Amateur Radio       

Amateur Radio

Learn Morse Code in One Hour (or even 10 minutes)!

Excerpts from "Morse Code Made Memorable" by William J. Bahr,  KB4WIT,
Copyright 1987-2022.

This work hopes to end the problems of learning and remembering Morse
Code.  Its primary contribution is a mnemonic scheme whereby a student
can learn the code in as little as an hour or even less.  The Bahr Method
has applications in amateur, commercial, and military radio, and is a 
generally useful survival skill.  Because it employs a memory technique of
a level higher than nonsense syllables, it guarantees far longer retention
rates.  Methods for obtaining code speeds equal to or better than 
conventional methods are also addressed.  To save a student's valuable time, 
explanations are made as succinct as possible. 

The Bahr Method is a mnemonic technique which employs a special, easily memorized table to allow a student to change the 
letters of the alphabet into words, similar in form to the "A" is for "Apple" (or "Ax") list learned in gradeschool.  These specially 
designed words are representations of Dots and Dashes.  The words are then associated with one another in story form through 
the commonly used "link" memory method.  As the words are thus burned into memory, they allow a person to easily convert 
letters into Morse Code.  The Bahr Method further focuses on our theory that receiving speed is a highly correlated multiple 
of sending speed.  Students are provided methods of increasing their sending speeds so as to efficiently multiply receiving 

The following table converts the letters of the alphabet to words on a first letter basis; e.g. "A" becomes "Ax," "B" becomes 
"Bear,"... and "X" becomes "Xray" ....  The words are then formed into two columns depending upon whether the Morse Code 
equivalent of the first letter starts with a Dot/Dit (.) or a Dash/Dah (-).  A letter always retains its Dit/Dah column identity 
(refer to table).  For example, an "A" will always be a Dit, a "B" will always be a Dash,... and an "X" will always be a Dash....  
A word can be translated into Dits and Dahs by spelling it and substituting Dits and Dahs for its component letters 
(e.g. A = A"x" = Dit "Dah";  B = Be"a"r = Dah Dit "Dit" Dit; and X = "X"ray = "Dah" Dit Dit Dah).  Memorizing Morse Code letters 
then means memorizing these words and the columns to which they belong.  An easy way of doing this follows the table.


DOTS (Dits)                           DASHES (Dahs)

. -                                           - . . .
A x                                           B e a r

.                                             - . - .
E                                             C r o w

. . - .                                       - . .
F a c e                                       D i p

. . . .                                       - - .
H e a p                                       G n u   (African antelope) 

. .                                           - . -
I V  (IntraVenous)                         K i d

. - - -                                       - -
J o c k   (Athlete)                         M D  (Medical Doctor)

. - . .                                       - .
L o v e                                        N E  (NorthEastern)   

. - - .                                       - - -
P o t s                                        O d d

. - .                                         - - . -
R o w                                         Q t a m   (Electronics term)

. . .                                         -
S e a                                          T

. . -                                         - . . -
U F O  (See story)                        X r a y

. . . -                                       - . - -
V e s t                                        Y a n k    (Yankee)

. - -                                         - - . . 
W o k   (Oriental frypan)               Z o e a    (Crab larva)

Word and column memorization is easy using the "link" memory method, which uses an associative technique, demonstrated 

For Dits, picture clearly in your mind, exaggerating as much as possible, the following story or sequence of events:

An Ax smashes a large letter "E" into smithereens of little letter "E's" which fly and hit someone in the Face.  The person falls 
in a Heap, is given an IV, a Jock visits, and Love develops.  Once well, they climb into large Pots and Row out to Sea.  
There, they see a UFO (round and metallic Unidentified Flying Object).  They catch it and use it first as an armored Vest and 
later as a Wok.

For Dahs, picture clearly in your mind the following events:

A Bear takes a Crow in his paws and eats it with Dip.  Trotting by is a Gnu being ridden by a Kid who just got his MD from 
NorthEastern.  "Odd," shouts the kid to the bear about the fare.  "Why with a QTAM T, I could Xray that crow and see 
Yank Zoea inside."

Remembering Morse Code letters then means remembering words and to which of two possible stories they belong.  Numbers 
and punctuation are relatively easy to learn (tricks are available in the full edition of "Morse Code Made Memorable," available 
from BahrNo Products at $10 ppd).  

The Desperate Person's Way to Pass the 5 wpm Technician Code Test:

Here's one tip on how to legally pass only the Technical level code test with minimal study, if you're really desperate.  
First, spend 10 minutes to an hour learning the code from "Morse Code Made Memorable" (see BahrNo Products catalog).  
Then use the following idea from G. Harold Love (KA0NTK(SK)), as mentioned in 73 Amateur Radio, July  88:
During the exam, don't copy the characters represented by the dits and dahs (dots and dashes), but copy the dits and dahs 
themselves.  Before the test, draw a grid on unlined paper with seven vertical and thirteen horizontal lines, resulting in fourteen 
rows of eight squares or 112 squares altogether.  Each time you hear a character transmitted, write down the dits and dahs 
as you hear them, moving on to the next square when you hear a space, which separates characters.  For a dit, make a period 
or short vertical stroke.  For a dah, make a long vertical strong (vertical strokes are easier than horizontal).  Don't convert the 
characters into letters and numbers, even if you know them, until after the code sending stops.  Again, make sure you write 
down exactly what you hear.  If you think it's necessary, at the end of the code sending, construct a table on another sheet of 
scrap paper provided which relates alpha-numerics to dits and dahs, beginning, for example with A = dit dah.   This should be 
easy if you've purchased "Morse Code Made Memorable."  All that's needed then is to go back to the grid and convert the 
dits and dahs to letters and numbers.  Normally, examiners give you all the time you want within reason to hand in your 
translation of the copy sent.  Naturally, this method won't give you natural code receiving speed, but in nine times out of ten, 
it will help you pass your 5 word per minute code exam so you can get your Technician license.  Note:  please use this 
technique discreetly, as a few examiners don't care for it.  While we believe it meets the letter of the legal requirements, a 
few doubt it meets the spirit.  We'll leave that up to you, given your degree of desperation to pass the code requirements.  
We believe the positive aspects overcome the negative.  In any case, good luck!

Copyright 1987-2023
William J. Bahr
K B 4 W I T
Note:  Numbers are easy:      1   . - - - -     2 .. - - -   3 ... - -    4 .... -     5 ..... 
                                           6   - ....        7 - - ...    8 - - - ..   9 - - - - .  0 - - - - -
Use websearch to find other Morse Code common characters.                

Superfast Morse Code Supereasy
Contact the address below for a catalog of subliminal audiotapes and PC programs developed to 
dramatically increase your Morse Code speed:

Bahr No Products
150 Greenfield Drive
Bloomingdale, IL 60108-3016  USA
T:  630 307-3634

or go to and look for "Ham Radio SuperEasy."   
THE MORSE CODE :   When you rearrange the letters:   HERE COME DOTS   :)

IBEX Systems
150 Greenfield Drive
Bloomingdale, IL  60108-3016 USA
tel:  630 307-3634   fax:  630 307-3539

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