Exciting Launch: Morse Code Ninja Short Stories!
I strived to create a fun, innovative, and dynamic approach that helps students transition from copying a few words to whole sentences. These stories are told in a format that makes use of contextual priming, which is a kind of hint. Before the Morse Code in each segment is given, the student is given an idea of what will be sent. This does several things to help ease into copying less common words, more complex sentences, and concepts — it makes it easier to predict and understand the message, and it reduces the cognitive load of deciphering the meaning.
I am thrilled to share with you a curated assortment of stories. This collection is designed to cater to learners at various stages of their Morse code mastery: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert. These stories are invitations to adventures and tests of wit, promising to enrich both your skill set and your imagination. All stories are available from 15 to 50wpm.
- 31 Beginner Short Stories: A daily dose of narrative-driven Morse code practice. — Averaging 12 minutes at 20wpm.
- 10 Intermediate Short Stories: Stories that layer complexity and depth into your learning. — Averaging 24 minutes at 20wpm.
- 10 Advanced Short Stories: Each piece here uniquely presents two sentences in Morse code, intensifying the depth of practice. — Averaging 36 mins at 20wpm.
- 10 Expert Short Stories: Elaborate subjects designed for the adept, representing the zenith of Morse code proficiency. — Averaging 1 hour and 20 minutes
A Collaborative Effort:
This Morse Code Short Stories collection is in its beta phase, a foundational step toward refining the stories and the learning method. And here's where a unique opportunity lies for you:
Inside the download, you'll find the original text file used to generate these audio files. If you spot errors, have suggestions for improvements, or envisage enhancing a story, you're warmly invited to edit the appropriate text file and share it back. Your adaptations need no special formatting; differences can be easily identified. Your contribution is invaluable, especially as the Expert Level stories have a higher complexity and have been particularly challenging to create.
While the current collection benefits from contextual priming to aid learning, I envision a future project to create stories without this scaffolding of contextual priming, offering a direct challenge to Morse code decoding proficiency. This idea, while on the horizon, awaits a fresh bout of creative energy following the exhaustive yet rewarding endeavor of creating these 61 narratives.
Download and dive into this expanding universe of Morse Code Short Stories here — short-story.zip (Revision 1 - 2.8GB file - Updated Feb 19, '24). Your engagement, feedback, and collaborative editing are not just welcomed—they're essential. Together, let's polish and improve this collection. Check back later for additional revisions.
This voyage into the narrative realm of Morse code wouldn't have been possible without your encouragement and support. Thank you for being a part of this journey. As we refine, expand, and dream up new ways to delve deeper into Morse code, your companionship and insights remain invaluable. Critical feedback is welcome.
Let's work together, shaping the Morse Code Short Stories collection into an innovative cornerstone of Morse code learning that stands the test of time. Once complete, I will make them available on YouTube and as podcasts.
With deepest appreciation and anticipation for our shared next steps,
Defining ICR and Beyond:
I realized that ICR (Instant Character Recognition) is increasingly and commonly used to describe the skills needed to master head copying at 20+ wpm, but surprisingly, I could not find a concise, authoritative, and comprehensive definition. So, I have created one below.
Attributes of ICR:
- Each character is recognized by its complete sound pattern.
- Each character is recognized effortlessly using System 1 processing. (System 1 processing is characterized by automatic, fast, and effortless cognitive operations that occur without the need for deliberate analytical thought. [Read more about System 1 and 2 Thinking.])
- Each character is recognized without needing to mentally break down or translate the dits and dahs into each character.
- Each character is recognized without needing to mentally repeat or replay the sound pattern.
- Each character is recognized with sufficient speed that enables the continuous and fluid comprehension of Morse Code at varying speeds. This rapid recognition is essential for keeping pace with the flow of communication without falling behind at a given speed.
- The ability to mentally process and assemble recognized characters into words, abbreviations, callsigns, etc., relies on the foundational skill of ICR. This process is referred to as mental dynamics and involves higher-order cognitive functions that enable the operator to understand and interpret a stream of Morse Code characters into words, abbreviations, and callsigns.
Definition of ICR:
Instant Character Recognition (ICR) in Morse Code is a cognitive ability that enables the identification of each Morse Code character by its complete sound pattern effortlessly, utilizing System 1 cognitive processing. This form of processing is characterized as automatic, fast, and operates without the need for deliberate analytical thought, allowing for characters to be recognized without dissecting or translating the individual dits and dahs. Moreover, there is no necessity to mentally repeat or replay the sound for recognition, emphasizing the instantaneous nature of this skill.
In Head Copying, proficiency with ICR is a critical foundation for mental dynamics — the subsequent cognitive task of assembling recognized characters into coherent linguistic units, such as words, abbreviations, and callsigns. While dependent on ICR's speed and accuracy, mental dynamics introduce additional cognitive demands, including memory retention and contextual interpretation, which are essential for effective communication in Morse Code.
Quantifying the 'instant' aspect of Instant Character Recognition necessitates a consideration of the practical implications for Morse Code proficiency across various speeds. For ICR to effectively underpin continuous comprehension and fluency in Morse Code, recognition must be sufficiently rapid to accommodate the decoding of characters into words, abbreviations, callsigns, and other constructs without hindrance. Consider the average rate at which characters are being received. For instance, at a baseline speed of 12 words per minute (wpm), or 60 characters per minute (cpm), proficiency in ICR would require an operator to recognize each character within an average timeframe of one second or less. As the speed increases to 20wpm (100cpm), the required recognition speed tightens to 600 milliseconds or faster. At more advanced speeds, such as 25wpm (125cpm) and 30wpm (150cpm), the recognition timeframe narrows further to 480 milliseconds and 400 milliseconds, respectively. These timeframes serve as average upper limits. In practice, the timeframe while Head Copying is shorter so the operator can recognize characters and engage in the complex cognitive process of mental dynamics for assembling characters into words, abbreviations, call signs, etc. Such benchmarks underscore the necessity for Morse Code operators to develop a level of proficiency in ICR that exceeds mere recognition, facilitating mastery of ICR and mental dynamics to achieve mastery of copying Morse code at a given speed.
There is an important nuance with the above-required average recognition times that should be recognized by beginners just learning to acquire ICR. The timing requirements are significantly shorter than what is implied above. That's because the recognition time must be less than or equal to the intercharacter spacing (aka the length of the silence between the characters). If not, beginners would be forced into attempting — and almost certainly failing at — rapid task-switching between copying the next character and trying to recognize the previous one. (This kind of task-switching may seem like multi-tasking, but it isn't; the brain is shifting attention between tasks so swiftly that it appears one is performing both simultaneously.)
For beginners, at a baseline speed of 12 words per minute (wpm), or 60 characters per minute (cpm), a beginner must recognize each character within 300ms. As the speed increases to 20wpm (100cpm), the required recognition speed tightens to 180ms or faster. At more advanced speeds, such as 25wpm (125cpm) and 30wpm (150cpm), the recognition timeframe narrows further to 144 milliseconds and 120 milliseconds, respectively. The goal for beginners is to reduce the recognition time as much as possible to below the intercharacter speed for their initial target character speed. (If you prefer the Morse Code Ninja practice sets, consider using the "Single Letters - Rapid Fire" and "Single Letters - Mind-Melt" practice sets. Then, use the Farnsworth practice series of 8x Character Spacing through 2x Character spacing for the Top 100/200/300/500 Words to incrementally close the gap from Farnsworth timing to standard timing.)
Why the difference? That is a huge difference! This reduced timing is crucial for beginners to prevent the overlap of characters from muddling the recognition process; however, as one's proficiency advances, the dynamic shifts, such as at a proficiency of 30 words per minute. Beyond the foundational skill of ICR, there's a gradual acquisition of additional related and complementary competencies that are used simultaneously. Among these is the ability to recognize sound patterns beyond single characters, such as digraphs, trigraphs, common prefixes and suffixes, and eventually, the entire sound pattern of words. These skills enhance the efficiency of Morse code interpretation, particularly for longer words where the middle characters might be identified through Instant Digraph and Instant Trigraph Recognition rather than isolated ICR—a process known as chunking. This chunking allows for the rapid interpretation of sequences of signals as coherent units, reducing the cognitive load and enabling faster processing. (If you would like to practice learning the most common 300 digraphs and trigraphs found in words, try the "Top Two Letter Combinations in Words" and "Top Three Letter Combination in Words" practice sets. You can find them quickly on the practice page by selecting the Characters filter and a fast enough speed that allows you to recognize the two or three characters as a complete sound pattern.)
Prediction also plays a key role with more experienced operators. At high speeds, where individual characters are sent in quick succession, the cognitive system leverages its experience to form expectations about future characters. For instance, certain characters or sequences of characters are more likely to follow others within the context of English language syntax and Morse code usage. An experienced operator, through repeated exposure and practice, unconsciously learns these patterns and begins to anticipate them. This predictive ability allows the operator to process Morse code signals not just as discrete, isolated elements but as part of a coherent, flowing narrative. This is why, in practical terms, most people can follow along and copy Morse Code at about 1.5 to 2x their proficiency speed if given a short set of words in advance of what will be sent to them.
Etymology of ICR:
In researching this, it made me wonder about the etymology of ICR. It appears Nancy Kott (WZ8C SK) brought forward and popularized “Instant Recognition” in her noteworthy essay on Instant Recognition: A Better Method of Building Morse Code Speed, which was further divided into ICR and IWR (Instant Word Recognition). Glenn (W4YES) coined the term ICR in 2018 while authoring the curriculum for the CW Academy program's Basic Class. Later still, special recognition goes to Ed (AG7DT). He identified the need for beginners to reduce the recognition time below the intercharacter speed at a given character speed. Finally, when I was developing the Instant QSO Element Course, I realized that there are a number of “Instant Recognition” skills that aid in the continuous copying of code: characters, words, QSO Elements, abbreviations, suffixes, prefixes, digraphs, trigraphs, etc.
