Ham Radio and Scouting have had a long and solid relationship. Back in 2012, I wrote an article of the Top 10 Reasons You Should Get a Ham Radio License. I also wrote a couple of articles (here and here) about Jamboree On The Air – the annual Ham Radio event just for Scouts.
One of the ways Ham Radio and Scouting intersect is in the area of Morse Code. Morse code represents letters and numbers with a series of short pulses and long pulses (“dots and dashes” or “dits and dahs”).
Ham Radio operators use Morse to transmit and receive messages in situations where voice cannot. Similarly, Scouts have historically taught themselves Morse code for use in emergency communication. Today, it isn’t required for an Amateur Radio license, but it is still fun to learn and continues to serve in emergencies when other methods of communication fail.
I have scoured the internet for the best free online tools to help you master the code in short order. There are great smartphone apps and downloadable programs you can use as well, but for this list I have stuck with online apps only.
Learn CW Online – This website is hands-down one of the best free online courses for learning Morse Code (CW). You can create an account and keep track of your progress. It follows one of the most universally recommended methods for learning: The Koch method.
K6RAU Code Course – This website offers a complete CW audio course available for mp3 download. It was first made and broadcast over the radio in the 1970’s for Boy Scouts who were learning.
The Ham Whisperer Morse Course – This is a complete and well-done video based curriculum for learning Morse Code. It also gives exercises for practice.
AA9PW Morse Code Practice – This website offers a helpful tool that generates Morse code using parameters you specify. It is helpful for practicing your receiving skills.
Morse on Kongregate – Kongregate is an online platform where people can share games they created. One person created a fun little game for learning and practicing Morse code. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best online game I found and made me want to keep playing.
I hope you find these resources helpful! Morse code is both rewarding and fun, and it can make a great activity for your Patrol or Troop.
Do you know Morse code? Are you familiar with any other good resources I missed here? Leave a comment and let me know! If you found this post helpful, you can share it on social media or print it via the buttons below.
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