Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CW Academy - Lesson 3

Thank you all for following this journey to what hopefully ends up with me being a no code ham. The views on the posts about this quest are amazingly high and I appreciate the following. If only it was a paying gig, hi hi.

I looked back over the posts about the first two lessons and realized I did not cover one thing. I told you where you could go practice the lessons but I did not tell you how to set Morse Trainer up. This is information I wanted once I signed up for the course. Within Morse Trainer you can set your tone, wpm (character speed), and wpm. This is also known as the Farnsworth method. It allows you to learn the characters at the quicker speed but slows the word spacing down to make it easier. Once you have the characters down you can increase the wpm. The goal is at a full 20 wpm. We are currently running 20 wpm character speed at a 10 wpm pace. Down the road we have been told we will increase the wpm to 20. So, you have the information that will allow you to go practice on your own.

Lesson 3 adds the letters R H D and L and the numbers 2 and 5. So one week in we are working with eleven of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet and four of the ten numbers.After a pretty dismal performance last week I am happy to say I got some redemption last night.

It was a poor showing at first as there were only two students that showed up at 1930, me and one of the Tarheel guys. The other NC operator was absent due to some work travel. The other two students ended up showing up late, one of which was the N. Indiana no show from last week who was sick, and the other, our Canadian who was delayed by a Boy Scout meeting. I have been surprised at the number of amateurs that are involved with Boy Scouts.

The lesson started out with the instructor sending us words and we had to copy. The same format was used. Raise your hand when you have it and the last one pretty much gets called on. I did pretty well in this drill and we moved on to 3 word phrases. In the middle of this is when the other two students arrived on the call. There were one or two phrases that I struggled with during this time and of course I got the question, "How did you do Steve?" and I responded with a very confident, "As far as you know I did great!". That broke up the seriousness a little. About this time Dennis, the instructor, showed off the QSL card that he received that day from a CWop in Bahrain. One of the students paddled out the call sign and that led to a short stint of the instructor holding up DX QSL cards from his ragchews and contests and we would send the call sign.

Finally we moved on to our final task of the evening which involved us sending our call sign followed by a 3 word phrase. Sometimes the phrases make sense and sometimes they don't. When it was my turn I paddled out (one of these days I will try straight key and I will be able to say tapped or punched out) the following:

.-- ----. -... .-. ..  .-. . -..  -.. .. .-. -  .-. --- .- -..

You got it! W9BRI red dirt road

During this time I was happy that others commented on the mechanical noises during sending on one of the KX3's. I mentioned this in my last post and it also caused others in the room problems in copying his transmission. He is going to try something different next class to see if he can separate the paddles and the computer somewhat to pull the sound away from his speakers.

It still takes most of us 2 to 3 times to catch some of the phrases but we seem to be getting better. The important thing is that it is alot of fun and becoming a CWop will be a great accomplishment and an honor to follow in the footsteps of so many greats. I hope to get as good one day as W9ILF (Ivin) and KB9BVN (Brian), a couple of my elmers. Don't forget to check out their blogs listed over to the right and make sure to check out the Adventures with CW blog (W9ODX) as well.

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  1. As always, thanks for the update. de NA1VT

  2. Steve, best of luck with the class. Have Fun! Can't wait to have a QSO one day soon.

  3. you're getting better man! keep at it!