View Full Version : Morse code for the IMC exam
Anyone know if I need to learn Morse code for the IMC exam? The IMC Confuser apparently has questions on Morse code - although I haven't looked - but does the exam? Many?
And yes, I know that understanding Morse is really bl**dy useful/a bl**dy out-of-date bl**dy JAR-FCL waste of time e.g. this thread (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=84389)... ;) :)
29th Mar 2003, 02:48
Knowing morse is not a requirement for the IMC course, but being able to identify the beacons is.
How you choose to do that is up to you - all the approach plates have the morse on them, for example. IMHO, in the long run learning the morse is probably the easiest route.
29th Mar 2003, 02:49
Must you? - No. I don't remember any questions about/containing morse in the IMC written.
Should you? - It does help identing beacons which use morse, and if you wanted to do a JAA-IR you'll need it. It may also "help" you impress the IMC-examiner (flying) when you notice a particular nav-aid is on "test" (by the ident) because you didn't notice that in the NOTAMs...
Can you? - If I can, anyone can ;)
Took me a while to learn morse to pass the GPO exam back in the dark ages. Don't think I'd bother for the IMC. Just read the dots and dashes written on the plate.
29th Mar 2003, 05:08
How did you get a radio licence withoput knowing morse?
Or is it no longer a requirement?
When you are identifing a beacon, its code should not come as a surprise, but be what you have had time to check and expect.
Yes, morse was required (12 wpm) back when I got my amateur radio licence. That changed a long time ago (like about the mid-60s).
I don't think it's ever been required for a VHF-only aircraft radio licence.
29th Mar 2003, 08:16
I think that there was a morse decode question on my IMC written paper, but perhaps I am confusing it with the questions in the confuser. If you learn a few of the easier ones then you might be able to figure one out from the multiple choice possibilites. As mentioned previously, approach plates have them on them. I've written them on my charts with a permanent marker to make in-flight identification easier and my examiner had no complaints about that.
Thanks chaps. I've managed to learn a bit over the past few days (my original idea was to learn enough to ident GWC, SAM, MID, EAS, SHM, IW and BIA, but that was a bit silly :rolleyes: :) ) but I've realized that I'm not going to get good enough at it to ident anything without checking the chart as well.
Will try and keep going and learn the letters so that I can answer exam questions, but there's a big difference - for me at least - between that and using it seriously in the air. Takes me about a minute to work out a three letter code at the moment. :O :(
29th Mar 2003, 15:43
The only one its really nice to know is "dot dot" = I. It gives a quick check that you have identified an ILS while you check the chart or whatever for the full ident [which you should have done beforehand:D]. The nice thing about Jeppesen en-route charts / approach plates is that they all have the ident written on them [can't speak for the other makes as I don't use them], so no in my opinion morse code is no longer nescessary. If you spend much time flying around a particular area you get to know the idents.
29th Mar 2003, 16:12
I certainly had to learn morse, I thought for the aircraft VHF licence, but maybe it was for the IR course.
Unless you did the VHF a very long time ago (pre-1980), then it must have been for the IR.
One good trick, IMHO, is not to learn "dot dash" but "di da". That way, what you learn sounds like what you hear. Some of us wacky amateurs have brief conversations saying didididi di didadidi didadidi dadada and the like. That'll work to quite surprising speeds. Saying dot dot dot dot etc won't.
Yes, I know it's sad, but at my age what else is there? ;)
My IMC instructor said that I didn't have to learn it. Noticed, however, there was a morse question in the IMC Confuser - which recommends you learn it. ****** it I thought, I'll risk the 4%, and not bother. Didn't come up in the exam anyway.
31st Mar 2003, 18:43
I seem to think, its an automatic fail in the IMC flight test and the renewal to use an aid without having first idented it.
If I'm right then a knowledge of morse is part of the exam.
No doubt there will be an instructor out there to confirm?
31st Mar 2003, 18:57
You can of course look down at your chart, see that SAM is equal to
dot dot dot dot dash dash dash
then identify the beacon...or listen to the beacon, and read the morse of the chart....
Thats how I do it anyway...
31st Mar 2003, 19:45
One of my other interests is amateur radio and to upgrade my licence, I once tried to get to 12 words per minute standard (around 30 years ago) - I wasn't particularly keen on Morse and got to a 'plateau' of around 10 wpm. I can still remember around 80% of the letters withought significant thought, so can readily tell whether I've got totally the wrong beacon!!
It's generally not too difficult to get up to around 5 wpm - a little bit of concentrated practice with pre-recorded tapes (no more than about 5 hrs) should get you up to a suitable standard. For info, I would estimate that the speed of transmission of aviation beacon idents is around 3 wpm or so (for Morse purposes, a word is taken to average 5 characters). A few pointers:
- Think of each letter in its entirety of dots and dashes, so that a letter is recalled as a pattern, rather than individual dot / dash components. eg. C is Dah-di-dah-dit
- There are several 'families' of letters (eg E, I, S and H, which are 1,2 3 and 4 dots respectively). Try to learn the letters as families, or there are some which are 'matching pairs' (eg F and L are Di-di-da-dit and Di-dah-di-dit respectively).
- Try and think of a phrase with the same rhythm as the Morse letter (eg for F and L above, I was taught them as 'Did it hurt you' and 'Like hell it did' !!).
The pre-recorded tapes and training books are farily easy to obtain. A search on Google for 'Morse Training Tapes' resulted in quite a few US results, generally indicating a price of around $30 for a 5wpm tape. There was also a tape from a well known UK publisher of flight guides beginning with P at a cost of £8.07.
A couple of interesting pages about learning Morse are attached:
Link for Morse Tips (http://www.ees.nmt.edu/sara/sara/finley.morse.html)
Page of Morse Links (http://www.qsl.net/g7xeo/g7exo%20Morse%20Code%20Programs.html)
There are also a few freeware programs around that will do Text to Morse conversions. An example is at this site:
Freeware Text to Morse MIDI Application (http://www.netvampire.com/ham/)
An alternative source in the UK is the Radio Society of Great Britain [RSGB], which won't tend to financially penalise the aviation user!
31st Mar 2003, 20:30
Keef - hello to you, too.
Dadidadi didi dida dadada
31st Mar 2003, 23:44
I used a method passed on by an airline pilot to help in learning morse.
Its difficult to put into a posting, but write an 'A', then put a dot on the apex and highlight a dash as the horizontal.
Now write down the rest of the alphabet in capitals, and superimpose their code. The easy ones to describe are 'T', highlight the top horizontal, 'I' put a dot at the top and one at the bottom,'O' three dashes round the pheriphery.
If you are a visual learner this will help keep the code and its letter in your head. The aural bit will then be a matter of laborious practice.
Be interested to know if anyone else used this method.