Exploring Beyond ICR:
How do operators evolve from recognizing individual Morse code characters to fully understanding words, sentences, and entire messages? This advancement hinges on mastering a critical aspect of Mental Dynamics known as 'Mental Buffering and Assembly in Head Copy.' This strategy embodies a sophisticated cognitive process essential for holding and integrating rapidly received Morse code signals into coherent, meaningful communication. It marks the crucial cognitive leap necessary for operators to transition from mere character recognition to the comprehensive interpretation of complex Morse code messages in real-time. Now Let's explore the attributes and definitions of this essential cognitive strategy.
Attributes of Mental Buffering and Assembly in Head Copy:
- Manages Morse code signals using both System 1 (automatic, fast, and effortless recognition) and System 2 (conscious, deliberate processing and working memory) cognitive processes.
- Temporarily holds characters and words in a mental queue, allowing for their integration into coherent linguistic units with minimal conscious effort for familiar patterns while employing more focused attention for novel or complex sequences.
- Employs contextual cues and working memory to anticipate and assemble Morse code into meaningful communication, enhancing overall understanding and accuracy.
- Leverages both instant recognition and active mental manipulation to identify and correct transmission errors, relying on the broader context stored within the buffer.
- Supports decoding efficiency at higher speeds by allowing the operator to focus on message assembly and comprehension without being overwhelmed by the pace of incoming signals.
Definition of Mental Buffering and Assembly in Head Copy:
Mental Buffering and Assembly in Head Copy is an advanced cognitive strategy in Morse code reception that engages both automatic, rapid character and word recognition (System 1 processing) and deliberate, conscious mental manipulation and integration (System 2 processing). This strategy enables operators to maintain a mental queue of received Morse code characters and words, facilitating their assembly into coherent messages. Through this dual-process approach, operators can seamlessly integrate familiar patterns using minimal conscious effort while actively employing working memory and focused attention for less familiar or more complex sequences.
This cognitive buffering allows for the continuous intake and processing of new Morse code signals, bridging the gap between the speed of signal reception and the pace at which information can be consciously understood and internalized. By balancing automatic recognition with active processing, operators can enhance their comprehension of Morse code, manage and correct errors more effectively, and maintain high levels of decoding efficiency, especially at higher transmission speeds.
Developing proficiency in Mental Buffering and Assembly in Head Copy requires targeted practice that gradually increases in complexity and speed, challenging both automatic recognition abilities and working memory capacity. As operators become more adept at employing this strategy, they find themselves able to decode Morse code more fluently, at higher speeds, and with an enhanced ability to anticipate message content, correct errors in real time, and derive meaningful communication from the stream of Morse code signals. This skill represents a pinnacle of Morse code proficiency, combining rapid character recognition with the sophisticated cognitive management of information for effective communication.
If you would like to practice with just Buffering and Assembly without the additional difficulty of copying with Morse Code, you are welcome to try the Letter-by-Letter practice. Sometimes, practicing the mental dynamics in isolation can be more efficient than trying to learn Morse Code simultaneously. You may want to try working in 5 minutes of Letter-by-Letter practice into your daily practice routine. To put everything together. Consider working with the Build A Word practice series. It is designed to help beginners transition from individual letters to words and master ICR. It allows incrementally copying 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 letters as a group with incrementally longer words. Start with the practice set that is not too easy nor hard, then incrementally move to more challenging practice sets with longer words, copying with more characters at a time, and faster character speeds.
A Practitioner's Insight into Mental Buffering and Assembly:
The formal articulation of "Mental Buffering and Assembly in Head Copy" lays the groundwork, but it's the firsthand experiences that truly highlight its practical impact. Dan (WA1QZX) offers a glimpse into his personal journey with this nuanced cognitive strategy:
Mastering mental buffering and assembly transformed my approach to Morse code, particularly during high-speed head copy and even at slower paces. Articulating this internalized process is complex, as it began for me as a conscious effort to 'visualize' each letter, creating a mental buffer for just one word at a time. Once recognized, I clear this buffer for the next word.
For common words, my reliance on this buffer diminishes, leaning more towards anticipation. Yet, with longer and more complex words, the buffer proves essential, though piecing together a lengthy and unfamiliar word can be daunting. Over time, this buffering becomes an almost subconscious act. Confronted with complex words, my mind now opts to bypass them, preserving momentum over perfection. This shift towards accepting imperfections has rendered head copying far more serene, shifting the focus away from flawless copying.
Reflecting on this evolution is quite intriguing. — de WA1QZX
Dan's narrative vividly illustrates the transformative journey from deliberate practice to an almost instinctive skill in using Mental Buffering and Assembly for Morse code comprehension. He highlights a crucial lesson in flexibility and self-acceptance, showing how adopting this mindset not only improves efficiency and understanding but also makes the Morse code experience significantly more enjoyable and stress-free.
ICR and Transcription:
The practice of 'Copying Behind' emerges as a bridge between the cognitive agility developed through ICR and the practical demands of transcription. This technique leverages the mental acuity and pattern recognition honed by ICR to manage the inherent challenge of transcription: keeping pace with the flow of Morse Code while recording it accurately. 'Copying Behind' allows operators to utilize a mental buffer, holding Morse Code characters or words momentarily in the mind before transcribing them. This buffer provides a brief but critical window to process and confirm the accuracy of what was heard, facilitating a smoother transition from reception to transcription.
'Copying Behind' embodies a practical application of the mental dynamics discussed earlier. It requires not only the instant recognition of characters and words but also the capacity to assemble and understand them within the context of an ongoing message. This technique, therefore, does not stand apart from head copying but rather complements it, representing another facet of Morse Code mastery.
The journey from mastering ICR and Mental Buffering and Assembly to proficient transcription, underscored by techniques like 'Copying Behind,' encapsulates the holistic skill set that defines Morse Code excellence. It underscores the continuity between different modes of Morse Code practice, highlighting how skills in one area enrich capabilities in another. As operators develop their proficiency in head copying, they simultaneously lay the groundwork for superior transcription abilities, making the mastery of Morse Code a more comprehensive and rewarding endeavor.
I have included this section for completeness even though there has been a recent trend to focus on learning head copy from the start because it enables an easier transition to copying above 20+wpm, it tends to be more fun, and outside of traffic passing there are few situations that require transcription. However, even if you are a fan of Head Copy (and I am a big proponent!), practicing Copying Behind while receiving call signs is worthwhile. Copy Behind can be especially useful while learning to copy call signs at higher and higher speeds. Call signs sent during contests often exceed our ability to write or type out the callsign as fast as it is being sent.
Attributes of Copying Behind:
- The mind acts as a buffer, holding several characters or words just heard, before writing them down, while still listening to incoming signals.
- This method smooths out the rate discrepancy between receiving Morse code characters and writing them down, reducing mental strain and improving copy quality.
- Enables operators to anticipate and correct for errors in transmission, utilizing context to fill gaps caused by QSB, QRM, and QRN.
- Facilitates a more polished transcription, allowing for proper formatting, capitalization, and punctuation based on heard content.
- Copying behind is adaptable, starting from copying a single character behind and potentially extending to several characters or words as proficiency increases.
- The technique counters the tendency to anticipate prematurely, promoting a focus on listening comprehensively before committing to writing.
Definition of Copying Behind:
Copying Behind in Morse Code is a cognitive process that trains the operator's mind to function as a short-term memory buffer, holding received Morse code signals for a brief duration before transcription. This approach enables the continuous intake of new information while processing and recording the previous input, effectively bridging the gap between listening and writing speeds. By employing this technique, operators can mitigate the mental strain of direct copying, allowing for a smoother, more accurate transcription of Morse code transmissions.
Proficiency in Copying Behind enhances the operator's ability to manage and transcribe Morse code. The practice of Copying Behind can be learned by starting with simple exercises, such as random two-character groups, and gradually increasing complexity and difficulty. The key is the operator must delay the transcription of heard characters or words until they are fully received, thus promoting a deeper, more contextual understanding of the message being communicated.
Incorporating Copying Behind into Morse code practice offers advantages, including producing neater, more accurate copy and adjusting for transmission errors, fading, and interference. Most importantly, it alleviates the pressure to keep up with the transmission letter by letter, allowing the operator to focus on the overall message and context, which is invaluable at higher speeds.
If you have questions, you are welcome to reach out. Wherever you are in reaching your proficiency goals and mastering Morse Code, I wish you all the best on your Morse Code journey! 73 de AD0WE
I'm thrilled to announce the release of 72 innovative Morse Code Ninja practice sets! The largest release ever! After a few months of development, overcoming challenges, and harnessing insights from our community, these materials are designed to elevate your Morse code proficiency to new heights.
Build A Word:
I’m especially excited about the Build A Word practice series. It is designed to help beginners transition from individual letters to words and master ICR (Instant Character Recognition). It allows incrementally copying 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 letters as a group with incrementally longer words. Start with the practice set that is not too easy nor hard, then incrementally move to more challenging practice sets with longer words, copying with more characters at a time, and faster character speeds. Learning ICR is one of the most difficult skills to master, and this practice series is another tool in the toolbox.
