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Author Topic: Can I learn CW with LCWO.net?  (Read 20626 times)
K5UNX
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« on: July 03, 2012, 09:25:04 AM »

Would lcwo.net be a good way to learn CW?

I am 49 years old, and trying to raise my involvement in Ham Radio. I recently upgraded to general and am planning on getting a HF rig sometime this year. I initially thought that I would not be interested in CW but after watching a CW only guy work during Field Day, I decided it would be good to learn.

I thought about getting Gordon Wests CD's http://amzn.to/N8yxGb

It seems lcwo.net and the CD's use different methods of learning?  I know there are several ways to learn so I guess I am looking for the "best" way to learn. I am willing to put in time and effort.

How have some of you learned? I know some learned in the military and before getting licensed before the no code era. What about some that learned it recently?

Wayne
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W5INC
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2012, 09:53:28 AM »

Wayne, I used W1AW's code practice sessions to help me with the code starting out. I still use the practice sessions to gain speed, since I was QRT for almost 10 years. Tough to beat the price, the code is sent perfectly and in plain text from the ARRL's station. The practice sessions do include puncuation marks and numbers which are always good to know, IMO. Here is the W1AW practice schedule for the summer. Good Luck in learning the code.  Smiley

              W1AW SUMMER SCHEDULE: APRIL - OCTOBER
                        (all times in UTC)


 Voice Bulletins:        Daily: 0130, 0430;

 Teleprinter Bulletins:  Daily: 0100, 0400, 2200;  MTWThF: 1500;

 CW Bulletins:           Daily: 0000, 0300, 2100;  MTWThF: 1400;

 Slow Code Practice:                 MWF: 0200, 1300, 2300;
 (5, 7.5, 10, 13, and 15 wpm)        TThSSn: 2000; Sn: 0200;

 Fast Code Practice:                 MWF: 2000; TTh: 0200, 1300;
 (10, 13, 15, 20, 25, and 30 wpm)    TThSSn: 2300; S: 0200;
                                                          - more -
 FREQUENCIES:   Voice  - 1.89, 3.99, 7.29, 14.29, 21.39,
                         28.59, 50.19, 147.555 MHz.

           Teleprinter - 3.625, 7.095, 14.095, 21.095,
                         28.095, 147.555 MHz.

                    CW - 1.818, 3.58, 7.08, 14.07, 21.08,
                         28.08, 50.08, 147.555 MHz.

 The Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 1300 - 2100 UTC transmissions
 are beamed to Europe on 14, 21, and 28 MHz;  on Wednesday at
 2200 UTC they are beamed south.

 The Friday bulletins are replaced with a special DX bulletin.

 The Tuesday and Saturday 2230 UTC teleprinter bulletins include
 the Keplerian elements for all amateur satellites.       - more -

 Teleprinter transmissions are 45.45 baud Baudot, 110 baud ASCII,
 and 100 baud AMTOR, FEC mode.

 The CW bulletins are sent at 18 wpm.

 
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W5ESE
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2012, 10:24:26 AM »

I've heard good reports about g4fon's program. I was licensed back in the 70's when most Amateur Radio Clubs sponsored Novice Classes, which included the 5wpm morse component. That approach to learning morse code has largely disappeared. (A once-per-week class was far from ideal anyway; short, daily practice would have been much bettert).

I also used to tune in the maritime shore station beacons, which were repetitive enough that I could pick out the call letters with a little effort. Those are now mostly off the air EXCEPT that once a year, a few of the old shore stations are returned to the air. That is the Maritime Radio Historical Society's 'Night of Nights', which is coming up on July 12. If you have (or can borrow) a shortwave radio, you could try tuning in some of the maritime shore stations and learn a few of the letters by copying the beacons. These are loud enough that even an inexpensive shortwave radio will hear many of them.

More details on the 'Night of Nights' is at:

http://www.radiomarine.org

Watch the KSM video at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ysyIP-BUY0&feature=plcp


73 Scott W5ESE
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M0LEP
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2012, 11:09:43 AM »

Would lcwo.net be a good way to learn CW?

There are quite a few threads discussing the merits and pitfalls of various methods, programs, etc.. Here are a few that might be worth reading:

Need help with learning CW.

Learning CW

Learning CW (same title, different thread.)

My code journey
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2012, 11:13:42 AM »

Would lcwo.net be a good way to learn CW?

I am 49 years old, and trying to raise my involvement in Ham Radio.
Wayne


Nice to hear that Wayne,

Sure you can learn CW at lcwo.net.
G4fon is also a great program.

Don't ask how it was learned in the past, because that was the hardest way.

Remember perseverance is required. At 49 years old, I estimate that you have to exercise EACH day two times a quarter of an hour for at least half a year to reach the goal of 12 wpm, which is slow but not too bad like 5 wpm, that "speed" is  horrible.
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K7KBN
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« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2012, 11:52:08 AM »

You can't really "learn CW" until you've learned Morse Code.  They are not the same thing.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K5UNX
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2012, 12:04:27 PM »

You can't really "learn CW" until you've learned Morse Code.  They are not the same thing.

