Learning CW.... Koch Method??

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drew4392

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This seems like a popular and effective method. Quick question, though.... I started the program and realized... I don't know the alphabet. How am I supposed to know which character was just blasted at me at 25WPM??!

Do users need to learn the alphabet, first??

Or... do you hear these two sounds for 5 minutes... and at the end learn what they are... so they next time you hear them.... whenever they are played again... you hopefully recognize them?


Thanks!
 

SCPD

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Learning Code

Yes, first you need to know the characters. I'm sure a Google Search will bring you 4 dozen neat little charts.

Now personally, I think the easiest way is to start just using it thru the day. What I mean is, learn the dit's and dah's for every character. Stopped at a stop sign? say S-T-O-P in code. Just start sounding out the code for whatever you are looking at. After a couple weeks of doing that, then start trying to copy it.

I think the Farnsworth method is better. It's characters at about 15wpm, but the spacing between the characters and words is at 5wpm.
 

KF5YDR

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I used a website that played the character, then played random 5-character groups, adding a new character to the mix at every stage until your code groups were drawn from the whole code.
 

rapidcharger

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I used a computer program (not sure if it's still around and I can't remember the name) that teaches you an english phrase that sounds like the tones of the letter.

For example...
"D" would be "Dog did it"
"R" would be "BurrRabbit"

You learn a few letters at a time then it mixed them in with what you already learned. It was sort of like learning kids names when a new school year starts. It takes only takes a short while but you assign a name/phrase to a letter. I was ready to take the 5wpm within 2 weeks and passed it with that method. Unforch, I don't know the name of the software. Maybe someone else does.
 

KC8ESL

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Farnsworth method is 18wpm characters played out at 5wpm, 10wpm, 13wpm. You learn the speed of the characters so that isn't a blocking factor.

Have you ever listened to 5wpm code tapped out @ 5wpm? Painfully slow. 5wpm tapped out @ 18wpm is livable.

I was always a fan of cypher groups. 5 random characters at a time.

Learn the simple chars first. E I S O T M

Add More: A N D

Now More: L C Q F

Don't go nuts and try to learn everything at once, its a sure way to fail.
 

ka4gfy

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Check out the K7QO code course. You should be able to find it on the internet. It takes the letters in order. As you move along, it introduces more letters and numbers, punctuation and prosigns until you have them all. Like the Koch method, the characters are sent at higher speed which elimintes having to learn everything again as you want to improve your code speed. I bet this was the program Rapidcharger was referring to. We use it in our ham radio license classes for people who want to learn code.

The absolute worst thing you can do to learn Morse Code is to learn from a chart that shows the characters as dits and dahs. You will end up hearing the character, translating to the visual picture and THEN to the letter on your paper. Its slow and you will miss the next several characters while doing the two step translating. The goal is to hear the letter and write it down in one step. As your speed increases, you hear whole words.

Once you get going, the American Radio Relay League loads their nightly code practice files to their website. It goes from 5 wpm through 40 wpm. Its a great resource to increse your speed and accuracy.

73,
Rich, KA4GFY
 

k9rzz

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Props for learning the morse code. We need MORE good folks like you. I learned it when I was 14, now 40 years later it's just automatic!
 

majoco

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I was professionally taught the code in the early 60's to be a Marine Radio Officer.
The method was to hear the 5 short letters, E, I, T, M, S, in singles and then 5 letter groups until you had that off pat, then 5 more letters. Then mix the two up until perfect, then 5 more letters and so on, all quite slow, say 8wpm but long spaces. The code was sent from a Creed punched paper tape machine so it was perfect. Learn all the characters, numbers and punctuation/special characters. NOW you can start to learn how to send on the key! Try to send in unison with a received perfect signal.
After we were reasonably proficient, the method was to send us a couple of sections of the newspaper for 20minutes or so, then we had to send it back from our written text while listening to the code again and hopefully send good well formed characters. The instructor could listen to our individual sending but we had no sidetone, you learnt to listen to your own key clicks. Two hours every morning, 5 days a week, 25wpm plain text in a year.
 

pinballwiz86

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Good for you to try to learn Morse OP!

I tried back in December but didn't quite stick with it. I learned maybe 10 characters. When I find some time I will try it again! I have a Bencher BY-1 just idly sitting there. :(

Oh, and the Koch method is pretty good. I recommend opening a free account at LCWO.net to learn CW. There you can listen to characters, and practice taking "tests" that keep track of your progress.
 

drew4392

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Thank you for all the feedback!

I will look into each of the methods and see which works for me.

I had a Tech Plus a while back, and tested for the 5 WPM. On air, I was at the ~13 WPM level, but never bothered testing for General.... and then got away from the hobby. Now, I have to re-test Tech (passed, today) and start from scratch.

Looking forward to code.
 

FeedForward

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Congratulations on having the desire to learn CW. No matter how you go about it, learn at your own rate. There is no magic method that will have you up and running in a matter of weeks or months. CW is a language so the more you expose yourself to the sounds the better. My only advice is to take advantage of one of the great programs available such as the Koch cw trainer or CWPlayer. Learn what correct code sounds like.

It is important to set up a key and oscillator to send code as well as receive it. Sending develops your ability to use a key, but sending is also necessary to complete the process of hearing code as a new language. I would start by memorizing the alphabet and numerals. Send the characters very slowly and use your cw program to correct any timing errors. The process takes time and should be fun. Personally I doubt that listening to high speed code will be of any use at all in the beginning. At first your brain is working full time just to remember what letter you just heard.

The academic techniques were most likely developed during the war to get new operators up to speed as quickly as possible, but remember those guys were assigned a job and practiced every day, all day. So...memorize first just as you would do for a multiplication table. Then begin sending very slowly. And, make sure you practice every day. Even 15 minutes will help. Let us know how it goes.

FF
K7PHX
 

KQ4BX

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I know that everybody learns differently, but one thing that is helpful, especially if you love CW like I do, is to learn all the characters, and practice sending them as well as receiving them. So get a CW oscillator that supports an iambic paddle. That is how you get fast. Once you feel good at your best, or slow speed, try to make a contact. Do not send CQ faster than you can receive, the other operator will slow his code down if he wants to start a CQ QSO with you. He will know you are learning and try to help. Be sure to tell that first guy that he is your first contact, he will feel special; Once you make one contact, the bug will set in and you will be glued to your radio. Your speed will gradually increase and the thought of learning CW will be a memory. The last thing I would like to share with you may have already been said, CW does not sound like dots and dashes, it sounds like music that talks to you. You hear letters, numbers ,and CW procedures and eventually you will send and receive code as easily as you speak.
 
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