This is something that I do in my head like a lot of experienced Morse operators but the subject of writing it down has reared it’s head a couple of times recently. It is very rare that I write anything down these days as most of my work is down on a keyboard, but the times I do pick up a pencil I would find it difficult to copy 20wpm.
One point which is vital in copying Morse is learning to put a dot on the paper if you miss a character, and immediately forget about it and carry on. If you think about the character that you missed, you also miss the next character, then the word, then the paragraph and then you throw your pencil down and start pulling out your hair. If you put a dot on the paper where the character should be, you can always go back to the dot and put the missed character in if you can remember it.
In my younger days I could take down 25wpm with no problem but as you get older you writing gets slower and this leads to a few thoughts which I thought I should share.
When writing down Morse, it is easier to use lower case characters as you can write them down quicker than upper case, especially the letter “E” which is the shortest character in Morse.
My next thought is because I had four candidates for Morse Assessments at 30wpm for the RSGB Morse Certificate at the National Hamfest who all failed because they could not write down the Morse. All were competent at taking 30wpm in their head, but for the Morse Assessment they had to provide a hard copy.
When I was trained in Morse, I was also trained to touch type at 60wpm so taking Morse at 30wpm was quite easy typing it down, in fact one of the candidates who failed, is learning to touch type so he can be assessed again at 30wpm at the National Hamfest next year. I shall be taking a computer and keyboard to the National Hamfest, for anyone that would like to use it for assessments.
If you are just started learning Morse by the Koch method then I would recommend you use the Just Learn Morse Code or MRX software where you use a keyboard to copy down the Morse and also at the LCWO site, where you enter the characters by typing and you could learn to touch type using both these methods while learning Morse. Using this method would certainly help when your wpm starts getting faster.