I figured i’d document my progress (and setbacks) since i’ve taken on the task of enrolling in the CWOps CW Academy Level One course. All I can say is that my previous attempts at learning CW have been met with frustration, curse words, and every excuse I could think of to operate voice & digital. But deep down inside – I knew that I wanted more than anything to become proficient at Morse Code. First impressions of the course (i’m only on session 2) are absolutely amazing. The instructor Ken Mills is top notch. Teaching the course in a way that’s comfortable for everyone, and giving us real world operating tips. Ken adjusts for each operator if he has to (there’s only 4 students in my group). The 20wpm rate seemed daunting at first, as my attempts on the LCWO website usually were geared around the 10-15wpm range, and even then I found that tough. At one point it all almost seem overwhelming & I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to keep up with the course. Ken encouraged me to stick with it.
I’ve been practicing casually for about a month, but only just recently started to hit the practice hard every single day since the course started for about an hour a day. Again, I was initially met with frustration – my brain just wasn’t associating the tones with the letters. I knew that if I looked at a CW chart for reference – i’d be doing myself a disservice. All the best CW operators have told me, that learning by sound is the absolute best way. So… I just kept at it, kept playing the tones over and over, almost to the point to where my brain was repeating the tones in my head. Sounds monotonous – but something seemed to click today… my brain suddenly started to associate the letters with the tones. During the course, the 20wpm rate sticks, but the instructor is initially putting some bigger spaces in between to allow us time to decode, and for the first time today, I had one of those ‘aha’ moments! The feeling was exhilarating and i’m only on 9 characters, LOL! It just takes persistent practice, every single day as a matter of fact. I’ve set aside an hour every single day on my calendar to allow for CW practice using the Morse Trainer website & practicing sending the characters afterwards on a key. Big thanks to KB5RF for lending me his paddle key! My key from Begali has been delayed a bit…
I had to remember to tell myself to have fun throughout the whole process – and that if you do get frustrated, just get up & walk away and get back on the key after you’ve had a chance to refresh & reset! The initial part of trying to exercise your brain in that way can wear on you IMHO!
At this point, I can’t wait to learn the next character!