Re: Learning Morse Code Advice Wanted

Sterling Mann (N0SSC)

First you'll need to learn the characters, and the radio won't help much for receiving while you're initially learning characters.

Morse Toad ( is a good game-like app for learning characters on iOS at your own pace.

LCWO ( is my preferred tool for learning CW, it's browser-based and should work well on an iPad. The lessons are set up to send a block of random characters that you decode and type into a text box. After the playback finishes, you can submit and get instant feedback and loads of interesting statistics. This uses Koch method and Farnsworth timing, and is widely accepted to be a "correct" way to learn morse code. It's worked really well for me. I live streamed my progress on LCWO and made quite a lot of progress in a few months. ( I've made a video on how to use LCWO here:

YouTube also has a few other morse education channels, one of them is Lockdown Morse ( This is a lot like other pre-recorded morse practice tapes/CDs/DVDs, but it's free and easily available.

Other's have mentioned CW academy, which might work with your iPad/iPhone if it's able to pick up an external sidetone from your radio, however, they use paddles, so you'll need a keyer. A lot of students use the Morserino ( or other code practice oscillators that's picked up directly by the microphone. The caveat with Zoom on iPad is that you might not be able to turn Zoom's noise filtering off, that you could normally do on a computer. Zoom's noise filter thinks anything but voice (such as the CW sidetone) is noise and effectively removes it so others can't hear it.

ARRL has code practice transmissions on the air. All of that information is at They pull text from QST articles and send it at various code speeds. This might be more worthwhile practice once you've learned all 40 characters (A-Z, 0-9, comma, period, slash, question mark).

For sending, I learned by repeatedly sending the alphabet while looking at a morse code chart, which developed muscle memory. Then I learned it backwards. I learned my name, state, city to the point where I don't have to think while I'm sending. Once I knew the alphabet, I could read roadsigns, license plates, books, headlines, etc in morse in my head or quietly whispering it. Using my radio's sidetone (with TX turned off) I would read whole articles and emails while sending them at the same time, and I would practice on call sign lists, example QSOs, and random letters I generated by literally smashing my keyboard. Sending came a lot quicker to me than receiving so I might be giving it less credit than is deserved.

Sterling N0SSC.

On Sun, Jun 21, 2020 at 6:11 PM Paul <lovenhim@...> wrote:
Hello everyone. I have been a ham for three years but have only been on HF for a few weeks. My transceiver is a 1980 Kenwood TS120S. I only have SSB and CW in the radio. The unit does not have a keyer so that means using a straight key. I have one ordered from CWMorse. I do not own a computer nor do I have one in the shack. I own an iPhone and iPad. Where do I start learning? I am more interested in doing right compared to fast or a cram type method. I understand that I need to learn to copy code before I ever send it. Where do I start? How do I start? Thank you for the help.


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