The pastime of Learning Morse code has been on a huge upswing these last few months. Reddit posts have increased, LCWO usage is at an all-time high, and Google trends are showing an obvious bump in interest in “morse code” during the last 6 months. It seems that people have taken a liking to learning or getting better at Morse code. It might have to do with renewed interest in ham radio, COVID-19 stay-at-home impacts, or just people looking for something fun and interesting to do.
It’s definitely translated into quite a bit of on-air activity, but what I’m more impressed with are people across the Internet asking for advice learning the code.
I for one am glad to be a part of what seems to be a Modern Morse Code Renaissance.
I’ve neglected to write about my progress on becoming proficient in Morse code, but thankfully that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped practicing. I’m too busy trying to get good to write about it!
Some background for new readers – Back at the start of the 2020 (before it turned into the worst year ever), I embarked on a journey to practice Morse daily. I streamed every session to Twitch.tv and YouTube (you can see some goofy highlights and bloopers here).
It’s been several weeks since then, and mostly thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak, I’ve been able to find the time to not only stay (somewhat) consistent with practice, but to also commit my Monday and Friday evenings to CW Academy. I’m in the basic class with Dave W8OV, who has been an excellent instructor, with a group of hams that are right there with me trying to improve our ability to translate Morse code in our head, without writing, instantly.
I have definitely seen a massive improvement in my proficiency. I’ve completed all of the letters, numbers, and symbols. But still, I learned last night that I still have a long way to go before I have a FB QSO at 20-25WPM, but I can hold my own at an effective WPM (a.k.a. Farnsworth speed) of around 10 WPM. Not bad. But a ways to go.
Now I just need to get on the air.
True Morse code proficiency comes from on-air practice, not from LCWO drills or even classes like CW Academy or Long Island CW Club. It comes from the grueling embarrassment of flubbing your first QSO and getting better with every QSO after that. Absolutely nobody will disagree with that (unless you’re one of those super-human High Speed CW wizards like Fabian DJ1YFK).
I wonder who is going to be the lucky ham on the end of my first real CW QSO? If you’re reading this, sorry in advance for my awful copy.
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