Let me tell you a little secret. Lots of guys on
this forum go back many decades in ham radio. 62 years for me.
We started before home computers and cell phones were even
possible. Radio was magic to us then. It's still magic. It
doesn't seem to be magic to many younger people now, but it is
to some. You might be one of those who still see the magic. I
think CW helps with keeping it somewhat magical.
I concur on two other points already made. The
Koch method used by G4FON is an excellent idea and it works. It
helps you learn the sound of the characters instead of the "dot
dash" makeup of them. That's really important. I also agree with
learning to "head copy" the code. Don't write it down. You will
thank yourself later. There are advocates for head copy,
pencil/paper and using a mill. I've needed all three over the
years. They are DIFFERENT SKILLS that use different parts of the
brain. One is not generally better than the other, but skill in
one doesn't give you much skill in the other. If it did,
experienced hams wouldn't have so much trouble trying to learn
to head copy.
Personally, I think head copy is best for casual
communication--the kind we mostly do on the air. You jot down a
few key things, name, qth, RST. Or not. The other methods are
more important where you must get the message correct--letter
perfect. That's why mills were invented. They're typewriters
with all uppercase so you don't have to waste time and energy
shifting. See any Telegram in a movie. They're all uppercase.
So learn to head copy. Later develop your code
writing or typing skills IF you need them. Otherwise, just build
speed with head copy and enjoy a skill most hams don't have.
Welcome to the magic show.
On 11/21/2019 11:00 AM, Jon wrote:
joined this group after completing my QCX for 40 meters. I have
had a Technician license for 10+ years that I obtained so I could
run a kit built radio for the radio controlled airplane hobby.
Only in the last few months have I decided to try using my ticket
for actual Ham Radio Ops <grin>.
I have an end fed half wave antenna that I built using the "No
Tune EFWH" kit from QRP Guys. My QTH is in Central Texas and have
been able to listen to W1AW and have seen transmissions from
callsigns from California, Montana, Alabama, Cuba. That is
probably old hat to most of you guys but it is a real kick for me
as a beginner. I am still working to learn CW (know about half of
the alphabet so far) so I am dependent on the decoder to
understand what is being sent.
I have questions about using the QCX, antennas, and CW ops in
general. Are more general questions okay here?