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Author Topic: No code licensee learning code...  (Read 1833 times)
AB9TX
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Posts: 22




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« on: February 18, 2010, 12:09:06 PM »

Is it me, or is anything other than useing a straight key not really true morse code. I mean- having an "built in" keyer producing the dots and dashes via a bug, ect. may sound perfect, but is it really true morse code? You might as well use a keyboard and a computer.
I guess Im not into speed, to me learning morse code and the interesting textures of the sounds coming from differnt straight keys- the styles of techniques used is where real cw lives. Getting to 20-25wpm is my goal with a straight key.

Ive listened to cw ops running at 40-50 wpm, and have to laugh... Why arnt you guys useing PSK31 or something?

Maybe in practicality where a coversation can take place where important info is exchanged is where artificial keyers live...

Ill be listening for the straight keyers, I know there are a few left...  "/

 

Earl
-. -... ----. - -..-
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WA7CC
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Posts: 90




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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 12:21:43 PM »

Big difference between a bug, a keyer, and a keyboard.

I don't like keyboard generated CW. As you said, it doesn't seem like real code. Bugs and keyers still require skill and coordination beyond typing. Just listen to me trying to send and you'll quickly hear that I seem to lack that coordination! <smile>
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AE4RV
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2010, 01:20:34 PM »

"Ive listened to cw ops running at 40-50 wpm, and have to laugh... Why arnt you guys useing PSK31 or something?"

They're not using PSK31 because they've learned a great skill, and really honed it, and it is much fun to exercise a skill. You might ask a bluegrass musician why he's not in to three chord heavy metal. No doubt you have found moderate speed CW to be fun - think about how much fun it would be if you heard it in your head like natural language and could go 50 WPM - I don't know but I think that would be a real blast. That's why not PSK31.

I was strictly in to straight keys for over 12 years. I "thought" that was real Morse Code. It's the only kind of key I ever saw in the movies. I knew about paddles but only learned about bugs after getting my ticket in the 90s. The more I learned about bugs the more I realized that is very much real Morse - Just faster. And they by no means produce perfect code in any but the most experienced hands, they are, after all, semi-automatic.

I've known about paddles since I was a kid and I thought they were too modern for my taste but have obvious advantages. Well, it turns out an electric fully-automatic bug preceded the semi. And electronic keyers have been around since at least the early 1950s. By no means "modern". They are real Morse.

I don't like the idea of keyboard-sent Morse either. The guy that sold me my first rig showed me his CW keyboard and my heart sank. But then he told me that he likes to go 70+ WPM and can't key that fast without the keyboard. I then bowed deeply to his skill. That is real Morse, too. And Morse sending keyboards go back a very long ways, too, not just to the 70s.

But, out of nostalgia and/or personal preference, we have choices. I finally switched to a single lever paddle last year and then a friend persuaded me to try a bug. Haven't looked back. Although, I may start using the paddle again in contests - I embarassed myself a few times with the bug the last time I tried contesting with it.

20+ WPM CW on a straight key can be quite fatiguing. I suspect you'll come around to paddles or maybe a bug someday. I think the only time it's not real Morse is when you use a decoder to read it. But they have been around an astonishingly long time as well...

73 and enjoy your straight key. It is real Morse.
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NI0C
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2010, 01:52:47 PM »

AE4RV,
That was a really thoughtful post you gave above.  You certainly made the points I would have made, and you said it so well.  Thank you.

73 de Chuck  NI0C
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WX7G
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2010, 02:20:23 PM »

Well, the straight key gave way to the bug about 1890. This was really a boon to the professional telegraphers who had developed "glass arm" from pounding brass all day long.

I consider the bug to be the most 'real' way to send CW. A straight key can be fun to use but does limit one's speed. I understand the sending speed record on a straight key is 33 wpm. So until the bug came on the scene code was rather slow. With the bug speed soared to over 50 wpm.  

A keyer does lack the personal touch of a bug or a hand key but for contesting is the thing to use (or a keyboard).

Each method has its uses. I contest with a keyer, ragchew with a bug, and use the hand key once in a while for QRS ragchewing.
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NR1X
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2010, 04:03:06 PM »

Umm try running JA's at 120+qso's /hour with a straight key.. I suspect that after you get some more time in, you will change your opinion here. I myself started learning CW 1 year ago this weekend, inspired by the ARRL DX CW contest. Now I plug right along at 30ish WPM and in contest type operating the speed goes up slightly. I did attempt to do the straight key thing for SKN this newyears eve, all it did was make me understand even more the significant impact sei-auto and automatic keyers have on code proficiency. A: cleaner/faster sent code is much easier to copy B: there are some really bad fists out there and I prefer to hide mine behind my paddle and winkeyer and C: all of the above... BTW... A = .- not -.
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W7ETA
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Posts: 2527




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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2010, 04:50:16 PM »

"Is it me, or is anything other than useing a straight key not really true morse code."

