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This is a simple discussion forum for LCWO users. Feel free to use it for any kind of discussion related to this website.

Thread: Total beginner's guide?

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Posted: 2022-03-18 21:18
Hello to all of you,

I am a total beginner. I am fascinated by the morse code since I was a child and did several atempts to learn it. But since I never had someone to practise and use it, I lost everything again.

It's all nice and good having those online courses and trainings, but I'd love to actually try someone "on air". But having the right equipment is for me a book with seven seals, as I am at total loss when it comes to anyinging involving electric current and stuff.

Maybe you have a "total beginner's guide" you can link me to which explains how to build/set up receiving/sending station? (Broken down for real lost people like me)

Or maybe someone is close so I could have a peak into your setup and how it's done in person? (And have someone to contact if I mess up... I'm located in the north-west corner of Switzerland.)

Thank you in advance for your help!

Regards KY4

Posted: 2022-03-18 23:59
Find a local Ham radio club. the have courses, in order to get a license, or there are also servers like hamsphere that make it possible to communicate in morse over Internet.

Posted: 2022-03-21 13:06
Hi KY4:
What you may need is just an oscillator or even a pair of code oscillators that are wired to "beep" when the other oscillator sends. That would require 2 persons to exchange practice messages. Of course, this is basically transmitting by wire, rather than using a transceiver (a radio that both sends and receives radio waves). Using a transceiver requires a license authorizing transmissions of radio waves, whereas hooking up 2 oscillators so that each receives the other practicing person's CW signals by wire does not require the license.

Internet searches can show you dozens of code oscillator soldering projects and their schematics for wire transmissions. Already built oscillators such as the MFJ-557 can be purchased online. In fact, the inexpensive straight key that comes with the kit can be replaced with a higher quality Key of your choice.

You can practice with another person on the Internet via Skype as you sit at your Computer and operate your keys. The same can be done by phone.
There would need to be some agreement as to format. The format could be Standard QSO or just some kind of agreed upon texts for copying practice and sending practice.

Not all ham radio clubs have established programs for beginners committed to CW or radio for prepping, etc. Sometimes they simply guide beginners to several Internet programs. I do not know of any Internet Program which is "total" Some programs are committed to certain key types, or certain speeds for sending and receiving. Not all ham clubs offer specific learning programs for beginners.

(I once received a severe criticism at a club meeting several years ago, by an individual who volunteered to Tell--Me--Off, for not volunteering for the ARRL's "RACES" program for operating Emergency Stations and so forth. This was after I asked a question about the requirements to participate in RACES activities, and found out that like you, I did not know enough. At the time, I had passed a Technician's Test, but never really operated even a "handheld" radio or any other. This was about my 4th visit to the local HAM CLUB and had never even seen the young man who was ripping me up one side and down the other in front of the entire club, because I wasn't "jumping up" to volunteer.)

To keep your focus, it is sometimes necessary to commit to steady practice of CW and gradually work into the main areas of the activity like:
Building a few Do--It--Yourself Electronic Projects/Kits (DIY KITS) and learning to Solder.

This can be combined with using Technician License Exam study.

As for CW practice, remember that the main focus is for "copying" and "receiving" in the learning process.
Your idea of finding practice partners etc is an excellent idea.
I can say this. The features on the LCWO.NET website, are the best that I have found. It allows a full spectrum of speeds to choose from and you just might find a practice partner with another beginner.

Posted: 2022-04-02 13:11
Use this site in the following way. I am 61 and a was a "total beginner" last November 2021. Now I have learned all of the characters at 20WPM/4WPM and am working on error reduction during sustained sending from Lessons section.

1. Start with the pane called Morse Machine and select the first letter. Practice listening to that letter for 15 minutes then practice sending that letter for 15 minutes with a keyer set to around 18W-20WPM. I listen at 20WPM and send at 18.
2. When you are comfortable, go to the next letter in the Morse machine. I recommend 30 minutes listening and recognizing both characters. Then, 30 minutes sending (one hour per day in the morning when you are fresh).
3. Repeat number 2 above until you get through ALL of the letters.

NOTE: It is useful, after a few characters to go to the "Lessons" section and have 1 minute strings sent to you at 4WPM or 5WPM. Do that until you get down to 10% accuracy.

If you set aside one hour every morning with military discipline, in four months you will know all of the letters. Then, you can go back to lessons and start increasing your recognition speed. Recognition of all characters at 4WPM is where I am now at around average 15% accuracy.

But, I am 61. If I were 25 this would be faster.

Posted: 2022-04-05 16:35
Thanks for the article, very useful information, I also wanted to study it for a long time

Posted: 2022-04-05 22:23
Good that you are here tosja.

Posted: 2022-04-06 08:33
I found 2 websites that allow you to send and receive CW over the internet using either your laptop or computer. I think one has you build an interface if you want to use a straight key or paddles. I don't think you need to have a license for it. Here are the two websites I found:



Posted: 2022-04-06 12:37
For sending practice I highly recommend you get the single paddle key or dual paddle key you will be using to learn.

It takes time to get the adjustments set properly for keying a single paddle vibroplex (what I have).

If you practice sending on a keyboard, it will help, but, not nearly as much has learning how to control the actual key that you will be using on the air.

Posted: 2022-04-13 14:01
km2b - J Michael Sanchez
Hey Michael, I was just reading over your answer and your recommendation about sending practice was really great. It had never occurred to me to sit with my key and oscillator, and instead of only copying the CW, but repeating the CW by sending with the key and oscillator at the same speed.
I think that you have hit on a terrific aid to learning and practice.

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