Getting Started With CW

Fred Beatty, K8AJX


Final Thoughts

Well, congratulations! You have learned the code. Hats off to you for your commitment and perseverance. Learning Morse, by the way, is like riding a bicycle . . . once you do it, you’ll get rusty if you don’t use it, but you never forget how to do it . . . and it’ll come back quickly if you lay off for awhile.

But, where do you go from here? Obviously, on the air! Here are some final thoughts for you when you do:
  • Get on the air frequently to sharpen your skills.

  • Respond to stations calling CQ at the speed they are sending and maintain that speed throughout the QSO. If the other station speeds up, do the same, if you wish, but not faster. And vice-versa, as well.

  • Use moderate sending speed (at which you can copy when receiving) when calling CQ. You will occasionally hear speed merchants on the air who key as fast as they can. Probably they are trying to impress the world. But listen a few minutes and you will find not many stations respond to them. After we have some experience, most of us settle into a speed range where we are most comfortable. You will find that is about 20 words per minute.

  • Work on making your code sending as perfect as you can. It is exhilarating when another station comments on your “great fist” or asks what computer program you are using to send the code.

  • Observe good CW operating practices. You will get that from the ARRL web pages and other brass pounders.

  • Be courteous and considerate of the beginning CW operator, remembering that you were there once.
And now, go forth with our best wishes! See you on the air!

Thanks to the following hams whose expertise and experience were invaluable in developing this tutorial:

  N4AU N4UZZ