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Author Topic: The single most vital piece of advice I can give to those wanting to learn CW  (Read 24648 times)
N5XM
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Posts: 242




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« Reply #30 on: July 30, 2012, 08:31:39 PM »

I want to congratulate and encourage those of you who are working to acquire CW skills.  Don't get discouraged, because we all go through plateaus on our way up the ranks.  Listen to the ARRL code sessions.  They start fast and slow down and by the time they get to the slower speeds, you will find easy copy.  You will get smoother as you go along.  Remember that sending is as important as how you copy.  I used to get the Editorial section out of the Sunday newspaper to practice sending, or find a textbook and do the same.  Be careful not to learn to send faster than you can copy.  Practice copy for 30 minutes, then practice sending for 30 minutes.  Anything worth learning is worth taking the time to do so.  Listen to live QSOs and don't worry about how much you copy.  Over time you WILL improve.  All good CW ops have spent thousands of hours acquiring their skills.  It shouldn't be any different for any of you.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 08:33:43 PM by N5XM » Logged
S51M
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2012, 11:06:45 PM »

Yes, it's a little difficult to learn CW, but you will find the most elegant and beautiful activity in our hobby.
Please, continue.

73 ES GL

S51M, Bruno
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K8AG
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Posts: 352




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« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2012, 09:11:46 AM »

We all started at 0 WPM.  Grin
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N3PDT
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Posts: 75




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« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2012, 01:34:55 PM »

We all started at 0 WPM.  Grin

Yep.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #34 on: August 09, 2012, 01:58:02 AM »

We all started at 0 WPM.  Grin

Don't think so. 0 wpm is an infinite long space or mark, so you never can start with another speed when you start with 0 wpm.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #35 on: August 09, 2012, 07:59:49 AM »

Above that, my mom told me I always said dahdah when I wanted her milk.
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GILGSN
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Posts: 207




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« Reply #36 on: August 11, 2012, 10:29:31 PM »

Hi Guys,

I'm up to about half the alphabet! But slower than I'd like, about 8wpm. It's just that I am not used to write that fast. The other problem is when my brain leaves the "automatic mode" and goes "was that a ..?" crash-and-burn..
Listening on my K1, I can sometimes pick up series of 2 or 3 letters that I know, sometimes a word. I once heard "amperage," I was ecstatic! Though I didn't know the G, but it couldn't be anything else. I always get CQ CQ CQ DE, and some letters of the call sign, but never a complete one yet. Listening seems to help. I suspect my subconscious makes more efforts at decoding than I do ;-)

Have a great day :-)

Gil.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 10:36:03 PM by GILGSN » Logged
PA0BLAH
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« Reply #37 on: August 12, 2012, 01:57:33 AM »

Hi Guys,

I'm up to about half the alphabet! But slower than I'd like, about 8wpm. It's just that I am not used to write that fast.

Hi Gil,

Very good.
Writing that fast can be solved.

Just don't listen to any Morse, sit down and write on a piece of paper, with an easy  gliding pen.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog 1234567890
Watch on your second hand of your watch the time used. Easiest is to start writing when the hand is on 0 .

The writing speed is then 705/t  words per minute PARIS standard. In this formula is t the number of seconds you need to write that complete sentence down.
Report your speed here please.

When it takes around 88 s your writing speed is 8 wpm, I expect it will be faster.

Two reasons:
1. The recognition is not yet fast enough, will come with exercising.
2. You write the wrong way in separate capitals. Use long hand, small characters.

Quote
The other problem is when my brain leaves the "automatic mode" and goes "was that a ..?" crash-and-burn..
That is also because you need more exercising.  Above that: when you don't know all the 41 most used characters yet, you easily got in that panic mode when a not familiar and  still unknown character is received. The same will happen when you copy plain text, and after the starting of a word you expect the remaining part to be something else as it turns out to be.

