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Author Topic: Need advice learning code.  (Read 14926 times)

Posts: 96

« Reply #30 on: September 11, 2011, 04:31:47 PM »

Hi all..

head sending is natural....I don't think so....I have seen what they call "Cheat sheets" for your first couple of QSO's.

Over the weekend I was looking at a site where the op had a similar problem and instead of using the Key reverted to the Keyboard....I don't want to do that.

But as I said you will find very little on this across the web...

If it is natural for you to Head send...tell me ...what are you thinking when your sending...what type of reader are you,  do you vocalize in your head while you other words the mind is doing a few things at once...and very very few can talk and send at the same time....

this vocalizing was something I was looking at while doing some reading on the problem.

As I can type at the wpm rate I want to be able to send CW at its just a matter of transferring the skill to the key.

And for all we know this may be a reason many more don't get on CW,  who knows


Posts: 17

« Reply #31 on: September 11, 2011, 10:58:29 PM »

i agree its definitely easier and less error prone if you're sending from something written down, or at least if you know exactly what you're going to send. if i come to a word i am not sure how to spell or i'm not sure what word to use i will stumble. since i do feel like i have come to send pretty automatically i will answer your question. it feels alot like typing to me. if i am unsure at all, i will visualize the words as i go as if they were printed, sort of visually keeping my place in the sequence. some simple words and phrases have become "muscle memory" and come out almost unconsciously. while sending things like that, my mind will sometimes wander, even, which is weird.

i actually think i have practiced way too much on the sending and it is preventing me from getting any better at copying cw, which i am pretty bad at. I can kind of keep up with, say, the w1aw practice transmissions at 13wpm, but barely, and not without intense concentration and lots of mistakes and writing/typing each letter as i hear it, and i don't feel like i'm getting much better. since it's so frustrating i've practiced the sending more, because it's more fun, with the result that i can send at 25wpm and barely copy 13. Sad  I do still mess up with the keyer by accidentally sending extra dits if i've just changed speeds, or something, but that i think is a different issue (just sloppiness)

i do not know if there is any commercial product that does this, but i built an interface using an avr microcontroller and the really nice "openkeyer" software for it to use a paddle as keyboard for my laptop, and if you can do something similar it is certainly a good way to learn to send fast since you see what you're sending on the screen immediately and get instant feedback if you make a mistake or your timing is bad or anything else, plus it's fun. i typed this whole post with it, for example, except for the punctuation i don't know morse for, and capitals.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 11:01:52 PM by AG6EB » Logged

Posts: 6491

« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2011, 07:32:41 AM »

OK, let's look at the "head sending" from a different point of view.

You learn to copy code by hearing the sound and writing down the translation of that sound.  It should be automatic.  If it isn't, you really haven't learned the code yet.  

With sending code, the procedure for learning to send can be a cheat sheet with all the phrases you want on it.  Or it can be a page out of a book or newspaper.  You practice sending the letters you see from ..... whatever.  Record your sending and then listen to it.  If you can copy your own sending then you're on the right track.  

Understand though, there is the tendency to send faster than you can copy because it's really easier.  Be critical of your own sending.  If you find the spacing or element lengths are not proper, slow down and make each move deliberate and as accurate as you can.  Then compare your sending to a previously recorded code session.

Then you practice sending yourself 'QSOs'..... both sides of a 'contact' using made up callsigns. If you need a cheat sheet, fine.  Then practice without the cheat sheet.

As with copying code, sending code is a constant learning process starting out slow and deliberate and gradually increasing not only speed but also reducing effort, both mental and that order.  

If you find the need to use a cheat sheet during your first contacts because your brain is still running in the 'panic' mode from the excitement... then do it.  However, after just a few QSOs you will calm down and find that the cheat sheet isn't necessary and you will find yourself "head sending."

During this time the copy speed will be easier, perhaps faster but it's still going to be a very long time before you are able head copy. The head copy process usually goes from writing down every character received to writing down partial word or your own short hand to eventually being able to make a complete contact with writing down just the log items.

This is what I mean by head sending being much easier than copying code.  Head sending is simply much easier.

I've had to give considerable though to what I "see" when I head send.  The closest explanation I can give is I form a complete mental response first, then visualize each word in that response and send that word and then go to the next word until the total response is sent.  The go on to the next.

