Learning Morse Code (CW) The Best Way

I learned morse code (CW) way back when and now I hear that was not the best way. I started learning characters then progressed from 1 WPM to 5 WPM. Actually I was able to put together a 13 WPM run to pass my Generals license around 1976. Today we have some better alternatives and we have computers, tablets and smart phones to help us.

Back in 1976 I sat in a class room full of students listening to tapes and an instructor on a CW bug. When I was 14 yrs. old learning CW was fun and exciting, but we can do better now.

Learning Morse Code - What's The Best Way?

IMO, take an online class with an instructor. If you want to get better I highly recommend CW Academy. Take any one of their classes. Their proficiency test will help you find the class that is suitable for you.

You'll get hands on experience (lessons and homework), a lot of useful information and live instruction through Zoom.

My Zoom classes were twice a week for 8 weeks. It's a commitment, but very well worth it and you'll be a CW operator when the class is done.

Getting By After The Stroke

There is nothing wrong with slow speed CW, but I wanted to improve and I was hoping it would improve my memory too.

I was always stuck between 13 and 16 WPM before the stroke, but after my stroke it was way down. I could remember the alphabet and a few other characters, but putting together words and phrases was impossible.

My goal was 20 WPM and being able to head copy (just jotting down a few words here and there.) Longterm my goal is 25 WPM and CWops membership.

learning cw academy certificate

Some New Things I learned From CW Academy

Learning CW and becoming proficient takes:

  • Practice, practice, practice - never miss a day working or listening to CW. This is a must for me. *NEVER miss a day*
  • Muscle Memory - Practice sending. My muscles are remembering and sending characters becomes automatic. The stroke affected that too.
  • Acquire "instant recognition" of characters and words. Since the stroke I had lost that. It is imperative!

In just 8 weeks, my memory has positively improved. I still make mistakes when sending CW, but it is much better.

Thank You!

You can follow me and my travels on TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.

If you have any questions, please ask them here. I prefer the comment section here or in YouTube over e-mail because your comments and questions will help others as well.

Thank you for subscribing to this website. I sincerely appreciate it.

Please stay in touch and best 73,

Rich, K0PIR


CW Academy

Instant Recognition

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I'm an Amateur Radio enthusiast. I love the hobby and experimenting with radios, antennas and software. On my YouTube channel I upload videos on the Icom 7300 and Icom 7610 along with Ham radio software programs. I hope to inspire people to try new things in Amateur Radio.

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Howard Kunkel
1 year ago

Thanks for this information Rich. At age 71 I too struggle with memory issues and had similar CW learning experiences at age 15. The CW academy sounds like a great idea to me. Going to give it a try.

1 year ago

Great post Rich. And your experience with CW Academy and overall is very encouraging. Thanks for sharing the experience.

Fred Goode
1 year ago

What about a total beginner? I know zero CW right now. But I want to learn. Would you still recommend cwops.org as the best option for me? 65 years old and have never tried to learn CW.

Thanks Rich and keep the posts coming. Whenever I try something new with my Icom rigs. My first step is “see if K0PIR has something about this”. You are a valuable resource sir. Much appreciation. 73

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