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Reviews Categories | Ham Radio education & exam prep materials | Koch Method CW Trainer for WIndows Help

Reviews Summary for Koch Method CW Trainer for WIndows
Koch Method CW Trainer for WIndows Reviews: 10 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $freeware
Description: Learn Morse code by the Koch method, which teaches reflexive responses to each Morse character. The software can also add noise and QSB to simulate a real world environment.
Product is in production.
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KL1XB Rating: 5/5 Sep 30, 2005 09:01 Send this review to a friend
great tool for learning code  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
For freeware, this is an excellent tool for learning code. I would highly recommend this for anyone who wants to learn code quickly. I used this software to learn code at 7wpm but am going back to re-learn at 20wpm. This program also introduces you to the background noise one will find in actual on-air code copying. Do yourself a favor and if you want to learn code download this product.
K0JEG Rating: 5/5 Jun 23, 2005 21:31 Send this review to a friend
lots of customization, easy to use  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
If you take a few minutes and figure out the program, it is a great tool for learning morse code. Like most free software, it may not stick to normal Windows stylesheets, but don't let that get in your way. The program allows you to set up code speed from 1 to 50 wpm, with the actual character speed from 15 to 50 wpm. This allows you to learn at a higher rate than you would expect, and (for me) makes it much easier to hear the groups of dots and dashes that make up a letter. You can start up with 2 characters and add more each session or when you have mastered the current letters. I have been seeing what the newest letter is, just choosing that letter for a few minutes to get used to the sound, and then incorporating the already mastered letters. This seems to work very well for me. This is actually done by changing the number of letters on the main screen, clicking on the setup button and unchecking the already learned letters. When you feel you have a good tone memory for the new letter, just go back into setup and select all the letters for the session. It is very easy once you get used to it. You can also reduce the signal strength, add noise, and other QRM. Once you have mastered the alphabet, it will let you load up text files for practice. Until then, you get random letter combinations.

This seems like it is a very good way to learn code. The random letter generator is random enough to not let you anticipate the next character, and I really like the idea of being able to load up text files once I get to that point.
AC0H Rating: 5/5 Jun 23, 2005 07:42 Send this review to a friend
Great Software  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is the CW software to use.
It uses the Koch method of learning CW. The Koch method teaches CW one or two characters at a time at full speed. You don't add characters till your copying the previous at 90-95%. Using this method there is no more "10 wpm wall" that's usually associated with the Farnsworth method. The newer versions of the program will also do Farnsworth but if you want to get good at CW, stick with the Koch method.

Since the re-structuring and the dropping of the CW requirement to 5wpm a lot of people using the program will be tempted to set the learning speed just fast enough to pass the test. If you have any intention of doing CW on the air, challenge yourself to learn at 25-30wpm. You'll enjoy the on air CW experience a lot more.

The last reviewer had some trouble with the program. Yes, the program is late displaying the character being sent but learning CW is a decidedly aural activity. The program sends you K and M as the first two letters. If you'd like you can go into setup and turn one of those two off buy removing the check mark next to the letter. You have full control over which letters are being added to the lessons.

This is great software for learning and building speed for CW. If this software and the Koch method had been around longer, maybe we wouldn't have had all of the frustrating experiences learning CW with the Farnsworth method. Ham Radio was done a great dis-service when Farnsworth was selected as the defacto method.
AB0UK Rating: 2/5 Jun 23, 2005 05:55 Send this review to a friend
Confusing  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Looks like a lot of effort has been put into this program. It looks nice on the screen. However, it is confusing and especially to someone that doesn't know any code. It will work better for those who already know code and are trying to increase their speed.

The problem is that it just starts sending code without telling you what letter(s)it is sending. The letters do appear on the screen after they are sent but they appear exactly at the same time as the next letter is sent. The letters appearng on the screen are exactly one letter late. So if a different letter is sent than the one before then you probably will associate the wrong letter with the wrong sound. That was my experience when first trying to learn what each letter sounded like. I found it very confusing and went back to CD's and tapes.

