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Author Topic: should i even write the characters?  (Read 1834 times)

Posts: 274

« on: June 02, 2010, 07:35:07 AM »

i'm trying to pick up code here. i'm about halfway through the alphabet and making slow progess. my question is when i run my morse code programs, should i even be writing the characters or should i just associate the dits and dahs with the letter by saying it and associating with a mnemonic??. so many here say that once you get up to speed no one ever writes the characters - its just impossible, too fast, so should i just listen and associate in my head? 73, john ki4ucw

Posts: 6459

« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2010, 08:02:56 AM »

No, never use a mnemonic! You will be handicaped by that extra step. If you are learning mnemonics such as "dog did it" it would be best to stop immediately and start all over using the tried and true Farnsworth or a similar method.

In the days of FCC code testing one was required to write the characters so that drove everyone to write down what was sent. When you're on the air you will want to write some characters; RST, QTH, NAME, that sort of thing. So, I think it is best to write it down as it is sent. Later on - and this can take much practice - learn to copy in your head.

Below 20 wpm I often write it down. Above 20 wpm I do it in my head. And while working CW mobile everything is copied in my head.  

« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 11:36:33 AM by DAVE CUTHBERT » Logged

Posts: 20697

« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2010, 08:31:13 AM »

Other than stuff I might want to "log" for future reference, I never write anything down when using CW.  And I've worked CW "mobile" for many years -- it would be very hazardous to be writing stuff down while doing that.

I think hearing the character, recognizing it, and saying it aloud to reinforce it to yourself is fine.  After a while you'll see it's silly to be talking to yourself and will stop doing that -- but if it helps in the learning process, I see no harm in it.

The FCC stopped requiring "hard copy" for code tests many years ago when the VE system was implemented (you could either get one minute of solid copy, or just answer ten questions about what was sent -- I'd always recommend the "ten questions," it's very easy even if you're barely paying attention).

In a real emergency where accuracy is important (such as copying a telephone number), of course write down anything you're not sure you can easily remember.  But those are the only situations I can think of where writing stuff down makes any sense.

Posts: 236


« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2010, 09:09:14 AM »

Of course you should write it down.  How else would you know how well you're doing ?

LB3KB Sigurd
Just Learn Morse Code

Posts: 13065

« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2010, 10:13:56 AM »

I agree - you need to write it all down while you are just learning. Once you get up to 16-20 WPM then you'll start to recognize complete words for the most common ones and then you can stop writing everything down and just make notes.

It would seem to me nearly impossible to recognize the complete sound of a word at 5 WPM. It would be like recognizing the tune of a popular song when played at the rate of one note per second  Undecided


Posts: 133

« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2010, 12:21:29 PM »

START by learning characters at higher speeds to hear what they "sound" like.  Google Farnsworth method.  Write down only what you need to remember for latter.  DO NOT learn by counting dits and dahs in your head or repeating them out loud.  Once you get, in your head, what they sound like it is like hearing someone speaking to you !  Very fun to go fast.  Keep practicing and remain patient.  It will take some time but you WILL get there.  Every good CW op does !
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 12:24:27 PM by Joe » Logged

Posts: 5689

« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2010, 07:47:00 PM »

If you are qwerty keyboard savvy, then TYPE the characters as you hear them. 


Posts: 2527

« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2010, 09:27:49 PM »

For me, I had to write the characters down, not print.  Past 10-15WPm printing did not work.


Posts: 646

« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2010, 12:52:06 AM »

i had to write each character down at first. As you become better at reading you will find you don't have to. now i write name ,qth and anything else i decide to write but the standard stuff i read in my head..

 A quick test for you to do.. Learn what QTH  sounds like ,Once you know what the whole thing sounds like you will be amazed at what speeds you can pick this out will find you never have to write this down again.. its the same with all the characters and abbreviations..but you may have to write them down to begin with .

Listening on a pc and then typing the characters is ok as long as you can instantly find the character on the keyboard without looking or thinking otherwise your using half your brain just looking for a character on the keyboard...

i found the easiest way for me was learning the letters /numbers etc then started  learning common abbreviations also, tnx,qth,rst,name etc etc and trying to read these as a whole..

whatever you do don't be tempted to use a pc to decode .. just practice and don't be in a rush to get to 25wpm .. you will make many qso's at 12wpm.. learn to read and send well is far better than fast sloppy sending and a pc to decode.

it is sometimes a hard slog but hinestly worth it .. don't give up and if you can get a code buddy to practice with..


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