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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: Writing CW

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Posted: 2022-12-05 16:11
Hi there, I’m on lesson 14 now doing 22wpm with a long gap. I’m using my iPad keyboard for copying but want and need to start using pen and paper. I just cannot write as quick as my ears have processed the sounds. Any ideas or suggestions? What are you doing if your finding to have the same problem? Many thanks

Posted: 2022-12-06 00:09
Measure the time you need to write long hand with small characters and an easy gliding pen:

the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog's back

Just writing as fast as you can, only writing. no Morse. Tell the measured time here.

Posted: 2022-12-06 12:05
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2XzxQT2CTU Exampel of writing at high speed. Bad background noice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82ACUC0uaXk&t=1s High speed contest - only typing.

http://nvhrbiblio.nl/biblio/boek/Hellemons%20-%20De%20vonkenboer.pdf In Dutch. Memories of a Spark. Examples of letters on page 53.

You have to develop your own shorthand letters perhaps.

Use a slash zero! Some letters a difficult for me at high speed. 5-S, 9-g, the downward stroke I do not write a capital G. 4-H when the first downward stroke is to short. Z-2, 1-I, X-Y when one leg of the X is to short or to long - Y.

I didn't find a good solution for it. Need to use a mill? https://www.navy-radio.com/morse-mill.htm

For typing on a computer you have to look for a slash zero font like Consola - Microsoft.

It seems, that you can write characters to a speed of up to 20 WPM. Typewriting up to 40 WPM, but I am not sure about that. Anyhow writing is a limitation at high speed.

Posted: 2022-12-06 16:22
Hi Rob. Great Queestion.
I also worked up to a 22/5 level with something like double spaced characters like this:
R l u B p 5 g 5 Y S X E.
T s L Q 2 U 0 t c q 2 t.
v L R G q I I G E 7 O c.
T m z w 6 B d f o D U r.

But then one day I realized that my copy had overlooked the fact that most sending is in letter/number sequences with no spacing at all. I was able to make an adjustment by switching to transmitted copy spaced like this:







Text like this can be copied and pasted into LCWO's CONVERT TEXT TO CW feature and played back for copying. I always do handwritten copying in the common "Spiral Notebook" and they come in 2 different forms. There is "College Ruled" with narrow spaces between lines for writing, which I hate to use, and there is the "Wide Ruled" form with wide spaces between lines and that makes it easy for practice copying.
I developed an odd copying system for faster writing of the CW characters. Some letters like L and Q and B I always copy in their CAPITAL form. Most of the other letters I always copy in their "small case" form because those are always easy to write for most letters, but not all. For example, the handwritten "q" needs to be shown entirely different from the handwritten letter "g". So Writing Capital "Q" is easier and faster.
Many people have found it convenient to write all Zeroes as a large oval with a diagonal line drawn through it so that it can never be confused with the Capital Letter "O". This is also helpful.
The two main handwriting styles are print and cursive.

For what it is worth, there is one helpful thing that I learned from another student in high school. This one boy named Richard, never wrote anything in cursive script. Cursive is a complicated form of writing. Richard I discovered, was writing all of his school lessons in Print Form, and he rarely used a Cursive Letter.
That is when I abandoned conventions and developed my very own, but very comfortable and very legible writing style. It was a Printed handwriting for everything, even if an occasional letter was written slightly Cursive.

To my surprise, I found that I could still copy the random characters without much difficulty. Of course, if you have text like whole words like the lessons offered at tje ARRL Morse Code Lesson website at


it will be possible to practice without the extended spaces. What the ARRL lessons use for sending, is a few paragraphs taken from old editions of their monthly magazine. When the text sent is whole words, you can copy a little faster because much of the time you can figure out what the word being sent is going to be from the first few letters. So there is some benefit in copying a logically coherent complete sentence.
Mind you, I am not critical of your method. I did exactly the same thing and for a beginner, the way that you can learn is to just do it daily as a routine. Any student of CW can make any adjustment as needed for learning.
I think that many more people would be happier about learning if they learned to "take control" of their learning experience and adopted a more flexible approach, rather than thinking;

"I have to do it exactly This Way" or
"I have to do it exactly That Way."

Attitudes like that do more to cripple people and to handicap learning of all types. So if you feel a need for using a little flexibility in your practices, it can help to allow yourself to abandon inhibitions which feel like some kind of a restraint or a barrier.
So you do very well to ask about methods that remove all barriers.
------ By the way, you notice that I mix Capitals and Small Case letters in the text that I make to practice with. This is to prevent my mind from trying to remember which letter or number is going to be sent, so I make the text as confused and jumbled up as possible.

Posted: 2022-12-06 23:25
If you have not already learned to touch type, you are learning two things at once - Morse Code and typing. I don't know how easy it is to learn both simultaneously.
I touch type and I have just tried LCWO at the keyboard and find it a little tough because I am thinking about the letter I need to type. When I type normally, I am never thinking of where my fingers need to go, so there is an adjustment period, even if you do already touch type.
If you "hunt and peck" (two-finger typing, typically looking at the keyboard), I would think that would slow you down because you are listening to the code and looking for the letter(s). Even handwriting is more of an unconscious effort, though even at your fastest writing speed you have multiple strokes to complete.
Technology allows you to switch your tablet's keyboard to QWERTY or ABC, whichever is easiest and most familiar to you. Since I learned to touch type, if I use a tablet keyboard where I'm taping keys with one finger, the ABC layout is confusing.
When I had a Palm Pilot, it used the Grafitti alphabet to enter letters in a single stroke because lifting the stylus from the touch screen ended the input. An "a" was an inverted "v" and a "t" was a right angle from the left. An "f" was a right angle from the right. At least as I recall it. A hybrid handwriting approach such as this could speed your copy because it reduces certain complex letters to simpler form and you would be able to read it.
When people say typing is faster than handwriting, it presupposes you know how to touch type. If you're not an efficient typist, typing could actually slow or interfere with your copy. When I learned to type, numbers slowed me down and forget about special characters (= / &). I saw instances where BT (break text) was substituted for the = sign. Dah di di di dah - same pattern but you don't have to think about where that = sign is on your keyboard. Since periods meant a missed character and dashes a missed group, those had to be converted as well. A period was AAA. In text MIM your get a question IMI or a statement AAA Then you finish AAA BT

