2016 is my year to learn the art of receiving and sending Morse Code (CW) using a CW iambic paddle with a focus on SOTA activations.
My first entry into Morse Code was in 1990 where the aim was to decode and send CW using a straight key at 5 words per minute (WPM) for the sole purpose of passing the VK Amateur Radio Novice Exam. In 1990 the common CW teaching method was a set of 8 audio cassette tapes, a Sony Walkman and headphones. Each lesson comprised of a male voice reading a letter, number or a series of characters followed by spoken ‘dits’ and ‘dahs’ followed by a Morse Code audio (800 Hz) generated by a practice oscillator, straight key combination at 5 WPM and 10 WPM. My one and only Morse Code QSO was with the instructor sitting on the opposite of a table using a CW practice oscillator. I haven’t attempted a single CW QSO since passing the Novice exam 26 years ago.
To restart my CW journey I have decided to use the Koch method to learn each letter, number, pro-word and abbreviation at 20 WPM. I am using two versions of Koch CW software; IZ2UUF Morse Koch CW for Android and Koch Trainer for MAC and iPad. I’m giving myself 9 to 12 months to be proficient at receiving and sending CW at 10 to 15 WPM. In the meantime I will be listening to CW ops and practicing sending using the FT-857D built-in Electronic Keyer in ‘sidetone’ practice mode. When I get to the stage where my brain has remembered each CW character, yep those CW characters are buried in the grey matter somewhere, I will be looking for a VK1/VK2 CW practice buddy. 😉
My first CW purchase is an Iambic Paddle kit from American Morse Equipment – Iambic Porta-Paddle II
My plan is to master sending CW with the paddle I will use for SOTA activations. The skill is in manipulating the iambic paddle to produce the correct series of dits and dahs corresponding to the text I intend to send.
Photos: © Copyright 2016 Andrew VK1AD
Porta-Paddle II Kit
Assembled Iambic Paddle