As a rank beginner, I'm looking for encouragement. After two weeks, I'm ok with m,k,u. Trying to add "r" is a bit of a struggle. Is this how it goes for everyone? I'm using the default speed. Should I slow it down? Is typing the letters the way to go, or should I be hand-writing them? I'm clear that the trick is to "hear" the code as another language, not just to learn the dits & dahs.
1. Never listen to advice from people that failed to meet their own plans. They tell you how they would do it but they failed. (Could be a Trump citation, but it is not)
2. Look at user groups on this website like: "Old hams new to CW" to obtain the after the K and M needed fans to acquire your third character and the desired encouragement. 55
Contact Maddasher on this website, he is 87 yr old (and the age champion so far, not you as you claimed) and like you on the same lesson 3 level.
Two boys on the kitchen table, the ideal situation like history proved.
I am 80 yrs old, not been a professional telegraphist, just ham for 62 years, but I think I know where I am talking about.
3. Think about the fact that you learn a code and need a keyboard and typing to decode it. Think about circumstances that you are sentenced in jail, present in a sunk nuclear submarine, or in your case more probable: are not able to speak due to a severe stroke, but you are still able to communicate with Morse coded winking your eyes. No keyboard available? No decoding, No coffee or clean diapers on your winking.
So you have to learn the code by jotting it down on a piece of paper, to start with. NOT ON A KEYBOARD.
Advantage: When you miss characters due to QRM, QSB or whatever, just like a cross word puzzle you can figure out what the missing characters were from the received plain text.
How to do that on this website:
1.Jot down characters in the 5 groups that learn you to recognize very important word spaces.
2. One out of 10 exercises copy your jotted down text by typing over in the entry-window in order to obtain a decision about progress and errors made.
When you are going over 15 wpm you can start exercising with decoding in your head, than you just listen to decode without jotting down as an intermediate step.
You even can start this earlier after about lesson 9 with word exercises on this website.
In order to prevent quiting due to frustration do the whole course 20/4. After completion of the course you are able to make QSO, rag chew with companions or willingfull CW operators to help you like helping an old woman crossing the street.
After completing start immediately with 20/10 lesson 1 through 40.
After completion start again with 15/15
15/15 is real usable Morse code, all the wide spaced text is an aid to learn it. It is extremely annoying to listen to it.
To give an idea: imagine reading a book, a newspaper or whatever with 5 blank spaces beween each character.
After completion you are a new CW amateur proficient and able to make 100% of the desired connections without the idea that the other amateur is aiding you.