Learning Morse Code Advice Wanted


K8TS
 

Paul,
Not familiar with some of the programs mentioned above, but they sound good.  Start with the straight key.  With that you will learn good character formation.  Trying to get it down at a very slow speed will be very difficult with the paddles.  MFJ makes a code oscillator with a built in key that can be used later.  There are lots of tools out there to use.  CWOps is out standing.  There is also a group from Long Island, but don't remember the full name, maybe some one can fill you in on that.  Academy has three levels.  You will probably need Zoom, although I don't know if level I needs it. Level one will get you started at the slower speeds.  Level II brings your speed up and starts you working on "head copy" which is learning the sounds of words rather than letters.  Level III is building speed.  They will place you in the approximate level level when you apply.  Don't be surprised if there is a waiting list.  You will find that as you approach 20 wpm you will no longer be able to use a straight key and will move to a paddle.  Best of all they require you to practice, practice, practice.  The side tone on the KW will work fine. I have never encountered any issues with Zoom. Working face to face with an instructor is great.   It's free too.  Good luck!  Dale K8TS


jguett@...
 

Paul,

I've tried a few methods and I like the idea of the CWOps program. I heard them on an ARRL presentation recently. Before I sign up for that program, though, I'm working my way through a Udemy course and I think the instruction has done a great job. https://www.udemy.com/share/101zF6B0YTeFZTQw==/ This is a link to the course. It sounds like he is going over some of the stuff that the CWOps team covers and he's got some great stories to go along with it. Don't pay over $13. These things go on sale regularly. 
Jay 
KI7UPY


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


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 (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/morse-toad/id906586079) is a good game-like app for learning characters on iOS at your own pace.

LCWO (https://lcwo.net/) 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. (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLG8UQxewXrtZ7P6TLR74On0ZcrGPDr3EQ) I've made a video on how to use LCWO here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF687Kc203w

YouTube also has a few other morse education channels, one of them is Lockdown Morse (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu8HOu-LB4pY4WKLYKarYNg). 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 (http://www.morserino.info/morserino-32.html) 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 http://www.arrl.org/w1aw-operating-schedule. 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.

73,
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.

Paul
KN4CHK




Paul <lovenhim@...>
 

Hello, you are right, I do not have a keyer. My 1980 Kenwood TS120S takes a straight key. I have a straight key ordered from CWMorse.us


Richard KE0YGN
 

I'm signed up for the fall semester, and the student requirements at CW academy are as follows:  Minimum essentials:

Broadband Internet access

Computing device (desktop, laptop)

Webcam (camera, microphone) either built-in or USB add-on

Keyer paddle (single lever or dual lever)

Keyer with sidetone or radio with built-in keyer and sidetone

Dedication to daily practice

 

I thought you didn't have a keyer ?

 

From: ARRL-New-Hams@... <ARRL-New-Hams@...> On Behalf Of Nick (N1CCK) via groups.arrl.org
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2020 8:57 AM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: Re: [New-Hams] Learning Morse Code Advice Wanted

 

I can happily second the suggestion for CWOps Academy. I started with their basic class, and in the fall will be pushing through the advanced series. The class was able to take me from 5 wpm (basically just knowing what the letters are) to copying around 25 wpm in about 9 months. You will likely be able to get through the first course or two without a computer since much of the curriculum is web based, but a couple of the programs later in the courses are Windows PC only  


For learning the letters initially, I used Morse Toad and Morse-IT iOS apps. Both are pretty fun, and honestly I still use them to drill letter sounds occasionally just because they’re amusing. 


Good luck, and hope to hear you on the air!

Seventy-Three,
Nick (n1cck)


--
73s..Richard    KE0YGN


Nick (N1CCK)
 

I can happily second the suggestion for CWOps Academy. I started with their basic class, and in the fall will be pushing through the advanced series. The class was able to take me from 5 wpm (basically just knowing what the letters are) to copying around 25 wpm in about 9 months. You will likely be able to get through the first course or two without a computer since much of the curriculum is web based, but a couple of the programs later in the courses are Windows PC only  


For learning the letters initially, I used Morse Toad and Morse-IT iOS apps. Both are pretty fun, and honestly I still use them to drill letter sounds occasionally just because they’re amusing. 


Good luck, and hope to hear you on the air!

Seventy-Three,
Nick (n1cck)


Jim Idelson
 

You might look into CWOps CW Academy.


On Sun, Jun 21, 2020, 7:11 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.

Paul
KN4CHK




Richard KE0YGN
 

you might have to try a few methods before you find one that works for you..that being said, a friend of mine is using this one and likes it, and since it works for both iphone and ipad and is pretty cheap from the app store, it might be worth a try. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/ham-morse/id315980140#?platform=ipad

-----Original Message-----
From: ARRL-New-Hams@... <ARRL-New-Hams@...> On Behalf Of Bernd - KB7AK
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2020 2:06 AM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: Re: [New-Hams] Learning Morse Code Advice Wanted

Hi Paul,

There are several learning programs available on CD/DVD. That may not work because you said you don't have a computer available. Do you have a smart phone? There are quite a few very good programs available on smart phones as well.

73,
Bernd - KB7AK

-----Original Message-----
From: ARRL-New-Hams@... <ARRL-New-Hams@...> On Behalf Of Paul
Sent: Sunday, June 21, 2020 4:11 PM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: [New-Hams] Learning Morse Code Advice Wanted

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.

Paul
KN4CHK










--
73s..Richard    KE0YGN


Bernd - KB7AK
 

Hi Paul,

There are several learning programs available on CD/DVD. That may not work because you said you don't have a computer available. Do you have a smart phone? There are quite a few very good programs available on smart phones as well.

73,
Bernd - KB7AK

-----Original Message-----
From: ARRL-New-Hams@... <ARRL-New-Hams@...> On Behalf Of Paul
Sent: Sunday, June 21, 2020 4:11 PM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: [New-Hams] Learning Morse Code Advice Wanted

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.

Paul
KN4CHK


Paul <lovenhim@...>
 

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.

Paul
KN4CHK