that isn't the point of this article.

Me, I use mp3's that I create using JustLearnMorseCode, and I also use an MFJ Code Trainer in the car (which I prefer, because I can glance over and see if I am right).

I send real QSO's with normal hamspeak - to me there is no reason to use anything other. Some say that isn't good because you can anticipate what will be said since you know the template of what is being sent - and I say, so what? Same would be true on air, and that is my ultimate goal.

I also use mp3's of Jerry Ziliak's old code course, which was the only think that REALLY got me over making a lookup table in my head (bad habit from Novice days).
 
CW Practice Materials  
by LU1DZ on July 17, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I think that one of the best Morse practice program is Morse Runner.

You can choose different type of activity like
+ Pile up
+ WPX competition
+ HST competition
+ Single Call

and add
+ QRM
+ QRN
+ QSB
+ LID
+ # of stations calling you at the same time

and select
CW speed - The lower speed is 10 wpm.
CW pitch - 300 to 900 Hz
RX Bandwith - 300 to 600 Hz
etc.

It sound like a real RX.
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by WB2WIK on July 17, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
No time to read all the replies, so this may be redundant; but I'd never recommend "copying code" to anyone wanting to learn code.

It's boring and doesn't work so well.

What I do is have students in pairs send back and forth to each other, starting when the know just a few letters. Anybody can learn a few letters.

And I would NEVER let them write anything down. That doesn't help learning code, it slows down the process.

I HAVE A CAT is a sentence and only takes seven letters. MY DOG IS GOOD is a sentence and only takes eight letters. I've found once anyone knows ten letters they can make lots of sentences. And SENDING a lot makes for better copying, always. The more you send, the more code you know.

"Listening" to code is, I think, the very worst way anyone can learn it.
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by NI0C on July 17, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
There's a difference between "learning the code" and practicing the code. The original article (and most of the follow up replies) are concerned with practicing CW, that is improving one's copying speed. Of course, listening to CW is required here.

Some of the replies mentioned rufz and Morse Runner as practice programs. These are good trainers for contesting and call sign recognition, but for conversational code, one needs to listen to text. One respondent reported using Learn CW Online: http://lcwo.net/ This is an extremely versatile website providing CW learning and practice resources for Morse enthusiasts of any ability. It has a feature allowing one to paste in a few paragraphs of text and hear it in Morse at a speed and pitch of one's choice.

That's what I use to practice CW as a supplement to what I get over the air.

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KI4GTD on July 17, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
Although it's no longer required, I'm still planning to learn CW as I feel that it's still a real part of amateur radio that needs to be included as amateurs become more experienced. I'd like to advance my license by the end of this year and in doing so hope to pick up at least 5 wpm or so of copy skill, even if I'm not at that point in sending. While I don't really have a favorite at this point, the article and the comments have been fantastic in terms of the ideas that they offer and will greatly speed my learning.
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by AA4PB on July 18, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I started with Ameco 78RPM records - but that was a while back :-)
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KB9CFH on July 19, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
MorseCat 2.0 Begining

WinMorse 2.0 Text to Audio CW

CwCom Computer to computer for those that live in apartments or other places that can't have antennas.

SuperAldis 3 Old flashlight and maritime style. Can be set up for computer to computer if you know the IP adresses.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by NU1O on July 20, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I have to agree with K4IA. Just get on the air and have some QSO's. I bought an MFJ Morse tutor to get my speed up to 35 to 40 WPM. It's a nice product but human beings do not send perfect code. Each fist is different. If you can copy at at least 5 WPM and are not on the air, you are just making excuses! Plus, the bands could use all the extra activity. 10 meter CW is dead most days. Get on with a buddy and use our frequency allotments before we lose them.

73
Chris/NU1O

 
CW Practice Materials  
by KG4USN on July 20, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I like the FISTS calling frequencies, and the FISTS organization in general. I also like the ARRL morse code broadcasts. Nothing beats on air listening and sending. If you are new to CW just jump in.
73
Ken
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KC5RIL on July 21, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I've been using an app for my iPhone. I can tap out practice, listen to code and look up Q codes and abreviations. It is very handy, and in the past three weeks of use, I've mastered half of the alphabet at roughly 15wpm or better.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KW9W on July 21, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
G4FON is an easy software download. (Win 7 friendly!) This one challenges you to build speed quickly, and starts with two characters. You can also have it send international call signs-only for practice copying those, too.
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KO0KY on July 21, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I started out in 1980 with an old Ameco code practice tape, then started sounding out all the traffic signs while driving alone. In the summer of 1981, after getting my novice call, I stayed in the Field Day code tent for almost the full 24 hours. I went in at 5 WPM and walked out at a solid 15+WPM. A friend, K5KDQ(SK) brought an old NCX3 to lend for the effort. I swear that thing picked up the entire 40M novice band at the same time. It was a continual strain to separate the signals out in my mind, but it was the best practice possible. All the operating since has been practice gravy which builds on that experience. There is nothng like getting on the air, especially during a contest. The NA QRP CW Club has 'sprints', short contests that last only a few hours that are excellent practice. Just do it!
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KM6CQ on July 23, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
In the seventies, I bought "Tune in the world with ham radio" it came with a code tape. I am a very fast learner. I memorized the tape right away and thought I had what it takes. Seriously this is just like playing an instrument. You have to try and play beyond your abilities to progress. It never ends. You can always get a little bit better by pushing yourself. I now use a Iphone app called "Ham Morse" it has a very nice user interface and works great. Kind of like the old MFJ Morse tutor I used 25 years ago to get my extra. Just a lot nicer. There is no substitute for experience and operating CW on the air.

