YOU Can Learn Morse Code & Operate on CW!
 It's challenging but so retro and so much fun - Find out how millions of Ham Radio operators the world over communicate...

Morse Code is All About Timing
Sound & Timing
Learn CW
Learn CW
Keys of All Kinds
CW Projects
QRP & Trail-Friendly

The Code:
A   .-
B   -...
C   -.-.
D   -..
E   .
F   ..-.
G   --.
H   ....
I   ..
J   .---
K   -.-
L   .-..
M   --
N   -.
O   ---
P   .--.
Q   --.-
R   .-.
S   ...
T   -
U   ..-
V   ...-
W   .--
X   -..-
Y   -.--
Z   --..
1   .----
2   ..---
3   ...--
4   ....-
5   .....
6   -....
7   --...
8   ---..
9   ----.
0   -----
!   -.-.--
"   .-..-.
$   ...-..-
&   .-...
'   .----.
)   -.--.
(   -.--.-
+   .-.-.
,   --..--
-   -....-
.   .-.-.-
/   -..-.
:   ---...
;   -.-.-.
=   -...-
?   ..--..
@   .--.-.
_   ..--.-
EU Diacritics
    , Ą,
    Ć, Ĉ,
    CH, Ĥ, Š
    Đ, , Ę
    , Ł
Ĝ   --.-.
Ĵ   .---.
    , ,
Ś   ...-...
Ŝ   ...-..
    , Ŭ
Ź   --..-.
Ż   --..-
Russian Cyrillics
A   .-
Б   -...
В   .--
Г   --.
Д   -..
Е   .
Ж   ...-
З   --..
И   ..
Й   .---
К   -.-
Л   .-..
М   --
H   -.
О   ---
P   .--.
С   ...
Т   -
У   ..-
Ф   ..-.
Х   ....
Ц   -.-.
Ч   ---.
Ш   ----
Щ   --.-
Ь   -..-
Ы   -.--
Э   ..-..
Ю   ..--
Я   .-.-
   Japanese Wabun


What is "CW," you ask?

       Why, only the most coolest, yet mentally challenging mode of communication on the international air waves!

       We'll assume that you're already familiar with the concept of Morse code, but if you need to brush up on it click [here].   Radiotelegraphy, now simply referred to as "CW," had it's roots in the railroad telegraph days of the 1800s using a system of electrical code pulses co-developed by Samuel F.B. Morse.  The first decade of radio communications would see the exclusive use of Morse code by use of spark-gap transmitters.  The signals produced by these transmitters were not only inefficient but extremely messy as their noisy "damped waves" would fill the radio spectrum.
       In time, Amateur Radio operators (hams) would use vacuum tube oscillators, producing very pure notes as a "Continuous Wave" (CW) would be transmitted on an exact frequency, which was not only more efficient, but able to be sent vast distances, if not around the globe.  Today, the progeny of CW technology, in the numerous variations of robust and fast digital communication modes, make up the backbone of smartphone and wi-fi functionality and is something we all take for granted.

       Morse code telegraphy is certainly not dead in the present day for sure.  Though, no longer required by any licensing agencies, a sizable demographic of the ham radio hobby still enjoy operating in CW mode.  The skill and practice required to master the code denotes intelligence and dedication and hams can be quite proud of their keys which are often expensive and often handcrafted from many of the same material found in fine watches.  CW evokes a sense of nostalgia but is just as useful and relevant today. The CW signal is able to pierce the worst atmospheric conditions and poorest propagation and there are many radio designs for this mode that most hams can build themselves, even in kit form with just a basic understanding of electronics.

       If you are NEW to Morse code or still have reservations about learning it - DON'T WORRY - using some of the methods, software and information found on this page can make your success an easy reality!  It's NOT as hard to learn as you may think and once you're ready to get on the air, there are thousands of "noobs" like yourself ready to make contact. 

