The “W0NKS” method

Can you learn Morse Code in 15 days? Whilst this would seem a daunting task, the answer is yes you can learn basic Morse Code in on 15 days! Read on and I will tell you how I did it…..

Many years ago having dabbled with CB radio I became interested in the hobby of Amateur Radio but when I looked into it there was one thing that put me off, what was that one thing? Morse Code, the fact that you were required to learn Morse Code put me off pursuing my interest in amateur radio because I thought that I could never learn this complicated code language!

Many years later I again became interested in amateur radio and was delighted when I discovered that nowadays in the UK that Morse is not part of the exam to gain a radio license. However having gained my license I found myself becoming interested in Morse Code, or CW and decided that it would be nice to learn it after all! I used a number of applications that purport to teach Morse Code, some turned out to be ok and helped a little, some were a total waste of time however and only led to confuse me even more so I decided to study the code and see if I could find a way to learn it that suited me more than the available apps were offering me.

What I came up with is the “W0NKS method”, a simple yet effective method of self learning Morse code, a method that introduced two characters a day presented in a logical sequence. By only learning two letters a day as well as revising the ones that you have already learned it becomes a lot less intimidating, and the best bit is that within only a two days you will be able to send or recognise some basic words in Morse Code.

First of all lets look at how the code works. It is made up of dots and dashes, but we will think of them as “dits” and “dahs”. In terms of duration one “dah” equals three “dits”, the pause between letters in a word equals 3 “dits” and the pause between words is 7 “dits”.
When written down Morse is shown thus: Dit = Dah = so for instance the letter “C” would be shown as — • — • Remember that there are 3 “Dits” between letters and that there are 7 “Dits” between words.

If you have looked at any Morse Characters you will have already noticed that the letter have between one and four “Dits” and “Dahs” so lets start with the easiest ones to learn.

NOTE: Only move on to the next days learning if you have successfully mastered the letters from the previous days! Do not try to move on until you can remember all of the previous letters as this will just confuse you and will not help you in learning Morse Code!

Day 1
There are only 2 letters that use one “Dit” or “Dah” and they are
e • and t —
For Day one just try to memorise these two letters, easy huh?

Day 2
There are only four letters that use two “Dits” or “Dahs” and they are A I M and N. For Day two we will concentrate on A and N
a • — and n — •
You might notice that the Morse for these letters are opposites of each other! “Dit Dah” and “Dah Dit” This makes learning these letters easy, so for Day 2 simply remember the Morse for A and N as well as revising the previous letters that you have learnt.

[Remember I said that in two days you would be able to send or recognise some simple words in Morse Code? I wasn’t joking, you now know Morse code for the words “ANT”, “TAN”, “TENT, and even bigger words such as “ANTENNA”]
Practice making up words using these first four letters!

Day 3
Congratulations, you can now send and recognise some basic words in Morse Code, see how easy it is? Ok so as we know there are four letters that us two Morse characters and today we are going to learn the second pair which are:
i • • and m — —
Again you might notice that the Morse for these letters are opposites of each other! “Dit Dit” and “Dah Dah”…
Practice making up words with the letters that you have learned thus far, some examples for you to practice are: “MINT”, TIME”, “ANTENNA”, “MINE” see how many others you can make up?

Day 4
There are 8 letters in Morse that use 3 characters, these are D G K O R S U W, don’t worry we wont be learning them all at once! I expect you will all recognise the abbreviation “SOS” which as we know stands for “Save our Souls” which is the internationally recognised distress signal. SOS was actually used historically by the RMS Titanic as she was sinking! So we will carry on by learning the letters S and O;
s • • • and o — — —
As with the previous days practice by making up words using the letters that you have learnt so far, E T A N I M S O

Day 5
Today we will learn two more opposites;
r • — • and k — • —
Note: You will often hear the letter “K” sent at the end of a CW (morse) transmition, it is used as an abbreviation for “OK” to signify the the receiving station that they have finished sending code.
As with the previous days practice by making up words using the letters that you have learnt so far, E T A N I M S O R K

Day 6
Another two opposites to learn today;
g — — • and w • — —
As with the previous days practice by making up words using the letters that you have learnt so far, E T A N I M S O R K G W
Remember not to move on to the next day until you can recall all of the letters learned thus far!

Day 7
Another two opposites to learn today and the last of the 3 character letters;
d — • • and u • • —
As with the previous days practice by making up words using the letters that you have learnt so far, E T A N I M S O R K G W D U
Remember not to move on to the next day until you can recall all of the letters learned thus far!

Day 8
Are you impressed with what you have learned so far? Are you proud of yourself? Well you should be as you are well on your way to joining the elite group of Radio Hams that use Morse Code to communicate! Pat yourself on the back and take a well earned day off!

Day 9
So today we start with the 12 letters that use 4 characters, these are B C F H J L P Q V X Y Z
Another two opposites to learn today;
p • — — • and x — • • —  
As with the previous days practice by making up words using the letters that you have learnt so far, E T A N I M S O R K G W D U P X
Remember not to move on to the next day until you can recall all of the letters learned thus far!

Day 10
Another two opposites to learn today;
l • — • • and y — • — —  
As with the previous days practice by making up words using the letters that you have learnt so far, E T A N I M S O R K G W D U P X L Y
Remember not to move on to the next day until you can recall all of the letters learned thus far!

Day 11
Another two opposites to learn today;
b — • • • and v • • • — 
As with the previous days practice by making up words using the letters that you have learnt so far, E T A N I M S O R K G W D U P X L Y B V
Remember not to move on to the next day until you can recall all of the letters learned thus far!

Day 12
Another two opposites to learn today but remember not to move on unless you can remember all of the letters that you have learnt so far!;
f • • — • and q — — • —
As with the previous days practice by making up words using the letters that you have learnt so far, E T A N I M S O R K G W D U P X L Y B V F Q
Remember not to move on to the next day until you can recall all of the letters learned thus far!

Day 13
So far we have learned letters that are opposites of each other to help you with learning them. There are only 4 more letters to learn now and these are the only letters in the Morse alphabet that do NOT have opposites! We will start with;
c — • — • and h • • • •
As with the previous days practice by making up words using the letters that you have learnt so far, E T A N I M S O R K G W D U P X L Y B V F Q C H
Remember not to move on to the next day until you can recall all of the letters learned thus far!

Day 14
Congratulations, you have reached the end of the alphabet! The last two letters to learn are;
j • — — — and the last letter of the alphabet and the last one to learn is z — — • •
So now you can make up any word in the dictionary using the letters that we have learned E T A N I M S O R K G W D U P X L Y B V F Q C H J Z

Day 15
If you have stuck with this course day by day you should now be able to recognise and send every letter in the alphabet! Continue to practice making up words, reciting the alphabet in Morse Code, even reading car number plates and reciting them to yourself in Morse code.
I expect you are asking yourself, “what about Morse Code for numbers”? Well, they are extremely simple;
1 = • — — — — 2 = — — — 3 = • • • — 4 = • • • 5 = • • • • •
and opposites
6 = 7 = 8 = 9 =
0 =

There is also an excellent program that you can use to practice sending Morse Code on your computer and even chat to other seasoned and beginner Morse ops.. It is called CWCOM, why not take a look? https://nwarg.org/cwcom-what-is-it-what-does-it-do

And that Ladies and Gentlemen is the W0NKS method. It certainly worked for me, I spent 15 days learning the code as described above and now some six months later I am able to send Morse Code at 17 to 20 WPM! Of course the W0NKS method is just my suggestion on how to easily learn Morse code. Whatever method you use to learn I wish you good luck and look forward to hearing you bashing out code on air in the near future.


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