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Author Topic: Bad idea learning CW using keyboard?  (Read 728 times)
K5PU
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Posts: 54




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« on: January 25, 2004, 01:16:04 PM »

I'm working on increasing my speed using G4FON and NuMorse Pro.

While G4FON Koch S/W is straightforward (and very good), NuMorse has some great teaching tools including (among others) measuring/logging performance at the individual character level, ability to dynamically speed up/slow down based on # of mistakes as well as increasing the frequency of particular characters it sends that you're having a problem with (based on mistakes, response time, etc.).

Obviously, to use/benefit from these features requires one to use the computer keyboard for input.

(Aside from how well one can touch type) is learning via keyboard good or bad? Reason I ask is according to NuMorse I am copying around 20wpm using the keyboard but using pen/paper I can only really keep up with/copy around 12 (Characters can still be sent fast, just the WPM needs to be 'Farnsworth' slow Smiley. So it seems I'm having an issue 'translating' from the keyboard to pen/paper.

In 'Real Life' (tm) I don't want to use a keyboard at ALL. Does anyone think using a keyboard to learn/improve code copy could be a problem in the long run, i.e. learning via keyboard makes one become too keyboard dependent, turns into a 'crutch'?
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N8UZE
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2004, 01:49:50 PM »

If you want to copy on paper, you will have to practice copying on paper.  There's nothing wrong with using the computer but for your goals, you need to practice both ways.

At the higher speeds (over 20wpm), almost everyone has to switch to either head copy or copying on a keyboard.  So it is not a bad idea to keep practicing with a keyboard too.  Also start practicing head copy (note, I can't really do that myself yet).

A lot of people have trouble writing fast enough.  First of all, sit down and figure out the quickest way to form the letters for you.  Generally the slowest method is block printing captal letters.  I personally find that the fastest is using lower case letters.  For me some characters are faster using script and others are faster using the printed form.  So my copy is a mix.

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AB3BK
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2004, 12:12:12 AM »

  I don't think it will hurt copying with a keyboard. I did that at first. As long as you are hearing it and copying it, there will come a time when you won't have to copy everything.
  I just listen and copy important stuff like name, QTH, RST, and talking points. Then I reply using the notes.
  The more you listen to CW, the better you will get. On a quiet night, I can go outside and hear faint morse code in the distance. But I may be be nuts. :-)

Dave AB3BK
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K0EWS
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2004, 12:29:51 AM »

Nothing at all wrong with what you are doing.  Some folks write everything down, and some folks don't write a thing; matter of fact, some of them will carry on a CW QSO while driving.  Everybody is different, and any method that works for you works.  For me, I generally start a qso by writing stuff down, but then I stop and just enjoy the qso using head copy.  Hope this helps.
73
k0ews
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2004, 06:33:53 PM »

I agree there's no problem using a keyboard for "CW copy."  Actually, almost nobody can write legibly at much more than 20 wpm or so, so if you want "hard copy" of code sent, and expect anybody to ever read it, using a keyboard is almost the only way to do it.  Surely for me it is.  I can type effortlessly at 100 wpm for hours, but if I write longhand at 20 wpm for more than a few minutes, I get cramps in my fingers and hands!

Of course, there's usually no reason to write or type anything unless you want to.  I never write (or type) anything down for casual CW contacts, ever.  This leaves my hands free to do other things while I'm in QSO, and believe me, multi-tasking while working CW is very easy...far easier than while working "phone."

I've also operated CW-mobile for about 20 years, and obviously when driving a car, you don't want to be taking notes!  I worked CW/m for several years while driving cars with stick shifts, and that requires one more hand than I usually have, but somehow it worked out.

Feel free to use the keyboard!  At least, you won't be held back by the "can't write fast enough" problem.

WB2WIK/6
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K5PU
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2004, 11:33:22 AM »

Thanks for the replies. I guess I wasn't aware that copying code via a PC keyboard was as common as it seems to be. Seems obvious now in retrospect since in 'The Ol Days' hi speed CW ops copied via a typewriter/'mill'.

No wonder my 'pen/paper' copy speed seems to be limited to about 12wpm. It's normal HIHI. Good advice about not using block letters (as I was doing) to increase hard copy speed.

So I guess any notepad, wordprocesser, etc. serves as a 'scratchpad' for copying via PC?

Anyway, FWIW the reason I was concerned I might become overly dependent on a keyboard is for those times I might be portable (with my batt/solar powered K2). For those times I guess I'll either have to snd/rcv slower or start learning how to copy in my head.

Again, thanks for the insight
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2004, 02:18:06 PM »

Work CW often enough and the "head copy" automatically happens, you don't have to work at it or think about it.

I've never seen anybody *not* be able to copy code in his head at 30 wpm after making 10 CW contacts a day for six months.  It's almost impossible for this not to happen, naturally.

WB2WIK/6
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KA1LDD
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2004, 04:57:46 PM »

The best way to practice is with QSO's.  Most hams don't send perfectly.  You need to get accustomed to different fist styles.  Eventually you will stop copying letters and start hearing words.  Your speed will continually increase and easily do 30 WPM.  I have been pretty much off the air for the past 13 years while in the Navy.  I recently got back on, and my speed is still up around 20 WPM.  I copy all in my head, and only write down  name, QTH and RST.
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AD0GI
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2004, 11:59:52 PM »

I was recently told at my Technician exam to practice copying code with pen and paper because that is how the test is given.  This is a bummer for me because I think that I could learn code for the first time at speeds faster than I am comfortable writing but the first step is to pass the test so I am going to learn slow code first.
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