For more information and resources on Morse code Telegraphy, I invite you to visit:

Communication Across the Nation - The History of the Telegraph

[This link was brought to you by Samantha, who was a student in Ms. Smith's 10th grade Social Studies class at Brighter Futures Charter School in California. - Thank you Samantha!]

PARIS - Not just a destination!

       The Morse code is more about sound and all about timing.  Many new to Morse code struggle memorizing and learning to copy at speeds higher than 5 words per minute.  Their failure is due not because they lack the talent or intelligence to do so but simply because the method they used to learn was inherently flawed.  Many waste hours listening to outdated audio lessons [tapes] and muddle their brains with mnemonics, flash cards, visual "follow-alongs" and even lookup tree charts which can only serve to add extra unnecessary steps in the mental process, at the least, ruining a fresh learner's progress and at the worst, permanently impeding the learner's ability to increase copying speed proficiency.

PARIS - Proper Spaced Morse Code Timing

       There's a beauty and symmetry to the Morse code sound.  The dash, or "dah" elements are [supposed] to be three times that of a dot, or "dit" with a dot being defined as 1 unit.  The intra-element spacing is also to be 1 unit in length.  The inter-character space is 3 units and the space between words is to be 7.  This is only a suggested guideline and in reality, spacing ends up being left to the discretion of the sender - some having light "weighting,"  or the proportion in duration of the elements, some heavy and others may have a particular style, like the "Banana Boat Swing" or "Lake Erie Swing."  Good code is only defined by how 'legible' it is to copy and is essentially the 'voice' of the sender, but through their 'fists'.  It's all in the sound...

       The proper and best way to learn Morse code is by sound!  Sound is obviously the core component to [audible] Morse code.  Do you (the new learner) believe that learning the distinct sound of at least 40 letters, numbers and punctuations will be a daunting task?  Let me then ask you:  When you go outside on a sunny day, stand still and close your eyes, what do you hear?  Do you hear a bird?  What kind of birds?  Blue jays? Starlings?  Maybe the hooting of an owl?  Did you hear a nearby car passing?  Are the tree tops filled with the buzzing of cicadas?  How did you figure out what was what?  There are millions of sounds in any particular daily experience, yet the human brain can easily and instantly classify, discriminate and identify about each one.  Surely you can do the same with a simple code!

       You only listen to the sound of particular character, and then write the character down or mentally picture it.  Thats it!  Despite the numerous learning methods and money-making schemes that have done more harm than good to new hams over the years, there are a couple that have proved successful to millions.  The path to proficiency is slow, tedious and repetitive, as they should be like learning any language, but you too will find yourself knowing the code.  The Koch and Farnsworth methods are the two best implementations for learning.

       These methods are really just two sides of the same coin and each modern leaning platform uses some variation of them, whereas you start off with one particular character, with the practice code being sent at a [higher] speed such as 20 wpm, but the space between each character sent is spread out to whatever the learner is comfortable with, like 5 wpm.  Like I described above, the sound is the easy part.  Faster-sent code has more a sound to it because it's often too fast for you to count elements or look up on a mental table, which are bad habits you should avoid at all cost.

       It's only the proficiency to copy that takes the effort.  But ONLY after each particular new character has been mastered with at least 90% accuracy will a new character be added to the practice list.  Sessions should be at least 5 minutes long a piece.  Once all [41] of the characters have been mastered then it's time to practice actual words and prosigns which do have their own particular sound profile.

Got Ham Questions?  Dave's Got Answers.
Check Out KE0OG's YouTube Channel and
Learn More About CW and More!

Learn it Quick - Master it Forever.

       If you've come to this page with a new interest in learning Morse code and getting on the CW bands then you're in luck!  Listed below are links to many of the best tools out there for learning and you could be copying code in just one weekend!

