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Author Topic: learning cw  (Read 1416 times)

Posts: 102

« on: November 21, 2002, 09:34:46 AM »

i am learning morse code using the koch method. i did good up till i got to the 3 caracter. then i really start having trouble, all the letters blend together. this is at 5wpm. does anybody have any ideas or other ways of learning?

thanks 73,


Posts: 16

« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2002, 11:19:50 PM »

First, don't use 5 wpm. The Koch method doesn't really work at that low speed. Remember: the core-idea is to learn the sound of the characters, and not to count dits and dahs. At 5 wpm you will count, even if you try not to do so.

  Use at least 12 wpm. And use Farnsworth spacing, that helps you keeping the characters apart. I myself started with 15 wpm character speed and 18 wpm Farnsworth spacing.

  And last but not least: be patient. I was really confused too several times while learning the code. Just like you at 3 or 4 characters, and I also remember having had a problem when I reached 12 characters. Just keep practicing. For myself I found that practicing 5 times 10 minutes a day was better than two times 20 minutes. It may be different for you, experiment! Sometimes it also helped variing the speed -- sometimes I even found that using a faster speed was easier than using a slower speed.

  Good luck, and keep going. One day all the characters will be easy for you at 20 wpm, and you will be glad you went through all the practicing.

73, Juerg, N0PP

P.S.: check out
There you can download a very nice documentation that gives you many more tips (in pdf format).

Posts: 218


« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2002, 01:54:31 PM »

I have found that different methods work better at different speeds/levels. I started with CodeQuick, and got to 7wpm in three weeks and aced my test. However, I have found that learning that way has hindered me in "conversational" CW. I really can't get past 10wpm. However, since I don't ragchew, it isn't an issue. On the other hand, I can contest at 25wpm. I have supplemented my learning using both Koch and Rufz. So, try different methods until you find the ine that is right for you, and what you will use it for.

Posts: 242

« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2002, 10:12:16 AM »

First, you have to be patient and persistent. If a half deaf dyslexic like me can become proficient at CW, so can you, but it takes time and effort EVERY DAY. It's like learning a language, you gotta use it, or you are wasting your time.

In the beginning, it can be overwhelming, but you have to be a bulldog about it, and when you get frustrated, take a few deep breaths and realize good CW ops weren't made in a day, a week, a month, or a few months. Certainly, you have to learn the characters first, but once you do that, a big part of it is just learning to LISTEN to what you hear, and not strain so hard you start missing characters. You will want to write what you copy on paper at first, but when you get to where you recognize words, at some point, at least in my experience, it is better just to copy in your head. You can write down the important stuff in your log for referring to when an exchange is made back to you, but as far as I'm concerned, the best method is the one that works for you. Having an understanding of syntax and a good vocabulary is also helpful. At that point, it almost becomes a matter of recognizing the style any particular op uses. We all lose the thread from time to time. Hang in there.

Posts: 720


« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2003, 01:20:59 AM »

Speed it up.  I'd start out learning at 13 wpm character speed spaced to 5 wpm just to get the feet wet.  At 5 wpm character speed there is way too much time between dots and dashes, as a result your brain is hearing an endless string of dots and dashes rather than discrete characters.

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