Yup.  Its you.

Most of us are just having FUN, and, not spending any time worry about what other people are doing to have FUN with CW.

73
Bob
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NI0C
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Posts: 2435




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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2010, 04:58:32 PM »

"I consider the bug to be the most 'real' way to send CW."

I think it is a big mistake for CW enthusiasts to get snooty about what is "real" cw, and what is not.  It's not only divisive, it's just plain wrong.  Well sent Morse code is a pleasure to listen to at any speed.   

Take a look at my QSL card displayed in my QRZ.com profile.  It shows a Vibroplex "Original Deluxe" bug of the type that I learned to use many years ago.  I took pride in sending good code on it.  I couldn't afford to be sloppy, as my callsign was K0VSH.  But I haven't sent code on a bug for over 40 years nor do I have a desire to go back. 

My keyer is controllable from paddles, from programmed macros available in my logging program, from macros stored in a keypad, and from my computer keyboard.  It produces good CW that sounds good and is readable by any of us "know code" folks.  That's what counts.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2010, 05:29:51 PM »

It's not easy to even TALK about CW. CW is more of an atmosphere. I used to 'ride', and when I journeyed to Sturgis, South Dakota for 'Sturgis Week' it was like walking around...I dunno...like in a spiritual state. I could just *FEEL* Sturgis. CW is for me the same. Occassional bouts with A3 /A3J / FSK, but back on The Music Mode, like dropping in on 'Saint Peters'; it FEELS right. Been on 17 / 12 /10 today; just like feeling at home, on CW.

If you only want to COMMUNICATE, use the Phone, use the Cell Phone, use any of the voice modulation modes...AM / FM/ SSB,etc.

Become One Of Us and 'feel the love'.

My own suggestion is usually shot down, but it remains the same. Get on air with a straight key, get 'comfy' rag chewing at...any speed. MOVE directly to any Iambic Keyer. With Iambic and QSK you will always be 'good to go'....

OH... I've never been great fist, and my own 'best' is cruising around 32. Can't type other than hunt and peck. But I can 'see' that CW flow in what's left of my mind.... 45 or so.

dm
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AE4RV
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2010, 05:51:40 PM »

Some good posts and info here. And Earl, I forgot to congratulate you for being a no code licensee learning the code and being genuinely interested in it. Your question might boil down to "a real human fist vs electronic assistance". (dang, take THAT out of context)

The truth is electronic (and mechanical) assistance has enabled humans to work CW much faster than was possible back when Edison was a telegrapher, and that was good for business and personal edification. The digital age has made top CW copying speeds higher than was ever thought possible. It's amazing.

But real Morse Code is what you make of it. My personal goal is to hear it in my head like natural language. Thanks to RufzXP and contests I can do call signs pretty fast (~40wpm) but my QSOs are 'comfy' around 18. I want to see if I can at least bridge the gap. Working hard at it.

I suggest you look up the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) - they are straight key (and bug) enthusiasts who hold monthly mini-contests and elmering activities. I think about 1/3 of hams use straight keys for CW (from a few different polls I've seen). CW/Morse is "real" by all means. Just do it.

Thanks to NI0C for the compliment and N7DM for touching on the "zen" aspect of CW. It's transcendental, no? And KB1NRB, you've come a long way in a year.  w.o.w.

73, Geoff


See my "Old Pals" (ops) here (and submit your own):
http://www.dashtoons.com/OP.html
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N2EY
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Posts: 3925




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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2010, 06:46:42 PM »

"Is it me, or is anything other than useing a straight key not really true morse code."

It's you.

"I mean- having an "built in" keyer producing the dots and dashes via a bug, ect. may sound perfect, but is it really true morse code?"

Yes, it is.

"You might as well use a keyboard and a computer."

To use a bug or paddles/keyer (they're not the same thing!) requires that a person know the code. Using a keyboard does not. Big difference.

"I guess Im not into speed, to me learning morse code and the interesting textures of the sounds coming from differnt straight keys- the styles of techniques used is where real cw lives."

But that's not the only place "real cw" lives.

"Getting to 20-25wpm is my goal with a straight key."

