Putting Pen to Paper

One of the first skills you learn when taking Morse is writing down what you are receiving and there are various hint and tips on doing this which I will cover on this page.

Missing Characters: This is the first thing that you will encounter when learning Morse and it can cause a lot of problems especially if you think about it. Typically if you miss a character and you think about the character you missed, you then miss a half a dozen more characters while you are thinking about the missed character and it will take you a little time to get back into taking down the characters again. Thinking is bad in Morse as generally you don’t have time to think and doing so will make you miss characters. To resolve this issue you MUST get into the habit of putting a dot where the missed character should be and FORGET ABOUT IT , carry on as normal. You will usually find this difficult to do to start with, but soon it will be a reflex action and one missed character is better than half a dozen. It is possible for you, at the end of receiving to go back to the dot and enter the character you think it might be.

Handwriting: An important point of receiving Morse is how you write it down as it has to be written quickly, the character “E” is the shortest character in Morse but has to be written down quickly and the quickest way is lower case “e”. Think about the quickest way to write down characters and don’t worry what it looks like, as long as it is readable. If you have problems writing down the Morse, consider typing and taking Morse on the keyboard. The Donation ware software “Just Learn Morse Code” is suitable to use as you can enter the characters on the keyboard and you will also be learning to type at the same time.

Groups to Plain Language: Generally when learning Morse you have 5 character groups while you are learning all the characters and then you move on to taking plain language and this is when problems can occur. The space between characters is slightly shorter than the space between words, when taking groups you get used to a space after 5 characters. Without realising it you are not listening to the space but automatically putting it in after 5 characters, when you move to plain text you struggle to realise where the space should be. This can be overcome by again using “Just Learn Morse Code” because you have an option of groups or text and selecting text you will get groups of random lengths to get you used to spaces between words from the very beginning.

Guessing the Next Character: This happens when you are reading your copy as you take it down and in your mind you have completed the word, so you are expecting the next character to be what in your mind you think it should be. If the next character is different to what you thought it should be, it throws you mentally and you end up missing the next few characters. A typical example of this is QTH LONDON . . . . . and you missed the characters after the “N” because you were thinking it should be London but it was actually Londonderry. Try not to read the text as you are writing and keep a couple of characters behind and you won’t have this problem.