Learning Morse

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Daniel Wee
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Learning Morse

Post by Daniel Wee »

Learning Morse Code can seem quite daunting for beginners but it can also a rather rewarding experience. Fortunately, there are many tools that can help one get started with Morse and here are some of them. For a start, we tend to use International Morse Code as shown in the chart below:-
IntlMorse.jpg
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As you start familiarizing yourself with code, you may find some apps helpful. There are many Morse learning apps for phones. I just tried "Morse Mania: Learn Morse Code" and that seemed helpful in that it gives me just one alphabet at a time for a start and works your way up. You may want to try that.
MorseMania.jpg
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https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... l=en&gl=US

There are many other apps and you should try one that works best for you and your phone. You may find using headphones helpful to concentrate when you start out.
Daniel Wee
Site Admin
Posts: 2328
Joined: Wed 25 Feb 25 2009 8:00 pm

Re: Learning Morse

Post by Daniel Wee »

The thing with how we want to learn Morse is that it is an auditory learning experience. You can learn the visual symbols of Morse but this will not help you copy a CW signal. Worse yet, if you become too comfortable with visual Morse, you will try to "translate" what you hear into a visual representation while trying to decode Morse. This will slow you down to a point where you will not be able to keep up with even moderately fast code. As such, you want to learn Morse by hearing, not seeing.

The first step is to memorize the code just so you won't have to keep referring to the table. Once you got that down, give this video a try. Don't look at the on-screen decode and just try to catch as many alphabets as you can by purely hearing. At the start, the longer inter-character pauses are important for you to work out the letter so you may miss the next incoming character while working out the previous one. Don't worry about it, just keep going and tackle the next one that you can. Initially you will find the shorter characters easier to decipher - E, T, A, N, I, M. You may also find longer characters easy to decipher because you just have more time listening to them.

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Daniel Wee
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Posts: 2328
Joined: Wed 25 Feb 25 2009 8:00 pm

Re: Learning Morse

Post by Daniel Wee »

As you go, you can also use this video to test your proficiency. This is at 5WPM without any on-screen clues so it should be a little easier than the 10WPM above. Remember to stay calm and focused as you start making out the characters. It is easy to get excited and start stumbling the moment you find yourself copying code that makes sense! Keep calm and keep copying!
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Daniel Wee
Site Admin
Posts: 2328
Joined: Wed 25 Feb 25 2009 8:00 pm

Re: Learning Morse

Post by Daniel Wee »

When you start learning Morse, you may find yourself going through the following process:-
1. Listen
2. Try to break down what you heard into the component dots and dashes
3. Going through the table in your head to find a match for the character

This works with very slow Morse code so you might be tempted to think that you can scale this process up to higher speeds, but you cannot. This approach is ultimately too inefficient for real CW copying. What you really want to do is to become so familiar with the sound of certain combinations of dots and dashes that you just know the character by recognizing the sound. To do this, you want to minimize step #2 where you deconstruct the sound you heard. Ideally, you get to a point where you just feel or know the character by instinct. This comes only by forcing your brain to skip the second step and is done through lots of repetition or random characters with insufficient inter-character pauses.

This can be discouraging at first but if you persevere, you should find yourself recognizing the sounds of the simple characters and can move up from there much more quickly.
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