I know...I know. The CW exam has gone by the wayside. But if you want to know how KE5GAQ and I did it, here's the info.
Morse Code (CW as the hams call it) is an entirely different animal to study for. You can't read a little as you go to bed. You have to actually listen and write. Let me tell you what I did to pass on the first try...
I listened to tapes that I got from an Elmer (a more experienced ham, my mentor, AE5P) and wrote down what I heard. If I didn't catch a letter, I wrote the sound ( .- for 'a' ) in its place.
I listened while I drove to and from work. I listened during my lunch break.
Another Elmer (KD5SHM) loaned me his CodeQuick CD's. These are an amazing tool for learning CW. I added this to my repertoire.
Another great tool I was introduced to was HAM University. You can download this and use a time limited trial to see how you like it. If you want to really get good at CW play the game Pentode®. Once you use HAM University you will want to register to get the full version. It also has a practice test section for use with all Exam Elements.
Finally, what helped to push me over the edge with CW was to buy the NORCAL Keyer Kit and the MFJ Iambic Travel Paddle (also available in kit form). I assembled the kit and began keying CW to practice.
Practice practice practice.
Don't forget to take a copy of your Amateur Radio License with you to the testing session. The VE's will need to send it in with your CSCE.
Once you pass your test, you are ready to get on the air. You are now a Tech +. I borrowed a spare HF rig from a ham, threw up a dipole in the back yard and started keying.
As I sit here reviewing, I see that I need to add a software section to the column on the left. There is no way that I will be able to list/review all software pertaining to Amateur Radio, but I will give as much info about what I use/have used.