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Author Topic: Code test - bad handwriting  (Read 832 times)
KG6SPZ
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Posts: 5




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« on: January 13, 2005, 09:53:19 AM »

Hi folks
I am studying for the general/code test and I think I am learning the code OK. I'm using the G4FON program for the Koch method. I can recognize characters at 15wpm and copy at 10wpm fairly easily. But the factor that limits my speed and progress the most is my handwriting. It's always been bad but last year I broke a finger and it has never been the same. The worst part is that I have several characters that look almost exactly alike if I write very fast. Often the only way to distinguish letters such as lower case a, u, n, h, is by context. Is there any accomidation by VEs for those of us with terrible handwriting?

BTW it seems much easier at a higher character speed with more time between characters. After I learn the code really well I think it might be even easier not to write it down at all. Even now I find myself recognizing what is sent but I can't write it down fast enough. Kind of like taking notes in school!

Brent
KG6SPZ
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2005, 10:29:16 AM »

There's no reason to write *anything* down when copying code, other than possibly something that would be very difficult to remember, like a telephone number perhaps.

The code test is usually a replication of a "contact" between stations.  To pass the test, you only need to answer questions about that contact.  I recommend students write down only things like the station callsign(s) copied or anything else too unusual to remember without effort.  Absolutely no reason to write down stuff like the stations' name(s) or location(s) unless you have a really bad memory.  Who can't remember Bob in Austin?

And there's certainly no reason to write down any of the other stuff.  If you hear it and understand it, you've got it.

Do you write down what people tell you on the telephone, or in a personal conversation face-to-face?

That's the whole beauty of *understanding* code, as opposed to straining to copy it letter by letter.  The letter by letter, "better write it all down" copy is a pain in the butt, nobody likes it.  Copying in your head and simply retaining it, like listening to a radio or television broadcast, or having a telephone conversation, is a lot less work and far more enjoyable.

My students are taught from Lesson #1: No pencils, no paper.  They mostly become very good CW operators.

WB2WIK/6

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AB0SI
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Posts: 79




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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2005, 08:30:55 PM »

As WB2WIK says, you can pas the test by answwering some fill-in-the-blank QSOs. (The sender's Antenna is ____)

Just in case you ahven't seen the details yet...

There are two ways to pass the test: 1 minute of solid, error free copy. that's 25 cahracters in a row, except numbers, punctation and prosigns count 2 cahracters each. the other way is answering the questions.

So, write down or don't write down; whatever works!

Also note, you given time to "clean up" what youhave copied.

Finally, I'm sure the examiners would let you read your stuff to them if YOU can read it and they can not. taht cerainly meets th reasonable accomidation standard.

Good luck

Paul  AB0SI
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2005, 01:47:46 PM »

Everybody interested in learning code should download the free book, "The Art & Skill of Radiotelegraphy" (it's a pretty long download) by N0HFF.  I believe it's also available as a printed book inexpensively.

I authored one portion of the book, discussing how my nephew Rob, AJ6E, went from "nothing" to "Extra" (the old, 20-wpm Extra) in no time flat...the theory held him up, since he was only 11 years old and never had any algebra in school, but he had the code part perfectly (20 wpm) at the age of about 9, when he got his Novice.  

I was Rob's teacher, and he never wrote *anything* down on paper (which is how he got so fast, so fast).  When he took the 20 wpm Extra in front of a VE, I was present and when he answered all the questions correctly (nothing copied down on paper), the VE said, "That's the first time I've ever seen anyone do that!"

That was probably the first time he ever examined anyone who learned code the right way.

Download the book, it's interesting!

73

Steve WB2WIK/6
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K1RDD
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Posts: 213


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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2005, 09:56:47 AM »

At the VE session, explain your concern to the examiners. At the end of the test, there is always time to go back and fill in and/or correct. Just ask the examiner for a bit more time to make your writing legible. If need be, you could read the copy to the examiner. We always make accomodations at our test sessions to anyone taking the tests.

--... ...--
Doug K1RDD
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KG6SPZ
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Posts: 5




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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2005, 10:12:34 AM »

Thanks for all the good advice. I would like to try it without writing. But for someone like me who doesn't know the entire alphabet, how do you test yourself without writing. I'm using the G4FON Koch method, and when I can copy at 90% I add another character. After one week I've got 24 characters. But without writing how do you know when it's time to add another character?

Brent
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KG6SPZ
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Posts: 5




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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2005, 03:23:37 PM »

OK on a side note, I've been studying code too much. Outside my office window, I just heard a dump truck backing up. But to me it sounded like "T T T T T ..." Smiley Smiley Smiley

Brent
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KB6NU
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Posts: 39


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« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2005, 06:29:35 AM »

I'm not a VE, but I'll throw this out as a possibility. Would it be possible for Brent to dictate to a third party? What accomodations are made for hams who don't have use of their hands?
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KG6SPZ
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Posts: 5




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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2005, 07:41:49 AM »

Thanks for the help everyone. I think I'll make do with my bad handwriting. I've gotten to where I can copy pretty well at 10 wpm, and even at that speed it seems I have time to carefully form the characters. The 5 wpm test should be no problem. And I'm testing this Saturday!
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