Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 4 NO. 5 / DECEMBER 1989


The Allen Method for Learning Morse Code


In Dah-Ditter, from the February 1989 issue of START, Sal Gutierrez showed you how to use your ST to learn Morse Code. This month, John Allen takes that program a step further with 14 lessons to help you learn Morse quickly and easily. You'll need Dah-Ditter to run the tutorials on either a color or monochrome monitor.

Learn Morse Code faster in the file LESSONS.ARC on Side 1 of your START disk.

All you need to reach the Novice class five-words-per-minute
level is Dah-Ditter, John Allen's lessons and a bit of practice.
These lessons take you from the shortest letters to the longest
and make learning Morse Code as easy as Dit-Dah-Dah-Dit, Dit-Dit, Dit!

When I received the issue of START that included Dah-Ditter, I used the program right away. Like Sal Guttierrez, I am an amateur radio enthusiast and had once thought of writing a similar program myself. I was pleased to set that someone did.

But Something Was Missing
The one feature that was missing from an otherwise excellent program was an effective set of lessons. Morse code is designed so that frequent letters such as E and T are very short while less frequently used ones like Q, X, Y and Z are longer. Also, some letters are similar in sound and it's best to learn them separately to avoid confusion.

With this in mind, I set to work and came up with 14 lessons that teach Morse Code letters in the following order:


Note that the letters are arranged in the order of length and complexity. Thus, the alphabet begins with the letter E (Dit in Morse) and progresses to Z (Dah Dah Dit Dit in Morse).

Each of the first 13 lessons consists of two new letters and words using the new and previously learned letters. In some lessons, letter groups with the two new letters are also included. Several of the later lessons have sentences using only the letters learned so far and the last lesson is five sentences to help you practice.

Getting Started
To access the Dah-Ditter code lessons, first boot this month's START disk-the START menu runs automatically. At the main screen, click on Prepare, then select "Dah-Ditter Code Lessons." The lessons will un-ARC directly onto the destination drive you specify. Of course, you'll also need the Dah-Ditter program to run the lessons, which are .DIS files that can be loaded into Dah-Ditter by using the Load Discourse option from the File menu.

In Morse code, frequent letters
(such as E and T) are very short.

Slow and Steady
Take your time-it's normal to fly through the first few lessons, only to slow down and repeat later lessons several times before moving on. Unlike the letters that are arranged for speed, the digits are easy to learn in simple numerical order. Punctuation is also easy to learn once the letters and numbers have been mastered.

Have fun and remember that to achieve the Novice Class license you only need to read five words per minute.

Editor's Note: Be sure that you have fixed the small bug in the original Dah-Ditter before running these lessons. For full details on the bug fix, see Alert Box in the June 1989 issue.

David Allen lives and works in Livermore, California. This is his first program for START.