Been there, done that. For the first 7 years I was a ham, all I had was a J-37 straight key. All my rigs were CW-only. When I passed the Extra in 1970, I had to send 20 wpm on a straight key well enough to please the FCC Examiner. Piece of cake, really. I still use the ol' J-37 now and then. But I mostly use the Vibroplex Original Standard that I got for Christmas 1974.

"Ive listened to cw ops running at 40-50 wpm, and have to laugh... Why arnt you guys useing PSK31 or something?"

Because it's not the same thing. PSK31 is a text mode, Morse Code is an audio mode.  

"Maybe in practicality where a coversation can take place where important info is exchanged is where artificial keyers live..."

They're not "artificial" any more than a straight key.

If we all used nothing but straight keys, we'd be limited to 20-25 wpm tops. That's not a good thing.

If you prefer slow code with a straight key, fine, but that's not the only kind of "real Morse Code".

btw, when the bug (semiautomatic key) was invented over 100 years ago, it wasn't just about speed. Using a straight key a lot caused more than a few ops to develop "glass arm" or "telegrapher's arm" - which we know today as carpal tunnel syndrome. The side-to-side movement of a bug key doesn't do that, and it saved many a career.

btw, when the US Navy had Radiomen and used Morse Code, there was a separate certification for the use of a speed key (meaning a bug). Only certified operators could use one.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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NR1X
Member

Posts: 32




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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2010, 07:49:52 PM »

To: AE4RV, Thank you for your comment, it has been a long year of daily practice and many many many hours of listening and some qso's.. Just got through one of my practice routines here.. The NCCC's NS sprints... every thursday it is a half hour of pushing yourself to the absolute limts.. Painfully Fun!
Now its time to step up to the measuring stick... Last year at the KB1H superstation for ARRL DX CW I made 0 qso's this year Huh we will so find out. GL and GUD DX cu on the bands 73 de KB1NRB AL CT
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N2EY
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Posts: 3925




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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2010, 07:31:31 AM »

AB9TX: "Would you rather take the car down the freeway, or the winding back roads with the Harley."

Depends on the situation - weather, time available, amount of stuff being carried along, etc. Both have their place.

I'd prefer a 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, myself.

AB9TX: "Play a Martin acoustic guitar or Guitar-Hero."

Not the same thing, because one does not make music with Guitar Hero. One merely follows along.

While a Martin is the standard against which all other acoustic guitars are compared, what about  guitars such as the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster? Or the Rickenback 12 string? Do they have no place?

AB9TX: "Would you rather listen to the clacking metallica sound of the unknown straight key, wafting in and out with qrb or the sanitary machine sound of the electronic keyer going off like bursts of a machine gun."

"qrb"?

On the air, all one hears is the code itself, not the sound of the key. My personal preference is a Vibroplex Original bug, which qualifies as a "straight key" to SKCC and ARRL.
 
AB9TX: "I will take the back road with my Harley, play my Martin guitar, and learn like heck to make a contact with my Vibroplex straight key."

If those are your preferences, great! But there are many other ways to do the same thing.

Plus I don't think you see the irony in that last one.

The Vibroplex company has been making keys for over 100 years. They started out by making semi-automatic (bug) keys, then added keyer paddles. Their straight key is actually one of the last products added to their line.

AB9TX: "..some day.."

So - you're lecturing us on what is and isn't "real Morse Code", but you've never actually had a CW QSO?

Interesting.

73 de Jim, N2EY

"Red hair and black leather...my favorite color scheme"
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2010, 07:51:02 AM »

Uhh....  I rode an old Suzuki GS1100, to and from, twice...not 'trailered'. But the Fraternity of Motorcyclists is larger than what Marque you ride or how large it is.... as long as you keep the rubber side down....THAT is the aura of Sturgis, in that week where four wheeled vehicles on the city streets is strictly forbidden.  QRT
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N5XTR
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Posts: 108




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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2010, 08:38:52 AM »

My first couple CW QSO's were done with Ham Radio Deluxe, Signalink USB and my ft 857d.  I worked K5D and a few others.   I will never use a PC program to work CW ever again.  Last month I hooked up with the SKCC and made a New Years resolution to work CW with a straight key and copy with my ears and pencil and paper.  I have gotten past the initial jitters of CW and now have fun with it even though I am still copying only 4-5 wpm.  After about 2 QSO's a day, I can copy about 6-7 wpm on the 3rd QSO.  I am proud to say that I am a No Code Extra that loves CW.

Joel - N5XTR
SKCC # 6417
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