How to learn Morse Code
I happened to bump into a friend named Jean from FUBAR Labs at the Sussex County Maker Faire last Ocotber and she offhandedly mentioned to me that she was learning morse code for fun in her spare time. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but later this spring I got the idea learning Morse Code (aka Continuous Wave (CW) more commonly known as CW by ham radio enthusiasts would make for a fun, challenging, and intriguing activity for the kids and I this summer. Moreover it would be something to do with the kids that wouldn’t directly require or involve more screen time on computers or phone screens.
Long Island CW Club
Jean turned me onto the Long Island CW Club (LICW) as the best place to get started learning morse code CW. I gladly paid for the lifetime membership which seems like an exceptionally good value when you realize how many educational classes and forums the club offers on a variety of CW and ham radio topics. Also I should stress the name “Long Island” is somewhat of a misnomer since the club has members from all over the country. The plethora of daily lessons are held via the zoom software app. The beginner carousel method LICW utilizes is brilliant allows beginners to hop onto a set of lessons at any time. If you want to learn Morse code CW this is a fun and welcoming place to do it. Highly recommended.
Beginner Morse Code CW Straight Key Setup
We purchased a camel back straight key and Scout CPO Morse Code Straight Key Practice Oscillator from cwmorse.us and had great success with this gear as an economical starting setup. After that all you need is a good pen and a notebook to write down the code received.
The Morserino-32 was also recommended during my research as a handy device to practice CW. We are still experimenting with this device but I can definitely say it made for a fun soldering science kit project for the kids and I. The kit takes about an hour to assemble. My daughter proved her soldering skills are top notch and did the majority of the fine soldering work. (I see a future SpaceX Mission Control engineer before my eyes). If a child can put this thing together, I think you can too.
I liked this concise morserino assembly YouTube video the best
Ham Radio Technician License
After a few lessons with the Long Island CW Club I realized many members also had a ham radio call sign. I decided to get mine too and used the Ham Radio Prep app to study on my phone. This is probably the easiest and most expeditious method to get prepared for the ARRL exam. Watch the short tutorial videos on the app and just keep taking the practice tests to ensure you are ready for the test. I took the test hosted by the Delaware Valley Radio Association nearby. I passed and will end the summer with a ham radio license! Now time to find a proper HF radio to start transmitting!
Morse Code is not easy but it’s not as hard as you may think it is.