Sunday, July 10, 2011

Morse Code 2

Just a bit to expand on the first post.  As stated I decided to give the code another try when I found an MFJ-411 Pocket Morse Tutor in a local thrift shop one night on my way home from work.

When I got home I did as I do with most electronics; put it on the work bench and opened the cover.  Everything looked like new.  I put a battery in it and it told me it was ON.  Cool.  I remembered 2 letters.  I cycled it through the selections and figured out how to use it.

I did a search for the manual.  No manual.  Very few worthwhile or informative posts on the 411.  No site with the manual.  Some information on line about the 417, and I found several sites with the manual. MFJ had a description of the 417 Code Tutor and the manual.  I downloaded it and still do not know the difference in the 2 since the manual is nearly identical to what I eventually located a few years later for the 411.

I set the MFJ-411 per the instructions for the MFJ-413/417 and listened to the code.  It was the same.  I used this for a while, but did not know how to check what was sent against what I copied for accuracy.  The first code group is easy, but as each groups complexity increased, copy and proof of accuracy began to become too difficult and time consuming.

Next I downloaded & installed the Koch Method Morse Trainer software from G4FON.  Now the code is easier to proof for accuracy.  It became even more fun to learn.  I could watch the screen as a character was sent, I could copy and check the copy, and I could be sure what I copied and checked was accurate.

I also started using Chuck Adams, K7QO Morse Code Course on CD.  I was given an MP3 player and this worked fine since I could load Chuck's files onto an SD card and play it back any time any place to practice.

Finally I was able to copy code and it was fun learning.  I know I only had to learn at Novice speed to get my General and Extra and there are those out there who had to learn 13 w.p.m. and 20 w.p.m.  I know I have a long way to go to get to be really proficient at both copying and sending.  I do hope someone wanting to try CW reads this and is encouraged no matter what their age or license class (or even if they do not have a license) to take a few minutes each day and learn the code and get on the air.

I finally found a manual (way after I got my Extra) some place and downloaded it.  Since it was difficult to find I added a link to the manual at the end.  Now that I have the manual I am back to practice using the code tutor.  I also keep using the K7QO files on my MP3 player.  I like the tutor because I can set the speed faster than 12 w.p.m.

 The MFJ-411 Pocket Morse Tutor

The inside of the 411.  The original battery connector failed and I added a better one that required removal of the original bracket clip that held the battery on its side.  The battery now lays flat.  The fit is snug enough a clip is not needed to hold the battery in place.


I also use CWCP.  It is a Linux based trainer much like the G4FON trainer.

Just a few of many fun ways to learn the Morse Code.  I have yet to memorize what a trainer sends like I was able to do with recordings played over and over and over....

de Bill

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