"For those who are interested in telegraphy,
for those who would like to learn it, for those who love it,
for those who want to improve their CW skills."

Note* There is NO code requirement anymore. No pressure!

Morse Code is a SOUND language, learn it by sound ONLY!
Do NOT look at charts that use dots and dashes, do NOT use programs that use mnemonics,
both processes will definately slow you down when you want to increase speed.

If you have to use a chart, it must use the spelling of "dits" and "dahs", so when you read it you
should "say aloud" the sound of the letters, numbers, etc.

The Art and Skill of Radio - Telegraphy: A manual for learning, using, mastering and enjoying the International Morse Code as a means of communication.
William G. Pierpoint N0HFF

Tips for Learning the Morse Code


FISTS makes this wonderful course available free of charge. To get a copy, when available, send an SASE big enough to hold a CD and with enough return postage to Nancy WZ8CPO Box 47, Hadley MI 48440. FREE Send SASE and enough postage to hold a CD.

Just Learn Morse Code

The KOCH Method of learning code has also been a good method of learning the code. You can create your own files as well.

Here are some files that you can import into the KOCH program. These files are in groups of the most common words used. In these groups these words are repeated many times. The idea is to set the program speed to the point of not hearing individual letters, but to only hear the sound of the words. Practice this way and I promise you will start to recognise words sent evan at slower speeds.
All you do is click on the word, select all, copy and paste into a notepad, and save as.
Code practice files starting with: able alone as back beyond break call dance early face game happened hold ice last like meaning more object page picture pounds quart replied satisfy servant set silence size supper these trouble upon we wheeling why .

You could also increase the word repititions if you so desire.

What is needed to learn to learn the code?

At least 2 times per day. 15 minutes each. Consistence and perseverance is the best way.

Practice code religiously and you should learn it easily. Some of you may be able to do it in a couple of weeks, Some of you will take much longer. The older guys will need more concentration and persistance.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! You get the drift? If you want something bad enough, you will get it.

Tips to consider:

If you have a key or keyer available, grab a QST or a telephone book and practice sending the code. The telephone book mixes
letters with numbers and is good practice. By using the phone book to send will help you learn the code in a much quicker time than practicing receive mode only.
Also, if you are new and have not yet sent code, learn with your hand opposite your writing hand. Reason, you can send cw with
one hand while writing with the other. Learn to send left handed on a keyer set up for right handed person. Reason, you never have to change procedure if you are visiting someone's shack.

These files can be imported to the KOCH program:


High Speed Morse (HSM) by Paul Signorelli w0rw

Most people who learn the Morse code seem to hit an upper speed limit as they progress.
Here is the reason and how to overcome it.

Receiving High Speed Morse

Here is what I have found during my Morse life time and you have probably heard it before, copy words not letters.
Receiving HSM is like playing an anticipation game in your brain.
You have already learned how to do that at slower speeds and your Google Search engine does it all the time.
When you Google Search 'Indianap...' Google brings up Indianapolis before you can finish spelling the word, 'Moorest..' brings up Moorestown, 'Camd..' brings up Camden, 'Jeo..' brings up Jeopardy. That is called "Auto Completion".
When you copy 'Missi..', You say to yourself, I know he is going to send Mississippi, why can't he just send MS.

Your brain does this when you are receiving Morse.
This is not cheating; it is just how your brain completes the missing elements.
Remember the old FCC "Fill in the Blank" Morse code tests. It had partial sentences like "My _______ is in a tree". The answer was "Antenna".

HSM requires that the anticipation game extend from just words to common phrases.
The phrases are common sayings or Clichés frequently used in the game Wheel of Fortune.
You already intuitively know all these phrases; you only need to practice them on HSM.
Like "The XYL has...." The anticipated phrase is going to be: Called me to dinner, come home and I have to QRT, etc...Or "I am really out on a…" limb.
Here is a link to some common ones:

When you begin copying HSM you will immediately hear the words like: and, the, good, you, plus your call, name, QTH, etc.
It may surprise you that you already know a lot of words and that should encourage you to listen more. This process has been taking shape ever since you started using Morse.

HSM can be like the 'Butterfly of Love" that will gently land on your shoulder after you quit pursuing it. HSM begins differently for each person but it should begin at a speed that is more than you can write down. You have to learn to copy words and phrases in your head.

Obviously, the Morse word sounds can not be deciphered this way if they are sent letter by letter with big spaces in between. The Farnsworth method which uses fast letter speed and wide letter spacing does not allow word recognition. You have to learn the common words, but there will always be some that will not be in your HSM vocabulary yet, like "Poughkeepsie", unless you practice it. (If you live in Poughkeepsie please send your QTH as NY.)

See QST for the Fast Code Practice operating schedule.

After you become proficient at HSM, Slower speeds and Farnsworth reception will be like teaching a teenager how to drive a stick shift automobile.

Sending HSM

Your manual dexterity or typing skills will probably be the limit to your manual sending speeds.
You can't send 40 WPM on a CW keyboard for very long if your typing speed is only 20 WPM.
If you know how to "Touch Type", you probably know that the typing becomes a hand movement pattern routine.

The hand typing patterns are hard wired into our body after we practice them enough.
A CW keyboard will allow you to send great CW, but the outgoing CW speed is limited by your typing skills.
Using a Bug or Paddle will also have manual dexterity limits but you don't have to send as fast as you can receive.

"When you send, be sure to send complete words, not parts of words.
Like ‘n ow’ should be sent as ‘now’. etc. Broken words are impossible to copy unless you are writting the letters down and
combine them later. That is not part of HSM."

I use a single lever paddle and find it better for HSM. I have also noticed that if I forget what I am sending my words can be completed automatically by the repetitive hand motion pattern I have learned. When I start to send my start call sign, it has a definite pattern and that pattern is never broken. If my brain sends a priority interrupt message (Like: "BALANCE!", "BALANCE!") as I am loosing my balance on a rock,
I re-balance my body and my hand keeps sending what ever word I am sending without me thinking about it.

Why Operate HSM?

It is easier and more conversational.
It allows you to send more information or make more QSO's.
It saves energy.
It is your destiny; I know you can do it.

Paul w0rw Jan 20, 2013


Prosigns (W2LJ)

There seems to be a lot of confusion out there amongst CW operators (newer ones, especially)
about the proper use of prosigns in a CW QSO. Here's a table of the most common prosigns
and their proper use: Click to go to Larry's page

For all the TECH licensees check this out.
As a TECH you have more places to operate in the Ham spectrum, such as:
80 meters HF… 3.525 - 3.600
40 meters HF… 7.025 – 7.125
15 meters HF…21.025 – 21.200
10 meters HF…28.000 – 28.300
The above frequencies you are allowed up to 200 watts CW.
So, I hope that gives you some incentive to learn the code.

Other websites to check out:

Learning Morse Code

K6DBG - CW really is a language!

Improving Morse code proficiency by WØUCE

Learn CW (Morse Code) as a language

Morse Code Practice

Most common words in English

Radio Telegraphy Net


"CW forever...."

GORC: #126 | SKCC: #3595 | FISTS: #???? | NAQCC: #2019 | FPQRP: #1766