Morse Code Page
|To learn Morse Code, I
fantastic web site. I had far greater
success with this site than with any of
the shareware programs I tried. I
practiced at 7 wpm Farnsworth method (ARRL
test sessions use Farnsworth.) Another
helpful tip for me was to copy to paper,
not to keyboard. You will have to copy to
paper during the exam, so you may as well
get used to it now. I also found that I
learned to code much more readily this
time copying to paper than my previous
attempt 4 years ago copying to keyboard.
On the other hand, I did find one shareware program very helpful for learning certain characters that I found difficult (primarily the prosigns.) This program was MorseCat. MorseCat allows you to filter characters so that you hear only those characters you need to practice. I had very little luck with any other shareware Morse programs; they either would not run under Windows 98, would not find my sound card, or could not be properly calibrated on my computer. (In all fairness, MorseCat did not find my sound card, but played through the speaker, and it also locked up regularly).
Another program I've recently discovered uses the Koch method and can be found at the G4FON web site. If I were starting from scratch today, this is the program I would choose.
Only after you think you have thoroughly mastered the code, I recommend you get the ARRL tapes or CD's to get a feel for actual speed, tone, and character spacing used in the exam. Do NOT listen to the second tape or CD until you think you have mastered the code; otherwise you are likely to memorize the CD without thoroughly learning the code.
To pass the Morse Code test, you must copy approximately 5 minutes of code at 5 words per minute (that is only about one character every two seconds) then pass a 10 question test by answering correctly 7 or more of the 10 questions. Depending upon your examiner, the test may be either multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank. The copy will be similar to an actual ham radio QSO. To pass the test, you must be attentive to any names, ages or dates, call signs, cities, rig names, antenna types and heights, and rst reports given in the QSO.
If you fail the written code test, you can still pass by correctly copying 25 consecutive characters (numbers and symbols count as two characters). My QSO contained a sentence similar to this: "BT My home is Monterey, California BT". There's 31 characters and you could probably figure out this sentence even if you only copied half of the characters! Another common sentence is: "BT Ive been a ham since 1969 BT". That's 28 characters, enough to get a passing score (but you've got to copy the numbers accurately).
It is helpful to be familiar with the common rig types, antenna types, common Q abbreviations and prosign usage, as some or all of these will appear in the exam QSO. There is generally a BT between every thought; periods and commas are few and far between (but theoretically will appear at least once in your copy, as will all the prosigns). One thing that caught me off guard on the test was that the antenna height and rig power output were both odd numbers; all the practice QSO's I had taken used even numbers for both of these.
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