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Author Topic: Increase your CW speed.  (Read 1411 times)

Posts: 105

« on: October 01, 2004, 12:05:00 PM »

I don't know how well this works, but you may want to try it as an exercise.

Often times I will listen to code being sent at a rate faster than I can copy.  I just casually listen and am able to identify several characters and sometimes even words and names!  But it's too fast to copy.

Just for practice, I have started to sit and listen with a pen and paper in hand.  Everytime I hear a character that I know, I write it down as fast as possible without looking.  I am not paying any attention to where I write it, what it looks like, spacing, lines, etc.  After about a minute or two, I have a big black spot on my paper.  I can't even read what's there.  That's okay, I'm not concerned about the content of the message.  But rather, copying those characters as fast as I can!

My theory for this technique is that we are only concentrating on two things during this exercise.  One is identifying the character being sent, and two is transfering that data byte to paper.

There is no brain energy being spent on penmanship or what the message is.  If you think of the brain as a computer processor, the less jobs it's running the faster it goes.  Distractions like discerning a message based on how well you wrote it down can be very distracting.  This distraction slows the processor.

I think it is helping me copy faster.  When I sit down and listen to a QSO for content.  My conditioning has taught me to write down the character before I have a chance to even think about it.  This is true with several characters now, but not all.

So you know the code, you are code literate, but you copy slow. So next time you're tuning around the band and hear cw being sent too fast for you to copy, just sit back and see how many characters you can nail.  Forget the message being sent.  I think you'll be surprised.

Good luck and have fun.


Posts: 317

« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2004, 03:34:21 PM »

Nils, Keep this up, and you will be copying 30 WPM in no time! You might want to try this with the G4FON program.

73, Jim W4YA

Posts: 2005


« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2004, 05:27:49 AM »

I was walking down the street in New York City one day when this man comes up to me with a violin case in his hand.

He stops me and asks, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"

To which I responded, "Practice!"

Posts: 16

« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2004, 08:19:57 AM »

To consistently copy above about 15-20wpm you need to learn to copy in your head. Use the same technique but lose the pen and paper. Listen for complete words or phrases not just individual letters. Your trying to get away from "translating" individual letters.

Keep practicing and good luck! ;-)

Posts: 317

« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2004, 07:45:36 PM »

In my opinion, you are doing two things correctly: You are copying the code, not sending it. You are trying to copy at a rate above your "comfort zone".

The reason that I suggested the G4FON program is you can set it to send at any speed, either straight text or random characters. And you can set it to send specific characters, i.e. those that give you trouble. And it has a big advantage over over-the-air code because it generates perfect code. So, when you do decide to send code, you will know what good code should sound like. Over-the-air code can be pretty bad sometimes. Furthermore, what is sent will be displayed on the screen, so you can check your work if you want to. Finally, G4FON is freeware!

Keep up the good work. It would be great if you would keep us informed on your progress.

Jim W4YA

Posts: 8

« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2004, 01:49:07 PM »

I learned to copy code in the Marines as a 2621, Morse Code Intercept Operator. We always copied at speeds just out of our comfort range to become more proficient at a few words a minute below that threshold. Then it's just up and up. I highly recommend the following site...

The format we used was to learn letters in blocks (a few characters at a time) until we had mastered the alphanumeric characters and others. Then we went on to increase speed using random 5 character groups. Once we reached a new speed level, we would slow down the code and copy QSO's until we could get up to block speed. Then repeat the block/QSO format at a higher speed.

We practiced copying on both a keyboard, and with pencil and paper (called sticking). Practice is the key, and enough of it will get you where you want to be. I absolutely love CW.
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