I recently jumped into learning Pic programming. I passed on the Basic Stamp format because it seemed there is less support and projects available, the higher cost, and the urging of programmer friends to "not step backwards" by using Basic. Nonetheless, those are just my personal reasons.
You will find tons of websites with projects that you can reverse engineer if you search using the other two big formats:
The guys at http://www.nerdkits.com
have a project for a CW code reader.