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Reviews Categories | Ham Radio education & exam prep materials | CW Academy, a division of CWops Help


Reviews Summary for CW Academy, a division of CWops
CW Academy,  a division of CWops Reviews: 1 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $FREE
Description: In 2012 CWops inaugurated CW Academy. We realized that there were a lot of hams who wanted to explore the joys of CW operating but felt overwhelmed. Some of them knew Morse but were only able to copy and send at low speeds. Others had not yet learned 'the code,' but were intrigued by the mode and sought ways to learn and practice it. In response to this demand, CWops created CW Academy, and today we are teaching many newcomers and veteran hams the art of CW using a novel 'virtual' training environment that allows an instructor to work with hams located thousands of miles apart.

CW Academy is done three times per year (Jan-Feb, Apr-May, Sep-Oct) and lasts eight weeks. Advisers and students meet, online, using Skype group video/audio to create a virtual training room. Advisers are assigned to groups of 5 or less students to ensure everyone gets attention. There's no question that online tools, such as LCWO, are very good. CW Academy is really dedicated to helping those who thrive in a group situation and benefit from having one-on-one interaction with an experienced CW advisor. With CW Academy, we continue to revise and improve our tools and methods. We are currently advising and helping over 300 hams each year. There is a corps of over 30 dedicated advisors, on multiple continents, all volunteering their time to help hams learn or improve CW skills. The only cost is a student's commitment and practice time.

Product is in production.
More info: http://www.cwops.org/cwacademy.html
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You can write your own review of the CW Academy, a division of CWops.

K7KY Rating: 5/5 Feb 2, 2015 22:36 Send this review to a friend
CW Academy - Fast track to CW proficiency  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'd like to begin a review thread for CW Academy, a subset of CW Ops, the international CW Operators club. CW Academy offers three levels of CW training. L1 for beginners, with or without CW experience. L2, the intermediate level for those who can send© at least 11wpm. L3 is for experienced CW operators capable of 20wpm. The L3 class includes specific training for contesting, DXing, and ragchewing, depending on the students interest. Both L2 and L3 emphasize abandoning pencil and paper and copy and sending from your head, only writing key words.

I entered the intermediate L2 class in the spring of 2013. Back in 1993 I managed 18wpm, but with no CW for the next 20yrs, I was down to 11wpm. My class adviser was Rob K6RB. Classes are small, usually 5 students. Classes meet twice weekly and homework is usually assigned every day of the week. Homework takes about an hour a day. It may take more or less time, depending on your experience and how quickly you learn. I probably averaged 1.5hr/day. The Academy asks you to make a commitment to attend each class session and complete the homework. It's an organized and efficient path to CW proficiency. If you follow their curriculum faithfully, you will be surprised and pleased with your results. In both classes, L2 and L3, I exceeded my own expectations.

The L2 class took me from 11wpm to 20wpm in 8 weeks. This didn't happen by good luck or charm. The curriculum is very well designed by a team of longtime CW Ops. In plain speaking, it really works! You do have to do your part. There's homework every day and the classes move along briskly, but it's well within the reach of anyone with a modicum of discipline. And, the results can be spectacular.

CW Academy uses the Farnsworth method of CW training. Level 1 & 2 begin at 20wpm character speed. You don't learn slow CW, so you won't have a tendency to focus on character elements as is the norm with older CW training methods. At 20wpm, you are simply listening to the sound and associating the sound with the character. It bypasses the old mental look-up table we older Amateurs used to decode CW.

L2 helped me erase my old look-up routines and just hear the unique sound of each character. And, I began to copy more and more in my head. I had always written everything down, so this was a big change. And, sending from my head was another challenge, frustrating at first, but easier as I progressed. L2 also introduced us to CW contesting. I've been contest-adverse since I've been an Amateur, but it was part of our homework and I'd agreed be diligent.

CW Academy involves students in their weekly CW contest, CWT. CWT runs three times every Wednesday, one hour each session. It's a popular and lively contest. Speeds runs between 30 & 40wpm. It's an excellent opportunity to learn to copy callsign in one pass. My first attempt was disappointing; the CW was just a blur of sound, one fast station nearly on top of the next. I couldn't copy anything. But I kept coming every Wednesday and soon I was getting a couple characters and little by little I was copying callsigns around 30wpm. Today, I do CWT every Wednesday. It's still helping me improve my copy skills and I've made numerous friends there too.

In the fall of 2013 I took L3, advised again by Rob K6RB. This class has wider goals to accommodate the more experienced CW students. Here you can focus on contesting, DX, or conversational CW within the overall agenda of increasing speed, head-copy and head-sending. Home work includes CWT and other CW contests too. This class was a serious challenge for me. Although I qualified for the course with a 20wpm capability, I had just reached that level mid year and was not as accomplished as I might have been had I waited until next spring for L3. Never the less, I did OK, although the press of speeding up, copying in my head, and sending from my head pressed me to a point that awoke my old 1992 habits. About mid course, my copy ability actually went retrograde. I began having trouble copying even at 20wpm. When I fell behind copying, my mind would just go blank or return to counting dits and dashes. It was hard to get back on track, to refocus. Two or three words would zip by. I was hearing the easy words, but missing the gist of the message.

Rob adjusted my homework a bit and encouraged me to ease up until I settled down and sure enough, I did settle down and things began to work again. I finished L3 at 23-25wpm. Not 100% copy, but good enough to know what's said. L3 might have been easier for me had I taken more time after L2 to solidify what I'd learned. After L3 graduation, I took a month off CW to rest my brain and relax. Then I returned to CWT, joined the FRN CW Net, and QSO'd with my new friends. My speed and send/copy is improving steadily.

And now, I'm a member of CW Ops! I came to the CW Academy because I'd been unable to ever move past 18wpm and CW was stressful. I was always trying to speed up and never arrived at a speed where I was satisfied, so I didn't settle down and enjoy myself. I was always chasing my Extra license. My goal at the CW Academy was 20wpm and conversational CW. Contesting was the furthest thing from my mind.

After a few weeks with Rob, I began to see some value to contesting, although I still didn't feel drawn to competition. Next, I began to think about CW Ops membership. I liked these guys. They are a lot of fun and they are passionate about CW. Membership requires 25wpm. Maybe I could reach 25wpm. Rob was certain I could do it. So, my mission crept to conversational at 25wpm and membership in CW Ops. Rob thought I would make it by year's end.

In January, Tom W7WHY recommended me for membership and three endorsements later, I was a lifetime member. It's one of the most pleasurable accomplishments of my life. I really worked for this one and it feels great. Rob gave me the tools and guidance and I did the work. The results are beyond my initial expectations and deeply satisfying.

Also last year, my XYL Mindy W7ZAP took the L1 course. She had already learned half the alphabet. Today, she's enrolled in L2 and Rob K6RB is her adviser too. At mid-point in the class, her progress is surprising. Her only CW training is with the Farnsworth method and she's advancing quickly. I won't be surprised by a CW eclipse in the near future. Eclipse or no, I'm delighted with my CW accomplishments and I've never had more CW fun.

In summary, I can't say enough good about CW Academy. It's staffed by a dedicated crew of CW affectionado who really know their stuff. The atmosphere is warm, friendly, and supportive. Cost to the student is stiff, but not unreasonable. There is no monetary cost at all, only your commitment to participate and practice. If you can afford that, they have a great learning experience for you. Sign up soon. They have a long and growing waiting list for all three levels. GL wid CW CUL.

73 Doug K7KY
Brookings,OR
CW Ops# 1396
 


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