IZ2UUF Morse Koch CW

Learn and exercise CW anywhere


The "IZ2UUF Morse Koch CW" application is an Android app aimed to learn and exercise morse code reception. It was first released in June 2012 on the Google Play Store and since then it has been installed, used and recommended by several thousands ham radio operators and other enthusiasts.

This application was designed by me primarily for my own use. In 2012 I realized that, having a rather busy life like most adults with a job and a family, I would have never been able to dedicate enough "high quality" time to CW learning — at least not regurarly.

The only viable way was to "reuse" some time by sharing it with other activities like commuting, trekking, driving and other spare moments.

My Android smartphone was a good candidate to work as a trainer, but the applications available at the time were too immature to be of any use for my purposes. I needed something that could work with pencil and notepad, but also with the display off and locked in my pocket. Also I wanted to work with the Koch training method, which focuses on developing conditioned reflexes.

Hence, I decided to develop my own application, which first tought me and then refined my Morse code so much that today CW is my only operating mode. In 2012 I shared the application for free on the Google Play Store and since then it has been a companion for thousands of ham radio operators.

The new version 2

But, as time went by, the application gained an huge user base: it definitely needed minor fixes — yes, the audio sample for the equal sign is missing :-) — and deserved some new features.

The to-do list was quite long. The sound engine needed to be rewritten to implement a soft attack/decay to avoid the annoying note clicking. New features were requested, including those needed to help the intermediate and advanced users.

I spend my days in front of a computer writing software for a living and in my spare time I love to do something which is not sitting in front of a computer writing software... you know :-). Many times I tried to do some quick fixes at least to the application main bugs, but I always quickly gave up. First, some "bugs" required a rethinking and rewriting effort that would have taken quite a lot of time. But worse of all, the longer time passes between updates, the lesser the chances that the application will still build and run on the current environment. Due to the fast evolvution world of Android, the development library and tools keep on changing and many practices that back then were recommended, are now deprecated. Furthermore, the Google Android market, at programmed dates, will start a series of denials for applications that do not support some given up-to-date SDK versions. In other words, developing again this app was going to be an hell of work.

Given that, as history proved, I would never worked on this app at that extent on my spare time. I was at a crossroads: release the app as open source hoping for someone to rewrite it (but, why wouldn't him write directly his own?) or to move the development within my job?

Going "pro"

Then I took my decision: to grant a future to this application, I moved it within my job and I defined some rules:

  • to be accessible also for free;
  • the free version must allow users to do at least the same things they have been doing so far with the older versions;
  • ads are to be unobtrusive and not annoying;
  • a small fee must unlock all the "pro" features and disable ads forever;
  • all "pro" options, limited in time, are to be available to free users to allow them an evaluation;

After several weeks of work and a kind group of internal tester, the new "IZ2UUF Morse Koch CW v2" application is ready to hit the market: I hope you will enjoy it!

Vy73 de Davide IZ2UUF