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   Home   Help Search  
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Author Topic: LEARNING the code  (Read 6872 times)

Posts: 75

« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2000, 01:53:11 PM »

Think I've decided what I need to do. I've played with several of the programs mentioned but seem to do just as well or better playing downloaded *.au code files while viewing the associated text files on screen. What I found out is that I can copy about a third of the characters in a 5-group string of 3 characters per group after playing the file 3 or 4 times - using 18wpm speed AND 18wpm spacing. Granted this is much different than getting 90% copy on random groups of ALL characters at that speed/spacing, but I think I can do it with enough practice! If there is a lesson to learn here, maybe it's that everyone has to find the method that works best for them. Much thanks to all for the help!!

Posts: 8


« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2000, 11:05:00 PM »

Try listening to W1AW code practice sessions...they're wonderful, free and change every night.  

I look forward to working you on the air.


« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2001, 07:23:45 PM »

Excuse the anonymous posting, I like my privacy.

First of all, congratulations on rising to the challenge of learning CW. I'm sure you won't regret it if you stick at it.

I've been where you are now. I initially downloaded all the freeware and shareware and tried the Koch method. I'm afraid that none of them did the trick for me and I ended up getting bored with them and giving up. Then I decided to try the Code Quick 2000 download/CD-ROM (which I'd been avoiding as it costs about $40). Well, all I can say is that it's fun and it works ! Yes, I'd read about how it was a bad way to learn the code and that you'd have to mentally stop and translate it. NOT TRUE !

The beauty of Code Quick is that because you learn the *rhythm* of each character instead of how a particular letter sounds at a *fixed* speed, it is easy to speed up. The rhythm remains the same, it just speeds up when you go faster. Kind of like speeding up the tempo in a piece of music i.e. if you play the tune twice as fast, you still recognise the tune ! This is not the case with other methods where the morse code characters sound completely different at different speeds and so have to be relearned at the new (higher) speed.

To drive the point home, Code Quick got me my Tech Plus at 5 wpm, my General at 13 wpm (100% solid copy) and my Extra at 20 wpm (about 90% solid copy).

Don't waste your time and effort on anything else - visit, read the testimonials and believe ! They also have all the theory questions on there too ! They even give you a 90 day money back guarantee. What are you waiting for ...


BTW: I have absolutely no financial connection with Code Quick. I'm just a very satisfied customer.

Posts: 39

« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2001, 10:06:12 AM »

When someone tells me that they have trouble with the code, I ask them how much time they spent on it last night.  The answer is always the same.  Decide what you want and then decide what you want to give up.  Get someone to send to you.  learn the alphabet five letters at time.  spend most of the weekend on it.  Don't forget w1aw.  Something else.  Try the MFJ pocket morse code tutor.  It is battery powered.  It also has practice qsos like the exam.  You would be surprised how often you can listen to it.  On the way to work is good.  Keep it with you 24 and 7.  If you don't like the code, Charge in there and get it over with.  Give up television for a couple of weeks.

Posts: 11

« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2001, 12:50:07 PM »

I have tried to learn the code off and on over the past 24 years (since I was in high school) and got frustrated every time and gave up.  the new 5 wpm code requirement for general gave me the incentive to try again at 40 years old.  I used Gordon West's code cassettes.  Wow! it was so easy!  I highly reccommend using these tapes.  They use the Farnsworth method.  Sometimes he adds background noise (actual band noise) to help you get ready for the real thing on the air.  You learn the letters, numbers, punctuation one at a time and also get some practice with copying actual QSOs and some practice exams.  Get these tapes if you are having problems with learning the code.  No, I am not related to Gordon West; I am just a very happy no code tech who will be taking his code and general theory tests this weekend (Jan 6th).

You can get the tapes at:

It will be the best $30 you have ever spent!

Posts: 50

« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2001, 07:39:35 PM »

Hello To All,,

Well after many years..
I was first licenced G8LIY in the UK - Feb 1976

Well today the 01/14/2001 I passed the CW.

What was diffrent this time.
I said to myself I want to do this.

So I got myself a program, "Code Quick" really neat.
Then everyday for the last 35 days 1 our per day.
2 * 1/2 hr sessions.

Passed the questions and got 63 continuos characters.
You need to be determined and practice every day.

Good Look
ex G8LIY & DD5CK

Posts: 0

« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2001, 02:51:17 AM »

 I have been away from ham radio a few yrs. so I have been looking for good C.W. software..(that's how I passed my 13w.p.m. yrs. ago from software)..
  I would advise you to look at Code Quick...go to ...
  I will purchase code quick Monday..but check it out and see for yourself.