Care to elaborate on that just a little? I am new to all this . . . I have had a license for a while but zero experience and I don't yet have an HF radio thought I am working on that.  If someone wants to buy a nice electric bass guitar I could get one faster Smiley But that's another problem.
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KK0G
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« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2012, 01:43:33 PM »

You can't really "learn CW" until you've learned Morse Code.  They are not the same thing.

Care to elaborate on that just a little? I am new to all this . . . I have had a license for a while but zero experience and I don't yet have an HF radio thought I am working on that.  If someone wants to buy a nice electric bass guitar I could get one faster Smiley But that's another problem.

CW (continuous wave) is the transmission mode - on/off keying of a continuous wave. Morse code is the 'language' we use to impart information to that on/off keying.
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K5UNX
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« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2012, 01:54:54 PM »

You can't really "learn CW" until you've learned Morse Code.  They are not the same thing.

Care to elaborate on that just a little? I am new to all this . . . I have had a license for a while but zero experience and I don't yet have an HF radio thought I am working on that.  If someone wants to buy a nice electric bass guitar I could get one faster Smiley But that's another problem.

CW (continuous wave) is the transmission mode - on/off keying of a continuous wave. Morse code is the 'language' we use to impart information to that on/off keying.

Ahh OK. Thank You. I have mostly heard the term CW lately in reference to Morse Code. Thanks for the explanation.
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N2EY
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« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2012, 03:03:30 PM »

The following is a couple of years old, but I guess it bears repeating.

12 steps to learning Morse Code:

1) Realize that Morse Code is a set of skills, not just one or two, and they take a while to learn. They cannot be learned by reading a book, watching a video, or posting to a forum; they can only be learned by doing. There is no "best way" nor "magic method" that is universal; there is only what works for you, and it can ONLY be found by doing.

2) Set up a place to study code. A good solid desk or table with no distractions, lots of room to write, good lighting, good chair. Source(s) of code (computer, HF receiver, tapes, etc.), key and oscillator. Headphones are a good idea. I recommend starting out with a straight key. It needs a good solid base and needs to be adjusted properly.

3) Stay away from gimmicks and printed charts with dots and dashes on them. Morse Code is sounds, not printing on a chart or little phrases. Learning to receive consists of nothing more than learning to associate a certain sound pattern with a certain letter or number. There are only about 41 of them to learn. Do you think you could learn 41 words in a foreign language? Learning Morse is easier than that because the sounds are simpler.

4) Set aside at least a half-hour EVERY DAY for code practice. Can be a couple of ten- or fifteen minute sessions, but they should add up to at least a half hour every day. That means every single day, not just weekends, holidays, etc. If you can do more than a half-hour some days, great! Do it! But more practice on one day does not give you an excuse for the next day.

5) Visualize success, not failure, not mediocrity. Nobody is born with the skills, all those hotshot ops you hear or see started out as clueless newbies. Do not accept excuses about "talent" or "musical skill" or such; there are plenty of tone-deaf CW ops who couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. "If you believe, you can achieve".

6) Download and read "The Art And Skill of Radiotelegraphy". It's free and available from several websites. Search out other code-oriented websites and read what they have to say. But do not let time reading or on the computer get in the way of practice.

7) Practice both sending and receiving each and every day. A few minutes sending is plenty, most of the time should be spent receiving, but the two help each other.

8) Practice receiving by writing it down. Copying "in your head" comes later. I find a pencil and block printing works best for me, but what matters is what works best for you.

9) Discontinue ANYTHING that impairs your ability to concentrate, focus, and learn new stuff. Only doctor-prescribed medications are exempt from this rule. Beer and other learning-affecting substances are not exempt. Get enough sleep and enough physical exercise. Eat right.

10) Put away your microphones and stay off the voice radios - all of them. Listen to hams actually using code on the air, copy down what they send. Learn how hams actually use code. Translate street signs, house numbers, etc. into code (in your head). Have code playing in the background whenever you can.

11) If your HF rig doesn't have a sharp filter (400-500 Hz), get one and install it. Read the manual about how to use the rig on CW. Best operation usually requires turning off the AGC, turning the RF gain down and the AF gain up. The S-meter and AGC won't work under those conditions but that's no big loss.   

12) Keep at it. There may be times when it seems as if you are making no progress, and times when you make rapid progress. What matters is that you keep practicing.

---

A bit of work? Sure it is, but well worth it, because all those steps make learning the code easier. And there's a lot you can do with the skills once they're learned.

But a person has to be willing to do what's required. And they have to actually do those things.

73 es GL de Jim, N2EY
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LB3KB
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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2012, 05:24:22 PM »

Discontinue ANYTHING that impairs your ability to concentrate, focus, and learn new stuff. Only doctor-prescribed medications are exempt from this rule. Beer and other learning-affecting substances are not exempt. Get enough sleep and enough physical exercise. Eat right.

What the 'ey do you have against beer ?  Beer is good for you.