I’m equally excited about the new contextual priming (aka hints) practice sets. This is a first in self-study material. In this format, context is given immediately preceding a word or sentence in Morse Code. The idea behind this format is that it can lessen the cognitive load and provide an incremental stepping stone to copying without much or any context. Keep in mind that anticipation is a double-edged sword. It can help when your intuition or guess is correct and make it harder to copy if your intuition is wrong. The idea is to strive to keep an open mind. The context isn’t so specific that you are likely to guess the word without hearing it in Morse Code, but it does orient your thinking to a range of possible words.
I also crossed Speed-Racing with contextual priming to create the "Easy Words - Speed-Racing with Hints” and "Difficult Words - Speed-Racing with Hints”. I’d love additional feedback. If enough people find it helpful, I will create additional practice sets. It is time-consuming, so we’ll see.
How It Works: Speed-Racing with Hints:
- Set the Stage: I provide a tantalizing General Hint/Context.
- Speed Challenge: Morse code sent at 1.3x the base speed - catch it if you can!
- Extra Help: An Additional Hint/Context to nudge you closer.
- Steady Learning: Word(s) sent in Morse code at a comfortable base speed.
- Clear Confirmation: The Word(s) spoken aloud for clarity.
- Speed Recap: Word(s) sent in Morse code at 1.3x speed again for reinforcement.
Quickly find the new material on the Ninja Practice page. Use the Build, Hints, Words, and Sentences filters to dive right into what interests you most. All new material is also available as individual downloads, included in the bulk downloads, and available in the Ninja podcasts.
I’m eager for you to try these out and share your experiences. Your feedback drives innovation, helping create even more effective learning tools. If you have ideas, let me know. Several of the practice sets came from requests.
Kevin (KB9RLW) has innovated to make CW more accessible and convenient: the CWvox! This device, is a unique blend of technology and creativity that allows keying by voice! It's designed for Morse Code operators who may find traditional keying methods challenging for various reasons, including physical limitations.
Concept and Design:
The CWvox is an ingenious solution that leverages the ability of Morse Code operators to vocalize Morse Code using "da" for dashes and "dit" for dots. This practice isn't just a novelty; it's a skill that, when done correctly, mirrors the proper length ratio of dashes and dots in Morse Code. Recognizing this, Kevin posed the question: Why not convert this spoken Morse Code into actual keying signals for radio transmission?
Initially, the project embarked on an analog path, employing transistors, resistors, and capacitors. However, the challenge arose with the natural tail-off in the human voice when saying "da." This tail-off didn't abruptly stop as required in clean Morse Code transmission, leading to issues in accurately keying the radio.
Digital Solution and Schematic Overview:
The solution? Going digital with an Arduino Nano, a small yet powerful microcontroller board. This shift dramatically simplified the design and improved the accuracy of the device. The final schematic, which is not overly complex, revolves around the Arduino Nano and a handful of additional components:
- Microphone Input: Utilizes a condenser microphone, commonly found in headsets, requiring a power supply provided by the CWvox.
- Amplifier Stage: Amplifies the small signals from the microphone to a level that the Arduino can detect.
- Signal Processing: Involves DC blocking capacitors and a diode to create a positive waveform for the Arduino to sense.
- Sensitivity Adjustment: Achieved through a linear potentiometer, allowing users to set the threshold for audio detection.
- Keying Circuit: A simple transistor switch acts as the keying mechanism, compatible with most modern solid-state radios. For older tube-type radios, a reed relay is suggested.
- RF Bypass and Transient Protection: Essential components to protect the circuit from radio frequency interference and transient spikes.
Operation and Application:
In practice, the CWvox is remarkably user-friendly. It features a microphone input, keying output, power switch, an LED indicator for power and keying, and an enable switch to prevent accidental radio keying. The sensitivity of the device can be adjusted to accommodate different speaking volumes and distances from the microphone. The creator demonstrated its effectiveness through successful on-air contacts, highlighting its practicality.
Significance and Potential Impact:
The CWvox isn't just a technical achievement; it's a potential game-changer for Morse Code operators who face challenges with traditional keying methods. Whether due to injury, age-related issues, or preference, this device offers an alternative way to participate in Morse Code communication.
The CWvox stands as a remarkable blend of innovation and practicality, providing an alternative method for sending Morse Code by voice. For those interested in building their own CWvox, resources like schematics and Arduino software are available on Kevin's Blog. This device is more than just a tool; it's a testament to the enduring adaptability and evolution of Morse Code in the modern era. Please check out Kevin's 22-minute YouTube below.
Guest on All Portable Discussion Zone:
I was a guest on Charlie's (NJ7V) All Portable Discussion Zone podcast, which was also simulcast to Charle's Red Summit RF YouTube Channel. It was a lot of fun! Charlie is a great guy and inspires many people to be active on the radio in the great outdoors! We talked about many Morse Code-related things, including contextual priming, which will be the basis for a lot of new upcoming Morse Code Ninja practice content.
Thanks, Red Summit RF!
I wish everyone all the best on their Morse Code journey! 73 de AD0WE
Exciting news! I embarked on a mission to bridge a gap in Morse Code learning. The goal? To create practice sets for the most common six to nine-word phrases. This initiative is helpful because it helps learners transition smoothly from copying individual words to whole sentences. While the existing two to five-word phrases were a great start, several people expressed the need for longer common-word phrases to support them in leaping to sentence-level proficiency. (Copying common word phrases tends to be easier than sentences of the same length because you can often guess the parts you missed, and it is easier to hold in your head.)
The original Sets of Two through Five Word phrases were relatively easy to come by! Years ago, I discovered Google's Book Scanning Research Data, which allowed me to quickly identify the Top 500 n-grams for the most common two, three, four, and five-word combinations. The longer six through nine n-grams are not publicly known.
The ideal solution seemed like a Herculean task - downloading the entire internet or all the English books worldwide! That's not just impractical, it's impossible for an individual! But, in this era of advanced Large Language Models (LLMs) and the spirit of open data sources, a breakthrough occurred. I managed to find and download an Open Web Text Corpus based on all of Reddit before API access was restricted. (I greatly appreciate open data initiatives and University of California, Irvine's efforts to make this dataset available!)
Armed with this data, I embarked on a coding adventure. Using Python and the Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK), I dove into the massive 53GB, 8 million file treasure trove. The mission? To sift through and identify the most common six to nine-word n-grams.
The final, crucial step involved meticulously filtering these n-grams to identify the most common 250 n-grams. My commitment to providing a positive learning environment meant removing anything potentially offensive or inappropriate. This included political, hateful, trolling, Reddit-specific, and news-related content.
The Sets of 6, 7, 8, and 9 Word practice sets are now available. You can quickly get to them from the Practice page by clicking the Sentences filter button. Next, select the practice set of choice and speed, and then your browser will be redirected to the appropriate YouTube video in a new tab. Let me know what you think of them!
73 de AD0WE
Holiday Card Exchange:
I celebrated the third annual holiday card exchange! For every holiday card received, I sent one back. Each holiday card included a Morse Code Ninja sticker, personalized message, and 2023 Ninja winter photo. This year, the Ninja is pictured pounding brass, making SOTA and P2P QSOs.
I hope everyone had a very merry holiday season and a Happy New Year! I wish everyone all the best on their Morse code journey!
I have a lot of new exciting content planned for 2024!
73 de AD0WE dit dit
Celebrating Ninja Anniversary:
I am celebrating the fourth anniversary of launching the Morse Code Ninja website and YouTube channel! If you would like a free Morse Code Ninja sticker, let me know your callsign and I'll use your address on QRZ — (<Mouse over for Email address...>). Or send me a message with your mailing address. (Limited to US mailing addresses. Offer good until the end of July 2023.)
I released the first Morse Code Ninja YouTube video on May 21, 2019. And the website went live on July 28, 2019. So far, I have created four courses and 300+ unique practice sets with over 20,000 hours of material available on YouTube, as podcasts, and for direct downloads! And so far, people have practiced over 214,000 hours on YouTube! That is a mind-boggling number! It is equivalent to someone practicing for 24 years continuously!
I wish everyone all the best on their Morse Code journey!
73 de AD0WE dit dit
Morse Code Ninja as a Resource:
This website provides a comprehensive resource for everyone interested in Morse Code, from beginners to experts. It has been described as a gigantic CW superstore containing anything you could be looking for related to CW — especially CW training resources, including Software, Interactive Online Training, On-air Practice, Hardware, Books, and Instruction and Advice.
The Advice page is structured with advice for beginners at the top of the page. It gets more specialized for those seeking expert advice on mastering QRQ speeds. When getting started, the Do's and Don'ts section at the top of the page is essential reading. This is to avoid making beginner mistakes that are difficult to unlearn, such as counting dits and dahs. A short distance further down the page, The Morse Code Speed vs. Proficiency essay has been a compass for those planning their Morse Code journey, providing deep insight and putting into words what expert CW operators have had difficulty articulating as they master Morse Code.
At the bottom of the Advice page, you will uncover a QRQ white paper that provides a structured, self-paced approach to achieving QRQ speeds within a year. I co-authored this white paper with Jack (AA0IZ) and Terry (WB0JRH). To our knowledge, this is the first-ever such course.
The Learn page provides several resources for those aiming to learn Morse code.
1) A Morse Code Course and guide are provided for those seeking to learn the characters. The course materials are available on YouTube, direct download, and through podcasts. The course is structured, so you can begin copying words and call signs as soon as you have mastered the requisite characters. The order of the characters mirrors the CW Academy's course enabling the course to stand on its own or be used as a complement to the CWA's curriculum.