       Well... That is unrealistic to say and anything learned that quickly with no continued practice becomes a soon-forgotten novelty.  I do promise that you'll amaze yourself even as you master just the first few characters, but this will be an endeavor that you must 'endure to the end' for and honestly put in at least 15 minutes a day.  DON'T worry about sending or learning to use a key at first. Learning to copy the code is the ultimate priority.

       Before you get started, check out these fine articles:

       A Beginner's Guide to Making CW Contacts  by Jack Wagoner, WB8FSV

       Learn Morse Code As A Language by Duane Ausherman, W6REC

       As you hear each letter, think and see the letter in your head.  Write it down on scrap paper, type it out on the keyboard or on your tablet and even say the letter aloud to yourself.  Just DON'T move on to the next new character until you get the ones your have down pat [90% or better.]

Learn CW Online 

       You must visit ASAP!  At LCWO you can learn Morse code (CW) anywhere around the globe online in your browser with no need to install an app or program, and you'll always have your personal settings available. Plus, you can also easily track your progress by means of different statistical functions.  Learn at your own pace mastering letters, words, call signs and more.  SIGN UP NOW for FREE to log in go to Lessons and learn!


       From your PC, you can learn CW and work to 'pro' level with G4FON's Koch Method CW Trainer Version 10.  Practice copying Koch character sequences and increase the challenge level by customizing the sound environment to simulate tuning into the 'real thing'.  The software is FREE and has helped countless hams reach proficiency!

G4FON Koch Method CW Trainer - Version 10

       Learn CW and get wicked fast from ANY Android device...

Morse Machine for Ham Radio

       Morse Machine for Ham Radio by Andrea Salvatore, IU4APC, can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or from Amazon for only $1.  A Morse machine is a method by which a list of characters are displayed with some kind of stats or bar graph, whereas when the code is played you are timed on how fast you're able to press the keyboard key for that character.

Morse Machine for Ham Radio

As per the Koch method, only one character at a time is added until you master it. Getting the wrong character will set back your score for that character so the app will try to work with you to master it.  A Morse Machine will train you to better connect the sound to the character in your mind as quickly as possible.

Take the W4EEY Morse Code Class Today!
[CLICK HERE] For the 10 Course Play List

Check Out W4EEY's YouTube Channel

       A classroom setting alongside other hams new to CW may be the most effective learning tool for you.  Many local radio clubs offer such classes, either in person, over a Zoom conference setting or on the air.  You'll also find many YouTube Morse code training sessions which will definitely be worth the investment of time.

Keys - So many to choose from!

       Once you've learned the code you'll wish to send it, and maybe even try your hand at practicing with others [who are often very willing] on the air, it will be time to choose the right key.  A key, for those who are really new, is basically am electrical switch, even hearkening back to rudimentary 'Steampunk' aesthetic of the 1800's golden age of railroading.  There's no need these days to use a CW key as you can send with your computer of course, but just as with an automobile, motorcycle, firearm, knife or watch, a fine example of a key will practically 'sing' in your hand and you'll connect with the code as with any precision instrument.  The better the key, the better the feel and even the timing.

       Many keys, especially limited edition and custom models, just like the other items mentioned above, can come with hefty price tags to go with the heft of their weighted bases.  You may get what you pay for BUT you certainly don't need an expensive key to enjoy the CW bands!  Using my tutorial, you can build a functional key for around $10, although there are many quality keys for purchase online which are in the $80 - $150 range.
KM4AHP's Homebrew "Cootie" Side Swiper
       When choosing a key to purchase, you should take the time to "test drive," not only different types of keys, but different models from many different manufacturers.  An easy way to do this is by visiting a regional Ham Fest.  What?  You've never visited a Ham Fest... man, is that going to blow your mind when you do!  My local events are the Huntsville, AL fest and the Orlando, FL HamCation.  There are often many vendor booths with their wares sitting out on display tables, each connected to code practice oscillators.  They encourage your to try them out because, maybe you'll fall in love with one.

       When a key comes to mind, many will first think of the old single arm straight key like the old brass ones found at railroad telegraph stations of the Old West days. Well there are [at the least] four other kinds!  You basically have two categories of key types including both Hand-Sent and Electronic.  The hand-sent varieties include the Straight Key, the Side-Swiper and the Bug.  The electronic keys include the Dual-Lever Paddle and the Single-Lever Paddle.  There are also other variations including finger tap keys (in dual and single) and even capacitive touch-sensitive which consists of just two contact studs built into your radio for instance.  Here, you can see some of my key anatomy breakdowns.  Model features, materials and actuation methods are as individual as the designer, machinist or homebrewer who thought them up.

       The Straight Key is the simplest and most iconic.  It's range of speed generally goes only into the low 20 wpm's, but more if you're fast.  There's just a lever, a knob, some springs and some contacts.  The sending method requires more arm than wrist action and may be quite fatiguing, but the sound produced by this key can be the most personal.
CW Morse - Straight Key (Hand Key)
       The Side-Swiper, otherwise called a "Sidewinder," "Cootie" or "Double-Speed" key was the next obvious evolution and employs a piece of spring steel mounted sideways with redundant contacts facing each side.  When the handle is gripped and moves the arm left or right a contact will be made.  There is a special method of sending whereas you always start each character's first element off with a movement to the left, alternating direction on each element.  You can easily reach speeds up to the 30 wpm's and is much, much less fatiguing to use than a straight key as the arm can rest on the table.   They are easy to build at home, requiring an old hacksaw blade and a few pieces of hardware.  The sound of a side-swiper comes across with a "heavy" weighting.
J-36 "Bug"

       The "Bug," otherwise known as a Semi-Automatic key is still a very popular option, going back to the early 1900's and can still be purchased new today from companies like Vibroplex with very little variation from early models.  It's generally the most mechanically complex of most keys with a side-actuated swing arm held in place by spring returns.  Moving the arm to the left causes a contact to be made which is exactly the same as a straight key, but turned to the side.  Dashes are made with that actuation and can be used to send code as a straight key if desired.  Moving the arm in the rightward direction causes a weighted pendulum, comprising the back portion of the swing arm, to vibrate or oscillate against a spring-loaded contact point, which produced "automatically" repeating dots.  Moving the pendulum weight or changing it will likewise change the oscillation speed of the dots.  Sending speeds, by default, sit in the 30 wpm's and many hams can send into the 50's!  However, many hams enjoy slower beginner speeds by adding weight.  The sound of this key comes across as having a potentially "light" weight with tell-tail dashes of seemingly longer duration.
Dual-Lever Paddle (Squeez Key, Iambic Paddle)
       The Dual-Lever Paddle, otherwise called a "Squeeze Key" or "Iambic" paddle and came about around WWII with the advent of more advanced electronic keying circuits.  Each paddle needs only move a very minimal distance [even the thickness of a piece of paper] to make contact and for this reason is the least fatiguing and most comfortable to use.  Sending speeds can also be at blinding rates, even into the 80's, but because the two contacts actuate electronic timing, new senders especially like paddles as they can send perfect 'PARIS' code as slow as they wish!  Pressing the Left paddle with the thumb generally actuates automatic dots and pressing the Right paddle with the index finger will actuate the dashes.  "Squeezing" and holding them both down at the same time actuates an "iambic" action whereas each elements will alternate, generally with the first element, either dot or dash happening first depending on which key was held first.  Iambic keying is not hard to master and I go in depth on the subject in my Minty Keyer post.
Side-Swiper and Single-Lever Paddle
       The Single-Lever Paddle is implemented with the same setup as the dual-lever paddle, with each opposing press of the paddle swing arm actuating their associated contact.  The only difference is that there is not squeeze keying so iambic-like timing is up to the keyer circuit.  Many prefer this variation as it is more forgiving and less error prone to send over that of the dual-paddle and for that reason some of the high-speed code sending champions of the world use this key to send code at "plaid and ludicrous" speeds into the 100's of wpm's!  The sender can also wire each of the two contacts together and use as a variation on of the side-swiper.

