My CW Learning Journey #2

Just a quick update on my CW learning progress! I’ve finally finished learning all of the letters & numbers, and am now concentrating on the prosigns. We’re now approaching...

Just a quick update on my CW learning progress!

I’ve finally finished learning all of the letters & numbers, and am now concentrating on the prosigns. We’re now approaching lesson 11 within the Morse Trainer application which basically starts giving you real world QSO chatter to attempt to copy. At this point, it’s my belief that I just need repetition to increase my speed. The instructor is still only sending maybe around 7-8wpm tops, but he’s slowly starting to pickup the speed as we approach the end. I think the goal is 10wpm if I’m not mistaken for the level 1 course. I’m pretty sure i’ll accomplish that goal.

Consistent practicing is still key, even if it just entails pulling out my cell phone and listening to morse code with an app trying to decode letters. It was also suggested that I learn the top 100 most commonly used CW words, a Google search quickly turned up plenty of posts/articles about the most commonly used words/abbreviations. I’ve programmed those into the Morse Trainer application for android, and I just listen to small groups of them repetitively.

I’m pretty tough on myself, but have to step back occasionally and realize that I’m only halfway into the course, and I’ve already got this much down. Hopefully with several more months practice, I’ll increase my speed and feel comfortable enough to call CQ on the air. I’ll definitely have to post something along the lines of ‘Please be patient w/ me – I’m a new CW operator’ on my QRZ page, so folks don’t think I’m drunk keying or something, lol.

So that’s that! I’m not blazing along by any means, but I’m trying not to burn myself out in the process. No reason to rush – I’ve always got digi & voice to keep me company. But there’s still this underlying desire to get on CW quickly because I see so many POTA & SOTA spots pop up on CW. SSB & Digi just aren’t as common.



CWCW Academy
4 Comments on this post.
  • Scott
    9 October 2017 at 2:29 PM

    Don’t worry too much about people being patient with you. The vast majority will do so without any need for explanation. Some guys don’t seem to be able to QRS for a slower operator. In a contest this is to be expected, but the rest of the time not. Even if they have trouble sending slower (which really is a thing), they can always just increase spacing between the characters. I try to avoid this by sending a little slower than I am capable of receiving. The first time I ran a pile-up on CW was nerve-wracking (SOTA activation), but now I don’t worry about it too much even though my CW is not very good. They want to talk to you so they’ll be patient. I’ve heard SOTA activators running 5-8 WPM! KB1HQS, who was the top NPOTA activator last year, was not a fast CW operator. I don’t think he started doing CW activations until mid-year.

    • K5ACL
      10 October 2017 at 3:30 AM

      This is a sigh of relief! I’m sure my speed will only get better if I continue to practice. I can relate to slowing down… 73 Scott!

  • N4BRM
    6 October 2017 at 8:01 PM

    You ARE moving along at a blazing speed 🙂 This is like learning a completely new language. Don’t be too tough on yourself. You will soon become a real ham operator, capable of operating on all the modes available to you…. including CW 🙂 If this was 100 years ago, those CW skills were in very HIGH demand. Heck….. I hear the SS TITANIC paid an astronomical salary to those qualified to work in her Wireless Shack, and promised memorable across the Atlantic. 🙂

    Have they taught you the meaning of those infamous letters, S O S ??

    • K5ACL
      10 October 2017 at 3:32 AM

      I had to look it up, won’t lie, but even my wife knew SOS in Morse b4 I did, lol.


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