It may be more challenging initially, but I recommend trying to head copy everything. Copying callsigns might be the exception since most hams record the callsigns in their logbook, but it will help you if you can master it. The course is incremental and provides an opportunity to develop this skill from the very start!
2) Spoken Letter-by-Letter practice is provided as a diagnostic tool and an aid to those struggling to master the mental dynamics necessary to follow a ragchew. ICR (Instant Character Recognition) is not enough to learn to head copy sentences. It also requires developing the cognitive dynamics to follow letter-by-letter to form words and then build up sentences and infer meaning. If one's ICR is too slow or consumes mental/conscious bandwidth, then there is not enough room to determine words, sentences, and meaning. If you find these practice sets easy but struggle to copy a sentence in Morse code, you must focus on improving your ICR proficiency. (Sentences from Top 500 Words - Fast - No Repeats is a good one to use as a litmous test.)
While working with someone who has dyslexia, I realized that head-copying involves two skills and not just one: ICR and the mental dynamics of following letter-by-letter to form words, sentences, and meaning. If you find this practice difficult, you may find it more efficient to spend some time practicing with these practice sets compared to struggling to learn both skills simultaneously.
3) The Taste of IWR Course is an innovative system that introduces you to IWR (Instant Word Recognition). It is the first course to provide a structured approach to building up your vocabulary of word sound patterns and ease you into head copying at QRQ speeds.
This course can accelerate your learning of ICR (Instant Character Recognition). IWR and ICR are similar. Rather than recognizing the sound patterns of individual characters in ICR, you hear the entire word as a complete sound pattern and instantly identify the word in IWR. You can start this course even if you haven't mastered ICR or started learning the characters! Don't be intimidated by the 40 wpm speed! It is entirely doable.
Why 40 wpm? This is fast enough for beginners not to recognize characters and fast enough that even the longest word can be learned as a sound pattern. (ABOUT takes 1.17 seconds to send at 40wpm, while WOULD requires 1.08 seconds to send. These are the two longest words in the course; ideally, words are easiest to learn when they are one second or shorter.) 40wpm is also a middle-of-the-road speed. IWR is easiest between 35 and 50 wpm for most people. Beyond 50 wpm, the sound pattern tends to sound muddled because Morse code loses its signature tone and takes on more of a pulsating sound.
4) The Instant QSO Element Course Series teaches you the 100 most common QSO elements using IWR (Instant Word Recognition). Learning these QSO elements will reduce the burden of copying an entire QSO using ICR (Instant Character Recognition).
To accelerate the learning process, all Morse Code Ninja courses and practice content use a format that provides immediate feedback. A key aspect of learning efficiently is knowing whether you got something right or wrong and knowing the answer. Here are a couple of quick tips. 1) If you use the Ninja YouTube videos, you may want to turn on closed captioning. Visual reinforcement helps and adds clarity to the spoken word. 2) After hearing each character/word/sentence sent in Morse code, you may want to pause the practice and immediately send what you heard. This will build your sending skills while learning to copy.
The Practice page is helpful for anyone seeking to improve their Morse Code proficiency. As of May 2023, there are over 300 unique practice sets of incremental difficulty at speeds of 15 to 50 wpm! I have strived to ensure that there is something for everyone, no matter your current proficiency level.
Because there are so many practice sets, finding the one that is most helpful for you can be difficult. I approached resolving this issue in two ways. First, there are filters. These buttons dynamically reduce the list to a particular kind of practice set. For instance, the Contest filter reduces the list of practice sets to those related to contests. Second, I created a Recommendation Engine. If you choose this option, you will be guided through a series of questions. As you answer questions, the list is updated and constrained to those relevant to your answers.
If you find yourself struggling to master Morse Code Ninja incrementally and cannot find a practice set to help you, there may be a gap in the available practice sets. If you need assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me. About half of the practice sets came into existence because someone reached out to me with a problem or an explicit request to create a particular practice set. For effective progression, you want to strike the right balance in choosing the next step to reach your Morse Code proficiency goal(s).
If the Morse Code Ninja practice materials don't fit your needs to learn and master Morse Code, there are far more options out there! The Resource page provides a curated list of Software, Interactive Online Resources, On-air Practice, Hardware, Books, Instruction and Advice, and Games! Please explore the breadth and depth of what is available. If you discover a helpful resource that needs to be listed, please let me know, and I will add it to the page!
Under the Interactive Online Resources, you will find references to the CW Academy and Long Island CW Club Training. Both are excellent options for those seeking online guidance and mentorship. Most people find it practical to leverage one of these options and supplement it with self-study options.
After documenting my journey and sharing my experiences on QRZ, I quickly realized that comprehensive resources were lacking for those who wanted to learn Morse code. And it didn't take long for me to outgrow my QRZ page. There was only so much I could put on one page! So, with a stroke of inspiration and creativity, the Morse Code Ninja website was born.
The website has become a place where people come to find all the information they need to get started with Morse code, as well as ongoing support and encouragement as they progress in their learning. From beginner guides and practice resources to advanced tips and techniques, this website is a one-stop shop for all things Morse Code. The website is a celebration of the art and skill of Morse Code. It is also my way of helping others discover the depth and breadth of our fantastic hobby and passion.
If you're ready to join the Golden Age of Morse code and dive in, let's get started!
LICW Haptic CW Decoder:
The LICW Club has developed an innovative and impressive device! A haptic vibrational device with LED lights that delivers decoded CW to the hand and eye. The device's purpose is to provide hard-of-hearing individuals with vibrational and visual sensations of CW to facilitate and compensate for their inability to hear Morse Code. The device will also benefit those with normal hearing because it can create alternate white matter pathways in the brain, combining aural and vibrational cues. Thanks to Rob (K6RB), this device is patent-pending. The release of this product was a significant undertaking with thousands of dollars in development costs.
For more information, visit CW for the Hearing Impaired - Long Island CW Club.
LICW philosophy: One of the main tenets of LICW is to give back to those not as fortunate as the majority of us, and we hope this device will be successful and a boon to those with hearing impairments.
Price: We would like to price this unit at $275.00 shipped in the continental USA. There will be a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
Ordering: If you would like to order a unit, please get in touch with LICW using this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holiday Card Exchange:
I celebrated the holiday season with a Christmas card exchange. This was our second annual holiday card exchange! Each card came with a Morse Code Ninja sticker, a personalized message, and a 2022 Ninja winter photo.
In all, I sent 126 cards to 37 states and five countries! It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. It is a small joy to receive personal mail in our ever-digital world. If you missed out, I plan on doing another exchange next year!
I hope that everyone had a terrific and merry holiday season! As the year came to a close, it was fantastic reflecting on significant milestones in 2022. It was an epic year, including attending OzarkCon QRP Conference, Hamvention, releasing the QRQ Course and Taste of IWR Course, and receiving the Award for Advancing the Art of CW!
I wish everyone all the best on their Morse code journey!
73 de AD0WE
Morse Code Ninja Inspired Art:
What would the Morse Code Ninja logo look like as a 3D render? With Stable Diffusion and Photoshop, I recreated the Ninja logo in photo-realistic detail. Although there are some shortcomings, it is still pretty neat! Yes, that is me! But don't worry. I'm not changing my logo. hi hi.
Stable Diffusion is an exciting machine-learning technology that allows you to generate an image from a short text description! Most people won't be able to run it locally without a powerful workstation and the technical know-how to set it up. You might consider using getimg.ai to experiment from your web browser. I have used it extensively with great success.
I spent a couple of hours using DALL·E 2 to create Morse Code Ninja-inspired art, as pictured above. DALL·E 2 is an alternative to Stable Diffusion. DALL·E 2 is easier to use, while Stable Diffusion gives you more creative control. There are pros and cons to both technologies.
I am astonished by what can be achieved by man and machine working closely together to produce art! As a person provides direction and hints, the artificial intelligence does its darndest to flesh out the idea based on everything it has seen and learned. This is some of the most fun I have ever had! The process of exploring ideas for a ninja in different contexts of amateur radio was a joy.
Even if you don't consider yourself an artist, I encourage you to give it a go. By no means am I an artist — creating the Morse Code Ninja logo took every ounce of my soul. Using DALL·E 2 and Stable Diffusion was liberating. I could quickly explore creative ideas and almost instantly coax them into existence.
What will you create? An image you make could be the basis for your next QSL card!
I received an awesome gift from Ma. Theresa Cruz Aniceto (DW3TRZ)! Thank you!! That made my day! The cross stitch was done with exacting caring precision and arrived in perfect condition from the Philippines. I will hang it up next to my station.
The Filipino greeting "Mabulay" means "Long Live!" Theresa participates in contests and strives to win DX awards. Around the world, she has made many friends!
73 de AD0WE!
Learning Morse Code as a Language:
Have you ever wondered what the secret is to polyglots, people who learn to speak multiple languages? Or even people who seem to pick up Morse code much more quickly than others? I invite you to listen to this 10-minute inspiring TED Talk, The secrets of learning a new language, by Lýdia Machová, PhD.
Making your Morse Code Learning Journey enjoyable is the most important key to success. If it isn't fun or at least enjoyable, it will take a lot of willpower to sustain the necessary practice over time to become fluent. Willpower is a renewable resource, but you can quickly exhaust it with the other things in life that you need to do or accomplish. Once that happens, you'll stop practicing and break your commitment to learning Morse code and improving your proficiency.
Whenever you get bored with one method or approach, try another. There are a TON of options! (We live in the Golden Age of Morse Code!) If you are new to the Morse Code Ninja format, check out the Morse Code Ninja Course and Practice. If you are bored practicing with computer-generated code, try listening to the ARRL W1AW Broadcast, finding and practicing with a code buddy, or receiving guidance and mentorship through the Long Island CW Club classes or CW Academy program. If you have learned the characters, get on the air to practice!
