Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Morse code – Belongs to the past.

I guess the title of this posting must have evoked a few reactions?

I suspect that CW (Morse code) is now more popular than it has ever been before. I think this can be attributed to quite a few developments in the sphere of amateur radio.

CW is used extensively in radio sport i.e. contesting and remains the most effective mode for chasing rare DX entities. CW is way more effective with weak signal work and the rubber stamp exchanges used during contests and expeditions, transcend language barriers that otherwise would have existed.

Then there are the fantastic (free) software tools to help guide newcomers to this great mode. I know there are many such software packages, but I have used two of them and they have helped me a great deal.

 The first is the program written by G4FON – “CW Trainer” (Koch method). It is a brilliant tool. Do read the instructions first.  (I have the nasty habit of getting a program installed without reading the instructions). The suggestions made are most important to consider before using the program. I wish I had this tool when I started out some 37 years ago. Maybe I would be a hot shot CW operator now, but alas this is not the case!

The second software package, is the “Morse Runner” contest simulator, written by Alex VE3NEA. IMHO this program is most useful once you are fairly proficient with CW. Then use this tool to sharpen your contest skills. If only I would spend a few minutes every day using this tool, I am sure it would make a huge improvement in my contest rates.

Long live CW


  1. Gordon (ZS6FI)1 December 2011 08:33

    I dont think we will ever see the end of CW. CW provides a unique option (nowadays with computers) to be a digital mode that can also be operated by humans on keys that vary from very expensive paddles, chopsticks to some scrap metal (even a hacksaw blade works if you ask Quartus ZS6EE). CW is one of the few communication mechanisms we have that do not require a radio, you can do it with a flashlight, banging on a wall (Kursk) or even with blinking your eyes. It is a wonderfull "tool" to have once you have mastered it.

    There are so many tools available to help you learn morse, we have it so much easier than the old timers. There are software (G4FON, MorseCat, Just Learn Morse Code, etc.) songs and lyrics, recordings and other other mechanisms to learn. There are also loads of documentation, tips and advice on learning. All you need is a few minutes every day and commitment.

    Long live CW!

  2. Hi Gordon,

    I agree with you. In my humble opinion using CW is more exiting, now than ever before?

    I am not a purist and I don’t see any problem using technology to its fullest extent either. I have CW Get running on the side and it provides a sense of security much like a set of training wheels as used on a kids first bicycle. I find I hardly rely on it at any more, but if it is not available I feel somewhat vulnerable.

    It also helps me during contests where many speed demons operate at speeds well in excess my comfort zone or dealing with the normal household distractions.

    Practice is all that is required. I will get there……

    73, Pierre