Part 2–CW OPS & Leaning Morse Code


Big Island ARRL News, 14 January 2017, 17:15 hrs, UTC, Post # 95.


Accessed on 14 January 2017, 17:15 hrs, UTC.

Author:  Darren Holbrook (KH6OWL), PIO (Oahu-Honolulu), ARRL Pacific Section.

Please click link to read the full story.


This evolving tale of learning cw really takes me back to my pre-novice days (1977) when learning the Morse code (required back then) was a major task for me.  As Darren relates, learning this once required skill takes a bit of work with many frustrations along the way. Learning the Morse code and how it’s usually properly on the air can be a discouraging business, but with dedication, practice, and a positive attitude, acquiring this skill can be done.

Darren and more than 100 of his fellow radio amateurs are digesting the Morse code, courtesy of an online course designed by Alan (AD6E).  Most of those enrolled in the course are making slow, but steady progress.

In this installment, Darren describes the highs and lows of his progress in becoming a proficient Morse code operator.

Central to making success in this effort is continuous, dedicated practice.  Based on his own experience, Darren says he does the following:

Practice, practice…don’t get discouraged.

Make practice a priority…do it daily.

When you get tired and lose concentration, stop practicing for awhile…let your mind rest a bit.  After all, you’re learning a new language and the mind needs time to absorb the patterns and rhythms of this mode.

Practice sending each word in the lesson.

When I was learning the code, I would take a portable cassette recorder (remember those?) with me on my commute to work.  I used some of those old ARRL practice code tapes to keep my mind tuned to the sound of the code.  My ride to work usually took about 45 minutes, so I had time to play at least one side of the tape before I parked my car at the radio station where I worked as news director.  I combined this routine with about 15 to 20 minutes of daily practice. When I finally took the Morse code test (5 wpm in those days), I had no trouble receiving and sending the code.  I used a similar routine when I prepared for my General Class License.

The new learning concepts supported by Alan (AD6E) are much better than the old rote method of learning the code.  It’s just a matter of learning how to process messages in a new way–just like learning a new language.

For Darren and his fellow students of Morse code, consistent practice is the key to success.

“Putting the time in is a must. You need to practice everyday, if only for 10 or 20 minutes at a time, have good quality and quiet practice time.”

Stay tuned for further reports on the Morse code course from Darren.

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Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for joining us today!

Aloha es 73 de

Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii Island, ARRL Pacific Section


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