73, Dan
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by WC1I on July 23, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
Ham Morse and Morse Mania on the iPhone. I like them both for different reasons, but the fundamental reason I use them is to learn to head copy by listening while driving. For this I usually copy words. Ham Morse has a setting that prevents the iPhone from sleeping, i.e., you can listen continuously, though the software presents words in groups separated by strings of "V's", which breaks the continuity a bit. Morse Mania will send 500 words at a time, but you have to either turn off the sleep setting or touch the screen periodically, which is a little annoying. The programs have similar feature sets, including Koch and Farnsworth capabilities, copying words, QSOs, News Feeds, Calls, etc. Inexpensive, too. Ham Morse has the nicer user interface, but both are excellent programs.
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by KU5Q on July 25, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: CW Practice Materials Reply
by WB2WIK on July 17, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
No time to read all the replies, so this may be redundant; but I'd never recommend "copying code" to anyone wanting to learn code.

It's boring and doesn't work so well.

What I do is have students in pairs send back and forth to each other, starting when the know just a few letters. Anybody can learn a few letters.<

=============================================

Personally experienced how well this works with my grandkids. They wanted to learn morse and ur way of teaching works. Sending/receiving, sending/receiving. So simple, works so well.

Get down the basics, get on the air send/receive, send receive. That worked for me.

More need to follow ur advice. Same questions keep getting asked. Amazing.......

Thanks WIK for ur fb advice on this.

fb es it wrks om

cul
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by NZ4AA on July 28, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
My xyl purchased a copy of Code Quick and So far so
good. She tongue in cheek calls it "Hooked on Phonics" for cw.



 
CW Practice Materials  
by W4QO on August 5, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I am not a big fan of the Koch order of learning the letters nor of its feeling you should set things to 18 wpm and learn all the letters that fast with little space in between. I like 15 to 18 WPM but leave some space between them. I like the order of the old ARRL Learn Code book which is outlined on my blog at w4qo.blogspot.com The first 7 letters spell out ESTONIA and we use that as a greeting for those in my code classes each year.

The main reason for not liking KOCH is it means you have to learn all the code letters before you get on the air and with these seven letters and the next set DR MULCH and your callsign IF it's not contained in these sets - you can get ON THE AIR which I think is very good practice.

I like JLMC for a code program as I like the sound of it and I have a couple dozen files that match up with the ESTONIA order I use for code practice on the local repeater before we get on 7117 kc locally and just "have fun" - sending callsigns, RST, etc All the time coordinating on the 2M repeater.

de W4QO Roswell, GA www.nfarl.org
 
CW Practice Materials  
by AD5KL on August 6, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
When I got my Novice ticket back in 1990 I learned Morse Code with the Gordon West tapes (yes tapes) 13 wpm spaced to 5 wpm.

I also created a simple program on the Apple IIc so I could utilize anyone in the house. It would generate the character audio any time a key was pressed. I'd just ask them to select keys at random & see if I could guess what I heard. Worked like a charm & I was able to pass the exam easily.
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by KC4ETW on August 7, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I read road signs in code.You have to sound out the code in your head and depending on your speed you have to be fast about it...
 
CW Practice Materials  
by KU7I on August 8, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I use the W1AW code practice files that are on the internet. I find these very helpful.

Lane Ku7i
 
CW Practice Materials  
by F1RHX on August 9, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I'm using CWPLAYER and PROFFMORSE

Cwplayer : http://www.f6dqm.fr/software.htm
Proffmorse : http://www.f8byc.net/proffmorse/

73, Marc, F1RHX
 
RE: CW Practice Materials  
by KC9KEP on August 17, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
Another vote for "Just Learn Morse Code".

73

KC9KEP
 
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to discussions on this article.

Subscribe!
My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

Other Recent Articles
London Hams Bridge Communication Gap:
Conversations With the World:
Malaysia's Over 11,000 Radio Ham Operators Can Offer Help In Emergencies:
WIA: Temporary Reassignment of Commercial Services into 70cm:
Army MARS at the ARRL Convention: