Well, I did it! I finished CW Ops’ CW Academy, Level 1. I even got a certificate. I’ve made a few QSO’s and although I struggle to copy full sentences, the world of morse code / CW operation is now a whole lot less scary. This was a really enjoyable course, and I strongly recommend it to anyone starting out with morse code / CW operation.
I feel like the course is extremely well put together. I felt especially honored to have as my advisor, Rob K6RB—the guy that wrote the material and helped start the whole thing! He was always very patient and encouraging, as well as knowledgable—drawing on 59 years of ham radio experience!
The objectives for CW Academy Level 1:
- Learn all Morse letters and numbers at a letter speed of 20 wpm and a word speed above 15 wpm
- Learn conversational QSO protocols
- Be introduced to contest QSOing
- Be introduced to DX pileup best practices
They do *not* say you’re going to be a CW genius at the end of the 8-week course. And I definitely don’t feel like one. I still feel like a beginner. BUT, I’m now in a position where I feel comfortable with morse code and CW operation, and wanting to do more. This course gave me the accountability, knowledge, and motivation to really kick-start my CW “career.”
I’ve already signed up for Level 2, which has these objectives:
- Increase one’s speed above 15 wpm through practice with head copying and sending
- Hone one’s skills in conversational QSOing, contesting and DXing
That starts in January. Between now and then, I am going to keep familiarizing myself with the Level 1 materials, while getting as much on-air time as I can (not a whole lot sometimes).
73 de KE6MT