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Author Topic: Using A Code Reader To Improve Fist  (Read 1820 times)
AD2C
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Posts: 2




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« on: June 20, 2010, 09:15:03 AM »

Hi- Can anyone comment on using an MFJ-461 Morse Code Reader to improve their fist (straight key or bug). The reviews I've read all talk about how well or how poorly the 461 copies other stations. I have no interest in the units "on-the-air" performance. I'm looking to test / improve my own timing. Thanks.
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W7GAH
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2010, 11:06:54 AM »

I am a no code Extra who is beginning the process learning CW.  I learned the letters/numbers/symbols at 20 wpm, Farnsworth.  I plan on using a straight key, so I am now listening to code 15 wpm (probably my fastest straight key speed) with correct spacing.  I have been using the MFJ-461 with my practice oscillator.  I find it helps with the spacing between letters. I calibrate the MFJ-461 by turning it on and keying 5 Ts (dah) with long space between and then a few CQs.  If the unit is reading 12 to 14 wpm on the CQs it seems to work fine for a while.  My unit seems to refuse to stay "calibrated" for more than about 10 to 15 minutes.  It then reads Es and Ts at 25 to 40 wpm regardless of what I am keying.  I turn the unit off, let it rest for a couple of minutes, and it usually comes back.  It does force me to take breaks in my practice session.

Take this for what its worth.  I am in the head banging portion of learning CW.  I haven't been on the air yet, but getting close.
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KL2TC
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2010, 07:26:08 PM »

Try CwGet.  I use this to test my fist and it works great.

Good luck.

73

Al
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KB3QVX
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Posts: 7




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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2010, 08:03:07 AM »

being a long time cw opr in the military and ham..i have found the best way to learn cw is  practice,practice,and practice.there are many places on the net to practice cw off the computer..i would suggest arrl web site...k3rnk
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12667




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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2010, 08:51:52 AM »

Using a code reader to check your CW fist is a real "eye opener"  Wink

The human brain is a lot more forgiving of timing errors than any code reader or software.
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WX7G
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Posts: 5917




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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2010, 03:00:10 PM »

As AA4PD says this can be an eye opener. The last time I did this I found out that my timing was off. Words would break into two - that sort of thing.

What also helps is to set up a PC to send one letter. Have it send it then send it with your key. Do it a few times and you will hear your sending begin to sound more like the machine code. Repeat for other letters.
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VK4TJF
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Posts: 93




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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2010, 06:04:11 PM »

you will notice.......... that,   human speech...... is bro ken a bit when in thought
and rapid when knowing what to say.... ahhhhh welll lots of bad timing.
keying is then same but we are still able to decipher it
when i send what is written down or scripted then i can send near
perfect code but., sometimes i have to think about what to
say next and how to spell the words leading to long spaces
notice on air that the ending qso flows well cause it is memorizied
tnx for qso 73 tu ee
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K9FV
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Posts: 479




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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2010, 08:34:23 AM »

You have the correct idea on using a code reader - either the freebie CWGet or the MFJ you have to pay for - to improve your fist.  I surely wish other hams would do the same thing.  Once the code reader (I use CWGet) can copy my code, then I'm comfortable getting on the air. 

You will see where there are too much spaces, and ran together letters.  BY FAR the best way to learn sending CW.

73 de Ken H>
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AD2C
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2010, 12:29:11 PM »

That's all good info -Thanks to everyone who posted. I've been off the air for over 20 years but I hope to have an hf setup on the air near future. As far as the 461 being finicky, that's fine. I'm hoping the code reader won't be overly tolerant of sending mistakes.  As long as the 461 can help me make progress sending code cleanly I'll be a happy camper.  I'll have to do a google search to find out more about CWget and the other resources available.
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AE4RV
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2010, 12:42:05 PM »

"I'm hoping the code reader won't be overly tolerant of sending mistakes."

I highly doubt it will.

I didn't have an elmer when I was studying for Tech+ in late 95. One "self study" method I came up with was to unearth my old Commodore 64 and a cartridge I bought in the 80s that decodes RTTY and Morse. I was able to plug a straight key right in to it and watch it decode my sending. I quickly learned that my Qs and Ys weren't very good. It provided great sending practice.

73 Geoff

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