Re: Learning Morse Code Advice Wanted


k5lxp@...
 

You can put a straight key on a TS-120 but that doesn't buy you much as far as learning and practice.  You can turn off break-in and use the radio sidetone I guess but that's a long way around the block just to have a code oscillator.

I personally don't favor straight keys for learning.  Being a newby you don't have the timing down.  Learning is 90% listening so whatever code tutor/program you use will get you started there but for sending I think a keyer is a better way to go.  Straight keys are just plain difficult for sending well formed and fast CW, especially for more than a few minutes.  You may not think you need to go fast when you're learning, but that's how you're going to learn code you can actually use.  When you learned to speak you didn't hear and say words slowly and gain speed, and CW is no different.  Learn code at the speed you'll be using it.  I think most of the teaching methods these days use some form of farnsworth or koch in that way.

For about $20 you can buy a keyer kit from K1EL.  Until you figure out what paddles you like you can plug your straight key into it and use it as a code oscillator.  The K1EL K16 keyer does have a practice mode which really doesn't teach but does give you an opportunity to listen to code and send it back.

By far, the best learning you'll have is getting on the air and making contacts.  I get that you need to acquire a basic proficiency before that happens but my fastest learning and skill building happened when I got on the air and made lots of contacts.  If you have someone you know you could practice with even over the phone or internet this will go a long way towards learning and using code comfortably.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

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