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Author Topic: Qwerty vs Dvorak vs Colemak  (Read 4869 times)
WB3CQM
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« on: February 21, 2012, 06:16:08 AM »

Has any one switched to Dvorak or Colemak from Qwerty keyboard to copy Morse Code ? Was it difficult and about how much time and practice did it take. Was it worth the change to you ? 

I am basically a touch typist and besides sending emails and copy of call sings at RufzXP / CW Freak / QRQ / LCWO / Morse Runner I use the computer for sending cw and  logging. I touch type between 30 and 60 wpm, which is not fast at all by typist standards. ( I also still use my hand key ! )

So my last question is which typing  system do you think is best , Qwerty , Dvorak or Colemak ?

73 JIM
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K8AXW
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 08:02:06 AM »

I'm always amazed at the different ways hams come up with to complicate something!  Since you're obviously used to QWERTY why do you want to change? 

Is you copy ability so high that you need to investigate a different way of putting it on paper? 
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WB3CQM
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 09:11:16 AM »

I'm always amazed at the different ways hams come up with to complicate something!  Since you're obviously used to QWERTY why do you want to change? 

Is you copy ability so high that you need to investigate a different way of putting it on paper? 

In order to compete on RufzXP you must type the call sign in the little window .

It go's without saying that the keyboard is used for many functions besides copy of cw.

I read that the Dvorak is much faster than using a Qwerty key board. Then I read where Colemak is even better than Dvorak.

Copy on paper with pen is NOT a option when using Morse Runner and CW freak or RufzXP. I repeat it is real simple to understand . Copy on paper and pen is NOT a option when using Morse Runner RufzXP QRQ to gain a high score. That is the problem , My copy process ability is lacking to gain higher speed copy of text or calls , the reason to consider a change of keyboard.

I had this same discussion with a old friend that does not get it as his says.

My answer to him was IF HE THINKS typing and copying cw is so easy then do a 50 call sign run at RufzXP and we will see. He has declined so far.
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N3QE
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 09:34:03 AM »

I can touch type fairly comfortably at the 90 to 100 WPM rate but only when I am typing full sentences.

If I try to copy morse a character at a time, like you I end up goofing around at the 50 WPM level.

I don't think Dvorak vs QWERTY has anything to do with it.

I suspect you are trying to copy a character at a time. I find if I buffer the words in my head I do much better above 40 WPM, than if I try to do a character at a time.

Callsigns are a little complicated because they are not natural words but instead alternating numbers and letters. I don't think there's any advantage to Dvorak there. Dvorak does have a marginal advantage for English/European language text, even more so on a manual typewriter. But for me it hardly seems worth learning - my fingers know QWERTY very well by now!

If you watch the videos by the RufZXP addicts, the high speed guys get the entire callsign before their fingers could possibly hit a single key :-)

Contest-wise... I think there's a lot of room for improvement in ergonomics but it's not Dvorak vs QWERTY. Any touch typing means taking a hand off the VFO or some other knob. I don't feel that my QSO's/hr are limited by typing in a contest but ergonomics-wise I think that foot controls for some basic functions (tune, call, recall, buck) would free up the hands at critical moments when moving from one QSO to the next and increase rate at certain critical junctures where moving hand from main keyboard to function keys would be the difference between getting the QSO and missing it because a different caller jumped in first.

I did the ARRL DX in "assisted" category and there are a lot of interfaces competing for my hands - radio tuning knob, band map, available QSO/mult window, traditional call/exchange entry boxes, and to top it all off the keyer paddles too. In between knobs, mouse (I use a trackball actually), keyboard, and keyer paddles it's hard to justify touch typing for much. I often did my typing with my left hand while the right hand was on a knob, mouse, or paddle. Maybe a useful skill is to type better with left hand while doing something useful with the right.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 09:40:12 AM by N3QE » Logged
K8AXW
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2012, 08:46:23 PM »

CQM:  OK, I GET it!  I didn't even say the word "pencil."  Perhaps you should be contacting those who participate in CW contests and not us QWERTY hamfisted mortals. 

Perhaps this would make a new forum here on eHam.com! 
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WB3CQM
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 06:42:39 AM »

N3QE Thank you for your insight on all this. You make some very good points.

That buffer of remembering the full call is a key I think as you say.

Thanks Again

73 JIM
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WB3CQM
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2012, 06:57:44 AM »

CQM:  OK, I GET it!  I didn't even say the word "pencil."  Perhaps you should be contacting those who participate in CW contests and not us QWERTY hamfisted mortals. 

Perhaps this would make a new forum here on eHam.com! 

I thought this was a good topic which I have not seen much talk on.
If I would have know about this 5 years ago , the 3 different systems it may have been a better choice to learn on Dvorak keyboard. One noticeable difference is where the o and 0 is placed on Qwerty . On Qwerty the zero is just above the o and many times I hit the o when I want the zero. Poor typist I guess , but on both Dvorak and Colmak they are separated so that would be less likely to happen of getting them mixed up.

Perhaps there is Some People that would like to know about the different systems on this site. I actually thought there were contest people on this site . I even thought I would find some one that has used the Dvorak or Colemak keyboard layout here. Maybe I should take your advice  and find a contest site and move on.

Thanks for your help

73 jim
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NI0C
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2012, 02:16:03 PM »

I've found this topic to be of interest, even though I am not a touch typist.  I have trouble entering callsigns on RufzXP, and sometimes the efforts at typing seem to distract from the main task, which is decoding the callsigns.  In my case, I'm not sure it would be any different with another keyboard setup. 

