Some of advanced posts here may have the effect of making you think CW is hard enough to learn and on air is going to be even more daunting! So I want to dispel any such thoughts with this post, as this is not at all the case.
Firstly let me say THANK YOU for being interested in CW! It truly is a joy and you do not have to be a high speed operator nor have years of experience to enjoy and love it and benefit from it. I know a great many who have within months of going on air, already become Quality True Telegraphists, and soon we’ll have a QTT Award to reinforce that it isn’t about how much you know or what speed you can send or which keys you use, it’s quality over quantity.
It must be truly daunting in today’s world, to come into an ancient art such as radiotelegraphy and be overwhelmed with endless numbers of experts, Apps, publications, contradictory information, over complication and so on! So, let’s break this down a little…
1: Learning CW logically one has to start with reception. There is truly one tool that has everything and works on every platform and device: www.LCWO.net and Morse Machine and the lessons, ten minutes every day morning and evening (short term memory can only become medium term then long-term memory this way), and with the character speed not set below around 16 WPM. This is the easiest and safest way to learn CW, the author and owner of the site, amongst us here, DJ5CW OM Fabian, is, unlike many of the authors of CW Apps that I have seen, an accomplished QRQ CW OP from a very young age since a great many years.
2: Sending CW, do not close yourself off by starting on the Ferrari and discovering the health benefits of the bicycle when you’ve already got one foot in the grave. Start sending with a straight key, learn sending on it, and have a mentor check your sending from time to time otherwise bad habits will likely be hard to correct later. Later you can progress to a cootie, bug and paddle. It’s life that one should start with the elementary tools to appreciate and be able to use them all later.
3: ON AIR: this may also be done best wish some people you trust around you or over video link to assist you and take some of the load and pressure off you. They can copy the information that nerves may cause you to miss, and tell you. You can greatly assist yourself by having a QSO template already laid out in front of you to work from, www.no5nn.org/qso has the best such templates currently out there, agreed upon by multiple sources.
That’s really all there is to the three phases of learning CW and using it on air. On air practice makes perfect. The TOP 9 CW kHz on each band are where slower friendly relaxed QSO often take place. As you go along, you may want to advance your knowledge further, this can come after you’re already enjoying the on air practice of CW described in the third phase above. If you don’t go on air and continue studying advanced stuff, you’ll lose the basics. On air exercise is key to gaining experience!
Once you’re on air and have mastered the Standard QSO you can look into more advanced subjects, such as why to avoid iambic keying until you’ve studied both the pros and the greater cons, how to get more results from a combination of tuning around and CQ calls and various techniques, which appear in some blog posts at no5nn.org/blog and may also form subject material of a CW University: net procedures, emergency communication, propagation tools, split operating, and so on.
At every stage of your journey, avoid stress. Relaxing is key and enjoying CW. Don’t worry about not reaching targets, take it day by day, ten minutes morning and evening with consistency will get you through all three phases within a few months, whereas doing 2 hours once a week will take a lot longer. Less and more frequent is the key to learning CW quicker and easier! When it comes to speed and skills, these will come naturally as you have fun on the air, and we’re very happy to welcome you to your first QSOs!
Again, thank you for being the future of CW and may your journey be smooth and may you carry torch forward for telegraphy while enjoying much Quality Telegraphy Time.
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