This is the article du jour at eHam.
Normally, I take anything I see on eHam with a grain of salt. Obviously, this little article was written with the intention "to push buttons". I guess I was supposed to get all bent out of shape by the premise of the article and the accusations being made. I think I laughed more than anything else.
For years it has been, "CW is killing Ham Radio". The requirement was downsized to 5 WPM and then eliminated. Now the mode itself is being killed by the veteran ops who "just won't slow down" for the newbies. This statement, IMHO, is a "hasty generalization" as I know that there are veritable tons of veteran ops out there who never fail to QRS when asked - and maybe even do so when not asked.
I'm getting tired of all the whining.
If you scroll down the page, I posted a response. It's there to be read by one and all. I still stick with my answers - the Morse Code has never been more easier to learn than it is now. Now before you jump all over me, I don't mean that actually learning the Code is easier than it used to be - what I mean is that there are more resources and learning tools than there have ever been before.
Back when I learned it, you had few choices. You had the AMECO LPs, or those unwieldy Instructograph machines and paper tapes, or you had cassettes from the ARRL; or if you were really lucky, you had an Elmer who would tutor you. I didn't have that kind of Elmer; but I did have a cassette player. I got up to the necessary 5 WPM in a few weeks. I got my ticket and cut my teeth in the Novice "sub-bands" with all the other newbies. We communicated amongst ourselves and the higher class licensed holders who ventured forth into our little world. We kept at it, working other stations and listening to more higher speed code tapes and W1AW. It took time and was hard work; but we kept at it and we upgraded. And we knew one important tip that used to be stressed often; but never seems to be stressed now. If you want to increase your speed, you have to work ops who are sending just a bit higher than the speed you are comfortable with.
So let's get down to brass tacks. These days, there are a plethora of Morse Code learning tools. The absolute best method is a fantastic trio of programs from fellow blogger G4ILO, Julian Moss. Morse Machine, MorseGen and MorseTest are a triumvirate of software programs that are the ultimate tools for teaching yourself the Morse Code or for helping you improve your copying ability. If you can't get it done by using these programs, then I'm not sure what to say.
But wait, there's more! As if those aren't enough, there's Koch Trainer by G4FON. There's also Morse Academy, and Super Morse, and Nu-Morse. There's also Morse Runner and RUFZ, which are excellent programs designed for the sole purpose of helping you to increase your speed once you have mastered the Code.
Just about all of the learning programs allow you to make practice cassettes or CDs or MP3 files for your iPOD or whatever MP3 device you happen to own. It has never been easier to custom tailor a learning program to your own specific needs.
That all said and done, however, the hard work and desire remain. In these days of instant gratification, if you want to learn Morse Code or increase your code speed, then you'd better get used to the fact that you are going to need patience, desire and time. There are NO shortcuts. You are going to have to slog it out like the rest of us. And unless you have some kind of physical (hearing) limitation or learning disability; then you should be able to meet your goal.
To this day, some 32 years after learning the Code, I still keep a CD in the car onto which I have burned some 40 WPM code practice. When I get tired of listening to the chatter on VHF/UHF, I pop the CD in and continue to push myself to stretch the limits of the speed that I can comfortably copy in my head.
And as a Newbie, once you get on the air, there are even resources there! Get involved with FISTS, the Straight Key Century Club or the North American QRP CW Club. Each of these organizations have members who are more than willing to get on the air with you and help you increase your speed. There are slow speed traffic nets out there with just this purpose in mind. The help IS there, you just have to be willing to swallow your pride a little and look for it and ask for it. It's not going to fall out of the sky and land in your lap.
Are the CW veterans killing CW? No. But maybe frustration, lack of patience and unrealistic expectations and maybe (I daresay) laziness might.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!