How not to fear CW and possibly enjoy it

I learned with the ARRL Learn Morse cassettes many years ago. I do believe they have them now on CD. Check out the ARRL Link on Learning CW.

A quick look at the page gives good advice and direction. Searching the Internet you will find many resources free and pay. Repetition, repetition is key to learning via sound, not sight. A good learning aid teaches you in narrative starting with the simpler characters first and in groups, and then increasing in complexity. A first group may be E T I M for example. First the letters, then the numbers, then characters and other abbreviations used.

I don’t view using computers or other automation as cheating when it comes to CW. I view it as the only digital mode that can be as tactile to an operator as they want it to be – computers at one end with straight key and pen/paper on the other end. It’s just a
matter of where do you get your most enjoyment.

When operating straight key the courtesy is never send faster than you are able to copy CW. If you are responding to someone’s calling ‘CQ’, do not send faster than
when hearing them calling CQ. With that said you probably hear alot of people sending CW as fast as rabbits mate. If it sounds crisp and clean it is probably via computer and if a QSO, the person on the other end has a computer too. Since everything is computer generated then the CW software they are running should have no problem copying to screen. Unless your running computer for CW send and receive – move on.
Have patience and scan around the band and you’ll find someone operating casually.

Personally, I prefer straight key (Army or Navy type) and pen/paper to copy. Though I
can do 20 WPM or better (needed for some contests) a good CW QSO is at a nice
leisurely pace like listening to a slow beautiful musical piece like DeBussy’s “Claire de Lune” or “Us and Them” for you Pink Floyd fans.

Much how an audiophile notices subtleties and nuances in a recording, you develop similar sense with CW over time – sounds like a straight key being used, that chirp and cadence sounds like Joe, etc.

For what it’s worth,

– Joe, NE2Z