       Keys can come in any size and material, from very nice table-top works of art, to micro-mini "trail-friendly" ones that can strap to your leg.  There has even been a more recent surge of  3-D printed models and alternative sending implementations including capacitive touch-sensitive, laser path blocking and finger movement machine-learning image classification.  Really, the key is down to the CW operator's imagination and wallet, and are even great to collect and curate.

       If your pockets aren't deep enough to spring for a decent key, as some of them can be really expensive, then consider making your own.  See below for instructions on making your own Side-Swiper "Cootie" key.  Before you do, check out one I made in just a few minutes out of a bunch of junk parts!  [CLICK HERE]

Homebrew Cootie Key

K4ICY's CW Weekend Projects

       If you're a CW enthusiast with an itch to homebrew then have I got the works for you!

       Let's start off by building your very own "Cootie" key for $10... or even $0 if you have the parts!  I invite you to make it your own and to share your final build pics with me where I'll post them on my tutorial page. [CLICK HERE]
K4ICY "Depot Cootie" Key Tutorial

       Next, you'll need some practice.  Build my ultra-simple Code Practice Oscillator with the pleasant sound and you won't be disappointed! [CLICK HERE]

Pleasant Code Practice Oscillator

       Do you have a "boat anchor" (old radio) or maybe a QRP trail-friendly or homebrew rig without a built-in iambic keyer?  My circuit has no Arduino to program and only uses 3 very basic logic IC.  I even provide Gerber files where you can order your own mint leaf-shaped PCB that even fits in an Altoid's mint tin.  Many hams have built their own and all say it works great! [CLICK HERE]

K4ICY 3-IC Minty Iambic Keyer

         It's not cheating if she never finds out...  [Oh, did that sound wrong?]  With an inexpensive Arduino microcontroller board and a few parts (all available on Amazon,) you can "cheat" and decode Morse code (CW) up to 70 wpm, both electronic keyed and hand-sent!  My sketch uses my own custom algorithm on any Arduino Uno or Nano, along with an inexpensive 4 x 20 character LCD display and LM567 tone decoder IC with associated discrete components.  ALSO, it works great as a 'proofing' device to help you send better code, improving your 'fist'. [CLICK HERE]

K4ICY CW Decoder (WIP)

       Got an ancient CW rig with no selectivity?  If you need a cleaner signal and desire the ability to cherry-pick one CW op out of the rest then you may want to try out my 4-Stage CW Audio Filter!  [CLICK HERE]

Spectrum Analysis - K4ICY CW Filter

Homebrew, QRP & Trail-Friendly

       Check out some of my homebrew/kit radio builds and portable QRP (low-power) kit setups.  There are many options for low-power CW radios on the market that won't break the bank.  What's stopping you?

The K4ICY "Ice Box" SW+40 CW QRP Homebrew/Kit

       Check out my build journal for my implementation of the SW+40 QRP Rig.  Built-In keyer, voltage indicator, Digital Dial, coverage for the entire 40 meter CW band plus 0 - 12 watt input. [CLICK HERE] for so much more!

K4ICY's Moto-QRP HB1A Kit

       Have motorcycle, will QRP!  Can you believe all of this fits inside of a small waterproof container - which fits inside of a motorcycle pannier?  Fun to be had... POTA's, SOTA's and LOTA's, oh my!  [CLICK HERE]

[More to come for sure...  I would like to include more links and resources on obtaining inexpensive low-power CW radio as well as kits.]

Join the Club!