Have you exhausted those options? Check out the Ninja Resources page. You will find a comprehensive list of Software, Interactive Online Resources, On-air Practice, and Hardware for learning Morse Code.
Just enjoying Morse Code practice isn't enough. To become fluent, you also need Effective Methods, Systems, and Patience.
When starting out, choosing an effective method for mastering ICR (Instant Character Recognition) is crucial. With ICR, the unconscious mind is doing the hard work of instantly recognizing each letter as it is sent. The characters are recognized instantly and effortlessly. This skill will allow you to copy faster than 15wpm and avoid the pitfall of getting stuck at less than 10 to 13 wpm copy.
ICR is the most challenging and essential skill to master. Once learned, it will allow you to master IWR (Instant Word Recognition) and achieve speeds of at least 50wpm when combined with head-copy.
Effective methods to learn ICR will discourage students from decoding the dits and dahs consciously. A common approach is to use the Farnsworth method, starting with a character speed of at least 20wpm and an overall speed of 10wpm. If you can count the dits and dahs, you need to go faster. A character speed of 25wpm is not uncommon, but it may be necessary to start at 30wpm.
If you aren't sure which methods are most effective to learn Morse code and reach your proficiency goals, ask a mentor, take classes with the Long Island CW Club, or go through the CW Academy program. There are known effective methods for every phase of the learning process.
Create a system for practicing. When are you at ease and not under time pressure? When are you more likely to be in a learning mindset and can stay focused? And when will you consistently have time to practice? Do you have time to practice on your commute to work or perhaps when you first get up?
Create a plan, turn it into a habit, and make it a part of your everyday life. Be realistic, and don't overdo it. An aggressive routine will lead to burnout and suck the enjoyment out of the practice. The best Morse Code practice is the one you will do!
Consider frequent, consistent practice. It takes repetition over time to develop long-term memories and improve your proficiency. In general, more frequent practice for shorter periods is more effective than fewer, longer sessions. Ideally, practice twice a day for at least ten minutes each time.
What is not effective? Spending a lot of time trying to learn Morse code over a few days or weeks. As an analogy, we all know that it is not effective to memorize a bunch of facts the night before a test. You may pass the test but quickly forget what you learned.
Be patient and give yourself grace. Learning Morse code as a language takes time. It is not difficult to learn, but it requires practice and dedication to become proficient. Incremental success and achievement are a source of motivation to continue your journey of learning. Consider keeping a log of your practice and proficiency. Look back on it when you fail to see all the progress you have made. Persistence and patience pay off.
I find that Morse code becomes a language and not just an encoding once you can head-copy at 30wpm or faster. Achieving this level of proficiency will not happen in weeks and months. It may take a year or two. If you have higher aspirations, know that reaching those lofty proficiency goals could take years. It wouldn't be uncommon to take three to five years to head-copy a general QSO at 50wpm.
However you approach learning, I wish you all the best success on your Morse Code journey! I hope you found this helpful.
Why CW is So Cool:
It's 11 pm EST, and you're listening to the last few CW signals remaining on the band for the night. Things are very slow, and it's about time to turn the radio off and finish up the day before sleep. Of the three things you hear, they are mostly longer conversations, at higher speeds, between operators that have obviously spoken together many times. The conditions aren't great, and things are fading in and out.
Then it happens. Out of the void you hear a solitary CQ call, at only 10wpm. It's the third repeat of the CQ now, and you know from experience that there is only a small chance that someone will respond at this hour, on a night like this, at that speed, with conditions being a bit marginal.
You have a thousand reasons not to respond:
- Your code has sucked today, and you're really struggling.
- You're tired and stressed, and the accuracy in your characters showed it when you practiced a bit.
- You have some key fright because you don't want to embarrass yourself (again).
- You still need a decoder on some QSOs, and if the conditions fade too much - you'll be left with no backup - just your tired brain and a hard-to-hear signal.
- The other station is at 10wpm, and your iambic keyer gets very easy to mess up on when you get down to those sending speeds.
- The other station is a straight key - and while their CQ is easy to copy - you fear that the actual QSO might be much more difficult.
- The list goes on...
But you haven't made a single QSO today, and it's your last chance to fit one in before the end of the day. So against all of your doubts and urges to just sit this one out, you hit a few buttons, set a few parameters, and start keying their callsign.
Once this happens, there's no going back. It's only forward from here. No matter what. Like that first jump from the high dive when you were a kid at the public pool - with everyone watching. This is the stuff of nightmares.
Will they even hear you? Will they hear you well enough? Will they immediately know that you are a beginner and the QSO will be a mess? Perhaps they won't even respond.
But they do. You hear your callsign coming back to you.
Then something amazing happens. The QSO is paced perfectly. The conversation is positive and great. The typical lines are there for the signal report, name, and rig information, with a little extra room for a joke or comment. Both operators are somewhat new to CW, having a great time, and the messages at the end of the QSO are grateful, uplifting, and sincere. Both operators truly appreciate having notched a good contact for the night and having practiced their new skill just a little more.
You sit there dumbfounded as you realize that you just had your best QSO, after all that doubt. You couldn't see it coming. Yet there it was. It was somehow waiting out in the ionosphere for your antenna to reach out and grab it.
That feeling is very difficult to describe. Now that I'm older, I also realize how rare that type of feeling is. It's something that mostly exists in childhood. It's really something special.
That's why CW is so cool. Deceptively simple, difficult to master, and so very cool.
3D Ninja Logo:
I am excited to present the 3D Morse Code Ninja logo! You can download the files and print your very own today! (If you don't have a 3D printer, many public libraries offer inexpensive access to 3D printers. If that doesn't work for you, contact me, and I'll print and ship one to you at cost — $15 includes materials and shipping within the USA. It is sized to fit in a USPS Flat Rate Shipping Box — 6.41" x 4.92" x 1.18". You can choose between Black or Galaxy Grey.)
I recommend printing no smaller than about 3.54" x 2.72" x 0.65" or 90mm x 69.1mm x 16.62mm. You can scale the print arbitrarily large or small, but if you go too small, the printer won't have enough resolution, and parts of the model will be too fragile. Use your slicer to print with supports and have the Ninja's backside facing the first print layer. I print with a brim, but it isn't strictly required.
Thanks, Jack (AA0IZ), for refining the initial prototype! It was difficult to remove the support structures from the original model without tearing away the arm of the Morse code key. And the Ninja needed to be trimmed down so he wasn't so husky looking.
Jack has also designed a bobblehead version that is available for download. (A small spring is the only extra hardware you will need.) My sincere appreciation is extended to Jack! He printed and sent one to me. I have it sitting on my Icom 7300, as shown in the picture.
Guardian of the keys? hi hi. As a surprise gift, I gave away the initial prototype print to Cathy (W4CMG). It made her day! And it goes to a deserving home to someone who passionately gives back to the CW community. She named him Guardian of the Keys and stands watch over her growing collection of keys.
Amateur radio is an umbrella hobby with many hobbies embedded within it. I had been considering a 3D printer for the last couple of years, but it was Joe's (K0NEB) presentation at the 2022 OzarkCon QRP Conference that convinced me to get one. I went all-in with a best-in-class Original Prusa i3 MK3S+ 3D printer. It has worked out great, considering all the things I have printed over the last few months and have had only one failed print.
This project has been a lot of fun, and I have learned a lot too!
Hamvention and Award:
I am proud to have received and share the 2022 Award for Advancing the Art of CW along with the Long Island CW Club and Neil (ZL1NZ). It was a great honor. This is an annual award given by CWOps to recognize individuals, groups, and organizations that have made the greatest contribution(s) toward advancing the art or practice of radio communications by Morse code.
It has been my pleasure to give back to the amateur radio community and those aspiring to learn Morse code and improve their proficiency.
My website has been described as a gigantic CW superstore containing anything you could possibly be looking for related to CW — especially CW training resources, including Software, Online Training, On-the-air Practice, Hardware, Books, Instruction, and Advice. (If I'm missing something, please let me know!)
Celebrate with me and enjoy a Morse Code Ninja sticker on me. In June and July 2022, send me an email telling me a little about yourself and your Morse code journey and request a sticker. If you would like to save me a stamp, please send SASE to my QRZ address.
Hamvention: It was fantastic to attend Hamvention this year and meet many friends for the first time! As pictured in the top right of the collage picture, I had an excellent conversation with Charlie (NJ7V - Red Summit RF) and Brian (W7JET) on ideas to help newcomers. And pictured in the middle right of the collage, I was delighted to meet Cathy (W4CMG) and Anne (KC9YL) — they accepted the CWOps award on behalf of the Long Island CW Club. If I didn't have a chance to meet you this year, let's plan to meet at Hamvention 2023!
I wish everyone all the best on their Morse code journey! 73 de AD0WE
The following article is reprinted with the author's permission, Paul Carreiro (N6EV) Originally published in 2009 and last updated February 4, 2017. This article complements the recently released QRQ Course.
I also started practicing using this method without realizing there was a name for it! Amazing! I use IWR (Instant Word Recognition), some Phonic Copy, and a bit of ICR (Instant Character Recognition) to copy at QRQ speeds. Because the spelling of English words is not entirely phonetic, I suspect many people will also rely on multiple methods of copying Morse code simultaneously. I encourage you to learn and give it a try! I also welcome your feedback to learn more about your experience!
Thanks again, Paul! I know others will find it thought-provoking!