Jim, AB0UK
KD5NCX Rating: 5/5 Jun 22, 2005 08:11 Send this review to a friend
Very effective  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I finally decided to upgrade from Tech to General a few months ago. I wanted to get the code out of the way first since that was the part of the upgrade process that intimidated me. I had made an attempt to learn the code about 3 years ago, but with little progress and decided it just wasn't going to happen. When I made my mind up to have another go at it, I decided software might help more than just repetitive CDs. It did. This program is really great. I put in about half an hour a day (for seven weeks) and passed my code test at HamCom this June (2005). When using this software, you are supposed to move on the next character when you get 90% accuracy copying the generated code, but I set 95% as a personal standard and it did the trick. I realize 7 weeks is not exactly fast by most standards, but I was very pleased to actually learn the code at all. I have since passed the written exam, so my upgrade tasks are done. I should probably mention that I got into amateur radio later than average (in my late forties) didn't have the learning advantage of a fresh young mind.
W4YA Rating: 5/5 Feb 9, 2004 19:56 Send this review to a friend
I recommend it.  Time owned: more than 12 months
The G4FON CW Trainer is excellent. I use it to improve my keyboard copy for contests. I always recommend it to those who want to improve their CW skill. Thanks Ray for your fantastic program!!! There is none better in my opinion.
KI4ABS Rating: 5/5 Feb 9, 2004 19:32 Send this review to a friend
Why pay more for anything else?  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I went about the task of upgrading my license from Tech to General. After just breaking into amateur radio, I knew nothing about morse code...period. I bought the ARRL practice CDs, and they were helpful, but after a while, they became useless because you knew what characters were coming up. This program eliminated that problem, and assisted me in learning the code. Why spend the money for the CDs, when this program will do everything and ten times over more what the CDs will for absolutely nothing? I wish there were more programs as good as this one. Now, I'm going to use this same program to increase my speed and start working DX with CW.
SM5JAB Rating: 5/5 Jun 12, 2003 02:19 Send this review to a friend
Great program! Use it!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have taken over the task of teaching CW in our local ham group. Remembering how hard it was back in '77 when I started learning the code I wanted to try the new (actually it's quite old, but that's another story) Koch approach. After som web surfing I found G4FON's program and some initial tests was performed. Some small quirks appeared eg. the program's time did not exactly coincide with my clock's idea. However G4FON, Ray, was very quick in fixing the issues and a used the program to generate a complete CW course which I have used with success this spring.

Being a Mac OS X user I could not use the program directly but had to record its output into 24 lessons which I use. This springs feedback has given me many more tips to incorporate into the lessons. I will feedback the ideas to Ray when they have settled.

In all: I strongly recommend the program. It is easy to use and has QSB and noise possibilities too. The audio is quite nice to listen to, not harsh but mellow and not tiring.

Having a windows computer would be a benefit though...


PS. If you have not tried the Koch method then do not hesitate to do so. Many oldtimers claim that the "good old way" (aka Farnswoth method) is the only way, but that is simply not correct. I have seen the Koch method work wonders. I can't imagine it's a one time fluke.
KG4VCG Rating: 5/5 Nov 16, 2002 11:34 Send this review to a friend
Great resource!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I began using Rays program two months before I passed the general test this past September and relied on it exclusively. I had looked at other programs downloadable on the internet, but after using the trial programs online, I found Rays program to be the simplest to download and use. (I was intrigued with one other program, but it was Java-driven. I was baffled by the download and execution instructions.) Rays program is free, another endearing feature. I appreciate and understand the Koch theory, but ditched it when my learning curve and impending test date failed to coincide. I fell back on the Farnsworth method which the program also readily serves. The program initially had some annoying traits such as losing character settings when toggling back and forth between set-up and execution screens. It also failed to include prosigns, and if one wanted to study a number of specific characters at a time, one had to uncheck one at a time the undesired characters from the set-up screens 40 characters, leaving the desired characters for study. Ray recruits feedback and suggestions for improvement and constantly implements changes. Since discovering his program in July, it has had two significant upgrades. The current version allows the addition of characters, such as prosigns, and one can now with one click, check or uncheck the forty standard characters and leisurely check-off individual characters to study. The character settings are no longer lost toggling between the two screens. Speed changes will alter character settings, but with the ease of adding or subtracting characters, character selection is no longer the time consuming chore it once was. In addition, there are now more choices of character speeds and effective wpm speeds. Other features are emulation of straight key or iambic modes, qsb, qrm, chirp and volume level. There are two libraries of European qsos as well as a file of 500 common words. One can also import text files. Also available for download at Rays site is a program developed by another ham. The auxiliary program checks typed copy for accuracy. Rays feature rich program is intuitive without complications of multiple, obtuse menus. Amateurs throughout the world owe a debt of gratitude to Ray for his ongoing, unselfish effort in preserving the art and craft of CW operation and education. And did I say it was also free?
KB8BO Rating: 5/5 May 17, 2002 12:00 Send this review to a friend
Great and its free!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I downloaded the program and was a little bewildered that character spacing, etc. was not variable. However, once I started using it, I was very pleased with the results. One of the things that I really like about the program is the ability to add noise and qsb, just like it would be on a real qso. In fact, I find that I can do better with the noise and qsb turned on than I do without it.

Ray has made a valuable contribution to hams who want to learn cw for the first time or to increase their speed so that they will not feel embarrased to start using the code. Great job!

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