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Should You Learn Morse Code? The unequivocal answer to that question is an unqualified, it depends.

In the interest of full disclosure I must admit that about 90% of my HF activity is on CW. I took my first license exam in 1949; it was for a Class B license which was two years before there was a Novice class and required a 13 words per minute (WPM) code test. My Elmer, God bless him, wouldn’t let me take the test until I could copy 18 WPM. I did five minutes of solid copy and ever looked back. By then code was easy and fun. A Bit of Personal History In 2009 a discovered the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) and dusted off my J-38 my Elmer had purchased for me. After 60 years I had gone full cycle, making contacts with the same key I used to make my first contact. I’m active in SKCC and currently the Vice President of the 13,000 member organization. I’m also on the Board of Directors and the awards manager for five of their awards. Recent W1UL CW Activity In 2009 a discovered the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) and dusted off my J-38 my Elmer had purchased for me. After 60 years I had gone full cycle. I’m active in SKCC and currently the Vice President of the 13,000 member organization. I’m also on the Board of Directors and the awards manager for five of their awards. CW 2 Be or not to be Now that I have the disclaimers out of the way let me say there are two considerations when making the decision to learn Morse Code, they are the emotional and technical considerations. I have long felt that the more difficult a goal the great the personal satisfaction when you accomplish the task. Make no mistake; acquiring reasonably CW proficiency is not a trivial undertaking. However, if you learn code, at even 5 WPM, you will possess a skill that most hams licensed in the last 10 years have never acquired. Anyone can talk into a microphone but few can copy CW at any speed. Code prowess is a skill that will make you proud of yourself and your accomplishment.

The other side of the equation is the technical superiority of CW as a communication medium. It all comes down to bandwidth. A SSB signal takes up a minimum of 2.8 Khz up to 10 CW signals can be placed into that same slice of frequency spectrum if your receiver has a narrow CW filter. The amount of noise and interference you can hear is directly proportionally to the width of your pass-band. It gets better. Most relatively modern radios have Digital Signal Processing (DSP) which allows varying your receiver's band width. In addition, DSP can also peak or null a signal in the pass-band, a S9+ signal a in the pass-band can be reduced to nothing and a S3 signal can read with ease. Try that with SSB. CW has a major advantage, especially in you are running low or moderate power. More to come There will be a lot more about learning CW. Stayed tuned.


Create Ham Cram Study Session - Alternative Study Methods - Create an Elevator Pitch
Beginners Guide to Repeaters - Repeater Finder & Radio Interface - Expert Mode - The Art of Memorization
Join a Ham Radio Club? - Your First HF Antenna - Should You Learn CW? - Cloud Burner Antennas
Nocturnal Problem Solving - Vanity Calls

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