Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Code practice

So you say you're not satisfied with your CW skills. Maybe you're just learning the code (WELCOME!); or perhaps you're a veteran who is stuck at a certain speed level and you want "to bump it up a notch".

Let me begin by saying that there's no supremely easy way to accomplish this. By that, I mean that accomplishing your goal will not necessarily be difficult; but there's no easy way to do it, either. By "easy", I mean there's no magical pill you can take; or some magical tape you can listen to, or "method" like sleep learning that will make this a snap of the fingers cinch.

It takes practice and patience - a lot of patience. The biggest enemy you will have will be yourself; as you slam yourself for not accomplishing your goal as quickly as you think you should.

The best practice, of course, is getting on the air and making QSOs, especially in a contest. Devote a weekend to a contest and you will be amazed at how much your code speed will have increased.

But what if you're just learning; or you hate contests? What if you'd like to try and increase your code speed while you do other things? Then I have a possible solution for you; at least it's something you might want to try.

Go and download the Koch Trainer program from www.g4fon.net. Install it on your computer (if you don't already have it) and familiarize yourself with the program. The neat thing about the Koch Trainer is that it will allow you to create your own code practice CDs.

I just made myself a CD of random words at the 35 WPM speed in a session that lasted an hour - this will just about fill up a CD. It's easy to do and here are the steps:

1) Start Koch Trainer and set it up for the speed you want.

2) Go to the "settings" tab and input how long you want your session to last.

3) Go to the file drop down and select "record audio file".

4) Hit the "Common Words" button to start the session.

At this point the code practice session will begin and will last however long you have chosen. The Koch Trainer program will generate a .WAV file of your practice session and will store it wherever you directed your computer to store it.

Next, go to Google or whatever search engine you choose and type in "free WAV to CD converter". You will get a plethora of links to choose from. Personally, I use a free program called AllMusicConverter. What you need to do is convert the .WAV file to an .mp3 file. Once you've converted it; burn it to a CD using Windows Media Player if you have a PC (don't know what you Mac users use) and viola'! You have a code practice CD that you can listen to on your way to and back home from work. You can also put that file in your iPod or your Palm Pilot or whatever mp3 player you might have and you can listen to code practice anytime your heart desires.

73 de Larry W2LJ (struggling to become one of those QRQ guys)


  1. This is exactly the kind of tip that makes the web so great. Thank you

  2. My program MorseGen can also generate audio WAV or MP3 files with various kinds of practise material, including random QSOs.

  3. My web site Morse Resource allows you to create mp3 files from text, and subscribe to daily audio podcasts of famous quotes at various rates.