BOOK REVIEW:

How To Achieve 20 WPM CW
by Ron Stark, KU7V

I received this 37-page booklet as a gift at the Dallas HamCom convention last summer. Now, I already copy CW at over 20 WPM, but I was very interested in what Ron might have to say that I haven't heard in my 40 years as a CW operator. What really intrigued me were the two subtitles:

"With No Effort On Your Part"
and
"I'm Lazy And I Don't Want To Work At It!"

Yep, now he had my attention. In a break from the usual "knuckle down and do it like I did" approach, Ron refreshingly acknowledges the ways most of us approach learning Morse Code - with resistance and excuses. Then, he offers ways to work with those - realisticly - that promise to bring our operating skills to 20 WPM... and have fun doing it!

There's nothing magic about 20 WPM, but it is a worthy goal, and makes virtually all of "the other half" of ham radio operations accessible, whether it be for "ragchewing", or contesting, or low power (QRP) ops. In this book, Ron makes this goal completely attainable, and gives the student a phase-by-phase, step-by-step approach for reaching it. Along the way, he recognizes each potential block, every major pitfall, and humorously offers very practical ways to get around it.

Not that he sugar-coats the process... one still must practice, one still must expend time. But Ron has managed to compile an array of suggestions for eliminating the drudgery of rote practice, and getting from point A to point B by the quickest (and most fun) route.

I heartily recommend this booklet to anyone who wants to be a CW operator, but who has struggled with getting past the typical learning plateau at 5, or 7, or 10 WPM. Practical CW speeds of 20 WPM (and beyond) are indeed achievable, and Ron Stark tells us how. I think you'll be delighted with the material!

NOTE: How To Achieve 20 WPM CW is available through the QRP-ARCI Toy Store. As I write this, the price lists at $6.

Review by Monty Northrup, N5ESE (December, 2006)


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