As with any processes, there are alternate methods to achieve an end goal. Since I hadn’t seen it depicted yet in the various discussions about head copy, I want to share the method I use. Like many have testified, my transition from written to head copy came by operating true mobile CW operation (in motion.. as opposed to portable operation) where written copy is impossible / impractical.
Before we break down the phonic method of head copy, let’s first consider basic code reception with the following concept from Steve, N8CPA: "Letters are graphic representations of sound. Code is an aural representation of graphic representations of sounds." At the beginner level of code reception, code elements are received audibly; mentally converted to a letter representation of that code element; then that letter representation is written down. Comprehension of the content of the message occurs only after the written letters are constructed into words and sentences. As proficiency increases, the speed of this conversion improves, and perhaps the method of writing down each letter becomes more efficient. But the basic process is unchanged as speed increases. Various speed plateaus are reached due to bad habits, poor writing techniques and ultimately, the limit induced by the time required to mentally convert from audio element to letter representation to written form.
Most head copy methods that you see described involve learning to recognize word code patterns rather than individual letters. Variations also include using a mental ‘blackboard’ to queue up letters until a word is recognized. Comprehension occurs after each word pattern is completed and recognized. These word recognition methods have been used by countless operators successfully over the years. Since the written portion of the process is removed, copy speed naturally is improved. And while I understand the concept of recognizing word patterns… I often wonder what happens when a word arrives that you haven’t yet learned to recognize pattern wise? Comprehension, while vastly improved over written copy, is still stuttered. I want to be clear, I’m not saying the word pattern method is wrong or invalid. To me, it just seems less efficient (and comfortable) than the method I’m about to describe.
The Phonic Copy method can be summed up by altering Steve’s concept above to read: "Code is an aural representation of a phonic sound." Each Morse Code element represents the phonic sound of a corresponding letter, not the letter itself. This means, as elements (letters / numbers) are received, they are phonically pronounced in the speech / aural portion of the mind (the auditory cortex) rather than visualized graphically as letters or whole words in the written / visual portion of the mind (the visual cortex). One universal principle to increasing copy speed is to remove the number of steps or conversions it takes from reception to comprehension. By eliminating the conversion from aural representation to graphic representation, phonic copy allows instant comprehension, many times even before a word is completed. As Drew, AF2Z aptly states: "You can hear a word building to completion as it streams by, not as a unit word sound that pops into your mind …. (and) not as individual letters that you have to assemble either. It’s more like spoken words that are being pronounced rather slowly."
To expand on and better demonstrate the Phonic Copy concept, let’s use the word "PRONOUNCED" as an example. I doubt this would be a word that many using the word pattern recognition method would have practiced and learned before hand as it is not a common word used in QSOs. Look at the word ‘P R O N O U N C E D’ and step through it phonically letter by letter in the speech / aural portion of your mind. Each letter has a distinct phonic sound associated with it. This Phonic Copy method (thanks to Walt, W5ALT for helping give it a name) is the same process, except instead of visually stepping through the word as you just did, the phonic sound elements are recognized (verbalized in the speech / aural portion of the mind) as each code element is audibly received. There is no visualization, letter queuing or pattern recognition involved (other than converting the code elements into phonics). Numbers are simply recognized as you would speak them. Punctuation and pro-signs are recognized easily by their pattern.
Copying this way, there are no unrecognized (not yet learned) patterns or words to worry about. Nor is there a queue of letters to keep track of (blackboard method). In fact, using this method, I can listen to two CW stations conversing in Spanish, and ‘hear’ the conversation as if they were in front of me. Granted, comprehension is limited in this example as my Spanish is marginal! The code simply flows as a phonically pronounced stream of words and numbers in the mind. Comprehension is instantaneous (assuming you understand what the word means!), as opposed to waiting for a pattern (word) to be recognized. As with other head copy techniques, this method is easier to use the faster the code is sent. So it doesn’t lend itself to extreme QRS speeds. It also lends itself to conversational CW where apprehension and the mind’s own error correction kick in. You wouldn’t use this method to copy random five letter code groups.
You could compare these two head copy techniques to, on one hand, seeing a stream of written letters or words pop up on a computer screen (visual / graphically recognized pattern method), versus having words spoken out of a speaker of that computer (Phonic Copy method). Or more simply, the difference between reading text versus listening to speech. Admittedly, I have not experienced the visual / pattern recognition head copy techniques that have been discussed and used by the vast majority of CW ops. But it would still seem to me that Phonic (pronounced) Copy would be a more fluid and easily learned method. It simulates an audible conversation with someone, as opposed to a chat room conversation. From personal experience using this technique, my head copy speed skyrocketed to over 45 wpm, and has easily translated down to slower speeds. Copying ‘Conversational CW’ at QRQ speeds using the phonic method is truly effortless, relaxing and achieves that nirvana state where the Morse becomes a language, not just a code representing letters and numbers.
I offer Phonic Copy as an alternative method / perspective for head copy that has worked for me and others. For whatever reason, it has not been well documented to my knowledge compared to the word recognition method. And near as I can tell, a very small percentage of CW operators practice this method. Take it or leave it. Your mileage may and will probably vary. No warranty expressed or implied.
What ever method you use… ENJOY CW! As long as we communicate, and have fun while doing so… we’ve achieved the ultimate goal.
Your thoughts are welcome.
Learning the Phonic Copy Method:
I’ve been asked many times since writing this article back in 2009 how to learn the Phonic Copy Method. Initially, these were tough questions to answer as I didn’t intentionally set out to learn this method. It came quite by accident without recognizing exactly what process I was using. So I went back and analyzed the circumstances in which I learned to head copy phonically. The key to this method, as mentioned above, is the use of the speech / aural sections of the brain (the auditory cortex, Broca’s area, Wernicke’s speech area) versus the written / visual sections used in other head copy methods. I learned while driving long highway distances. While driving, the brain processes the road and potential hazards ahead via the visual stimuli presented. This leaves the aural / speech section of the brain available to process the auditory Morse Code into phonic speech sounds.
My advice for learning this method is to set yourself in an environment where your eyes are occupied by some visual stimuli, while your ears are left without distraction to process the incoming Morse elements. As with other head copy methods, the code element speed should be at or above 18-20 WPM and the content should be plain conversational text, not random letters or words. During initial training, it will be easier to start with Farnsworth style code, with plenty of space between each code element. Start by consciously equating the sound of a code element to its corresponding phonic. Don’t worry about catching every code element, words or comprehending the context of the text. Then just keep the code in the background while occupying your eyes. You can do this while driving if you have a receiver, or MP3 player. Or, at home, start a long video with the audio turned down. Pick something interesting. Perhaps the many ham related videos on YouTube. Be sure the video’s audio is turned down, then start your Morse audio input. It’s a bit like walking and chewing gum at the same time, but the brain has an amazing ability to multi-task like this. As you gain more experience in converting the code elements to phonic sounds, progressively shorten the extra Farsworth spacing until it’s removed.
Keep at it and eventually you will pick up strings of phonic sounds that form words. When you get to this point and start stringing words together you will start to comprehend the context of the conversation. That’s when the other aspect of this method kicks in to assist… that of anticipation. Just as with normal speech conversation, there are logical patterns to sentences (nouns / verbs / adjectives, etc), and there is logical flow to the context of conversation. The language area of your brain (the Broca’s area) has already been trained to do this when you were a child learning to speak and understand speech. It’s okay if you anticipate the next word wrong. We’re not copying forward here. The brain will auto-correct when it hears speech it wasn’t expecting. It’s an amazing muscle. Exercise it!
To further reinforce the process of linking aural code elements to phonics, do the following. In between the sessions of listening to plain text code described above; mix in some sessions where you send words from a key / code practice oscillator while sounding them out phonetically in the mind. This too can be plain text by conducting a mock conversation / QSO. Don’t read text while doing this. Keep the process entirely aural. Before sending each word, sound the word out slowly in your mind. Then repeat the word, again in your mind phonetically as you send each letter on the key / code practice oscillator. As you progress, you can eliminate the pre-sent sounding of the entire word. At this point, just progress from word to word sounding them out phonically in the mind while sending each corresponding letter.
Please contact me and let me know if you have attempted to learn the Phonic Copy Method. I’m curious what others results are like. I’m available for advice and encouragement also.
73, Paul N6EV
OzarkCon QRP Conference:
I had a lot of fun at the OzarkCon QRP Conference! It was fantastic to have the conference back in person! Ninety-three people came from 20 states. If you couldn't make it this year, consider going next year. QRP and CW go together like peanut butter and jelly.
I was transfixed by the announcement of the T41 Plus QRP Transceiver by Jack (W8TEE) and Al (AC8GY). It is a modular, low-cost, five HF bands (80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters), up to 20watts, Software Defined Transceiver that is open-hardware and open-source and doesn't require a computer. The Four State QRP Group will sell it as a kit. The price is still being determined, but the components cost about $150. Astonishingly Jack and Al poured six man-years into the design of this QRP radio! Check out their companion book, Software Defined Radio Transceiver: Theory and Construction of the T41-EP Amateur Radio SDT! Also, check out their slide deck.
Bryan (K0EMT) and Joe's (K0NEB) presentations were inspiring. Bryan's QRP equipment, operations, and software development survey highlighted the vastness of our hobby and invited us all to try something new — Slide Deck. And Joe's presentation on the intersection of 3D printing, ham radio, and the pandemic kindled my latent interest in buying a 3D printer. I was inspired to bite the bullet and ordered a best-in-class 3D printer — Original Prusa i3 MK3S+ 3D printer.