       There are countless CW enthusiast out there just waiting to make contact with you!  Here are a few clubs to help you get the most out of this aspect of the hobby:

Straight Key Century Club  - SKCC -

       The Straight Key Century Club is the most active group of mechanical-key Morse code radiotelegraph operators in the world. Founded in 2006, the SKCC has thousands of members around the globe.  Joining is FREE (open to licensed amateur radio operators only,) and the game is to make HF radio contacts using any of the three early original types of manual telegraph keys [as described above:] the Straight Key, the "Bug" and the "Cootie."  With the SKCC, you can gain on-air experience in sending and receiving by swapping member numbers with other members.  You can enter club sponsored sprints, contests and special events, rag chew, earn activity and achievement awards, and with membership, access thier online resources, newsletter, forums and chat.

North American QRP CW Club  - NAQCC -

       With no dues or membership fees, the NAQCC is open to any licensed radio amateur or shortwave listener (SWL) worldwide with at least some interest in CW/QRP operation.  They encourage the use of CW and in helping all hams increase CW speed and proficiency as the club's top priority. Club activities are dedicated to QRP/QRPp operation [meaning to transmit at 5 watts maximum and below,] using CW and emphasizing the use of simple wire antennas.

Side Swiper Net  - SSN -

       A group of CW operators using Morse code who've established several informal radio nets to promote the use of the Side-Swiper, or "cootie" key [described above.] Listen to the listed nets and you'll find a nice sounding Morse code. All Side-Swiper users are warmly invited to take part in our nets.  At other times, Side-Swiper aficionados can be found on the recommended calling frequencies.

Elmer's & Code Buddies

       [I'll be adding more to this section as time goes on... So if you have a great resource on the subject to share, I'd be willing to consider adding it here.]

       Having help from other CW enthusiast within the ham radio hobby is an absolute must for success.  I can't stress this enough!  It doesn't matter if the helper, either a mentor within the hobby, generally known as an "Elmer," or another friend who is just as new or inexperienced as you may be.  Getting on-air practice is essential and having a forgiving 'fist' on the other side will help you get over the 'butterflies' of getting on for the first time, overcoming mistakes or just plain helping you increase your code speed.

       The SKCC and NAQCC are there to gather like-minded CW enthusiasts on certain 'practice' frequencies and slow speeds are welcome.  You should locate and ask someone at your local ham radio club about any CW Practice Nets that may be offered and if there isn't, consider spreading the word and setting up a local informal net once a week on a quiet 10 meter or 2 meter frequency.  Encourage other hams new to CW to just listen in if they wish, but at the least, invite them to just give their call sign.  Have a live Zoom conference session while the net is going on so that quick questions and any possible issues can be addressed off the air.

       I spent a few years learning the code using online tools and software, but it wasn't until one of my dearest of friends, now a "Silent Key," invited me to joint the local practice net with him that I saw an increase in my proficiency.  We would then spend an hour, and sometimes two each Wednesday night doing "GUD CODE BAD," and I soon found myself having rag-chews on the HF CW ham bands.

       If you can't find an "Elmer" in the local club, or even a "Code Buddy" to help you out, then consider offering your services as one of those over your weekly emcomm net, monthly club meeting or through the local club's newsletter.  You've got nothing to lose from asking and absolutely NO ONE in this day and age will judge you for your lack of skill.  We are living in the days of the "CW Renaissance," where it is NOT A REQUIREMENT to know CW to get your license... it hasn't been for nearly a decade and a half.  Most of the "speed demons" who used to crowd the airwaves have 'retired' (in one way or the other) and it's pretty much mostly us slow-code guys, but we're having fun and you can join in just because you wanted to rather than be compelled.

       So, dive on in feet first, the waterfall is fine!

Know the Code - Keep Learning!

       Part of perfecting the CW aspect of the Amateur Radio hobby is continue your education.  Read up on the vast history of radio and telegraphy, discover the secrets to increased proficiency and broaden your horizons as you learn of other CW operators on-air, out-of-doors adventures.  Discover the world of "Radio Sport" contesting, increase your technical skills and learn to build and experiment with your own homebrew equipment.  The sky's limit is much farther than you know and you're invited to be the best CW ham you can be!

