If you’ve been following along on my Morse journey, you know that I’ve steadily (but slowly) marched through the Learn CW Online courses. There are 40 lessons that each introduce a single letter, digit, or punctuation. The site uses the Koch method. This method starts out with just two letters but given at the full target speed of 20 WPM. Once you can identify those letters 90% of the time or better, the course adds another letter. And so on.

It took me about 6 months and 1318 attempts, but I got through the full 40 lessons. And it feels pretty good.

LCWO Koch method chart

Where do I think I’m at?

Well, I feel like I have pretty decent single letter recognition right now. If you throw a Morse character at me, I can get it most of the time. It starts to get a little bit mush as more letters come my way, or if I lose my place mentally. I’m very much doing letter-by-letter transcription rather than any kind of fluency. Honestly, it feels like it stretches my short term memory as much as anything. It isn’t a bad thing at all to give my brain a workout like that!

As a ham, I’m lousy with “mic fright.” I tend to get all bunched-up in trying to speak. The more formal and the fewer “ums” and “uhs” that I’m trying to emit, the worse it gets. It’s a case of bad nerves.

This extends to Morse somewhat, but its effects feel blunted. Part of what attracted me to CW/Morse is that there’s a welcome interposition involved. It seemed to me that doing CW contacts would be easier from a social anxiety standpoint than via voice. In my bizarro brain, working 6+ months on an esoteric way of communicating is on par with just speaking up.

What’s next?

I’m planning on starting on another Morse cource, of course! I listened to a podcast episode where I learned about Morse Code Ninja. This course is focused on improving head copy, or hearing code without having to write everything down. It’s generally accepted that learning to head copy improves your copying speed. It is also nice to do a course where I can just use my ears without being in front of the computer.

I’ll keep my Morse Code page up to date with my progression through the course.