I was delighted to see a few entries in the Wacky Key Contest! The Lego Key won the competition and was my favorite. The "Key" paddle was a clever play on words and my second choice.
The group kit building is always worthwhile, and this year did not disappoint. We built the Cric-Key, a low-cost entry-level paddle and keyer. The kit has 19 parts to solder and went together smoothly. The paddles are slightly tricky to put together but straightforward with the help of a partner who could provide an extra pair of hands to hold everything together.
Prizes and more prizes! I won four kits this year — Bayou Jumper Transceiver (40m QRP rig), Cric-Key, N6ARA TinyPaddles, and a big bag of resistors, capacitors, and diodes. Bryan (K0EMT) also gave me an N0SS Noise Generator, which will be my first surface mount kit! I'm always amazed at how many prizes are given away at Ozarkcon. They strive to ensure that everyone wins at least one prize.
I hope to see you next year! In the meantime, feel free to join the Four States QRP DMR Talk Group (TG31654) and discuss QRP, ask questions, or rag chew. Or join the voice net on the DMR talk group Wednesday at 9 PM Central (Thursday 0300 UTC).
A Learning Approach to Achieve QRQ:
We have developed a learning approach to achieve QRQ using a structured high-speed curriculum! It is self-paced and should take about a year to complete. To our knowledge, this is the first-ever such course.
The structured approach to achieving QRQ is a starting point, open to refinement. With additional feedback and collective experience, our goal is to make QRQ accessible to as many people as possible.
We wish you all the best on your Morse code journey!
A Case for "Book Copy":
Author John Silzel (N6HCN) — Reprinted with permission. Originally published in the May 2018 edition of Solid Copy. This article compliments the recently released QRQ Course.
It may be that there are two different CW dialects. The "symbolic" dialect, so fluently spoken by contesters and commercial ops, is far more efficient than voice for the accurate transmission of data: formal traffic, call signs or serial numbers, even ciphered military communications. In symbolic CW, anticipation of the next character is a no-no, since the traffic consists of compressed data of high information content and little redundancy. Every character is crucial, and copy must be perfect.
The other CW dialect may be newer and reflect the rise of CW as an art: the use of code as an auditory language. This "conversational" CW is more like speech or silent reading: concepts and context ride naturally on a fuller vocabulary. Neither sender nor receiver may remember the exact words sent, and neither is conscious of characters at all. This CW dialect comes closer to reading than data transmission, and in fact brain mapping research1,2 shows that the brain processes "head copy" much the same way as it does speech or printed text during fast, silent reading.
We know that learning a second language begins awkwardly, with symbols and sounds, mechanical grammatical rules and memorization of seemingly infinite vocabulary. But at some point, the mind assimilates the new tongue, and the mechanics of the language become internalized and unconscious. This process appears to involve a rewiring, or "neuroplasticity" of the brain, involving new connections between sensory and cognitive centers, and a detectable increase in gray matter density.
It seemed to me that expertise in conversational CW, like fluency in any language, would benefit from immersion. But my family and work could not accommodate hours and hours at my rig hunting up a ragchew or listening to W1AW sessions, only a portion of which were of interest or at useful speed, anyway. Making matters worse were poor propagation, QSB, and nighttime QRN at my home. If only, I thought, I could listen to... a good story... sent perfectly, anywhere, hour after hour in CW, at a speed always high enough to stretch my copy skills.
The Solution: CW e-Books
I found the answer on my first internet search: a free, open-source software application called "ebook2cw". This code runs on Windows, MAC OS, and best of all on Linux, my favorite OS. The work of champion QRQQ operator Fabian Kurz, DJ1YFK (CWOps #1566), ebook2cw does just what it says: converts any ASCII text file to a collection of audio .mp3 files that can be loaded on an inexpensive player or your smartphone, burned to CD, or played however you normally listen to digital music. Converting a full-size novel takes about 40 minutes on a laptop, and just slightly longer on a $35 Raspberry Pi computer, an amazing unit worthy of its own article. My solution is to drag-and-drop the converted audio files to a cheap Coby 8Gb MP3 player, which fits in my pocket and holds enough CW for months of nightly "reading".
All of this is great, but until book publishers start releasing CW editions (we won't hold our breaths, will we?) you’ll need a way to get your reading material in ASCII form. Fortunately, the good folks at The Gutenberg Project have provided more than 50,000 ebooks, virtually copyright-free, with more added all the time. Acquiring a CW library is as simple as downloading the "plain ASCII text" version of your chosen book. Even "War and Peace" is only about 3 Mbytes, smaller than an average music download.
It’s of course optional, but I like to use an editor to "search and replace", making some CW- friendly edits to the downloaded book: I replace "and" with "ES" for example. I used to remove quotation marks, but I’ve found that copying that unusual character has become second nature. In fact, ebook2cw handles more punctuation than we use on the air and has means for you to insert prosigns as well. Ebook2cw will optionally insert a BT at the end of each paragraph, which I like very much. (Fabian Kurtz tells me it will even handle some special Greek, Cyrillic, and Hebrew characters!) While you’re at it, check your book to see what text is used to delineate chapters. Ebook2cw can break the book into chapters based on "hits" to a particular search string, like "CHAPTER", and I add this keyword to books whose chapters were ambiguously marked in the original file. This whole editing process takes only about 15 minutes for a typical novel.
At this point, you're ready to feed the edited book into Ebook2cw. I use the no-frills command-line version of the app, but there is a version of the code that includes the familiar "GUI" window interface. It is a simple process and there are good instructions on the website listed above. There are separate speed settings for characters and WPM. I set the program to chop the book up by chapters, and limit each MP3 file to 30 minutes, so they’re manageable for me in one reading session. (Longer files mean more work to find my place if I fall asleep while listening!) I set ebook2cw’s QRQ feature to give me 3-4 WPM of QRQ per 30 minutes, so each file begins at my current comfortable "base" speed and ends up pushing me a bit. Any time I am not stretching a bit to copy the last QRQ, I will reconvert the remaining chapters, bumping things up 3 WPM or so. But I never let it get frustrating — my goal is a relaxed but focused reading experience, not a sweat -breaking adrenaline meltdown! (Save that for CWTs...)
Rewiring Your Brain: From CW "Guinea Pig" to Speed Reader
Your first CW book might seem like slow going. At first, I thought I’d wear out the "rewind" button on my mp3 player. Books are, after all, more eloquent and complex than our on-air QSOs. Strange spellings, dialog, contractions, and sections of oddly spelled vernacular can be challenging at first. Stick with it, and don’t be tempted to peek at the text! If you like Westerns, the books by Zane Grey stick to a fairly common vocabulary and style that helped me adapt to "book copy". When I started out, my (rusty) base speed was about 15 WPM, I still needed a pencil and paper, and I was accustomed to Farnsworth timing. My first goals (besides enjoying the books) were to toss my pencil "cold turkey" and wean myself to normal CW word and character spacing. Then I began to build WPM. As any op knows, this is an irregular process, with plateaus and periods where progress seems nonexistent. But with a good book, it is easy to be patient and "stick with the program".
Once hooked on a good book, you'll be motivated to practice. And with regular practice, learning is inevitable. Your brain is pre-wired for language and cannot help but become more and more fluent. Relax and enjoy the book, speed will come inevitably and effortlessly. After a few books, the unconscious head copy will have you wondering just how fast you can go! I believe anyone can eventually pass 30 WPM by spending 30 minutes per day doing "book copy".
You’ll probably spend several months reading a novel in CW, so you’ll want to pick good reading material. No matter your tastes, there are fine books out there just waiting to be converted to CW. Some favorites of mine are "Riders of the Purple Sage", "The Heritage of the Desert" and "Mysterious Rider" by Zane Grey. "Two Years Before the Mast" by Dana, and "Log of a Cowboy" by Adams are great picks. If a novel sounds daunting, try short stories, like the Sherlock Holmes cases by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the military nonfiction vein, you might enjoy "Blood Brothers", by Colonel Eugene C. Jacobs, and if you’re a geek like me, or just want to practice numbers, you can read government technical reports like the declassified "Project Trinity" documents detailing the first atomic tests. All of these and more are downloadable via the Project Gutenberg site. And of course, you can convert any text file, email, or webpage text — even this issue of Solid Copy! I’ve tried scanning and OCR of printed books, but the process takes too long for me.
Why try this admittedly eccentric pastime? Well, for one thing, enjoying a good book in bed with your eyes shut is very relaxing, and there is no book light or page turning to disturb the XYL. There is no SDR to tweak, no panadapter to scan, no QSB, no QRM, just Fabian’s computer-perfect fist, solid copy, and no speed limits. A suspenseful plot unfolding in rapid CW reminds me of listening to a radio drama, and the pace, though slower than reading or an audio book, has become surprisingly enjoyable.
Like other ops, I have been startled to find that the neuroplastic "rewiring" of my brain has some strange side effects, as well. The ears automatically "lock" onto CW almost instantly and unconsciously, and seem to find code everywhere, on and off the bands. You might find yourself distracted by the odd things being "said" by birds, dishwashers, squeaking machinery, and the vari- ous beeping devices all around us. During ragchews you might be unaware that you are copying code rather than voice. You might find yourself copying more than one QSO at a time.
Has it been a while since you enjoyed effortless CW as a true language, a mental connection, hanging on every word to see if the "good guy" was going to win, or leaning back at the paddles, eyes shut, enjoying a rapid-fire QSK back-and-forth, telling jokes or yarn-spinning with one of the fine ragchewers on the bands? I’m sure that "book copy" will give even the most crazy-fast op a new level of fun and fluency in our wonderful "second language". You might find yourself waxing eloquent on the air, adopting the gritty prose of Hemingway, or the sly humor of Twain in your next ragchew. If you need help converting that first book, drop me an email and I'll be glad to assist.