       Please take time to check out the following superb book offerings from a few great hams.  A couple of them are yours to download and read for absolutely FREE!

Art Marshall W1FJI - And Don't Forget to Bring Y'all's Dawg Along!

And Don’t Forget to Bring Y’all’s Dawg Along!
is a 120 page read that can be yours for the great price of absolutely FREE!

       Art Marshall, W1FJI, now Silent Key, was one of my great "Elmer's" as well as my "code buddy" who spent countless hours over the years chatting on the air with me.  His favorite aspects of ham radio were, of course, CW via QRP, especially operating from lighthouses (LOTA) around the country and he was also a PACKET enthusiast.  For years, newsletter readers of the Tallahassee Amateur Radio Society (TARS) were treated to his wit, wisdom and easy-going outlook on the joys of operating.

Art Marshall, W1FJI

       The title, Art’s favorite signature line says it all, when the weather’s great, just get out there and operate!  When you do, just don’t forget the ones most important to you.  He will surely be missed by the many family and radio friends that crossed his path.  All 40 of Art’s fantastic articles on topics such as QRP and our hobby’s prestigious history have been compiled into this wonder publication for you to enjoy for free.

[73 old friend!]

Frank W. Harris, K0IYE - Crystal Sets to Sideband, Revision 15

Crystal Sets to Sideband
A Guide to Building an Amateur Radio Station
By Frank W. Harris, K0IYE
[2019 - Revision 15]

[CLICK HERE for PDF Link via MediaFire]  14 mb Adobe PDF

Frank, K0IYE, challenges YOU to be "The Complete Ham!"

       This awe inspiring 748 page book chronicles his experiences as a radio homebrewer through the last two decades and does well to educate the reader, not only on the fundamentals of electronics but time-tested techniques for experimentation. He takes the reader step by step through his progression of building a ham station FROM SCRATCH, sharing an intimate journey, of not only his building successes but of the lessons learned from his technical setbacks, detailing for you, the reader, each circuit; their construction and fundamentals of operation.  Frank’s book has become an “icon within the ‘QRP’ community”, a bible of sorts to the art and practice of homebrewing.

       First written in 2002, Frank has donated his book to the free enjoyment and use of the Amateur Radio community!  Many sites carry copies of his publication, mostly in a per-chapter format and after [at least two] decades of exploration he is now up to the 15th revision. The book starts off from the beginning of ham radio with a history lesson on discoveries wrought by our technical forefathers, then it builds from there and topics covered include everything under the ‘ham radio’ sun from; the fundamentals of electronics, basics of homebrewing, how to set up an electronics workshop, as well as detailed breakdowns of nearly every step of a radio’s operation. Follow Frank from CW to AM, through SSB to FM and more as he works with every type of component from vintage tubes to modern micro-controllers. Did I mention that the book is a free download?

Frank W. Harris, K0IYE

       His building philosophy is simple: to really appreciate the intimate understanding of a homebrewed radio’s operation, it should not only be constructed from the most basic parts such as transistors and other discrete components, but its circuits should be sound in design and when built, should reflect good ‘Amateur Practice’; such as using simple and modular construction, and going out of your way to comply with FCC emission standards. At one point, to test his ham radio fortitude, he literally hewns galena ore from a rock to fabricate a ‘crystal’ receiver! Frank coins the term “The Complete Ham” which describes an Amateur operator whom sets out to not only be a well-rounded operator but strives to understand how his equipment works, as well as being better able to repair and enhance his or her own equipment.

       Please visit Franks site for UPDATES and Per-Chapter PDF downloads...  [CLICK HERE]
The Art & Skill of Radio-Telegraphy

The Art & Skill of Radio-Telegraphy
A Manual for Learning, Using, Mastering and Enjoying the International Morse Code
as a Means of Communication

By William G. Pierpont, N0HFF

       This book is well known as a definitive authority on the history of Morse code and CW communications and is an in-depth primer on advancing code speed and proficiency.  Art & Skill also gives a bit of background on various approaches to learning the code.  Even if you're new to CW it's worth the read!

