The Case for Morse Code

If you’re into QRP, I want to encourage you to consider learning morse code. While you can make plenty of contacts with voice or digital, it’s hard to beat the “cw” (continuous wave) mode for efficiency.

With voice, everything you say is stretched out and occupies about 3 kHz of bandwidth. With morse code, that energy is compressed/condensed into a sliver of the bandwidth, concentrating the energy like a laser pointer!

4 thoughts on “The Case for Morse Code”

  1. I learned CW in 1961 in order to pass my novice exam. Some of the most fun I have had in ham radio is working CW while working toward my general ticket . Even with my extra class ticket, I still work QRPCW most of the time and I am having a ball. Good job encouraging hams to learn CW.

  2. Hi Cliff,
    How do you learn Morris code while traveling. The main reason I haven’t learned is I have found no way to learn when traveling. My main case for QRP is using ham radio from a hotel which can make a trip more fun. So how to learn cw in a car or airplane as well as at home is a challenge.

    1. Hey, Tim. There are a number of apps for smartphones and tablets that can help you learn Morse Code. Back when I got my General Class license, I used an MFJ “Code Tutor” which is a small plastic box with an LCD screen and speaker. I had it in my car and would listen to Morse Code while I drove to work and back. After you learn the sound of the letters/numbers, your mission is simply to recognize those characters more quickly. You do that by listening. The goal is to be able to instantly recognize the sound of a character so that you’re brain is ready to process the next character. Even now, as I get ready for working our ARES group’s CW station on Field Day, I am listening to 30wpm Morse Code when I go to bed. (I can copy call signs at 30wpm but am not good enough to have a conversation at that speed.)

      So, my advice is to use a computer program, phone/tablet app, or MFJ Code Tutor to learn all of the characters and letters and then start using your spare time to increase your ability to quickly recognize the characters. – Cliff

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