Learning CW

Last January, I passed the General Class written test with flying colors. I also failed the CW test miserably. In June, I failed it again, and I have one month to take it one last time or else I have to retake the written class test over again. I’m not looking forward to that at all. So, I’m putting my nose to the grindstone and I will pass the test next time.

My first learning method was visually. I was using a book called Morse Code for the Rest of Us that had each letter in code written with cute little pictures. I learned the code that way, and I can even send code at a decend rate now, but I can’t hear it. I have trouble telling the dit’s from the dah’s. After a few seconds, I get lost and everything jumbles together. That’s the problem with learning CW visually, or so I’m told. You have to start learning code by ear. That way, your ears pick up the sounds and start recognizing the patterns immediately.

Now I am using K7QO’s Code Course. The only problem I see now is with me. I have to make the time to do this. I wish I had more patience for this kind of thing. I know that once I can hear the code and translate it instantly, I will never loose it and I will be up to 20WPM in no time. It’s getting there that will be the problem.

Learning Code the Old Fashioned way

Warning! INCREDIBLY POLITICALLY INCORRECT MATERIAL AHEAD!

I’m currently trying to pass my General Class Amateur Radio exam, and I found the following book online. As you may be able to tell, it was written several years ago. When I read this book, I get the image of an older gruff gentleman telling me the best way that he knows how to learn Morse Code. He really doesn’t give a damn for my new-fangled ways of doing things, but he sincerely wants me to learn. Here’s the introduction:

Almost anyone who can learn to read can learn the [Morse] code. There is no such thing as a normal person who wanted to learn the code and couldn’t. “I can’t learn the code” nearly always translates into “I won’t commit myself to the time necessary to learn it,” or that a person doesn’t really want to, even though he may think he does. Age, whether young or old, and intelligence, bright or dull, are no barriers. Youngsters of four or five can learn quickly, and oldsters of 90 have succeeded,too. You wouldn’t want to admit that a four-year old or a 90-year-old could outdo you, would you? It doesn’t require superior intelligence, just right application.Most handicaps, such as blindness or even deafness, have not stopped those who want to learn. Deaf people have been able to learn and receive using their fingers on the driver of a speaker at 30 wpm or on the knob of an electromagnetically driven “key knob” bouncing up and down at 20 wpm. (Even some people with dislexia have been able to learn to a useful extent.) It is easy if you really want to learn it and then go about learning it in the right way. Any person of reasonable intelligence can learn the Morse code and become a very good operator, able to copy it with a pencil at 25 wpm and send it clearly, smoothly and readably.

There is no real justification for the statement that “some people just can’t learn the code.” (They don’t want to.) It’s a matter of motivation, the secret of learning any skill. If you are one of those who tried in the past and somehow didn’t make it, or got stuck at 8 or 10 or 12 wpm, take heart. Forget what you previously “learned”, and start over with the principles set forth here, and you will succeed.

Some Naturally Learn Faster than Others Just as some people have a knackfor learning to play golf or tennis more quickly than others, so some have a special knack for learning the code. They catch on more quickly, but most of us take a bit longer. Kids tend to pick out the sound patterns easily and naturally without straining so they learn very fast.

Why is this politically incorrect? Phrases like, ““I can’t learn the code” nearly always translates into “I won’t commit myself to the time necessary to learn it,” or that a person doesn’t really want to, even though he may think he does.” and ““There is no real justification for the statement that “some people just can’t learn the code.” (They don’t want to.)”” tell the reader that they can’t give phony excuses to the author nor to themselves. The words, “it’s not fair” have a profound place in the vocabulary of political correctness. It’s the ultimate cop-out for mediocrity. The author here is telling the reader that they can learn with enough effort. It’s not a far stretch to say that “it’s not fair that …[fill in the blank]” would not be an acceptable answer to why a person can not learn Morse code.

Furthermore…”It is easy if you really want to learn it and then go about learning it in the right way. ” What?! The RIGHT WAY?! How JUDGEMENTAL

What also attracts me to this style of writing is that the substance of the book is about learning morse code. Period. The author does not go off on tangents about other topics. The book is concise and to the point. I may be going out on a limb here, but even that may irk some people because of the short attention span of most people today really will by an hinderance to them learning something like Morse code. Of course, as the author of this book says, “It’s a matter of motivation, the secret of learning any skill.” By cutting off all excuses, it leave the potential learner one of two choices. Give up or try harder. It’s not difficult to guess which one is easier.