So....I'm learning CW (or as most non-hams know it: Morse Code.) For anyone who needs an interpretation of the above, its the sound in CW of this message:
de is an abbreviation for "this is" so my message above just says "this is n3vem."
I had set a goal for myself to be able to have an on-air QSO by September. Some people might think that I should be able to learn the code much quicker, but remember, in addition to ham radio, I'm a husband, father, a full-time employee for a big company, AND a student. My company does tuition reimbursement, so I'm working on finishing up my degree through one of the local colleges. All that being said, I think I'm doing okay!
I've been using the software program Just Learn Morse Code and it seems to be working well. This program uses the Koch-Farnsworth method, which basically means you listen to the characters and one speed, but spaced at another. That way you get used to what the characters "sound like" at the faster speed, but you get them delivered to you slower. I now know the entire alphabet, all the numbers, and all the punctuation that I think I'll actually need. Right now, I'm listening to the characters at 10wpm, spaced at 5wpm. I can copy 5 minutes of code at about 90% accuracy this way, so now I just need to start speeding up my spacing. When I'm at 10wpm for both characters and spacing, I think I'll have a go live on the air.
Before that happens, I do want to invest in a key in the meantime, and an oscillator so that I can practice sending with something other than just tapping on my desk :-) I'm having a blast!
My daughter has been amused by it too - she has now started bringing me things and saying - "Daddy, spell this in morse code!" I think I might have a future ham on my hands...
Do you have any recommendations for keys? Leave a comment and let me know!