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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K7KBN
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2012, 08:23:21 AM »

Anyone who's curious about the possible differences in speed or accuracy among QWERTY, Dvorak and Colemak or any other keyboard should try each one for, say, two months, and then let us know how it worked out.  I've been using QWERTY for my whole life since high school (50 years +), and when I tried (once) to use a Dvorak keyboard it was an epic fail.

I can see the powers that be switching to some radically different keyboard to program nuclear missiles just because of the coolness factor!  Grin
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
LB3KB
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2012, 01:15:45 PM »

Why not use Koch's method to become proficient at the keyboard ?  Just start at the speed you want to operate at, with only two characters.  Once you score 90% or better, add a character.  You should be able to progress quickly as you already know the code, and while you're getting better at the keyboard you're also practicing Morse code.

This would work for any keyboard layout, too.


73
LB3KB Sigurd
Just Learn Morse Code
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W4BQF
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2012, 02:20:40 PM »

Yes, sometime around the late '70's I switched from QWERTY to Dvorak. At the time I could not type any faster than about 45 wpm on a QWERTY board; after about four months on the Dvorak I was up to about 60 wpm typing speed and eventually my top speed reached about 130 wpm. For those who don't know the difference between QWERTY and Dvorak, you should Google Dvorak and read the 'why' and the 'how' Professor Dvorak developed this board. In short, the QWERTY board was developed while the typewriter was being developed and at that time the connection between the keys and the platen was with very long wires. It did not take long for the ladies doing the typing test to become fast enough to constantly jam the keyboard. In order to slow these ladies down, the key placement was made such that it was the most inefficient finger to key movement that was possible and the most inefficient key placement possible is what most still use in the USA, probably because of our normal resistant to change! Example: with the QWERTY eight home keys, one can type about 90 words of the English language; with a Dvorak key placement board, with the eight home keys, one can type about 4000 words of the English language.
Caution! It is VERY difficult to switch between a Dvorak board and a QWERTY board. Dvorak boards are extremely difficult to find. However if your PC uses Windows, within Windows, you can switch your QWERTY board to a Dvorak board key placement.

73,
Tom - W4BQF
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WB3CQM
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2012, 05:45:05 PM »

Thank you W4BQF/Tom  for all that great information. You been a big help .

73 JIM
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LB3KB
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2012, 06:21:37 PM »

In order to slow these ladies down, the key placement was made such that it was the most inefficient finger to key movement that was possible and the most inefficient key placement possible

That is urban myth.  The layout was designed to prevent jams while typing at speed.

73
LB3KB Sigurd
Just Learn Morse Code
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WB3CQM
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2012, 01:35:32 AM »

Why not use Koch's method to become proficient at the keyboard ?  Just start at the speed you want to operate at, with only two characters.  Once you score 90% or better, add a character.  You should be able to progress quickly as you already know the code, and while you're getting better at the keyboard you're also practicing Morse code.

This would work for any keyboard layout, too.


73
LB3KB Sigurd
Just Learn Morse Code

Hi Sigurd ,

I agree with you that would be good practice to use Koch method to  get better with keyboard.

Seance Jan 1 of this year I have logged over 10,000 call signs between RufzXP / QRQ / CW Freak / Morse Runner/LCWO

On Feb 27 I made my highest score so far  on RufzXP but am sure I could do better. Like buying and using a straight key. Does one start with a straight key and never change or try to improve on sending speed and spacing ? A straight key is good for about 13 or 15 wpm I would guess . 

Yesterday I Made 18 attempts to break my record from Monday I logged  900 calls on RufzXP> I sure can still use the typing practice but that is really not the issue here.

 Just think, is that true what W4BQF says that you can type  90 words with Qwerty keyboard on  home row verses Dvorak home row of 4000 words. That is big difference. How much faster and smother Dvorak sounds. And what About Colemak keyboard layout ?

I guess the big question  is how much and how long is it going to take to RELEARN to type and is it worth it  ?

Of course with a straight key you can still use it and really can switch between bug , Iambic , keyboard to whatever . Not so IF I switch to faster better keyboard like Dvorak .

Thanks everyone for your input .

73 JIM
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 01:49:08 AM by WB3CQM » Logged
W4BQF
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« Reply #14 on: February 29, 2012, 02:27:17 AM »

 "In order to slow these ladies down, the key placement was made such that it was the most inefficient finger to key movement that was possible and the most inefficient key placement possible[/quote]

That is urban myth.  The layout was designed to prevent jams while typing at speed.

73
LB3KB Sigurd

Sigurd - Yes, you are correct about 'preventing jams' while typing at speed. If you re-read my post, that is exactly what I said. As to it being an 'urban myth', you had to have been there to know that?

Jim - Whether or not learning Dvorak is worth it, in my opinion, becomes pretty much a personal issue! To me, Dvorak, once you get used to the key placement, becomes extremely easy to use and over several hours of use your hands and especially your wrist are never fatigued. In the 70's into the late 90's I was doing QRQ CW, ofter over 100 wpm and I never could have had QSO's at those speeds without Dvorak. The major problem, if you let it become one, is that the majority of keyboards are the standard QWERTY and moving between QWERTY and Dvorak is not very easy. That I am aware, there is no company manufacturing Dvorak key placement keyboards. However MS Windows still provides you with an easy way to change your QWERTY board to a Dvorak board via internal software.
73,
Tom - W4BQF
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 02:45:59 AM by W4BQF » Logged
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