Leave it to the Professionals

Morse training in amateur radio has too many experts and not enough professionals, I am continually finding this out much to my displeasure and frustration. If you consider the amount of money it costs to train a professional Morse operator, they will have been taught using the quickest and best methods to get them up to standard as soon as possible.

In 1965 I was taught Morse in the RAF using the Farnsworth / Koch method, I did not use any visual aids, slow Morse or any other method and was doing 20wpm at the end of the course. I like to offer students the same excellent tuition that I had.

In the 1980’s it was deemed a good idea to bring the standards of the Aldus Signal Lamp to amateur radio with the introduction of the 5wpm Morse Test. Today I am still dealing with the fall-out that slow Morse has caused, being detrimental to the learning of good Morse and which can seriously prevent the student achieving a decent standard.

90% of websites promoting Morse can be detrimental but 10% are good so choose carefully before starting on your journey so you can enjoy it and not end up pulling your hair out.

One thought on “Leave it to the Professionals

  1. I agree. I’ve been there myself. I had to relearn from scratch in the early 90’s as a radio officer when I found I couldn’t copy anything above 20 wpm. It was a lot of work but I got there and never looked back. I found that copying the high speed Russian stuff helped a lot, even though some of the characters don’t translate directly back to the Roman alphabet. I also think that it’s wrong to start sending until you can receive about 12 wpm plus. Really sending isn’t all that difficult if the mechanics are properly addressed. So yes, even professional maritime operators were being taught the wrong way at some schools. Koch is the best method I know of, I mean it was invented by a psychologist and validated with extensive trials.

    Another important thing I found was that it’s vital to accept that your learning will be consolidated over time and this minimises frustration. The actual changes in your brain really happen later when you’re not doing the activity, especially during sleep, much like physical exercise. I think this often explains why people have a surprisingly good run at something after a bad practice the day before, or are sometimes better at something when they don’t engage in it for a while, probably not as good as they would have been had they kept doing it, but still better nonetheless.

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