For example.  You want to give your contact a signal report.  I would visualize, "UR SIG RPRT IS 579  579 JIM BT  This is the total response that I have formed in my head. That takes just an instant.  I would then see the word UR then SIG.....and so on until that line is finished.  After the BT (pause) form the next sentence and go on with the contact. The BT is not only to separate the parts of the QSO but it also gives you that "instant" to mentally form the next sentence to send.

It takes much longer to explain than to do it. And, as is often said, "Your mileage may differ."

The bottom line I guess is to do what you need to do to make it easy. Head sending is much easier!
« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 07:38:56 AM by K8AXW » Logged

Posts: 0

« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2011, 05:08:23 PM »

When you are 6 years old, you learn writing and reading.
Very fast, 3 month or so. I remember getting a Christmas present in the form of a child book, I only recognised (translated) "the" and "a" but after a short time I read the book, surely not being a bright guy as every ones opinion is in my surroundings. It talks about "Jan Giegel en Jan Gagel die gingen samen uit, Jan Giegel viet in het water Jan Gagel haalde hem eruit. Toen kwam Jan Mal, die trok hem op de wal, toen kwam Jan Maat die trok hem op de straat"

Now when you are older your brains are less adaptive, so it takes much more effort, but the process is just the same.
In the brains of a 6 years old guy, you must be pretty stupid, I suppose, when talking about learning Morse code.

What BullS** , I just don't see the difference of receiving Morse by head copy and reading a note, Or by thinking what I want to write and writing a note.

Can anybody explain me the difference?

How about writing an email on your computer, just first making a cheat note? No, you just think what you want to say and say it "Let your fingers do the talking".

« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 05:16:20 PM by PA0BLAH » Logged

Posts: 96

« Reply #34 on: September 12, 2011, 05:46:26 PM »

Hi all.....

Something is not stupid just because you don't understand it...

The main difference is your hand makes one think "a" you write "a".

with code You think "a"  you have ".- " and with other letters you have more movement....and  timing to think about also,    So there is much more going on in your head when sending code than when you just write down a letter.

For example....if it was basic and all so easy...there is a thread when looking back , about, can you send code and talk to someone at the same time...many seem to say they could not do it,  but can while head copying...If there is no difference why can't they do it.

So there must be a difference even if you can't see it.


« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 05:56:05 PM by VK2FAK » Logged

Posts: 6491

« Reply #35 on: September 12, 2011, 09:59:16 PM »

Hi all.....

Something is not stupid just because you don't understand it...

The main difference is your hand makes one think "a" you write "a".

with code You think "a"  you have ".- " and with other letters you have more movement....and  timing to think about also,  

So there must be a difference even if you can't see it.


John: Can you copy code?  Can you send code?  Did both take the same amount of time to learn?

BLAH: I follow you only a little bit.  I found during my 26 months in Germany that the young kids of the dependents could interact and then learn German much faster than adults.  While I never had the opportunity to question any of the kids on how they could learn German so fast I do suspect it's because the kids weren't hearing the German word and then translating it to English before understanding what was being said.... if that makes any sense.

Perhaps kids can learn code faster than adults. I don't know.

I can tell you that for most people, it takes a lot and I mean a lot of practice to learn head copying but much less time to learn head sending.  I've seen this many times.

Some people can learn head copying and head sending very fast.  I know a man who says with complete honest that "he could always read" and never understood why the kids in the first grade where making such a big deal of reading a book.


Posts: 96

« Reply #36 on: September 12, 2011, 11:06:48 PM »

Hi all...

I will leave this alone now....and thanks to the 1 or 2 that took the time to explain there thinking while sending process...

p.s  I think I did discover my problem by reading what people can and can't do.....I have hopefully fixed the problem now, where practice will get me moving in the right direction...And  maybe if anyone has a similar problem I can give some suggestions...

but hey, seems it was only me with the problem, so not expecting any requests.


Posts: 6491

« Reply #37 on: September 13, 2011, 09:35:46 AM »

Hi all...

I will leave this alone now....

but hey, seems it was only me with the problem, so not expecting any requests.


John.... you are by no means the only one with a "problem" if indeed you perceive it as a "problem."  I certainly don't perceive it as a problem or YOUR problem. 