Posted: 2022-12-07 00:44
Hi there, I’m on lesson 14 now doing 22wpm with a long gap. I’m using my iPad keyboard for copying but want and need to start using pen and paper. I just cannot write as quick as my ears have processed the sounds. Any ideas or suggestions? What are you doing if your finding to have the same problem? Many thanks

You will find a vy gd answer in this forum on

Posted: 2022-12-07 04:52
I don't remember where I heard it, maybe a video from Ask Dave KE0OG but it was recommended to use lower case and/or cursive for efficient copy. My cursive would require deciphering because it's terrible but if yours is better maybe give it a try.

Posted: 2022-12-07 10:00
Hey folks, thanks for all your replies and your time, much appreciated

Posted: 2022-12-08 01:01
Hey folks, thanks for all your replies and your time, much appreciated

Did you find out how fast you can write without decoding Morse code at the same time?
And use the formula in the link to find out what the corresponding speed in plain text Morse code is? If not, I was wasting my time.

Posted: 2022-12-08 15:17
Hi yes. It took me 29 seconds to write just as you said. Its a good simple method I never thought of.

Posted: 2022-12-08 16:59

asked same question in an other forum.
You need an account to read.

Writing Plain Text transmitted with Morse Code


lots of information.



you will find a table for some tests I did.

73 Rüdiger DD5RK

Posted: 2022-12-09 00:24
Hi yes. It took me 29 seconds to write just as you said. Its a good simple method I never thought of.

In that case you are able to copy English plain text with a speed of over 20 wpm.
So don't worry abt ur writing speed.

When you have problems with the wide spaced characters right now, it is because you don't use all the time for writing, because you stop writing while decoding the received character.

Don't waste time by learning some sort of shorthand, finally you decode in your head and understand what is said without jotting it down.

Finally you can write full speed when decoding plain text at 20 wpm, the formal speed coastal stations transmitted news bulletins for ships on sea like PCH which was my source I learned Morse code from.

Do NOT use the military printing way, because that is designed to prevent ambiguity for 5 character code groups It is much slower than lowercase longhand cursive handwriting with an easy flowing ink pen.

Do not try to learn touch typing in this course because you miss the instruction which finger to use for a new letter. Above that the power of Morse is that you can use it everywhere,in emergencies, not only when you have a typewriter available to type it out.

Posted: 2022-12-09 08:44
Thank you so much for all this info, it’s really encouraging. It must be wonderful to head copy but I will get there one day. I’m doing my daily practice without fail. It’s so helpful hearing other stories from people. Thanks again

Posted: 2022-12-10 22:52
Rob, I have found myself still counting dits and dahs at 20wpm. I heard on a podcast to listen to the characters at 30wpm so you memorize what it sounds like and set your Farnsworth to whatever is comfortable. I was stuck at 20/5 for the longest time but after starting 30/5 I reached 30/9 for 5min without error in a week. I found out it also helped me be able to head copy a callsign. Why the callsign only? When you hear CQ CQ de, you already know what is coming next. Usually an N,K or W if it's a US operator. Most of the time they repeat the callsign twice so if I miss the last 2 or 3 characters the first time I catch it on the next. Give it a shot and keep at it.

Posted: 2022-12-11 18:17
That’s a scary thought 30wpm, I will try it and see how I get on.
Thanks for the tip. I’m only on lesson 15, so haven’t hit the numbers yet. Am pushing forward though

Posted: 2022-12-11 18:24
Richard- I have just tried at 30/5 and it is actually not difficult. I can still easily here the sounds. I will stick to the 30 but try and decrease my ews, obviously when I have finished the 40 lessons. I am also using the morse machine as I’m adding a lesson. Thanks again

Posted: 2022-12-12 23:21
Btter keep going at 20/5 till you master all 41 characters, and from lesson 9 upwards start with WORD exercises.

Posted: 2022-12-13 13:36
Ok will give that a go. Many thanks for sharing your experience

Posted: 2022-12-13 13:38
What settings would you suggest for the word training?

Posted: 2022-12-15 02:19
Why would anyone advise against using a method that OP himself found to work for him?

As for word training, there is a list of the top 100 qso words(usually abbreviated like "ES" means AND). You can Google this list. Just know that there are several that are used most commonly in qso, so learning all at once isn't important. A friend couldn't figure out why he kept hearing -•••- as in equals(=) and I reminded him about BT, which means UHH in qso. Keep at it and persevere.

Posted: 2022-12-15 21:57
Did you find out how fast you can write without decoding Morse code at the same time?
And use the formula in the link to find out what the corresponding speed in plain text Morse code is? If not, I was wasting my time.

Not wasting your time - I learned of the other post with the equation. Thanks you.

Posted: 2022-12-17 00:27
Not wasting your time

tks rprt

What settings would you suggest for the word training?

Try constant speed 9wpm, in that ball park, repeat a short word (2 till 4 characters) till you copy it, by writing, write it during transmission.

Also try to glue the characters together in your head without writing. epeat till you are sure that yu copied correct

Posted: 2022-12-17 12:24
Ok thank you I will give it a go. All the advice is very much appreciated

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