Write me, I'll answer for sure !e-mail

Introducing CW
Learning CW
The Straight Key
The Paddle
The Sideswiper

Key Gallery

Learning CW
CW must be learnt on a daily basis using a step-wise approach.
Keep traning day by day, without exceeding in time spent.
In Ham Radio applications, learning CW can be approached in a  phased way:
  1. Learning morse code characters and their timing and spacing.
  2.  Copying with pencil and paper speed-up up to 20 WPM.
  3. Speed boosting to 20 WPM and above and copying in mind, with no pencil nor  paper.
1. Learning characters and time and spacing
In this phase, we concentrate only on receiving.
Start using a software, preferably Super Morse gradually introducing the following groups:
Keep training in daily essions of 10-15 minutes, not more. Start from 10 WPM as a minimumm when you are able to copy all the characters in a group, go to the next group.
When you learn all groups, go to phase 2.
Phase 1 takes an average of one month: please keep in mind to follow your natural speed and inclination. There is no hurry, its just a game !

2. Speed up to 20WPM copying with paper and pencil.
Ok, now you are ready to purchase your first telegraph key.
Go to eBay and get a Lionel J-38 straight key: it is cheap and is a very good value for the money.
Use a PC to transmit groups of characters, receive them for 5 minutes and, then, re-transmit the groups with your straight key trying to repeat exactly the same time and spacing.
When you are able to copy 90% of the characters, speed-up of 1 WPM up to 20 WPM (click here to download a 20 WPM sample QSO 800 kB mp3).
Go on air, now you are ready !  Do not be ashamed to ask for QRS (even if you should not even ask for it: a real RT knows when a QRS is needed ...).
Keep this phase as long as possible e.g: one year or so, since this phase is crucial to achieve the correct timing and spacing that will be vital for the subsequent phase and, if you wish so, it will save you a lot of pain when changing kind of telegraph key.

In this phase, add the following characters:

Special Chars

This phase is tough, most people occurr in several difficulties such as:

  • Plateu: at 15 WPM you will be struggling to increase speed. Don't worry, its a natural brain resistence. Keep trying until you unlock the plateau. You will be finding several plateaus, typically at 15, 20, 30, 40 WPM. Once unblocked a plateau you will be speeding up at a rather fast pace until you reach the next plateau.
  • Sense of regressing: mosty in transmitting, from time to time you will find to operate really badly. It is a very good thing: you are unblocking a plateau and you are ready to jump to a new level. Try relaxing a bit and reduce your training sessions, one morning you will find that you are able to copy and send 20% faster than before.
3. Speed bosting: abandoning paper and pencil.
At 20WPM, you will find that it is impossible to write everything on paper and you need to abandon this way of copying CW.
This step is rather delicate and time-consuming.
Don't worry: keep training and QSOing, time will give you all that you need.
Some hints and tips:
  • At these speed, you need to learn the sound of the most common words.Convert them in MP3 using a software like Koch from G4FON playing a plain text for you.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice.
  • Increase length and frequency of your training sessions.
  • Receive CW at high speed (25-30 WPM) while doing other things such as house works or driving a car. Do not force yourself to copy CW, simply get exposed to it.
  • Relax, do not even think to succeed. Just hear the sound of CW.
  • Fix a target (e.g. become an HSC member).
  • Read the bible of CW: The Art & Skill of Radiotelegraphy by N0HFF.
  • Consider the opportunity to switch to a paddle or a bug.
  • Transimt and receive at same speed.
In this phase, all the timing and spacing problem you will be having accumulated will come back to you. That's why you need to pass more time than possible in phase 2.
Remember: accuracy trascends speed - be stylish with CW, go slow and be precise.

From time to time, find a friend with whom you might train for QRQ.