A lot of back and forth has been written on this thread and the reason for this is quite simple.  We are human beings and each have their own "problems" with things that others find simple.  We get on here and exchange thoughts, procedures and methods in order to help one another.  Not to denigrate or ridicule.  Please don't take it that way.

I've based my opinions (notice: opinions) on watching literally hundreds of men go through the same code school I did... which always turns into a competition of sorts....through their 2+ years working the job and once again the competition for the unspoken title of "hot operator".... to watching many learn to send code as hams and military radio operators. 

The one major thing I did learn was that each developed their own method of learning both sending and receiving. (at least as far as the military allowed)

So please don't feel that your "problem" is yours alone.  I wish you the best.



Posts: 32

« Reply #38 on: September 14, 2011, 06:27:59 AM »


When I first started with Morse code QSOs I found it very difficult to spell out (ie send morse code) what I wanted to say.  I couldn't visualize in my head a word or sentence let alone send it in morse code.  I would forget where I was up to and just get confused.

I used a cheat sheet to help me send simple things like my name, QTH, RIG and etc. 
I had commonly used sentences prepared eg:

A lot of people bang on about learning to receive morse code proficiently first before sending.  That gets boring pretty quick. You want to get involved in the real fun, which is having QSOs.  Once you’ve learned to receive characters it’s time to start having QSOs. That’s the best way to learn coz its fun.

While learning to send morse code I experienced several phases of learning.
- Learning to send each character.  This becomes automatic after a lot of practice. To the point where I don’t even think about how to send a character the fingers know what to do.
- Learning to send words and sentences with correct spacing/timing from written text.  This is not much like a real QSO because the written text seemed to be disconnected from my thoughts.
-Learning to send during a QSO.  Sending from written text is one thing, but sending from your head is another skill all together. I had to use a cheat sheet.  Add in nervous tension and this phase takes a while.
-Learning to send words and sentences from my own thoughts in my head. I’m still learning this one.
-Common words started to come out automatically at the key.
-Words come out as a sound and I know I’ve spelt it right coz it sounded right.
-My spelling has improved coz I can see whole words in my head better than ever.

Now when I’m sending I try to visualize the whole word (even several words) and send them much like it was written on paper in front of me.
For me, it has taken some considerable time to learn to convert my thoughts to words pictured in my head and be able to send them without getting them jumbled.  This skill is easy for some and not others. 

This skill of visualizing words and sentences in your head is also required for receiving, so I believe it is true that sending your thoughts while in QSO is very good practice for receiving.  So start QSOing as soon as possible.
I’m still just a learner, but now, I have no trouble sending without cheat sheets or writing anything down. 



Posts: 96

« Reply #39 on: September 14, 2011, 08:34:58 AM »

Hi all...

David....Thanks for your input and I will take it all on-board......As receiving is going along nicely now, I am putting a lot more effort into sending and that is how I discovered the part of my practice I also send a couple 100 of the most common words to get them stuck in the head so I don't have to think about them.

Again, thank you kindly for your input David..

« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 08:38:17 AM by VK2FAK » Logged

Posts: 875

« Reply #40 on: September 15, 2011, 02:19:39 AM »

Hi Stephen,

Advice from an old CW operator both commercially and amateur - write it down at the best speed you can and then
gradually increase your speed.
You will be ok writing at 10-15wpm but at 25wpm forget it - typing is your hardcopy option.
As you are doing ok at 10wpm read stuff at that speed and then for a few minutes go to 13 or 15wpm where
you will be uncomfortable. Then after a few minutes drop back down to 10 wpm and you will notice it is easier there.
Then drop it and do the same the next day.
After a few days of this, you will find yourself doing 13wpm easily and go to 15 or 17wpm.
Repeat this until you have achieved the code speed you wish.

The secret is to let yourself sleep on the progress, and you will find the next day you are better than the previous.
I have used this method to go from 5wpm to 45wpm so far, and I have not reached my limit yet.

Also, there are hams who do 60 or even 100 wpm or more so everything is possible.
One thing you will find is that over 25wpm it is easier to just read the code in your head instead of writing it down.
It is like learning a language, at first it seems one doesn't learn anything - then it seems to click.
Your brain is a wonderful learning tool, it wont fail you.

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