73
LB3KB Sigurd
justlearnmorsecode.com
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AE5QB
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« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2012, 08:16:22 PM »

IMO, there is no reason to spend good money on a code program.  Not that those available are not good, but there are just so many free resources available, thanks to the many folks who have decided to give something back to this great hobby, that it isn't really necessary to spend money to learn Morse Code.  Trying to copy w1aw transmissions and QSOs is going to be frustrating until you learn a good number of the characters.  Use one of the code programs for that and then start listening.  At first you will think, "What is the big deal, this is easy."  But then as you add more and more of the characters, it will become more confusing.  That is just the way it works so don't give up.  Stick with it and practice, practice, practice, and you will be successful.  Good luck with your journey and keep us posted.

Tom/AE5QB,
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2012, 09:53:13 PM »

1.  Would lcwo.net be a good way to learn CW?

2.  It seems lcwo.net and the CD's use different methods of learning?  I know there are several ways to learn so I guess I am looking for the "best" way to learn. I am willing to put in time and effort.

3.   How have some of you learned? I know some learned in the military and before getting licensed before the no code era. What about some that learned it recently?


Trying to answer the questions asked (and asking forgiveness for repeating points already made):

1.  Yes -- LCWO supports the "Koch method" -- learning characters, one-at-a-time, at reasonable speed ( 15 wpm or greater) for the _character_ speed. 

2.  The Koch technique is widely accepted.   The G4FON software uses it, too.  As I remember, it's recommended in "The Art and Skill of Radio-Telegraphy".

3.  I learned the alphabet and numbers at around 7 wpm, to pass the Canadian code test, and then forgot about it.  Based on the difficulty I had when I finally decided to re-learn CW at a usable speed:

. . . DON'T DO THAT!

Instead, use the Koch method, and set the character speed to 15 wpm or thereabout.  G4FON has an automatic-scoring mechanism; I haven't tried LCWO.

Practice _daily_ for 15 minutes to an hour, depending on your time availability and stamina.  Try hard to not skip a day.

The military learning techniques might not work for you.  WWII radio operators were young, trained full-time, and were _very_ motivated.  If you didn't learn Morse, you went back into the ranks of cannon-fodder.

               Charles

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AE7UT
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« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2012, 11:14:54 PM »

Wayne I've got you beat by a couple of years here.  I'm 52 years old.
I will admit I got pretty frustrated until I just let go of my expectations to be an expert in
a number of weeks.  It took me MONTHS to feel I had enough of a grasp of the code to
start making QSOs.

I have been working "live" now for about 4 months.  It took me about 6 months to learn
and practice enough to get the whole alphabet down.  I still struggle with numbers at 20 WPM.
I used LCWO extensively to learn but it seemed to take quite a long time for me.
For me what finally got the whole alphabet and numbers in my head were CDs in the car.
I listened to an instructional CD on the way to work and driving around.  I used an old
ARRL code course.  I've now got another much faster course I'm working on that sends
at about 20 WPM and the learning is going much faster.

Just relax and keep at it.  I have a very time intensive job, 5 kids, church job, huge yard, dog
that needs walking, and most importantly a wife that needs me to help around the house.
I never had time to "study" regularly.  I just wanted it bad enough to not let the months it took
me to learn bother me. 

Winston Churchill said it best...
Never, never, never give up.

73
Stan AE7UT



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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2012, 12:11:46 AM »

So,

Now everything is said, just as so often already in the past in this forum section.
It is repeated and repeated agn cuz Topic Starters are askers, asking is easy.
It are not investigators, because the info is readily available in previous postings.
Questioners are normally guys with less perseverance abilities.  Just that is what is required.

(BTW You CAN learn CW, on LCWO, which means Learn CW on line) A language is not a mathematical construct, but is a living structure, it changes with time, and CW is at present day the same meaning as Morse Telegraphy.

Morse code is NOT a language with 41 words but a phonetic alphabet. So you have to translate character by character, give you a hard time when you want to conversate with Japan or China. But the supremacy of the western world (like a star still shining but already dead and away for light years) urge people to think that the code is universal. It is not.

And just as in the past, after collection the enthusiast congrats by the CW fraternity, we probably never hear agn something.
People make plans, and when they meet some difficulty they just stop.

Quote
Winston Churchill said it best...
Never, never, never give up.

Does that mean that when you think: I am going to learn the code such and such proficiency is my goal, and you experience that it is going to cost you  lots of time, to get it done, much more then expected, that you have to go on? Even when you think after a year: It is not worth so much time, I can spent that time better on education, reading Plato or whatever, you may not stop, because Churchill should have said something ?  When you have to walk south and during walking North you find out it is the wrong direction, return on your steps or go on walking North over the long path?

People married, promised each other for life. Over 30% divorces, Churchill should have prohibited that.
He was divorced himself, wasn't he? All those people bishops monks priests leaving churches/religions etc etc.


Is it true that you can use CW for a lot of things? Can hardly believe that. It takes two to tango.

Me and my computer.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 12:32:23 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
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