It’s time to learn CW.

I’m still a little distraught over my recent mishap with the 590SG…. After seeing all the initial comments online that I posted everywhere, things are looking bleak, but I...

I’m still a little distraught over my recent mishap with the 590SG…. After seeing all the initial comments online that I posted everywhere, things are looking bleak, but I think I may have found someone that will attempt to repair it, but at what cost…? So i’m turning this negative experience into a positive one 🙂

I’ve seen guys paying upwards of 400-500-600 for a repair like this, and that got me thinking long and hard about how much money i’ve already invested… which is all fine, because I was really trying to find those ‘niches’ that we all sort of get into with ham radio. Some of mine included SDRs, Digital Modes, Satellite Ops, and several others, but after a bit more deep thought… I started realizing just how complicated each of these modes were in order for me to enjoy a simple QSO. Complicated setups, computers, monitors, heavy batteries…. STOP the madness.

I’ll be honest… i’m not sure why I’ve hesitated to learn CW. I’m not sure if in my unconsciousness I was thinking it’s too difficult… after all – the military trained service members to learn CW right? I think I just kept making up excuses left and right – especially that I had too much going on – who doesn’t – life never slows down. But why am I afraid of something – that I know I can learn. There hasn’t been a thing that i’ve ever set my mind out to do that I haven’t been able to accomplish (with hard work mind you).

So this is it. I’m re-shifting my focus towards the one thing that i’ve been wanting to learn for as long as I can remember (definitely before I got my ham license!). There is no better time than now. I’m challenging myself – why? Because when I hear CW on the air… I can really hear it. The tones are so clear, and all the other QRM can be cut out… even with my horrendous hearing. Now I really understand when I hear guys say that CW really cuts through. Initially – the thought of having to listen to a complete conversation by being able to ‘translate’ the tones “so to speak” to letters in your head, seemed very challenging to me, but I know that with repetition, the mind can learn things very fast – and be very efficient at it!

Really going to put my nose (or ears?) in the books on this one. Somehow the mishap with the 590sg gave me some serious motivation…. I could be enjoying HF with a 9 volt battery, a wire strung in the trees, and a key on a piece of plywood. I feel like i’m missing out on such a HUGE part of Amateur Radio. (I know… just as I was getting myself into the SSB side of things!).


Had some recommendations for Morse Toad (an android application) (edit: & iPhone!) Learn CW Online website, and good ole’ Gordo West audio CD’s to listen to at night before I drift off to sleep. There are plenty of resources out there it seems!

Here’s to learning CW.

No. More. Excuses.



No Comment
  • jmundy
    1 May 2017 at 8:12 PM

    Enjoy CW. I’m on a similar track. I’ve been licensed since you were knee high to a grasshopper and passed 5 and 13 WPM code tests back in the day but never really made many contacts. I’m using the Just Learn Morse Code program for the PC. Hitting the books (headset) every night. (I saw an Apple box in one of your shack pics so it might not be for you – wish that guy would port it over to MAC). I’m impressed with the Koch Method to step me through it. So good luck. Maybe we can struggle through a QSO one day on CW. I do find that guys/gals are generally pretty cool if they get that you are still learning code. Oh, and with our current and near future band conditions CW is a winner if you want to expand beyond the digital modes like JT65. Thank you for your service and 73. Jim, KE4GVO

    • K5ACL
      2 May 2017 at 8:47 AM

      Thanks Jim! I’ll check it out.. I’ve gotten all sorts of recommendations, so before I get knee deep in studying i’ll sample each of them! 73

    29 April 2017 at 10:18 PM

    Sorry to read about you TS-590SG issues. I have one as well and am very interested to understand what happened to your rig.
    I like your line of thought about CW! I’m quite interested in QRP (more with less). Morse Toad is an iOS App as well! I’ve been holding out on getting into the Koch Method for a few months because of constant “life QRM”… At some point you just need to put a stake in the ground and start. Go for it!

    • K5ACL
      29 April 2017 at 5:48 PM

      Absolutely. I figured if I don’t do this now, I never will. I’ve been going full speed, time to change gears! I’ll post as soon as I understand what happened to the SG…. ☠️ Cherish yours…. lol!

  • Mike Hohmann
    29 April 2017 at 7:00 PM

    Congrats, Johnny on taking the CW leap!

  • n3vem
    29 April 2017 at 5:56 PM

    Awesome! I’m at the beginning of my CW journey as well – after “learning”‘the code I drug my feet before making contacts on the air. I’ve now made 4 on-air contacts at like 5wpm, and I’m hooked. I want to get better faster, etc. etc. welcome to your new drug!

    de N3VEM


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