How to learn CW



    The ARRL website on learning CW has a wealth of information on this subject and you should be able to find something that will work for you.

    Personally, I recommend the Farnsworth Method. Learn the characters at 15 wpm with a long gap between characters.  Absolutely do not count dot and dashes, but rather learn the characters as a whole sound comprised of dits and dahs. LCWO offers a free program in which you can choose character speed and effective speed. In other words set the character speed at 15wpm and the effective speed at 5 wpm to start. You will hear a character group then a long gap before the next character. As you progress, increase the effective speed, leaving the character speed at 15 wpm. When you are comfortable at say 12 wpm effective speed, increase character speed to 18 wpm.  LCWO also offers "word practice".  With an character speed of 15 wpm and effective speed of say 5 wpm, you will hear a whole word sent at 15 wpm with a long space before the next word. 

    Just like learning a foreign language, learning CW take Practice. Actually CW is easier than learning a foreign language because there are only 26 letters to learn, numbers and some puncutation marks- all in English. But remember practice, practice, practice.

    I started as a SWL listening to Foreign Broadcast Stations in the late 1960's using a Radio Shack DX-150. Tuning around one day, I heard  some dit and dahs being transmitted back and forth on the Ham Radio Bands. Fascinated by this, I had to know what they were saying. I taught myself the Morse Code using AMECO casette tapes. I learned the letters quickly and soon could copy some words the CW operators were saying. Before long, I was copying the slow guys ( novice band at that time) 100%. I was at 5 wpm or better before I even thought about getting a Ham Radio license. I did not know any Hams at the time, but was able to find a local club and got my Novice ticket in 1969 and have been a CW operator since.

    The important thing is to keep on practicing and listen as often as possible on the Ham Bands to the live CW QSO's going on. You do not have to copy them 100% to know what the conversation is about.  You will soon realize how much CW is an enjoyable and fun language and will be sorry you did not learn it sooner.........73..............Tony n3zn