I must apologise for the site being down and also for the lack of updates, but for the last two years I have been having health and family problems and slowly getting back to normal.
Though I am now a full-time carer for my XYL which takes up a lot of my time, I am still willing to help anyone with their journey into learning Morse code.
I am still available for club talks though I am limiting it to Lincolnshire at the moment due to my present circumstances so please contact me for more information.
The National Hamfest 2018 is a good place to meet up with myself and Martin Farmer G6BD and we will both be taking the On Demand RSGB Morse Tests as usual and as we are both very experienced military Morse operators and Registered RSGB Morse Assessors we tend to treat the Morse Tests as an assessment of your proficiency and willing to spend some time with you. We are both very friendly and don’t bite, so come along and book a test from us and get some good advice at the same and best of all it is FREE.
Learn International Morse code in one week using visual aids, then astound your friends with your newly acquired skills. After about two years of trying to get your Morse speed above 9 words per minute and after trying the multitude of different ways of learning Morse available (usually bad advice) you ask me for help.
At least 90% of the people that contact me for help have gone down the route of Slow Morse and have peaked at about 9 words per minute and then struggled to make any headway after that. Because you have chosen to use visual aids to learn Morse you have immediately given yourself a handicap as Morse is a language and you have to listen to the sound, not try and visualise it in your head.
Although I successfully mentor students through E-mail, the main aim of the Morse Crusade is to educate Morse teachers/mentors in that any time type of visual aid actually handicaps the student and using slow Morse does not help anyone in becoming a Morse operator. To substantiate my claims I include two references for from books on how to learn Morse code.
Extract from David Finlay N1IRZ’s Book “So You Want to Learn Morse Code”:
“Most of what you’ve been told about learning Morse code is wrong, Amateur radio operators traditionally have used the slowest, most frustrating, most painful and least effective techniques possible for gaining code proficiency.”
Extract from Bill Pierpont’s book “The Art and Skill of Radio-Telegraphy”:
“Any kind of printed dots and dashes or any other such pictorial impressions will only impede the student’s progress when he is beginning to learn the code. All such methods violate good pedagogy, because they do not teach the code as actual sound patterns, as it will be heard and used.”
A very comprehensive talk on learning Morse code and increasing Morse speeds. It includes tips for Morse Trainers and Radio Clubs starting a Morse Group. Start time 19:30 and directions to Leicester ARS below, beware of your Sat Nav leading you up the garden path in the next ajacent estate!
The National Hamfest is creeping closer this year and as usual I have been busy with the organisation of it. This year I am having a break and not having a stand for the Morse Crusade but I am going to enjoy the Hamfest for the first time as a Punter. I will be there Friday for certain and possibly on Saturday if anyone would like to meet up with me, I will be monitering 145.500 so please feel free to give me a call.
I have a lot of admiration to those undertaking the challenge of learning Morse today as there is no specific reason for learning apart from being able to communicate long distances with low power.
Celebrating 50 years of using Morse this year, I ask myself one question. Would I undertake learning Morse if I was not professionally trained? My answer always is “I don’t know”.
When I was a 13 year old, I had dreams of becoming a Ships Radio Officer which never happened and aged 15 I bought my first Morse Key from the local electrical shop. Did I learn Morse? No! It was not until 1965 when I had turned 18 and joined the RAF that I was professionally taught Morse.
Having a good Morse aptitude I did not find it difficult to learn and after 10 months was up to 18wpm and passed out as a Leading Aircraftsman. Subsequent training and exams over the next 3 years brought my speed up to 30+wpm.
Spending years of being first a Morse Examiner and now a Morse Assessor for the RSGB, also mentoring people learning Morse, I know about the grief, frustration and dedication involved in learning the language which I never had.
It is very enjoyable using Morse on the bands and I get a lot of pleasure from it, I always encourage people to learn the language as it is a unique experience having a CW QSO. Would I undertake learning Morse if I was not professionally trained? My answer still is “I don’t know”, this is why a have a lot of admiration for those undertaking the challenge and I am willing to spend time helping them get the same enjoyment from Morse as I have.
I think that one of the most common methods which is widely promoted on web sites, is to look and learn the characters visualy before listening to Morse Code. On a lot of Morse Code learning sites there is a chart with dots and dashes that you can memorise and this is the worst possible thing that you can do. You are learning the Morse Code LANGUAGE visually which does not work.and will only cause you problems in the future. LISTEN TO MORSE CODE, don’t read dots and dashes.
Last year at the National Hamfest, I was testing a candidate at 12wpm and they struggled as they were trying to visually imagine the character. I told them if they were trying to visualise the character in their head then it would be a waste of time taking the test. Using your ears works, using your eyes only adds another brain process and you will be lucky if you get beyone 10wpm.
When a student approaches me and excitedly tells me that some characters are just popping into his head without thinking and the Morse has slowed down in his head has achieved instant recognition on some of the characters and can only go forward more quickly now.
I talk about the reflex action, but for someone starting to learn Morse it is difficult to understand what it actually is. Only by continual reinforcement of the characters you have learned, can you achieve instant recognition and it does not happen overnight. The reflex action can’t be given a time when it will happen as it is unpredictable and is reliant on the aptitude of the student but I can promise you it will happen and when it does you will suddenly be surprised everything is easier.
To encourage the learning of Morse code, I am willing to visit clubs within a radius of 60 miles of Market Rasen in Lincolnshire to give my presentation “Cracking the Code, the easy way of learning Morse” which has proved to be a success. The only restriction I have is that I must have my travelling costs covered. Please contact me for more information.
