Practicing CW online with iCW

There are quite a lot of good resources for playing back CW on the computer. They can really help to get you started and learn the code. But once you’ve understood what comes next, a dit or a dah, then where to. The obvious answer is on air practice. There is no substitute for practicing sending and receiving regularly. But what happens when the bands aren’t open? How can you practice then?

One option is to use the internet. Video conferencing systems like Skype are great but need you to arrange time and a place as well as some shack based jiggery pokery to get the audio from the keyer or rig into the PC and be able to speak as well. Some of the LIDS members have had success with a lesser known tool called iCW.

iCW is an application that is like an online chat but with audio. The simple way to explain it is to describe it as a tool where an audio output o f your keying is fed into the mic input of a computer and sent to a ‘room’ within iCW for all to hear.

How to install all the software

There is no need to go through a load of instructions here as there is a handy video. The only advice you need is to pay attention and set up the software as you are told. Missing steps like certificates and audio set up will end up in frustration. So here is the video,


The opening screen will look a bit like the image below. You can see that g7kse has landed in the general area along with ve2hs. The next step would be to join a room.

If you haven’t arranged a sked then Chuck, W5UXH will invariably be about to go from just about 5wpm up to light speed, Join his room and send 3 V’s and if he is about then he will respond. If not then the eBook rooms offer some receive practice.

The service is free to use and very reliable, simple to use and relatively easy to set up. Just remember that you can always ask if you want some help to set up.