Bob PAoBLAH
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #38 on: August 12, 2012, 03:46:03 AM »


Gil I tried lo enter radiopreppers, but can't pass the question "What is the wavelength of 50 mHz"
That is a very very low frequency and the wavelength in vacuum is,when we put the speed of light at 3 E8 m/s,
according to my calculation 6E9 m. or 6000000000 I tried also 6,000,000,000 and 6 billion, no result.
So you have to check the question and the expected result.

Morse code is excellent for emergency communication in weak signal conditions. So an organisation that claims to prepare for emergency communications, has to have operators at hand that master Morse code.

In an exercise in this country of the dutch amateur emergency DARES, mainly newbie members with no code technician licenses, last month, they couldn't make contact with phone, so no contact was possible with Germany, while the signal was excellent for CW. So pretty ridiculous to advertise yourself for emergency com, and not able to  communicate in Morse code.

Here a snippet of the report of one of the participating members:

Sunday 29 July 2012. The DARES procedures test started at around 11:30 AM with an HF check for one of the participants who was operating from the North of Germany. We tried 80, 40 and 20 meter bands, but his signal was too faint to hope for message interchange.

73 Bob
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GILGSN
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Posts: 207




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« Reply #39 on: August 12, 2012, 08:13:56 AM »

Hi Bob, the answer is 6 try again :-)

Thank you very much for that very revealing test:

Using capitals, as I have been doing: 31wpm.
Using long hand: 35wpm.

So, it is the decoding!

I agree about Morse for emergencies. These organizations could use keyboards/decoders if they lack skilled operators. CW is really a data mode readable by humans. I don't think I will sign-up for any of these "ARES" type organizations. In a real bad National or State wide emergency, I can't imagine running off to help who knows who instead of helping the people I care most about. That's one of the main reasons I started Radio Preppers, for people to exchange information to help themselves, and maybe extend that to their local community, not to work for some agency for free (not to mention spending money on classes). But this is for another board, so I'll stop here.

I wish there was a software that would, given a group of letter a Morse code student has learned so far, output random words from the dictionary in code. I am a programmer, but it would be hard for me to find the time... I'll think about that...

Gil.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 08:28:55 AM by GILGSN » Logged
PA0BLAH
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« Reply #40 on: August 12, 2012, 12:14:49 PM »

Hi Bob, the answer is 6 try again :-)

OK Gil, but the unit is wrong then. mHz is millihertz and MHz is megahertz.
Quote
Thank you very much for that very revealing test:

Using capitals, as I have been doing: 31wpm.
Using long hand: 35wpm.

As expected the writing is not the problem. But exercising shortens the process, because it becomes of a kind of direct memory access without CPU processing.

Log in at www.lcwo.net and you will find all kind of exercises, not only koch lessons but also words random with the acquired letterset. It is important to listen to words as spelled out, not as whole sound pattern but spelled out. 

May be that the sequence of learning letters is not the same at lcwo.net, that is a pity.
Furthermore there a well known excellent programs, such as JustLearnMorseCode, G4FON and MorseCat, Morsemachine is less good.

Quote

I wish there was a software that would, given a group of letter a Morse code student has learned so far, output random words from the dictionary in code. I am a programmer, but it would be hard for me to find the time... I'll think about that...

Gil.

When you learn the letters at LCWO after learning 12 letters there are random words with those letters in the Word exercise group. You can chose to repeat them, speed, max length, and you name it.
Start with words as fast as possible, not listening to the soundpattern of the whole word but by reading them letter by letter just as you learned reading in school at 5 or  6 years old. You end up in your case in writing plain text at 35 wpm, listening to the text just as reading plain text, without writing or typing hardly limited, 40 to 60 wpm. In general ham radio is done with around 18 wpm plus or minus 6 wpm, that is the bulk of connections. A lot of guys are not or hardly able to divert from the standard rubber stamp QSO procedure, due to lack of proficiency at the used speed.

