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Author Topic: Learning the ropes on CW -- Free Android CW Reader App  (Read 8877 times)

Posts: 2

« on: September 05, 2011, 04:39:30 AM »

I just wanted to share my experience with an Free Android App that's helping me learn CW in terms of copying. I have recently been interested in really learning the CW and so far learned the entire alphabet, plus the algorithm for keying numbers, needless to say, keying wasn't so much of a problem, but copying was.  So I have been searching for a reader and came across the MFJ-461, but to me, it was either hit or miss if I had bought one (not to mention the cost of getting one).

So this morning, I went on Youtube and saw couple of Android CW Apps in action. One that stood out was the 'Morse Code Reader' written by Jacek Fedorynski and it was FREE. I was skeptical at first but quite a few readers wrote that it was pretty good. There is some folks that said it did not work at all (now you know those people right?). Okay so installed it on my phone, then put the phone next to my PC speaker, and viewed some Youtube videos with CW in action. I was amazed, even with low volume, it was reading CW, and I can see what they were saying. Only thing I think would make this app perfect is to add a filter stage to reduce ambient noise pickup which currently results in "E"'s being displayed.

Now comes the real test.. in my mobile. I will be testing it in my mobile while driving this week. I would like to add a external microphone, currently looking at Olympus TP-7 or even perhaps a noise cancelling mike installed next to my external speaker, and route the cable to the cell phone's windshield mount to pickup the CW. I will let you know how it works!

Though this software was free, I know it will help me to learn copying CW a lot quicker... fingers crossed!
« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 05:59:52 AM by KC2ZXL » Logged

Posts: 3506

« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2011, 09:34:22 AM »

You refer to an "algorithm" for numbers - which, if I understand your meaning, says:

1.  Count the dits and dahs.
2.  If the count is five:
     a.  If first element is dit, number is 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5.
     b.  If first element is dah, number is 6, 7, 8, 9 or Ø.
          (1) If ..... etc.

If that's something like the "algorithm", I'd advise not using it.  Listen for the complete sound.  It won't take long to realize that a "6" doesn't sound anything like a "B", which doesn't sound anything like a "D"... and so forth.

Good going on learning Morse code - just don't count the elements.


Posts: 1003

« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2011, 01:40:59 PM »

If you use a reading device to decode the CW, your brain won't really learn as well - like training wheels on a bicycle - they mainly slow down the learning. Save your money, just listen to CW on the air, particularly the Bulletins and Code practice from W1AW. What seems too fast at first will gradually start making sense as your comprehension/processing gets in gear.

Posts: 162

« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2011, 06:18:37 PM »

I've played with readers before, mostly out of curiosity. I think you'll get frustrated with trying to get the reader to copy code well. First, the code needs to be very well formatted with regards to spacing, etc. Most people don't send perfect code, and your brain will learn to copy all types of styles while you're still fiddling with the reader. What you need for your phone is an app that will send you code practice, so you can learn to copy in your head. Not an app that attempts to decode it for you. Have fun with the app, but also try to put in some time listening to real QSOs as well as W1AW practice transmissions.

Good luck -- any time you want to practice live on the air just let me know! Any speed, any band...

73, Milt

Posts: 1

« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2012, 04:03:27 PM »

While I have no doubt that everyone means well let me first say that I commend you on the effort and decision to learn CW.  They are speaking from experience and are trying to save you from some of the same pitfalls they experienced.  While their are some proven methods, each person has to find the best way for themselves.  My added advice would be, don't over practice, don't give up and remember that it is much harder to break a bad habit that it is to learn from scratch.  AND HAVE FUN.


Posts: 990


« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 07:14:43 AM »

I do want to encourage you to learn and enjoy CW, it has been the most rewarding part of my radio experience.

But, electronic decoding of radio telegraphic signals via acoustic coupling in a presumably noisy environment while operating a motor vehicle is truly a fools errand. It will only (sort of) work with the most perfectly formed code with an excellent signal to noise ratio. Texting would be so much more reliable and about as safe.


Posts: 2806

« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 10:17:29 PM »

I use a code reader (CW Get) heavily during CW contests.   Since almost all the code is machine-sent, it works reasonably well.

If you can figure out how to get a _wire_ connection into the phone's "mic" input (it's one of the terminals on the 4-terminal phone plug), that will be better than "listening" to the rig's loudspeaker.  You'll probably need some kind of resistive pad to reduce the signal level to a reasonable "mic in" level.

If there's no filtering on the CW reader -- that is, it "reads" the full audio bandwidth coming in -- it's going to be very frustrating.  Not only will the CW have to be perfect, but it will have to be LOUD also.

The experiment is certainly worth trying, however you do it.  I have a new Android phone myself . . . <g>


Posts: 7718

« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2012, 06:15:18 AM »

I must try to discourage the use of a CW reader for learning to copy CW. Do it by ear only and put in the time needed to learn it right or your progress to higher speeds may be crippled by your shortcut.
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