  Brian - ka4zrf

Posts: 75

« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2001, 08:04:03 PM »

Thanks Brian, I may do that yet. Learning to recognize the characters at 13wpm is not what's causing me problems at the moment. It all goes to sh#t when I try to start copying them down. Maybe I should have started on this 30 years ago when I could walk and chew gum at the same time. :~)

Posts: 11

« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2001, 11:50:26 PM »

No question about it - Code Quick!  You only go through each section once unless you are having trouble, and even if you have to do something twice, you probably won't have memorized it.  Use it, and you will be doing 13 WPM in about 4 weeks (assuming you start from scratch), and 20+ WPM a few weeks after that.

I'm like you - I didn't want to learn code till I passed the test, then I wanted to learn it better so I could use it.  Code Quick will do it for you.  And do some listening on the air (especially to W1AW).  You'll be up there before long.


Posts: 75

« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2001, 06:30:50 PM »

This is turning out to be an interesting experience, philosophically. With 15 or 20 minutes of practice every day for about two months, I am very close to actually hearing letters vice dits and dahs when listening to the entire randomized alphabet at 13wpm (still confusing Y and Q). What's interesting about it is that I finally think I understand why some folks cannot learn Morse: It's because they are unable to break through the mind-numbing, gut-wrenching, soul destroying tedium of listening to unmodulated tones over and over and over and over again. (OK, so I tend to exagerate a bit :~)) For those of us who are not lucky enough to pick up the code quickly, that, alas, seems to be what it takes. Which is OK - I thought calculus was easy stuff, so a little humble pie is no doubt good for me. Mercifully, the 5wpm rate used for the test seems agonizingly slow in comparison. By the way, if I had to pass a 20wpm test, I think I'd be grumbling about this slow-code business too. Cheers.

Posts: 1524

« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2002, 03:34:43 PM »

To run Super Morse successfully on Windows computers, simply set it up to boot to DOS mode when you go to run the program.  This works on every computer I have tried.  It does NOT always work if you try to run in a DOS window so just set it up so the computer reboots to DOS mode.  It will then reboot to Windows when you close the program.

Posts: 293

« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2018, 12:55:26 PM »

Good luck guys you can do it. 

Posts: 4961

« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2018, 06:33:26 AM »

Just going to put this here:

Way back in the 1960s it took me about two months to go from zero to about 7 wpm. I did it by listening to other hams on the air - no tapes, records or computer. There are better ways to learn now and most people can probably get to 5 wpm or so in a month to 6 weeks, if they practice every day.

 In a few months after getting my Novice I was ready for 13 wpm, and in about a year, 20 wpm. And that was just the beginning.

 I often see the question "what's the best way to learn Morse Code?" IMHO, there isn't one single best way.

 Dr. George Sheehan frequently said that "Each of us is an experiment of one". He meant that while there are general rules to learning new things, each of us has to experiment to find out what works best for him or her. For most things, there is no single "best" way for everyone. This is particularly true when it comes to learning skills.

 That said, here are 12 tips to learning Morse Code:

 1) It's important to understand what "learning the code" really means: to become an Amateur Radio Operator who is skilled in Morse Code. That means learning a set of skills, not just the one or two skills needed to pass a one-time test.

 That skillset cannot be learned by reading a book, watching a video, using other modes to talk about them on the air, or participating in online forums. While those things can help, they are not the key to learning the skills.

 The needed skillset can only be learned by doing, and it takes time, practice, and an active involvement on your part. This is what makes learning skills so different from "book learning" - and why some folks find it so hard to learn skills. You have to be actively involved - it doesn't happen passively.

 2) Set up a place to study Morse Code. This doesn't mean it's the only place you study code, just that it's optimized for learning code. A good solid desk or table in a room with no distractions, lots of room to write, good lighting, and a good chair. Source(s) of code (computer, HF receiver, tapes, CDs, etc.), key and oscillator. Comfortable headphones are a good idea. I recommend starting out with a straight key, you may decide to go straight to paddles and a keyer. Regardless of what key you decide to use, it needs a good solid base and needs to be adjusted properly.

 3) Avoid gimmicks such as CodeQuick and printed charts with dots and dashes on them. Often such systems were designed to help a person learn just enough code to pass the 5 wpm test, but resulted in habits that had to be unlearned for practical operating. Morse Code as used on radio is sounds, not printing on a chart or little phrases. They may work for some people, but, in general, I advise against them.

 Learning to receive Morse Code 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. If you could learn to recognize 41 words in a foreign language, you can almost certainly learn Morse Code.

 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 time spent on one day does not give you an excuse to miss the next day.

 Some folks learn better if they do several short sessions, some learn better if they do it all at once. You have to find out what works best for you.

 Yes, you may have to miss a day here and there, because life happens. The trick is to keep such missed days to the absolute minimum.