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GILGSN
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Posts: 207




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« Reply #41 on: August 12, 2012, 03:48:09 PM »

Thank you! I signed up for the site..

Gil.
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N0BLT
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Posts: 21




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« Reply #42 on: August 12, 2012, 06:32:13 PM »


I wish there was a software that would, given a group of letter a Morse code student has learned so far, output random words from the dictionary in code. I am a programmer, but it would be hard for me to find the time... I'll think about that...

Gil.

Gil
A guy Fabian Kurz, DJ1YFK, a German engineering student has written such a program.  It is free and downloadable.
The random word files, that come with it, contain all characters tho, and you need to make your own custom text files, using the word/characters you currently know.   I like it for the fact you don't have to have a live internet connection, and you can create your own word files.  Us that don't have the entire vocabulary of characters yet, need this option.

The program is called "qrq"

http://qrqcwnet.ning.com/forum/topics/dj1yfk-fabian-s-famous-high-speed-cw-training-program-called-qrq-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvQ5t8PGARs
http://fkurz.net/ham/qrq.html

You can either type in the word and get scored, or hit F6 to repeat or "enter" for a new word.  Most of my study is merely hitting either the F6 (endless repeats) or enter, (and not typing the word).  Many times I record the output with Audacity, and load on my mp3 player, for later "bicycling while studying therapy". 

I love it because it's the only prog that lets me use my own text files AND sends any speed with an unlimited pause (until I hit the F6 or the "enter" key).  I still use "Just Learn Morse Code" for it's record feature.  I just needed a way to add that indefinite pause after each word, with QRQ. 

There is a program like QRQ called rufzxp, but I forgot why I did not choose that one.  Maybe you can't use your own text file with it.

Oh, and If you need help making words of your current known characters, put those characters into one of the online scrabble word finder programs, and out pops hundreds of words.

Go look at my latest posts in my history, you'll find more info, cuz that's about all I talk about.
Brian
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GILGSN
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Posts: 207




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« Reply #43 on: August 12, 2012, 06:59:19 PM »

Great, thanks Brian.

To generate words with the letters I know, I go to:

http://www.scrabblewordmaker.com

Gil.
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N0BLT
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Posts: 21




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« Reply #44 on: August 12, 2012, 11:50:44 PM »

I forgot to say Fabian the author of QRQ is the same guy that started LCWO.

Anyway it is good to have built my speed back up to near 20/20wpm.  I was at 20 solid using random characters (11 of them).  When I decided to switch, to words, It was pretty humbling.  I had no word bufffer in my brain, and had to slow down to 20/8 or so to even TRY to catch some of the words whizzing by.  Now with the longer pauses between words, I'm building back confidence and speed.  I've got QRQ sending 20/20wpm words.  Soon, I'll see the need to shorten and then drop the need all-together, for the longer pauses between words.  THEN it'll be time to start adding characters again.  It's been months.  Building this word buffer in my brain is well worth it though!  

This whole code learning is taking much longer than I expected, but I want to be an "out of the gate", minimum 20/20wpm head copy operator, not a hurried scribbler that has to re-read what I WRITE, to comprehend.  With my mp3 files I can listen for hours a day, and even on my bike, which, for me, makes it a zen kind of thing, and FOCUSED.  I'm no longer worried about WHEN I finish adding the other characters, because the JOURNEY ITSELF is pretty dang FUN!  

Soon I'm going to either modify one of my Bencher paddles or make one out of a hacksaw blade and install it, along with a keyer, on my handlebars, or thigh and test my sending while riding skills.  Yes slow, to start, and on QUIET streets.

Too much fun!

Bicycle CW-QRP is my goal
Brian
If you have an Iphone, check this out...
http://iditdahtext.com/iDitDahText.html
this guy is iambic-CrAzY  
Gil, What kind of paddles do you use?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 12:01:54 AM by N0BLT » Logged
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