First Practice

FIRST PRACTICE MENU Select:  C. Character speed 18 K. Keyboard practice L. Listen and watch characters P. Pairs of characters drill M. Morse tutor Select practice drill or press ESC to return to main menu

Figure 3. First Practice Menu


The First Practice session allows a new student to experiment or practice in various ways while learning the individual Morse characters. Four different ways of exploring the code are provided.

The (K)eyboard selection activates the keyboard and allows a student to associate a single keyboard key with the Morse code sound for it. Students can use this as another way to become familiar with characters as they are added to the practice sessions.

(L)isten and watch causes each character to be sent 4 times and displayed in full screen format. At first display occurs prior to sending the character in Morse code, with the time being decreased with successive repetitions. Characters being learned are sent in a random sequence, with the entire set being repeated until the session is terminated by ESC.

The (M)orse Tutor allows a student to practice his keyboard skills by having the computer send single characters and waiting until he responds on the keyboard. If correct, the next character is sent immediately. If not a short low tone is sounded and the character is re-transmitted. During this session the student should make an effort NOT TO LOOK at the keyboard. Use of a blindfold while a bit extreme, is recommended. Morse Tutor will help develop typing skills in combination with copying code, if an effort is made not to watch the keyboard.

The (C)haracter speed key selects the individual character transmission speed, and the (W)eight key the character weighting. The (D)isplay option allows selection of the transmitted text either "Before" it is sent or "After". If the "Before" option is selected, the character is displayed before transmitting the character for the time required to send a space between words. Errors are displayed using reverse video. The display can be disabled during transmission by setting this option to "Off".

The session starts after pressing the ENTER key and can be ended at any time by pressing ESC.

At the end of the session, the text sent is displayed and a summary of the student's reaction time in pressing the key for each character is given in milliseconds (thousandths of a second). By practicing keyboard skills the student can improve reaction time and improve performance in other sessions.

In (C)haracter pair drills character pairs that sound alike are constructed from the set being learned. The entire set of practice pairs is displayed and using the cursor keys the student can select one particular pair, or review them in sequence.

A drill begins by pressing ENTER. A full screen display of each character being reviewed is displayed three times. After this by pressing ENTER the student can practice the two characters for as long as he likes taking as long as he wishes to respond to each character. A correct answer will result in a message "correct, right, or yes" being displayed in the center of the screen and a short high pitch tone. An incorrect response causes the missed character to be displayed in full screen format, a long low pitch tone to be sounded, and then the repeat of the character in Morse code.

Once the student is comfortable with a given pair he can move to the next by pushing ESC. Morse Academy remembers the student's progress, so practice can suspended and resumed at a later time.

Note ANY change to the selected character set (addition or deletion of characters) will cause the drill to restart at the beginning.

By Joe Speroni