Teaching Morse Code: The Importance of Perfect Dits and Dahs

My son and I had another lesson this evening before bedtime. This time I dug out my paddles and my electronic keyer, since I was afraid that my imperfect fist at the straight key could do him damage.

My fears were well placed!

HT: http://www.rfcafe.com/references/qst/this-business-of-code-feb-1941-qst.htm

It turns out that in our first lesson I made my “dahs” much too long. This caused him some grief when I started using my electronic keyer since the “dahs” and the “dits” sounded too much alike to him, accustomed as he was to my goofy fist (which shall now be rectified ASAP!).

So we spent most of this lesson just fixing my mistake, getting my son to discern between perfectly proportioned “dits” and “dahs.”

I’m glad we caught my mistake on this second lesson and not several months from now! But I still feel bad for exasperating my son.

So to all you would-be Morse Elmers out there, learn from my mistake! Whatever quirks you may have in your fist may be exacerbated at low speed. So unless you have a perfect fist with a straight key, use your electronic keyer right from the beginning when teaching Morse Code.

Todd Mitchell, NØIP, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Minnesota, USA. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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