       This book is available to purchase from various online retailers.  You can order a pretty nice paperback version from Hulu for around $16.  Amazon and other sources sell copies as well, but expect to pay up to $50.

       [CLICK HERE] to order from Hulu.

This site will be updated periodically....

DE MIKE K4ICY, 73!  (dit-dit)

CW Prosigns
Prosigns CW Meaning
BT A Pause or Separator.
AR End of Transmission.
- when you are sending it back to the other station. Also used at the end when answering a CQ.
SK End of Transmission.
- when you are at the final end of a last transmission of a QSO.
K Go Ahead... Over.
Used when turning it over to another station. Used also after sending CQ.
NOT to be used after just answering a CQ because the other station has not verified contact with you.
KN Go Ahead (Specific Station).
Same as K, but only a specific station and no one else can come back to you.
CL Clear .
Ending last QSO and turning off station. No one else to come back or reply.
(often repeated) Copied last transmission okay
- All information Readable.

International CW Q-Signals
Q - Signal CW Meaning
QRA Call Sign?
QRG Exact Frequency?
QRH Frequency Varies?
QRI Signal Tone Quality? 1-3
QRK Signal Intelligibility? 1-5
QRL Frequency Busy?
QRM Signal Interference?
QRN Static Interference?
QRO More Power?
QRP Less Power?
QRQ Send Faster?
QRS Send Slower?
QRT Stop Transmitting?
QRU Any Messages?
QRV Ready?
QRW Tell (Call Sign) You're Calling?
QRX Standby - When?
QRZ Invite - Who's Calling?
QSA Signal Strength?
QSB Signal Fading?
QSD Defective Keying?
QSG Send # of Messages?
QSK Break In?
QSL Confirmation Receipt?
QSM Repeat Last Message?
QSO Contact Between Stations?
QSP Relay Message To?
QST ~General Call~
QSV Send A Series of "V"'s?
QSW Shall Transmit On (Time)?
QSX Listen on Frequency (x)?
QSY Change Frequency?
QSZ Send Each Word/Group More?
QTH Location?
QTR Correct Time?
QTX Keep Station Open For Me?

Q-signals are three letter combinations used to represent common phrases or sentences for CW operation. They may be used as a question with a question mark (?) or statement without the question mark. For example, "QRZ?" is used to ask for the calling station(s) to identify again. "Please (pse) QRS" is used as a request to send the code at a slower speed. "The QTH is" is used to indicate this station's location.

Although originally used for CW, many Q-signals have become acceptable for phone operation.

Other Non-Q Abbreviations:
73  -  Best Regards
88  -  Love & Kisses
YL  -  Young Lady, Unmarried and any Female Ham Operator
XYL  -  Ex-Young Lady, A Ham's Wife
OM  -  Old Man, Any Male Ham Operator
GE  -  Good Evening
TKS  -  Thanks
TU  -  Thank You
CUL  -  See You Later
ES  -  And (&)
ANT  -  Antenna
RIG  -  Radio

BK  -  Back to You

Morse Code /
CW Articles of Interest


Written by K4ICY and others for
The Printed Circuit - Newsletter of
the Tallahassee Amateur Radio Society

American Morse Equipment
March 2014 - Page 10

WB9LPU’s Amazing Custom Keys
January 2014 - Page 17

Paddles With Magnetism
August 2013 - Page 11

Anatomy of a Bug
December 2013 - Page 18

Code Practice –
August 2012 - Page 7

The Straight Key Century Club (SKCC)
August 2013 - Page 9





Updated 06/16/20

(c)2020 Copyright - Michael A. Maynard, a.k.a. K4ICY