View Full Version : Learning the code, best way
I'm gettingthe bite of Ham radio again, after being absent for a while and wis to upgrade. What is the best way to learn the code, I had it at 5 wpm a long time ago with the Gordon West tapes, but we are talking 10 years ago. So what do you recommend?
If upgrading is your only goal then use the tapes to refresh your skills. Get to about 7 wpm or more and go for it.
If you want to further your skills, say for contesting where speeds can get to 35 wpm (or more) you'll want to approach it differently. There are several plateaus that if learned correctly can be eliminated. Normally most people approach the code by memorizing the dots and dashes of each letter/number/puncuation mark and they reach a limit of around 10wpm because the dots/dashes can no longer be deciphered by "counting." You will say in your mind di-di-dah-dit to yourself and then say "oh that's an F." You can only do that so fast. The next stage is when you start to recognize the sound of the letter. Then you will be able to copy up to about 18 wpm. The problem comes because most people "print" their copy instead of writing in cursive. Printing is slow. The next step is around 25 wpm because people can't "write" fast enough.
My advice if you want to develop your skills beyond the 7wpm level is to get a computer program. I used Super Morse when I learned. It's an old DOS program. I'm sure there are more out there for Windows, do a search and something will come up. Maybe other hams on the board could recommend one. I hate to say it but I don't need to learn to copy faster. I developed good habits and can do 35-40 wpm in contests and around 25 for conversation. It was frustrating and difficult but the effort was worth it.
Set the program up so you have at least 18 wpm LETTER speed. Set the word speed to whatever you can copy and learn to copy in cursive or typing. Typing is best for hard copy and faster. Soon you'll be up to speed and copying in your head will come naturally and you only have to write/type the high points.
Again it just depends how far/fast you want to be able to copy. Believe me it's frustrating at first but stick with it and in less time than you imagine you'll be doing code like the pros...
Thanks for the info, I would like to all the way, now that I have the time, I would like to go back and learn the code. 73
Here's another link to numerous code programs. I've heard that Morse Academy is a good one.
I learned the code with a small group on 2m an mostly with the PC. I think regardless wich method you use, computer, tape, buddys, the most importend factor ist regularity.
DO IT. Do it regulary. Do it every day minimum 15 minutes, maximum 60 minutes. But do it every day. NO exeptions (even if the world explodes ;) )
After your code test, use ist regulary. Minimum one QSO every day, better some more.
If you're learning it to pass the test, set the character speed at 15 or 16 wpm. If you're learning it to use, set it faster.
Morse code is an audio medium, not a visual one. I tought code for several years. I never wrote down the dits and dashes. I discourgaged that from my students. Learn the sound; didah = a; dahdididit = b. It's the sound, not the looks. Learn in small groups. Four or five letters or numbers are good. Learn them and make them yours. Add more only after you have compleately learned the last ones. I suggested groups of opposites (e, t, a, n and then d, u, b, v, etc).
Above all, set aside some time to practice. The same time each day is best. 20-30 minutes per sitting is enough, but two or three sittings a day is OK. When you practice, practice random character groups. You can fool yourself into thinking you are better than you are using words or phrases.
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