 5) If you can enlist a buddy to learn the code with, or find a class, do it! But do NOT use the class or the buddy as an excuse to miss practice or slow down your learning. The buddy and/or class are a supplement to your study, not the center of it.

 6) Download and read "The Art And Skill of Radiotelegraphy". It's free and available from several websites. “Zen and the Art of Radiotelegraphy” is also good. Search out other code-oriented websites, articles, etc. and read what they have to say. But always remember they're not a substitute for practice.

 7) Practice both sending and receiving each and every day. Most of your practice time should be spent receiving, but the two help each other. Practice receiving by writing it down and by copying "in your head". I find a pencil and block printing works best for me; you may be better with a ballpoint, felt tip, etc. Or even a keyboard.

 Cool A combination of the Koch method and Farnsworth spacing is probably optimum for most people. Read up on them, understand and use them – but remember they are tools, not magic. They can make learning the code easier but they will not make it automatic.

 9) Discontinue ANYTHING that impairs your ability to concentrate, focus, and learn new stuff. Only doctor-prescribed medications are exempt from this rule; beer is not exempt. Eat right, get enough sleep and enough physical exercise.

 10) Put away your microphones, stay off the voice radios - all of them. Besides the automated Morse Code generators, listen to hams actually using code on the air. Copy down what they send. Have Morse Code playing in the background while you do other things (but don’t count that as practice time). Learn how hams actually use code. When you get to the point where you can send and receive code, even slowly, get on the air and start making QSOs. Get involved in CW contesting, rag chewing, DX chasing, etc. Remember that you are learning Morse Code to be a Radio Operator, not just to pass a test.

 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; usually the default settings are optimized for SSB. 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; they’re not all that useful on CW anyway.

 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 every day. Nobody was born knowing the skills you're trying to learn.

 Practice can take all sorts of forms - listening to computer-generated code, listening to recordings, listening to actual on-the-air QSOs, making QSOs (rag chews, contests, DXing). Some of the practice should be things you are comfortable with, some should be a stretch. Mix it up and try different things.

 Most of all: Don't practice until you get it right. Practice until you can't get it wrong.


 A bit of work? Sure it is, but well worth it, because all those steps make learning the code easier. And the work is trivial compared to what 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 good luck! de Jim, N2EY


Posts: 4608

« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2018, 03:06:04 PM »

Good luck guys you can do it. 

Another ancient post resurrected from our troll who had his ham license cancelled by the FCC for repetitive bad behavior on the bands.

BTW, there is no longer a code requirement for a ham license.


Posts: 4608

« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2018, 03:42:33 PM »

Way back in the 1960s it took me about two months to go from zero to about 7 wpm. I did it by listening to other hams on the air - no tapes, records or computer. There are better ways to learn now and most people can probably get to 5 wpm or so in a month to 6 weeks, if they practice every day.

Way way back in the 50's I had a hard time getting my head around the code and my mentor and a teacher in HS, Brother Patrick Dowd, W2GK, SK in 2014 at 94, pulled a WW2 Army surplus tape machine out of a closet that was used very successfully to teach new recruits how to be Signal Corps radio operators. Listening to that most school days for a few weeks to memorize the characters brought me to the next step of listening to W1AW code practice on 80M on a home brew regenerative receiver made mostly from scrapped radios and other parts from Radio Row bargain bins in NYC.

I was up to a solid 20 when I took the General and less than a year later received the ARRL 30 wpm code proficiency certificate and spent a lot of time on high speed traffic nets with a Vibroplex Presentation "bug" I weceived from my parents for my 16th birthday. I never bothered with a higher certificate but was soon a solid 40 wpm per W1AW transmissions.

In the USN I was an ET but volunteered to sit traffic nets in the Radio room, AKA Radio Central, and was soon on their high speed nets when I passed the qualification test and another one to be able to use the Vibroplex. I was soon known as that guy with the Banana Boat Swing which was typical of the rolling and pitching motion of the ship.

I typically operate around 30-35 wpm today, 63 years later, copy it all in my head, and just jot down highlights for longer ragchews rather than trust an almost 78 year old memory Grin  I will slow down as necessary for others but at below 20 wpm Im ready to take a nap Roll Eyes  The Vibroplex has been back in its original case for over 30 years and I use a bought new ~ 1985 Kansas City Keyer at Dayton and a Bencher paddle at the same time. The bug was pretty much declared obsolete for contests by then!

On an aside, the CE 100V transmitter and 75A4 receiver I had used for DX and contests since 65 was considered obsolete by 78 and was replaced by Drake C Line which could be used as a transceiver. By 84-85 that was a drag since the TX required tuning and was replaced by one of those newfangled Kenwood TS-930's which morphed into a TS-940 and then a TS-950SD which I still use as Im no longer contest obsessed Shocked

« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 03:52:46 PM by KM1H » Logged
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