INFORMATION ON CODE and CODE PRACTICE
There is no longer a requirement to take the Industry Canada Morse code exam in order to access the 1.8 to 28 MHz HF bands if you meet the following criteria:
- you have the Advanced qualification, or
- you have a Basic qualification prior to April 2, 2002, or
- you have a Basic qualification after April 1, 2002 and achieved an 80% or better pass mark.
If you do not meet the above qualifications, and you desire to work HF, then you must either:
- write the Basic exam (again) and achieve an honours mark of 80% , or
- write the Morse exam, or
- write the Advanced exam and achieve a pass mark of 70%.
For complete details, visit:
2. The 5 wpm Qualification
Passing the 5 word per minute Morse code exam will grant the Basic licensee access to the HF bands.
3. Receiving Code
To learn the code, there must be a source of CW to copy. Suggest you use the following computer application to learn to copy code at home. The program is TEACH4. Please follow the instructions on the TEACH4 link.
- Take advantage of the Surrey Amateur Radio Club’s Learn CW course on 2 metres.
4. Sending Code
Code Practice Oscillators (CPO) allow the student to send code. It consists of a Morse code telegraph style “hand key” with a sounder that makes an audible tone. Battery operated. If you have your own CPO, please use that. Otherwise the club will sign one out to you.
5. Practice, Practice, and Practice some more.
The key to passing Morse code (CW) is continuous practice – every day 15 to 30 minutes – until you are comfortable copying 7 WPM
Hint #1: To help learn code away from the computer, just look around for any words or text (street signs, advertisements, newspapers etc) and “send” the code in your mind.
- This table, which groups like characters together, will aid in memorizing the Morse alphabet.
6. The Exam
- An Industry Canada accredited examiner will conduct the CW exam.
- Be prepared to Send and Receive Morse code at 5 words per minute.
- The TEACH4 computer program will send code. Code speed will be 5 WPM with the character speed (Farnsworth) set to 12 WPM.
- Consists of letters, numbers and punctuation as described in the Morse Code Table link.
Example of test text:
vvv vvv forecast periods will be shortened during heavy storms, frontal zones keep qsj 1962
the “vvv vvv” preamble is notification that test text will be sent. These characters are not counted as part of the test text.
- Text sent and received is “plain language”.
- Duration of sending and receiving each is 3 minutes.
- There will be a “warm up” practice session prior to the testing.
- For the receiving test, the examiner sends text that everyone copies at the same time.
- Copy is usually done as hard copy with pencil and lined paper. You may use a computer to copy, but you cannot use CW copy software.
- After code has been copied, the student is allowed 2 minutes to correct errors and fill in the blanks prior to submission to the examiner.
- Up to and including 5 errors are allowed in the copy after submission to the examiner.
- Incorrect spacing between words will count as errors
- AFTER candidates have passed the receiving test, each candidate sends code to the examiner individually.
Hint #2: When you practice sending at home, record your sending and then play it back. You will soon hear problems that you will not be aware of when sending!
- The examiner provides a number of test messages. If required to send over again, the same or a different message can be used.
- You may send faster that 5 WPM.
- You can use your own “key” to send or use the club provided Code Practice Oscillators. You can use any type of keyer – hand key, paddle key, bugs, code practice oscillators etc. but you cannot use a computer to send with.
- If you make an error in transmitting, send the error code (8 dits) and then re-transmit the erroneous character (not the entire word). This will not count as an error in sending as you have recognized and corrected it. However, you must keep up the pace to fall within the 5 WPM requirement.
- At least three opportunities may be given each student to pass. This is at the discretion of the examiner.
In case of discrepancy, RIC-1 governs.
7. Spacing of Characters and Words
Figure 1 shows the correct spacing of dit’s and dah’s, If a dit = 1, then:
Dah = 3 times a dit length
between a dit and a dah within a character = 1 dit
between characters =3 dit’s
between words = 7 dit’s
A good “fist” develops consistent spacing. When dit’s and dah’s are run together develop inconsistent spacing, copy becomes difficult at the other end.
For further information please contact us via email club @ ve7scc . com.