What is your approach to learning Morse code quickly and efficiently?

 When I say quickly, I'm talking in terms of learning a new language with it's difficulty divided by two. I'll just try out your suggestions and check which one works for me.

Note: Talking to Morse experts is out of my reach because there are barely any people here who are expert at this.

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framistan7 years ago

I know morse code.  I was not concerned about learning it "quickly and efficiently."  I learned it by deciding i was going to do  it NO MATTER WHAT... and by any and every means necessary.  I built a morse oscillator... and bought a morse key at radioshack.  I bought some 33rpm record albums that teach morse code and practiced with that.  I designed a morse code program to run on an old atari 800 computer so i could practice receiving as well as transmitting..  I learned one letter at a time and practiced practiced practiced.  I did it because it was fun to do.  Here are a couple tips:

    dont try to look at a LIST of the dots and dashes and try to memorize that.
INSTEAD.... you should listen to the SOUNDS of the code-groups and INSTANTLY convert that soundgroup to the correct letter in your mind.  for example.... the letter "A" is just  a dot and a dash.     ._    but dont think of it as a dot dash...  think of it as the SOUND "dit dahhhh"   You need to LISTEN to the sounds of each letter so your mind converts instantly to the LETTER, without the wastefull slow-down method of thinking of what it LOOKS LIKE written on paper.  You can buy a morse code key off of ebay.  and you will need to build an oscillator circuit to use with the key.  they are easy to build using just one or 2 transistors... or a "555" timer integrated circuit.

You must be willing to commit to hours and hours of practice SENDING and also RECEIVING morse code.... and slowly add another letter to your list... untill finally you have it mastered.  When it stops being  FUN... put it away for a while and try again next day.  The DOWN SIDE of knowing morse code is every time i go to mc-donalds their french-fryers make BEEPS that sound like morse code to me... They keep sending the letter "H"   And the cash registers at one department store sends the letter string "KKK"   Nobody notices but me.

nunchucker6 years ago
Find a copy of morse code and start! First day you start you should be able to memorise 5 letters easy. To cement the letters in your head say the morse code alphabet in your head and then check. When you can do that easy learn a new letter. You can also get a few free apps that have the sounds as well for iPhone or iPod touch.
nutsandbolts_64 (author)  nunchucker6 years ago
Must you not look at the date of the question's publication, this is a 1-year, 3-month old question. I have already done what you have suggested after this many months.

No offense, comments, or suggestions (aside from look at the publication date).
Fortunately I know of a document that directly answers your question. Do a web search for "The Art and Skill of Radio-Telegraphy" by the late ("silent key") William G. Pierpont N0HFF. I think the latest was the "Third Revised Edition", last edited 2001-10-27. It's downloadable as a free PDF document, but unfortunately the site hosting it seems to be down at the moment. It's over 200 pages; there's a lot of depth there. It can be somewhat repetitive, but it's only with the intent of driving the main points home. It covers the Koch Method and the Farnsworth Method extensively. Don't commit yourself fully to studying Morse until you read this document; you may be learning the hard way and you'll have to "unlearn" your bad habits, which will slow you down. But please do pursue it... we need more people that can speak code. :)

Learning code does indeed take dedication, but it doesn't have to be as arduous or unpleasant as framistan makes it sound. The book emphases the methods that actually make learning code fun (and effective.. and efficient), and as such you'll be much more likely to dedicate the time to it.

Once you've read the document you can find the Morse software that suits you best, and you'll be well on your way. (One of the ones I like is "Just Learn Morse Code" by Sigurd Stenersen LB3KB, but there are plenty of others.)

Good luck and best regards, ("73")
squalyl7 years ago
the Ward Cunningham method and program are the best I know to learn the code:


The method is progressive, introducing new letters as your error rate decreases, and insisting on the letters you find the most difficult.

I'm using it one hour a day, followed by a 15 min pause. The pause is EXTREMELY important, because it helps fixating what you've learned. Just rest somewhere without any disturbance, remembering the codes you found the most difficult to remember.

After 4 days I can recognize 75% of all codes.
nutsandbolts_64 (author)  squalyl7 years ago
Your too late. I already know morse code. I will suggest this to my friends if they ever feel the urge to learn it though.
Kiteman7 years ago

Use it as much as possible, preferably in a two-way conversation with a Morse expert.

(However, they are getting fewer and further between, now that Morse is no longer required knowledge for ship and aircraft communications officers.)
now that Morse is no longer required knowledge for ship and aircraft communications officers...

Moorse code is still a requirement in certain industries here in Canada, and also a requirement for all HAM radio operators.

But like all languages, practice with someone who is familiar.