Morse Tests

RSGB Morse CertificateAll my plans for the Morse Crusade  being at the National Hamfest have had to be cancelled as my son has decided to get married in Gretna Green on the 28th of September and we have to travel up on the 27th.

As part of the National Hamfest Management Team I am getting things organised for the Morse Tests and have enlisted the help of Martin Farmer G6BD from RAF Waddington ARC to stand in for me. Peter M0EJL and James G0EUN from Lincoln Short Wave Club will be there as usual.

The Morse assessments are friendly and informal, on demand and best of all FREE! so why not have a go and get a nice certificate to hang up on your shack wall.

Smartphone + Morse App Review

Having just got rid of my Vodafone Brick and moved to the new technology of the Smartphone,(to me it is!) my first task was to find an android app that would be suitable for learning Morse and also be useful in Morse tests to save me lugging my laptop about at the National Hamfest.

On my search for a decent app for my Smartphone  similar to “Just Learn Morse Code” and Ray G4FON’s “Koch Trainer” I came across “Morse Trainer for Android” by Wolphi W8DA. I have to admit that I gave it the full thumbs up as it was exactly what I was looking for and now I can get rid of the laptop and just carry my key, oscillator and smartphone to tests.

Below is the developers own description of this marvelous Morse App

Published on 2 Nov 2012

Learn or improve Morse code with Morse Trainer.If you are a ham radio (amateur radio) operator or just want to learn Morse code. With a lot of settings it is very comfortable to adjust Morse Trainer to your current level.

The following settings are available:

  • – Frequency (200 – 2200Hz
  • – Waveform (sine / triangle)
  • – Fading (to reduce click at the end of a dot or dash)
  • – Speed (2Wpm – 52Wpm)
  • – Spacing (spacing between dots or dashes)
  • – Dot-Dash Ratio (length ratio of dashes compared to dots)
  • – Letter Spacing (Space between letters)
  • – Word Spacing (Space between words)
  • Five different learning modes are available in Morse Trainer
  • – Random groups of five mode: Morse Trainer will play groups of five randomly selected letter, numbers or special characters. Those characters can be individually selected. If you want to learn just “s”,”i” and “e” just select the 3 letters and Morse Trainer will create groups of 5 with those 3 letters.
  • – Real ham radio callsign mode: Morse Trainer will randomly play real amateur radio callsign from a database of 5000 callsigns which appeared in Contests over the last couple of years.
  • – QSO text mode: Morse Trainer will play randomly play QSO text. The database consists of 300 different qso texts.
  • – Most common English words mode: Morse Trainer will play randomly the 500 most used English words.
  • – Own text mode: Enter your own text and Morse Trainer will play it over and over again.
  • – Ebook mode: Text files can be loaded from SD card

Morse Trainer is priced less than the cost of a fancy coffee and it is a great app to learn and improve you CW speed away from your amateur radio station or your PC.


Morse Tests

I am pleased to announce that the three candidates who booked tests for RSGB Morse Competency Certificate at the National Hamfest 2012 all successfully gained certificates, but I was disappointed that we did not have more people book tests this year. We had three times that number book tests last year, but I think it is mainly lack of self confidence and fear of the Morse test that puts potential candidates off.

I used to be a Morse Examiner in the 1980’s when candidates needed to be sedated before taking the test as this was the most important test in their life, it would enable them to transmit on the HF bands and work stations all over the world.They were not allowed a second chance during the test and had to wait for over a week before getting the results of the test, pass or fail.

Things have changed and you can now work on the HF bands without needing to know Morse and those that are interested in the Morse can now obtain a certificate from the RSGB to prove their Morse competency. Although to get a certificate you have to take a Morse test, I think it should be changed to having a Morse Assessment as I am now a registered RSGB Morse Assessor and I assess the competency of the candidates. I do not examine them as I am no longer a Morse Examiner, but now as a Morse Assessor I spend a long time with the candidates and assess their Morse proficiency.

At the National Hamfest, my team is available from 10am to 4pm on both days to assess candidates, and my policy is that we properly assess the candidates and if they fail on the speed they requested, we spend time with them and they get a certificate for the speed that they are proficient at. On Friday I had a candidate who wanted a test for 20wpm which he failed, but he left with a certificate for 18wpm which he was proficient at. I will spend time with candidates to make sure that they do receive a certificate for the speed that I have successfully assessed them at.

On very rare occasions a candidate will leave empty handed. This happened last year at the National Hamfest 2011 when a candidate requested to be tested at 25wpm and after I kept reducing the speed to find level where he was proficient and it got below 12wpm and he was still unsuccessful, I gave him some advice on how to improve his proficiency and told him to try again next year. I did not mind spending my time with him as I want to encourage and certainly not discourage Morse.

My team at National Hamfest are very friendly and will genuinely bend over backwards to help you succeed in getting an RSGB Morse Competency Certificate and are willing to pass on hints and tips to help you increase your Morse proficiency. If you are attending the National Hamfest 2013 have a word with us as we are their to help you succeed on your Morse journey.