I was recently reading this article from the ARRL web site,

Morse Code at 140 WPM (ARRL)

about Chuck Adams, K7QO, who claims to be able to handle this speed all by himself. Very interesting article.

I would like to be able to copy above my natural speed, in order to get more familiar with how it sounds. My goal is to be able to get above the need to copy text but instead transition to simply listening to conversations like we do on SSB in voice.

The CW decoding software I have found is not all that reliable, though, with varying levels of accuracy.

So it occurred to me that I would like to find some way to have a computer help me copy CW in an "assist" mode - a combination of having the computer help me with text I copy on the keyboard, by maybe flagging letters and symbols where the computer and I disagree.

Neither purely me, nor purely the computer, but a combination of both.

Is there anything like this available?

Or is there any other recommended method to achieve this goal?

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Oct 5 '17 at 21:53

(Shameless plug:) I have an app called Morse Decoder in Apple's iOS App store that a few customers have told me helped them learn QRQ (high speed copy).

As with most computer software decoders, especially in QRN, QRM, and channel fading, sometimes a human can copy more accurately than the software (and sometimes vice versa). But around or above the WPM limit at which the receiving operator can barely copy, the app might do better, and provide some decoded reference text against which one can compare their attempts at copying QRQ.

Over 50 WPM, it may be easier to learn to hear whole words rather than individual letters. I also have another free Morse Code training app in the iOS App store, titled "Morse Words", that will allow one to hear what common words sound like in CW QRQ at up to 100 WPM.

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  • $\begingroup$ I did install Morse Words. It plays nicely at 25 wpm. Pretty cool. I am still pretty steady at 18, after all these years. That has long been my plateau. I hope to get up to the point of hearing whole words instead of letters. $\endgroup$ – SDsolar Oct 8 '17 at 0:55
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    $\begingroup$ I have not (yet) looked at the app mentioned above but learning whole words by their sound is an important skill. In fact, I might go so far to suggest that during the initial learning of Morse code letter by letter that common words (articles, some verbs, common nouns) be learned. However, there is a threshold I think where the speed is too low to learn words. I suppose it is different for different people but 25 wpm might be a minimum and maybe 30 might be better. Remember, a word is one sound bite. $\endgroup$ – K7PEH Oct 11 '17 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ I might add that I know several dozen words by sound and it helps with a lot of the initial contacts where the information exchanged is very much the same each time. And, contests are easy at 30+ wpm because of this skill. However, I have never practiced using an app -- such things did not exist way back then. So, listening to on-air CW just to practice word sound copy is a pretty good method I think. $\endgroup$ – K7PEH Oct 11 '17 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ I think you are right. On-air is the best training for the real world. I can already hear RST and QTH and "the" and ES (and), so am making progress. I really notice the difference when I go above 18 wpm. Below that I can copy letters. But above that I lose the letter ability so wait for word breaks and try to see if I caught the word. It really is a different skill. $\endgroup$ – SDsolar Oct 20 '17 at 3:19

While not using a computer in a hybrid configuration to decode high speed CW, I think the following method offers a viable alternative.

In his May 2017 QST Article, "Increase Your CW Speed with Wordsworth", George Allison describes a method similar to Farnsworth but applied to learning words he describes as"head copy". He uses a computer program, fldigi, to send words at speeds above what you can normally copy and adds large spaces between words. He suggests sending at speeds of 25wpm or higher. I used an Android app, Morse Trainer by Wolphi, to test this method, but found I had to send words at 28-30wpm so as not to be able to hear individual dots and dashes. The author provides a list of 65 common ham words to get you started. While my normal CW speed is about 18wpm, I am able to identify words from on the air higher speed QSOs.

I suggest one consider the Wordsworth method if one wants to increase his effective CW copying speed.

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  • $\begingroup$ Might also add that fldigi is freeware, and available for Windows, Linux, and (I think) MacOS. $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Jan 30 '19 at 14:35

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