Redefining Slow Morse in Amateur Radio

This is my Nemesis and I have upset people in the past airing my views on the subject so lets go WORLD WIDE. My problem is that people do not listen properly to what I am saying, especially learners who do not really understand the principles of my views.   I love using Morse and actively encourage others to learn so that they can get the same enjoyment as I do using this mode of communication. The worst part is the people that actively teach slow Morse who refuse to listen to the damage that can be caused by their activities and set a potentially good Morse Operator back years.

2dits 2dits1dah1dit space 1dah1dit2dahs 3dahs 2dits1dah space 1dah1dit1dah1dit 1dit1dah 1dah1dit space 1dit1dah1dit 1dit 1dit1dah 1dah2dits space 1dah 4dits 2dits 3dits space 1dah1dit2dahs 3dahs 2dits1dah space 1dit1dah 1dit1dah1dit 1dit space 1dah1dit1dah1dit 3dahs 2dit1dah 1dah1dit 1dah 2dits 1dah1dit 2dahs1dit space 1dah2dits 3dahs 1dah 3dits space 1dit1dah 1dah1dit 1dah2dits space 1dha2dits 1dit1dah 3dits 4dits 1dit 3dits

Translation of the above paragraph reads: If you can read this you are counting dots and dashes

How many people realise that by learning slow Morse you tend to count dots and dashes and then find it difficult to get their Morse speed up to 12 words per minute? I would hazard a guess at 100% of learners that took the 5 words per minute test.

I often wonder why the 5 words per minute test was introduced by the RSGB in the 80’s, I could understand the compulsory 12 words per minute test because of the coastal stations as it was the only way they could tell you to QSY if you accidentally strayed onto their frequencies, but 5 words per minute? Who uses that?

Well I found out that it is the Morse speed used for Navigation Idents for aircraft. Near where I live, there is a small airfield and often at night when passing it I see a green light sending WI in Morse which I presume is the Navigation Ident as the airfield is called Wickenby. But why for radio amateurs? Was the person that introduced the 5 words per minute Morse test a Pilot?

I would like people to define Morse Code as a language and not a Code made up with different configurations of dots and dashes. Treating Morse as a language would give the new learner a chance.

How would it be possible to make this transition from code to language as everywhere you see Morse crib sheets with the alphabet and the Morse equivalent thus defining it as code, there are even Morse keys with the code imprinted on the side. As part of the UK Foundation Licence they have to send a receive Morse with a crib sheet by their side at about 0.5 words per minute. It would be nearly impossible to change this way of thinking but it would be nice if I could change the way of thinking in the Amateur Radio Community. This is why I started the Morse Crusade, as the voices of many stand out better than the few.

Want to learn a language? if I wanted to learn French then I would purchase an audio visual course by Rosetta Stone a highly recognised course that makes languages easy to learn. Pity they did not do a course for Morse but don’t despair I have suitable Software that you can use, freeware and shareware.

Have I deviated from the title of this post? I think that I may have and in fact Killed of Slow Morse which in fact could be the same as redefining it. I want to help people learn Morse and help them progress, it is impossible to do this with Slow Morse.  Don’t despair I will be covering other methods of learning soon.

2 thoughts on “Redefining Slow Morse in Amateur Radio

  1. Ian, I totally understand what you are saying and agree. In 2000 I did the 5 wpm test and learned Morse the ‘old way’. It took lot of work to get the speed up using the Koch method. I then gave up radio for 4 years. When I returned in February 2010 I was very surprised to find that I could still copy Morse at more or less the old speed ~ 12-14 wpm. It had not gone. I have been struggling to increase the speed and have been distracted by other stuff but am now determined to get past the 15 wpm barrier and head towards 20. That might be it for me or it might not, who knows. The immediate gain is that CW QSOs are becoming easier, less stressful and much more FUN!

  2. Thanks for your comment Colin I never touched Morse for 12 years and it took a week to get back to 25wpm you never lose it and pleased that you are trying to head for 20wpm. Morse is fun especially when your relaxed and can enjoy it. I would try concentrating for 20wpm recieve only as the sending will automatically follow.

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