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amateur radio in Mid Somerset

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Diary Dates

Future events - the next few months . . .


Monday 10th July

The 2nd meeting of the Mid-Somerset Amateur Radio Club at its new venue the 1st Shepton Scout Hall in Old Wells Road Shepton Mallet next to the football ground at 19.35. A temporary antenna erected and a test made to assess the radio reception conditions of the venue. All welcome. Don't arrive before 19.30 as there's another group using the hall until then. Also, if the access road gates are shut, please wait for a member of the committee to arrive to open them


Click here to see the year ahead in more detail

Morse Resources


Is Morse a Valid Mode Today?

Yes! Morse, or CW (from the expression Continuous Wave) continues to have significant value as a transmitting mode in the 21st Century because it:


Reduces equipment complexity and is very suitable for easy self-build transmitter projects


Offers the most effective readability in weak and noisy conditions and is especially valuable for low-power operations


Once mastered it's a very concise and exhilarating means of two-way communication with its own culture


MidSARC Support

MidSARC has a programme of support for anyone with an interest in the mode that would like help to improve their basic skills and launch themselves on the air.


Morse Chat Sessions

Time is allotted after the conclusion of our main monthly meeting for members who are interested to get together informally to discuss CW and provide mutual support to get past certain learning barriers.



More experienced operators have offered their services to help individuals on a one-on-one basis to develop their skills and in particular start them off on their first on air experience of making actual contacts. Mentors can provide practice (up to a moderate speed) on air (ask them which bands they can offer), or by exchanging emails with sound files (.mp3) attachments.


A list of Mentors' email addresses and post codes is available from the club secretary David Edwards G8BFV


MidSARC Morse Proficiency Awards

Speed tests

We have a member qualified through the RSGB who can conduct and certify send and receive proficiency up to 20 words per minute. This can be provided on request and by prior arrangement. In the meantime check for more details on the RSGB Certificate of Competency site www.rsgb.org/morse


MidSARC QSO Certificate

We also offer a MidSARC Certificate for achieving set numbers of QSOs on the air of which a Mentor will have monitored (rules to be defined)


Self Training on Your PC

MidSARC members have identified a number of PC based programs which facilitate self-training beyond simply learning the morse code itself. Those most often mentioned are:


www.f8eho.net – EHOCW – documentation can be downloaded separately. Very flexible with strong emphasis on QSO practice. The software also allows you to practice sending by interfacing a key to the PC. The site asks for $1 minimum contribution but this is not compulsory


www.easilog.co.uk/morse.htm - WDMORSE by G0MDO (freeware)


www.g4fon.net – KOCH method trainer. Highly recommended for its rigorous learning structure (freeware)


www.rufzxp.net Rufz is the abbreviation of the German word 'Rufzeichen-Hören', which means 'Listening to Callsigns'. RufzXP is an excellent training software for improving code speed and CW practice, particularly (ultra) high speed memory copying of true amateur radio calls.


Choose a program which includes dummy QSOs (contacts with another station) as this brings the sheer learning by rote process to life. However there are many other programs available including apps. It pays to search around on the net to find out more.


Club member John Witchell G4OTJ has produced a useful PC software program called Text2CW. It takes a plain text file and converts it to CW in .wav format. Most portable players will play .wav but mp3 converters are available. It allows you to set a few parameters before you run the conversion.


Smart Phone Apps

For those with iPhones and iPads, there are many apps available to help you practise your morse code. Here are some of those that come highly recommended:





Koch Trainer

Ham Morse






Check out what else is available on the Apple App Store


Getting Started

If you would like to learn more about how MidSARC can help please contact the Club's Morse Champion who will set you on the right path


Progressing Your Skills

Once you've mastered the basic alphabet and numbers, individuals will need to learn the abbreviations in common use in morse communication (like texting but not necessarily the same!) and the special Q codes used, many of which are in use by telephony operators but some are more specific to CW. The ARRL and RSGB handbooks list the appropriate Q codes.


One source of information on all these topics is the Amateur Radio reference site at www.ac6v.com. There are UK based and other national ham resource sites also on the Internet


Morse Keys

Most licensed amateurs have access to a radio transceiver and these nowadays have an in built morse keyer. You'll need a suitable key (and we would recommend starting with a paddle key rather than a straight key) so you can improve your sending skills as and when time is available. There are morse sounder kits available for those who would find this the easier route (Kent Kits, MFJ products and Maplin buzzers).


Paddle keys are advertised on the net and makers can be identified through magazines and Internet services. Here are some links of sites that offer designs for making your own morse paddle