1. Schlaffke L, Leemans A, Schweizer LM, Ocklenburg S and Schmidt-Wilcke T, Learning Morse Code Alters Microstructural Properties in the Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus: A DTI Study. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 11:383, (2017). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00383
2. Maier J, Hartvig, NV, Green AC, Stodkilde-Jorgensen H, Reading with the Ears, Neuroscience Letters, 364, 185–188, (2004). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2004.04.040
QRQ = Fun:
The following article was written by Tom (W4BQF) SK. We will remember his passion and enthusiasm for QRQ (high-speed). I thoroughly enjoyed reading his thoughts and advice. I hope you do too! I hope it inspires you to aim high when you set your Morse code proficiency goals! If not today, perhaps tomorrow.
(Note that the following article was edited for grammar and clarity. You can find the original here. It is unclear how long it will be available.)
I am often asked, "How can you copy CW at 70wpm and higher?" Since it's pretty insulting to answer by saying, "Practice, practice, practice," I usually end up emailing back a synopsis on how I learned to do it.
What I have to say on this subject is only my personal opinion, which generally does not agree with everyone else! I don't believe in the various methods of learning code. I think learning to copy high-speed code is much simpler than following someone else's method of learning to copy QRQ. What I am sharing with you are things that I found to work for me. Others have used different methods of achieving QRQ to copy by ear.
There are some basics I think one MUST learn, and the very first one is you must learn to copy ONLY in your head. That's very important! From there, you can begin to increase your copy speed. So copying in your head is a MUST. Jotting down notes or 'keywords' is okay to remind you of something you want to respond to during your QSO.
QSO'ing at 70 to 120wpm is no different than having a conversation on the telephone; you are just doing it using a different language! No sending call signs (except as required) and no sending <BK>. You don't do that on the telephone! And speaking on a telephone is operating duplex. So why not do the same thing using CW?
The second most important thing you must do is have a radio with excellent full QSK (full break-in) at high speeds. Simply because when operating QRQ, you MUST do it in duplex! You don't stop and take notes when conversing on the telephone, so why do it when you are operating QRQ? The radios that I know of that can run full QSK at speeds over 100wpm are the Ten-Tec Corsair II and the Icom IC-781, and they do it flawlessly. In my opinion, full QSK is not at what speed you can hear another signal between dots, but at what speed you can hear your fellow ham trying to break you! Hearing between dots is an acceptable criterion for speeds below 40wpm but is inconsequential over 60wpm. Unfortunately, the more digital circuitry that is added to modern transceivers, the less high-speed QRQ capable they become.
All high-speed code (above 55wpm) is sent with a keyboard/keyer or a computer keyboard simply because one cannot consistently send 'clean' code by hand on a key. Consistent 'clean' code makes for easier copying! I've been a CW operator for over 55 years, but I am not one of those 'old goats' who claim that sending CW by any other means than using your hand is not 'real' CW. 'Real' CW is a dot and a dash, no matter how you send it. The idea here is how you copy QRQ, not how you send it!
Most computer programs that are capable of generating CW, for some reason, are not designed to exceed 99wpm. And most computer programs generate CW via a serial or a parallel port. Using these I/O ports causes an inherent problem for smooth CW generation. A computer's CPU produces random (to us) interrupts, which almost always stops activity in any I/O port FIRST! This leads to a 'stutter' sound in generated CW coming from these I/O ports. VE6YP, the author of the program I've been using for close to 10 years, is the only author I know of who has found a solution to this problem. In his program, YPlog, he generates CW via the computer sound card, which is never interrupted by a computer's CPU 'house-keeping.' The user will need to build a very simple audio detector and a transistor switch to key his radio. This system works very well to over 160wpm.
You first want to learn to copy in your head only because when you get to speeds around 50 to 55wpm, you have to teach your brain literally to change its method of interpreting code. (And it takes a while to do this!) Below about 50wpm, you still hear a dot and a dash to form a word. When copying at 60wpm and higher, you do not consciously hear a dot and a dash. You literally hear a word. Also, at that time, you begin to have a 'flow of conversation,' just like you are when you're talking on the telephone. If you send me code groups at 70wpm, I could not copy most of them, but if you and I are in a conversation at 70wpm or higher, THEN I can copy pretty solid.
Although you will not be conscious of copying dots and dashes, if the sender misspells a word, but somehow, you will notice. For instance, if the sender sends the word 'will' as 'wEll,' your mind will catch that one dit was missed. But your trained mind will ignore that one missed dit, and it will continue copying.
I'm not entirely sure, but above 70 to 80wpm, your mind is in the 'flow of the conversation' and will not likely copy every word sent to you. But your brain is copying enough to make sense of what is being sent!
To increase your copy speed, I recommend a code reader. And don't be shocked by that! I recommend a code reader because the process of learning to copy from about 50 to 60wpm is where you have to teach your brain to copy code differently. The problem at these speeds is if you miss a word, your brain automatically freezes and tries to 'guess' the missed word. While the brain is trying to decide what that one word is, many more words go flying by, and you get very confused and lose track of what is being sent to you. When you start using a code reader, you're going to just read the screen, but subconsciously, the brain is associating the dots and dashes with what you're reading on the screen. The more you do this, the less you read the screen. You will only need to glance at the code reader when you miss a word! This will get you over the 'brain freeze' caused by missing just one word! Once you get to copying around 60wpm, when you DO miss that one word, your brain realizes it but then continues to copy, ignoring or filling in the missed word.
Don't worry about a code reader being a crutch, simply because when you get to where you can copy around 60wpm, you will find that you can then copy code better than a code reader! A code reader is not very good at handling high-speed code in the presence of normal band noise of your receiver. Beyond 60 to 70wpm, the readers cannot keep up anymore because of noise crashes, but your brain can easily filter out the noise. A code reader is an 'aid' to helping one learn to copy code faster. It is NOT a crutch!
Two big things about QRQ: 1) You HAVE to make it just another FUN thing you want to do with your hobby. 2) You are not going to learn to do it overnight! But anybody can learn to do it.
I started doing QRQ sometime in the late '60s when I heard two hams talking to each other on their regular skeds on 40m, at 100wpm. I thought it was fascinating and just decided that was something I WANTED to do. And it took me about a year to go from 30wpm on my keyer to over 60wpm. That includes the time it took me to change from a QWERTY to a Dvorak keyboard layout. The neat and fun thing I found is that once you get to where you can copy between 60 and 70wpm, your mind seems to open up to copying QRQ. Going from 60 to 100wpm appeared to be a breeze compared to retraining my brain to get through the 50 to 60wpm 'brick wall' we all have to go through.
I really don't know how fast I can copy, but I used to have QSOs with KB9XE and NU2C at 120wpm and could fully understand what they were saying. NU2C tested me once, and he would send me two questions, which I had to answer both, then he would go up 5wpm. Finally, at 145wpm, I got only one of his questions! I have recently read that a German ham copied a call sign being sent with RufzXP (a high-speed competition program) at 200wpm! Copying CW at high speeds, either 145 or 200wpm, is one thing. Having a conversation at those speeds is something entirely different.
Again, two things. You have to make this a fun thing, you have to want to do it, and it can get pretty frustrating at times. You have to be willing to spend the necessary time on the air working at improving your copy. That is the only way I know of that you can do it, as there are no shortcuts. Interestingly, of the maybe ten hams that I know operate at high speeds, none of them have any interest in records or recognition for their QRQ ability. They all simply do it for the enjoyment of it.
I relate to many of the things Tom has to say. I am currently practicing at 55wpm, having reasonable success, and intend to switch to 65 or 70wpm in a few months. My long-term goal is to read a book at 40wpm. I once read that your enjoyment with Morse code is proportional to your proficiency. I wish I knew where I read that! I have found it to be true in my experience.
I strive for efficient Morse code practice. In my experience and research, rapid and continuous feedback will enable the quickest path to mastery. It is the idea behind the Morse Code Ninja format — Sent in Morse code, Spoken, and then Repeated in Morse code. Tom's suggestion to use a code reader may be controversial for some people. But used well, it will provide instantaneous feedback at a glance.
Star Trek Crossover:
I am smiling ear-to-ear after receiving a surprise gift from someone that knows me very well. To say that it made my day would be an understatement.
Daniel Davis was hired on Cameo to lift my spirits. Daniel was a guest actor on Star Trek: The Next Generation and played the role of the holographic Professor James Moriarty. He appeared on the second and sixth season episodes "Elementary, Dear Data" and "Ship in a Bottle."
Daniel claiming to have run into Samuel Morris and knowing that he is delighted by my efforts is a marvelous and fantastical thought!! It makes me giddy and laugh out loud every time I think of it.
This is a personal video and something that I waited almost a year to share. I hope that it brightens your day too. (Note that I removed a couple of personal segments to retain for my enjoyment.)
My very best regards and thanks to Daniel,
Ninja Card Exchange:
I celebrated the holiday season with a Christmas card exchange. Each card came with a Morse Code Ninja sticker, personalized message, and a Ninja winter photo.
In all, I sent 109 cards! It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. It is a small joy receiving personal mail in our ever digital world. If you missed out, I plan on doing another exchange next year!
I hope that everyone had a terrific and merry holiday season! As the year came to a close, it has been fantastic coming to know so many wonderful people in the CW community.
I wish everyone all the best on their Morse code journey!
73 de AD0WE