Learning Morse Code is just like learning a new brand new language and as such needs a plan of attack and practice. Here are some ideas:
Morse Code Tip #1: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Begin to learn Morse Code by starting out with the easiest and simplest letters in the alphabet.
Some of the easiest letters are:
- E (. or dit)
- T (- or dah)
- M (– 0r dah dah)
- I (.. or dit dit)
These Morse Code letters are the only letters in Morse Code that use one or two dits and dahs and do not combine the dits and dahs.
From there, the next easiest step is to move onto the simple dit and dah combinations, those using only 2 or 3 dits and dahs.
Here are the next Morse Code letters to learn:
- A (.- or dit dah)
- D (-.. or dah dit dit)
- G (–. or dah dah dit)
- (H) (…. or dit dit dit dit)
- K (-.- or dah dit dah)
- N (-. or dah dit)
- O (dah dah dah)
- R (.-. or dit dah dit)
- S (… or dit dit dit dit)
- U (..- or dit dit dah)
- W (.– or dit dah dah)
Finally, ending with the more difficult letters like “C”, “L”, “Q”, and “X”, that combine 4 dits and dahs in no particular “order”.
Here are the more difficult Morse Code letters:
- B (-… or dah dit dit dit)
- C (-.-. or dah dit dah dit)
- J (.— or dit dah dah dah)
- L (.-.. or dit dah dit dit)
- F (..-. or dit dit dah dit)
- Q (–.- or dah dah dit dah)
- P (.–. dit dah dah dit)
- V (…- or dit dit dit dah)
- X (-..- or dah dit dit dah)
- Y (-.– or dah dit dah dah)
- Z (–.. or dah dah dit dit)
Morse Code Tip #2: If at all possible, try to avoid visualization.
- Your ears hear the code
- Your mind says, “Hey, that’s Morse Code!”
- Your brain tries to bring up an IMAGE of the Morse Code letter or number you’ve heard
- Your brain tries to match the IMAGE to the SOUND
- Finally, you decide on a sound, or you miss the letter, and try to go on to the next letter
Morse Code Tip #3: Listen to Morse Code as often as you can.
Thanks to modern technology, you can find recordings of Morse Code just about anywhere – and you can find versions that are played back slower than what would be considered “normal” conversation.
Take advantage of these options to listen to More Code and use these recordings and videos as tools to test your learning progress.
This is especially important for learning the timing and spacing between letters and between words, as well as being able to instantly and effortlessly tell the difference between a dit and dah length of time.
Morse Code Tip #4: Use Your Own Voice!
Like most languages, Morse Code is both a written and auditory language. To prepare for listening to and translating dits and dahs, many people find it helpful to use their own voices to sound out letters and sentences as they practice.
Another way of incorporating the learners voice is to translate a short story, children’s book, or paragraph while recording. This is a great way of creating a simple test that can be “graded” without any outside assistance later.
Morse Code Tip #5: Have Fun!
As with learning anything, the more personal, entertaining, and a part of everyday life the new skill becomes, the quicker it is learned and the better it “sticks”. This can easily be applied to Morse Code. Emails, texting, grocery lists, notes to loved ones, and journaling are all great options for incorporating Morse Code into everyday life for a little bit of fun practicing as well as getting others around you interested in a new hobby as well!
When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I would come home from school to my father pounding away on a straight or paddle key sending Morse Code back and forth to some person from an unknown destination. I always wanted to know how to send and receive Morse Code, but I was never able to understand.
One day, I asked my father, “How do I learn Morse Code?” He sent me over the the Encyclopedia Britannica set that we have, and I studied Morse Code for days. I memorized the dots and dashes and was able to quickly learn Morse Code easily.
I was able to write down the entire Morse Code alphabet, but learning to hear Morse Code was a totally different story. Learning Morse Code by ear was much harder than learning Morse Code by looking at it from an encyclopedia! The only problem was that I learned the wrong version of Morse Code, and I had to re-learn the entire thing!
Today, it’s much easier to learn Morse code, especially since you can now learn Morse Code online!