- Tried and true, proven method of transmitting in the poorest of band conditions
- Gets through when other modes won’t, including digital
- Uses very little power. Two weeks ago I was in a QSO with an AmRRON Station in Utah, over 500 miles on .01 watt (Yes, 1/10th of a watt!)
- It’s a fun and reliable way to communicate. It’s also a dying art, so if you have a skill that fewer and fewer folks have, that makes you, your equipment, and your skills that much more valuable to your family, your group, and your community in a disaster or other ‘comms down’ situation.
- With the tools available to you to day (while the technology exists), it’s never been easier to learn. Do it now while the grid is up!
- Many repeaters, beacons, and other transmissions over radio are done using CW (Morse Code) to identify their stations. This can be very valuable.
- Using computer-run CW decoding can get you into the CW world quickly, but it requires additional, costly equipment which can fail you, and usually won’t — until it’s a real emergency. And using software-aided CW tools can quickly become a crutch.
Start by listening to Partisan Radio, Volume 21 – An Introduction to CW
Now you’re almost ready to begin on your journey to learning Morse Code. A couple more steps.
- Start a CW Folder. This is where you’ll keep all things CW available for your quick reference. This folder should easily slide into your comms binder (you started one, right?).
- Download and Print the following three PDFs. Read through them and keep them in your CW Folder.
The above documents will become extremely important. Learning the alphabet it one thing, and it’s just the beginning. Carrying on a conversation is a whole new world. You don’t talk in alphabet letters, do you? You’re learning another language, and the guides above will be extremely helpful in transitioning you from babbling to holding a conversation. Have fun!
TRAINING PROGRAMS (Downloads and Apps)
The following will get you off to a great start. More resources will be made available in Part 2. For now, download the following programs and apps and get started!
HELPFUL HINT – Don’t get stuck in a rut using just one of these tools. Use them all, and rotate through. This will introduce you to new learning methods, while reinforcing what you’ve already learned with the other programs, and it helps avoid getting bored with one program.
The SC Phillips is my favorite, for young children and adults alike. This guy, Phillips, did a great job developing this program. You can do it online or download a desktop version. You set your pace and custom settings. You’ll be encouraged by how quickly you progress. And then you’ll taper off and flatten out. That’s when you’ll feel like maybe this isn’t for you. Heh! Welcome to the club. Stay with it!
This is my other favorite Desktop program. Free, easy to download, customize, and use. The Koch method allows you to increase the spacing between characters and words, to give your brain time to process what you’re hearing. The speed will come later. Strive for accuracy! But start at the target ‘Actual’ speed you wish to eventually work. I recommend 20 WPM (if that’s a bit too fast, back off to 15), but you can reduce the ‘Effective’ Code Speed down to a copyable speed, such as 7 or 9. Then gradually increase it little by little. Back it off a bit if you feel like you’re getting left in the dust.
This is the best ever! You can take it with you on the go, but unfortunately it’s only available on the Android system right now, through the Google Play store. If anyone knows of a great CW App for the iOS, please list it in the Comments section below. Completely customizable, just like the W4FON desktop version, and functions very much the same way.
That’s enough to get you off to a great start. Many more resources coming in Part-2
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