CW OPS has been teaching people who want to learn Morse code via an On-Line Class, Skype, and software for free since 2012 according to the CW OPS website. On the mainland the wait list can be a year long.
This is a story about my experience. I took the class about 12 months ago but only made it to about Lesson 3. I got busy and didn’t have the time to practice. I’m still busy but I work from home and I am confident I can put in the time needed.
TIP: You have to practice at least 30 minutes a day, and for me I need about 60 minutes or more. You don’t have to do it all at once but find a quite place and put in the time.
Lesson 1: T, E, A, N. Our first class was on January 3, 2017 and we had 5 students and the instructor / mentor was Alan Maenchen. AD6E. The first class was pretty straight forward. We had to know the letters T, E, A, and N. Letters A and N had me confused, sometimes I was mix them up and it seems the other students were as well but Alan said it is normal and with more practice they will sound different.
The second session was 2 days later. We reviewed the letters from the 1st session and talked about our problems with learning. That was helpful to hear others having the same issues as I was. We then went on to listen to others sending and then sending ourselves. The assignment was to know the following by this class, or at least be familiar with these letters and numbers.
Lesson 2: O, i, S, 1, and 4. January 5, 2017
I am having issues with the A and the N. I get them confused when they are in words and not sent separately. Others where doing the same thing. When Alan sent us some words and call signs it was 50/50 for me. The call signs got me and I was bad at those. The words I could figure out after 2 times but it will take a lot of practice outside of class.
The next class is Monday, 3 days from the second class. I think the 1st day I will go over session 1 and 2 and then day 2 and 3 I will spend on lesson 3.
Lesson 3: R, H, D, L, 2 & 5. (Plus Lesson 1 & 2) January 9, 2017
I had issues with R and D but after talking with Alan I decided to plow through and complete the lesson and it seemed to help. At first I was just playing those letters over and over to try to get them memorized. I have the word speed set at 20 and the Farnsworth set at 5. That is slow but it is my best for now and I will try to speed up the Farnsworth to 8 and then 10 but for now I am at 20 and 5. For Lesson 3 I had a hard time with H, S and 5. Some of the other classmates stated the same thing. At 20 WPM the H, S, and 5 sound very similar. Our next class is 4 days away and it is a review of Lessons 1 through 3 and the new letters are U and C.
TIP: I put a 3×5 card over the computer screen where the next letter or word would show so I could not see it. This made it harder but I was able to concentrate more and not knowing what was coming next is like being on the air and not knowing what the other operator would send.
Stay tune for Part 2.