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Author Topic: Quickest method for increasing speed  (Read 487 times)
KB5JO
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Posts: 66




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« on: October 30, 2007, 06:46:55 PM »

Embarrassing to admit it but having been a CW op since my youth in the 60s, still only copy about 15 wpm.  Granted, there were some long periods of inactivity in 40 years, but still it is frustrating.  Tried listening to W1AW, but for some reason it hasn’t worked for me.  I can copy plain text from W1AW upwards of 25 wpm, where some anticipation of the next word is feasible, but copying a QSO is a lost cause for me, except for the obvious RST/SPC/OP sequences with DX or contests.  When listening to a 25 wpm QSO, I copy about 2/3 words and losing my way through the conversation is a problem.

Can anyone advise a reliable and quick method to get to 25wpm+ reliable copy in one’s head?

Thanks and 73 Curt, KB5JO
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2786




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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2007, 06:58:53 PM »

Get on the air and use CW exclusively until your speed is where you want it.

When the Novice license (one year term and not renewable) was the entry-level, there was a reason that most of the privileges were on CW; it got the licensee's speed up quickly.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
WA4D
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Posts: 99


WWW

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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2007, 07:09:41 PM »

Curt...

You're going to be barraged with all sorts of suggestions. Use this program or that method or no method. All kinds of learning models will rain down upon your query. Some valid. Some not.

Your desire for a "reliable and quick method" of getting to 25WPM+ is the same desire I have. I'm copying random characters (22wpm) at 90% accuracy and normal text (25 wpm) with 80% accuracy.


I'm using "Just Learn Morse" which will spit out a statistical analysis of your copy on completion.
The program does not lie. It does not cut you slack. It does not allow for  exceptions. It will tell you exactly how many words per minute you copy and what percentage of the text you copied correctly and exactly what letters/numbers/signs you erred on and how many times.  It is  brutal in it's reality. Yet rewarding as you advance.

Give it a look.
http://justlearnmorsecode.com/

I'll testify to this method being "reliable" as for "quick"Huh?.....depends on how you define it. I'm giving it 15-20 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week. (Yes, sometimes 3-4 days a week and then I notice the drop)....so the "quick" part is really up to you and your consistency.

Either way, it's fun.

Cheers,
mike
wa4d
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N0IU
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Posts: 1277


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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2007, 01:16:00 AM »

You are the only one putting pressure on yourself to increase your speed. The problem with using some sort of computer generated CW to help you increase your speed is that it will be "perfect" in terms of spacing but that is rarely what you will hear on the air. Add to that things like QRN and QSB, and that can make copying code a real challenge at times.

I guess my only real piece of advice is to stop judging yourself by other people's progress.

Scott N0IU
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W4YA
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Posts: 317




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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2007, 05:15:35 AM »

Here's my suggestion. Use QSK and keep your transmissions extremely short. "My rig is TS440. What's yours? BK" ..and so on..

Most ops will respond to this and do the same. So you will be dealing with one short thought at a time instead of a twenty-minute wrap up of the guy's entire life history.

Second suggestion. Get a pad of 2" by 4" note paper. The idea is to use only one sheet per QSO. During the QSO jot down only one- or two-word reminders during each transmission. This will force you to listen for key words and skip unimportant ones.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2007, 01:38:20 PM »

W4YA's suggestions are excellent.

My code students go from "nothing" to about 25 wpm all in one step, typically, because they hear their first letters at between 18 and 25 wpm, so they never really hear anything slower.

They also start out "paperless" because in my code classes we never use paper, pencils or any other writing instruments.  I used to many years ago, but found too many students to write down code copy and not understand what they were writing (they'd go back and read it later), which is an enormous waste of time and energy.

The way to increase speed isn't by copying W1AW or tapes or CDs or computer programs.  It can be done that way for sure, but it's time consuming and frustrating and only the very lucky ever get "good" that way.  

The real way to increase speed is to use the code to make CW contacts, and spend half your time sending.  Interactive learning (such as both listening to and speaking a foreign language, to have conversations) is faster, better and just more efficient than any other way.  Plus, it's more interesting and students last longer without zoning out.

FORGET about "solid copy."  Unless you're handling real-time emergency traffic, which is highly doubtful, it doesn't matter if you get solid copy or not.  If you miss letters or words, forget about them.  You can make sense of a transmission if you miss half of it, easily.  Make contacts and focus on getting the other guy's callsign, name and QTH.  That's enough to have a wonderful conversation.  If he had a gall bladder operation and you read that as "I'm glad I had an operation," so what?  Close enough.  Don't sweat the details, and it's almost all details.

Make 5 CW contacts a day "paperless" at a speed that's comfortable for you, or a little bit faster so you know you're missing stuff.  Do that for 90 days.  At the end of 90 days, you'll have had 450 CW QSOs, half a logbook full of contacts, and you'll be easily operating at 25+ wpm without having to write anything down.

WB2WIK/6
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2786




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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2007, 05:43:38 PM »

You have an Extra Class license, so you have access to ALL the ham bands.  I assume you have a rig and antenna for HF ... that's all you need; you don't need anything now except a key (and you probably have one already).

That's it!  No need of any commercial products to download or buy.  Just disconnect the microphone, plug in the key and get on the air.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
KB5JO
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Posts: 66




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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2007, 03:42:39 AM »

Yes, I hold an Extra Class now, but for most of my life it was an Advanced because 20 WPM was always been a bridge too far.  I got my first General in 1962, have had long lapses in oprating since then.  I rarely operate anything EXCEPT HF CW, and have several rigs and multiple HF antennas.  I QSO with folks on CW nearly every day, and listen to a lot more than QSO with.  Maybe big part of the problem increasing speed is time, I have other interests besides Ham radio and 5 QSOs every day would not be possible, my average is more like 20/month.

All of the suggestions are appreciated,

73, Curt
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20574




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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2007, 05:08:26 PM »

5 QSOs a day is not possible?

You must be spending less than ten minutes a day on ham radio!

Last weekend was the ARRL November CW Sweepstakes.  Between 1:00 PM local time and 1:05 PM local time Saturday I made 17 contacts, and I wasn't trying very hard to make any.

It's *all* good practice, even the short ones.

Sending counts as practice.  I never found that "listening" to CW was very productive, other than perhaps putting me to sleep...

WB2WIK/6

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N5EAT
Member

Posts: 177




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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2007, 02:01:31 PM »

I increased my speed by making at least one cw contact each day.  That was a good start.  The breakthrough came when I started to try to copy the callsigns of very fast ops during cw contests.  Once I had figured out the callsign (copying 1 letter at a time until I'd put the call together) - i'd work em.

It was great fun, very rewarding, and my speed doubled in about 6 months (from 15 to nearly 40wpm copying).
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N5EAT
Member

Posts: 177




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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2007, 02:05:04 PM »

....oh - and mobile cw.  What Great fun!
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