Learn Morse Code, Clockwork Orange Style

You might have to provide your own wrist straps and eye clamps, but if you want to learn Morse code, [Seth] has a web site for you. You can get code practice using the Farnsworth method and each letter is flashed before you as it is sent, which we assume will burn it into your brain.

Why learn Morse code now? Just about all countries now have at least some no code ham licenses and many have taken code off the tests completely. However, there are still many hams that use the code even today. Why? The personal challenge is part of it and perhaps nostalgia. However, it is also true that Morse code transmitters and receivers are dead simple to build and can get through where other simple radios can’t.

While it is true that some new digital modes can work near the noise floor, those require sophisticated computers or FPGAs which might be hard to cobble together in a foxhole.

If you haven’t run into the Farnsworth method before, it is simple but effective. If you learn to copy code at a relatively slow speed — say 5 words per minute — you can succeed rather quickly, but it becomes harder to progress to a faster speed. Trying to learn at a higher speed is frustrating because you won’t have much success until you’ve had a lot of practice.

The Farnsworth method sends characters at high speed but varies the spaces between letters to reduce the average speed of the message. This gives you time to think about what you hear. But when you increase the speed — that is, reduce the spaces between letters — the characters sound the same which makes it easier to learn. They just come faster.

Morse code training has come a long way since the 1930s. Still need motivation to learn the code? What if you get taken hostage?