I am working on a portable presentation on the same subject that does not need my presence, so that the presentation can be viewed without my personal appearance.
When I started the Morse Crusade in 2011, I was told it would never work and have proved this wrong by the amount of people I have helped in the few years it has been running. I tend to be a bit lax now in posting on this web site, but this does not reflect the work I am doing with the people who contact me by email as they always get a reply as soon as I get their email.
The Facebook page certainly needs to be more active as I have to admit that I don’t post on it very often due to the lack of people on it. I have now revamped it and invite everyone to join and post on it to be able to share your Morse experiences with others.
I have been asked to have a stand at the National Hamfest again this year, but find it difficult to man because of my other Hamfest commitments with the Morse tests and also I am the Outside Trade Manager. I felt very guilty last year as I asked Carl M0SER to help me with the stand, and he had to man the stand by himself most of the two days. This year I wondered if anyone would like to give an hour of their time at the stand talking about Morse. Anyone interested please contact me.
On another tact, I am intrigued by the amount of interest on recent posts on Fists about reinvigorating 2 meters CW which has got me thinking of buying a beam for the first time in my amateur career and going active again on 144.050 as the last time I worked CW on 2 meters was 1983 with a vertical on the chimney. Because I live in a very rural village (4 miles to the nearest shop). I would need a good beam to make any reasonable contacts due to the amount of CW ops in my location.
A lot of people think of Morse as a Code, a series of dots and dashes that you need to translate into characters, but think about it. We use our ears to listen to Morse and a good Morse operator takes the message in their head without thinking about it. Could we not relate Morse to a foreign language?
If we look at languages that we can’t understand for example French, it can be classed as a code because we do not understand it. If we learn French and can understand it, then it becomes a language. A radio operator who has learned Morse treats it like a language because he has learned it and can understand it, a bystander who does no know Morse will treat it as a code because he can’t understand it.
If you learn Morse as a Code, then it will remain a Code and you will have difficulty understanding it at any speed. If you learn Morse as a language you will excel and enjoy using your new language.
Another successfull presentation last night at the RAF Waddington ARC at the Pyewipe Inn, Lincoln, improving the teaching techniques so we have better Morse operators on the Bands.
In less than 1 hour it will be 2014 and looking forward to the new year, starting with a talk I am doing about learning Morse, in February at RAF Waddington ARC, Lincoln to which everyone is welcome.
I finally got the pictures that was taken at the National Hamfest 2013 which I have added to the post and again thank Carl M0SER for supporting me as I could not have done it without him and also Martin G6BD for helping out with the Morse Tests. (I should actually say taking the Morse Tests with the help of Peter M0EJL)
Setting up the Morse Crusade Stand
It was a pleasure to meet the Fists Team at the National Hamfest and I hope they come back again in 2014
A call to look out for is the latest email student for the Morse Crusade HB9IIS Michel who has dusted off his paddle and getting back into CW. Good luck in 2014 and keep using the key.
If you need help with Morse, just contact me as it is free and painless and lets make 2014 a good CW year.
Happy New Year Everyone and Keep Pounding
I apologise for any problems caused by the contact form not working, this has now been rectified
Carl M0SER Manning the Stand
The first thing I have got to say is THANK YOU CARL. Carl M0SER gave up two days of his time to help man the Morse Crusade stand, and although I said help, with my other commitments at the National Hamfest Carl done most of the work on the stand.
We had a lot of interest and I had brought my selection of Morse keys for the visitors to play with, we had some serious conversation about Morse including one visitor setting up my Marconi 365A to the same standard that he used on his own 365A as a Radio Officer in the Merchant Navy including thin piece of paper between the back contacts to dampen the clicks.
Carl brought added interest to the stand when he set up his Elecraft KX3 and small magnetic loop and started working CW stations from inside the main entrance of the George Stephenson Hall.
I am pleased to announce that the Morse Crusade will be at the National Hamfest and I will be available for a chat during the event Ian G4XFC
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.
The Morse Crusade seems to have become popular in France and after I received this email from Alain F5RUJ I decided to make the Morse Crusade also La Croisade Morse.
“HI! Morse Crusade is a very interesting idea. Google’s word by word French translation is sometimes funny but alas, sometimes incomprehensible! Could I help in translating at least the first presentation page? VY 73 de Alain F5RUJ”
I would like to personally thank Alain as he has agreed to translate all the important pages into French. I have managed to make the site dual language (eventually) and you can click on the French Flag to access the French translation which is limited to the home page at the moment but pages will be added to the French section when I receive the translations from Alain
The National Hamfest is upon us again and I am looking forward to seeing you there. I will be conducting the Morse Tests and although I haven’t got a stand for the Morse Crusade this year I will be available for a chat if anyone wants. I have other duties as Outside Trade Manager at the National Hamfest, but if anyone wants to find me, just go the the Hamfest Information Desk and they will contact me and I will come and find you or tell you where I am.
I like to chat to other people about how they have learned Morse, or about any problems they are having as this always gives me more information how people rate different ways of learning so please share your Morse experience with me.
While on this point of sharing experiences. I have a lot of visitors on this website who read the information they want without commenting on anything or sharing their experiences. Please share you experiences as it will help others on their journey through learning Morse properly.
Hope to speak to you at the National Hamfest 2012
73’s Ian G4XFC
I am sorry for any downtime of this website, I have been having problems with the www.g5fz.co.uk website which has also effected all the sub-domains on the server. This problem has now been fixed but at the moment I must concentrate on re-building the main website and should get back to the Morse Crusade when I have finished ( hopefully soon :O) )