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Author Topic: Copying Code  (Read 3241 times)

Posts: 2

« on: June 16, 2002, 06:36:02 PM »

I find that as I increase the speed of code during practice that I cannot keep up with it.
How do you keep up with high speed code?

Also, I recently talked with a VE who learned code in the 30's.  He mentioned a handwriting style that they used in the service that was designed to make sure everyones message looked the same.  Is anyone familiar with this and is there information avialiable about it?


Posts: 73


« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2002, 09:46:56 AM »

Be careful Larry, you may be headed in the wrong direction! As you begin to be able to copy 20wpm and higher, your hand writting begins to interfere with your ability to actually copy the code. (Can't chew gum and walk also syndrome!!) Strive to learn to copy in your head, write down only key phrases or key words to jog your memory when it's your turn to transmit. It is almost impossible to write down CW sent information over about 35wpm altho you can probably type what you receive at CW speed up to around 50wpm. CW is just another language, such as Spanish, French, or German...when you learn to converse in another language you dont write down every word. You therefore keep your mind free to interpt the sounds you hear and use your memory to 'store' the key phrases...and you can do the same with CW.
For the past 30 years I have been able to copy code in excess of 70wpm, but I seldom write down more than three of four key words to jog my memory when transmitting back to the other ham.
Put down the pencil and copy in your head and I guarantee your copying ability will increase quickly.

Posts: 21764

« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2002, 01:13:50 PM »

The only way I know of to "paper copy" higher speed CW is using a keyboard.  For several decades, the keyboards were on typewriters, and this was called "using a mill."  For a fast typist, getting solid "paper copy" at 60wpm was not a big issue.  Now, with computer keyboards, it's far easier, as computer keyboards have a very light touch, and no mechanical vibration, compared with typewriters.

Trying to "write" speeds above 20wpm is a sure-fire way to end up with very crippled hands and fingers.  

There is no requirement to write down everything you hear, and as the previous post mentioned, it's rather silly to do so.  Do you write down everything you hear when speaking with someone in person, or on the telephone?  Of course not.  No reason to do it when using CW, either.


Posts: 2

« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2002, 08:46:54 PM »

Hi from my days in the service we were continually taking code at 20-25wpm. CW, depending on the operator,  has a rhythm. You have to know it so well that it becomes like speaking a language. I use a key board and headsets. It also helps to type. Code is the reason I got into the hobby. I think it is very pure.

73's Larry KC2JOF

Posts: 28

« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2002, 01:11:00 AM »

I agree with the other posters.  I am fairly new to CW myself, having only done it for 2 years, but I never felt comfortable till I threw away the pencil.  Matter of fact, I just finished a long ragchew tonight, and my notepad just had 3 things written on it, and it was a lot less stressful than trying to take dictation.  You should only have 1 step going in your brain, hearing the sound pattern, and mentally visualizing the letter. Writing it down creates a second step which can interfere with the first at higher speeds.  Since it sounds like your long term goal is to copy higher speed, I would say, try to get it in your head without the pencil.  Something else I do when I practice is to copy at about 10 wpm faster than normal for very short bursts; a few minutes.  If your comfortable at 20, try just sitting and listening to 30 wpm, and you will be surprised how much you pick up.  Try to do that every day, and the skill will develop on it's own.  I teach music for a living, and always tell my kids that 10 minutes every day is much more valuable than a big long practice session a couple times a week.  Try it for a month, and see if your not more comfortable.  Just my humble opinion.  73


Posts: 2

« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2002, 06:47:49 PM »

Thank you everyone for your responses. I am no longer trying to copy code by hand. Instead I am trying to listen and remember what is being sent. I do not have a lot of spare time to practice right now but I am working on it as often as possible. I use Ham University.  G4FON's software - (a free download btw).  And a MFJ-418. The neatest is the MFJ-418 as it is portable and fits into the cool gadget category.  Ham University doesn't seems to work well with the sound card in my pc. I am unsure if its my card or the software.  The tone shifts while it is producing cw at higher speeds.  Will keep working on my speed and hope to talk with you guys some day via cw.


Larry Speaks

Posts: 9930

« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2002, 07:28:07 PM »

go to  and down load his free  soft ware.  there is also a program there you can use to type in on the computer and it scores for you too.  this is the koch method. you start with 2 characters at 20 wpm, thenlisten and copy for 5 minutes.  when you get 90% on the two, add one letter and go again.  when you have all of the 46 numbers, prosigns and letters learned, you know code at 20 wpm, which is useful, and you can pass the 5 wpm test in your sleep..  Ray has made this a great program  73  tom N6AJR
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