Re: The Friendly Group

Michael N6MST

On Sat, Mar 14, 2020 at 11:07 AM, Jeff Collins wrote:
My Internet connection will not support that class right now. I can barely watch a YT Video.
Hi Jeff,
My father-in-law is about to start his first CW Academy and has ZERO code experience. I have taken two of the CWA classes and highly recommend them but I get your internet connection won't work for the actual class sessions. I suggested to my FIL he do a "pre-study" of the material provided for CWA students. Honestly, if you can do self-study you can learn code using just the homework from the CWA. You won't get the procedural stuff that gets discussed in class but you can definitely learn code doing this. Below is the email I sent to him last week describing how to do this, he really is new to radio and not the best with computers so I kinda spelled everything out for him in detail. Good luck!

Here's what you do! First CLICK THIS LINK and read the first five pages. This document is all the formal homework you will have for the entire eight weeks. If you follow the instructions and work on these session assignments for 30 minutes every day you will be picking up Morse code with no problems. Each week you will go through two sessions when you are in the actual class so I would shoot for a similar schedule while you are doing your pre-studying, but if you have to do only one session per week that is fine too.
For your homework you will use the Morse Trainer website for the "Copying segments" practice and you will use your paddle and radio (with BK-IN turned OFF like we set up yesterday) to practice the "Sending segments" that are found in the homework document for whichever session you are on.
On the Morse Trainer website you will see your Sound Controls on the right hand side. When I did my first class I had them set as: Pitch: 600, Speed: 20, Farnsworth speed: 12 and you can change these however you like. I suggest you modify the Pitch frequency to something that is pleasing to your ear but leave the other two at 20 and 12. Farnsworth speed is the speed between letters and words, so you can listen to letters sent at 20 words per minute but the spaces in between letters is longer so it is easier to hear the individual letters and your brain can learn fast letters easier. Once your Sound Controls are set you can add your information into the "Personalisation" box toward the top of the page. The website automatically works your personal details into some of the practice toward the end of the class, that's what the Personalisation area is for. Once your info and controls are set it is time to practice! Scroll down and select the session you wish to work on. Obviously the first time you do this you will work on session 1. Below that you will hopefully see the "Copying" tab selected. Make sure the volume on your computer is up and hit the "Play" button. The first time I would do this WITHOUT headphones so you don't accidentally blow your eardrums out! Switch to headphones once you verify the audio level is acceptable. Use the Play, Pause, Stop controls as well as the Previous or Next controls to navigate through the session and practice at least two 15 minute practices every day!
If you do the homework as outlined and you make the effort every day you WILL learn Morse code and during your class sessions you WILL learn how to operate your radio on the air using the CW mode. Working CW on the air is much more than just knowing Morse code and that is one of the main jobs of your instructor, to work with you to teach you the procedures and common practices that are used in ham radio. You will do copying and sending practice in class but you will spend  time discussing the procedural stuff too. You'll also spend a bit of time getting to know your other classmates and I suggest you take advantage of that opportunity and really make an effort to be social and participate in the class. I have learned a LOT from classmates as well as other hams on the air. Damn near everyone in ham radio is extremely helpful and there is a ton of knowledge floating around.

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