Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Beep Beep - No not the Road Runner

Practice sending CW

Let's turn back the wheel of time a bit.  This entry is about how I practiced Morse Code earlier in in my CW Journey.  

My first key was a MFJ-557 practice oscillator.  I used to set it on the center console of my vehicle and practice sending code while I drove when I first practiced for my General ticket 9 years ago.  

More recently I used it as my straight key when I restarted my CW journey 9 months ago.  I compared it to my Kent Straight key back in September.

MFJ-557 Practice key with a 2m/70cm SWR Power meter as a background prop

The practice oscillator doesn't have to be used with the less than stellar, check that, absolutely terrible, Philmore straight key attached to it.  You can wire the ocillator to other straight keys or any manual key providing a radio-free way to practice your code anywhere you wish.

However, practicing with paddles is more complicated and requires the use of an external keyer or a radio with an internal keyer set to not transmit.

Your electronic teacher

You may think you're the bomb when it comes to sending code but it could be that you are bombing out on sending code others can copy.  You need an objective critic.

Morse Code Reader App
I use the Morse Code Reader to check what I send.  It isn't perfect but it's a good portable solution to act as your Morse Code critic.


Here is a video demonstrating use of an MFJ-557 practice oscillator with your standard manual keys.  Additionally I address configuring your HF rig's built-in keyer to practice with a paddle.

NOTE: I mistakenly say in the video that I have the keys wired in series.  That's not correct. They are wired in parallel.

Practice, practice, practice

It is better to send good code than receive

That's all for now...

So lower your power and raise your expectations

Richard, AA4OO

1 comment:

  1. Hi, that flimsy key was my very first cw tool. Still in the shack! On a computer, I suggest Precision CW Fistcheck by DJ7HS, a little unnerving but very useful tool to achieve correct timing in sending morse with a non-automatic key. https://www.qsl.net/dj7hs/help/helppcwfistchk.htm
    Thanks for all the good stuff you put online.
    72, IZ2LSO