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Author Topic: A question about the Koch method  (Read 3128 times)
KD0AFK
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« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2008, 12:11:26 PM »

You just proved my point.
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AE6RF
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« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2008, 12:33:25 PM »

As somebody who has actually sent money to JLMC, let me say that I find the QRM, QRN, QSB, and LIDS options on Morse Runner highly useful.

Hopefully that gets the point across without invoking any "urinary Olympics."

73 de Donald
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LB3KB
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« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2008, 01:21:37 PM »

AE6RF,

> I find the QRM, QRN, QSB, and LIDS options
> on Morse Runner highly useful.

I don't have any doubts that that sort of thing is very useful in a CONTEST trainer.  If I ever decide to expand Just Learn Morse Code to suit the hard-core contesters, I'll consider throwing that in.


For a beginner that according to himself can't keep up with most regular traffic, adding such elements is a dead end.  What he needs is to build speed, to where he CAN cope with regular traffic.

If you scroll back a couple of messages, you'll probably see that that's exactly what I adviced him to do.  His response was to ignore the advice, accuse me of having too much of an ego and being arrogant.


I find it sad but somewhat interesting that somebody who asks for help but disregards most if not all answers and obviously jumps to one ill-informed conclusion after the other without having any idea about what he's talking about will throw out accusations like these.  

On the other hand - if I'm the only one that thinks I've been forgiving in this thread I seriously need to work on my English skills.
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N3EF
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Posts: 247




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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2008, 03:24:27 PM »

"G4FON only teaches you characters using Koch method."

Huh?! Obviously, you've never actually used G4FON.

Eric N3EF
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VK3GDM
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Posts: 28




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« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2008, 05:15:27 PM »

>Huh?! Obviously, you've never actually used G4FON.

Seems I have put my foot in it!

What I wanted to do was make morse code sound files from text files.  I was able to do this immediately and simply with JLMC.

The version of G4FON I have doesn't seem to have any facility for sending code from a text file.
May be I have not configured it properly.??
May be I should read the instructions..

73
David

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K7KBN
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Posts: 2837




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« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2008, 06:20:54 PM »

It seems like things were a lot simpler back in the 1950s/60s.  There was no such thing as the Internet, no "Koch Method", no "G4FON" - just records.  Phonograph records.  Or code classes at the local club or in Boy Scouts.  We didn't have to worry about the speed of each letter versus the speed of the text - we just learned the dang Morse code, and many of us got quite good at it.

From some of the discussions here and on other similar forums, I think we've made a simple task - learning groups of dits, dahs and spaces - into an unnecessarily complex undertaking, wherein we worry about text speed, letter speed, pitch and who knows what else.

I'm glad I learned it when it was easy.  And non-commercial.

Pat
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
LB3KB
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« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2008, 08:57:29 AM »

K7KBN,

Learning Morse code IS simple and non-commercial now, as opposed to the era you describe where it was the opposite.

Records were not free, code classes and learning material were not necessarily free, and learning code at a useless speed took forever.  Fortunately, that is history.

If you want to learn Morse code today, all you need to do is download a little file to your computer and read for a few minutes in the help file to understand how it works.  You'll be learning right away as opposed to the constant studying of code charts used in the "good" old days.


What may make it seem more complicated now are the constant discussions and arguments between people of different levels of competence regarding what's good for learning and practicing Morse code.

Also, a lot of people want MORE than just learning in a single, prescribed way.  They want to combine the best learning methods (e.g. Koch and Farnsworth), and once they have learned the code they want to become proficient at higher speeds.  Others want to explore different learning methods.

Some people want to generate audio that they can listen to while they're driving, jogging, cooking, sleeping, you name it.

People want to generate Morse code using from text files, web sites, random characters, Q-codes, common words, abbreviations, call signs, and so on and so on.


Several computer programs that offer some or all of these and other features are avaialable, many of them are free for personal hobby use.  If you find the discussions on the Internet confusing quit reading them, decide on one program to try and spend a few minutes on trying to understand how that program will work for YOU.

Some programs have a built in help file, typically accessible through the "Help" menu in the program, while other programs only offer descriptions on the web, in a text file or through email.


73
LB3KB Sigurd
http://justlearnmorsecode.com
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2837




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« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2008, 10:43:19 AM »

"Records were not free" -- my Boy Scout troop had a set of the records donated.  They were about five or six years old but still in very good shape.  I never had to use them, though.  Our assistant scoutmaster had been a Navy radioman and taught a dozen of us.  We were all up to about 15 WPM inside two months - including all letters, numbers, punctuation and several of the more common Q-signals.  No "code charts".  We learned the sound and immediately associated it with the character or word it represented.  No "Koch", no "Farnsworth".  Pitch? We copied at whatever pitch the ASM was using.

We practiced sending to one another using home-brewed CPOs, surplus J-38s and surplus Navy headphones which were 25 cents a set at the local surplus store.

I don't need to "decide" on any program to try.  As I said, I learned Morse code when it was free and uncomplicated.  In order to earn the First Class Scout badge, you had to learn Morse by sound, light or wigwag, or to learn semaphore.  Thanks to the ASM, I learned all of them.  I can send and receive 40 WPM on the radio on an average day, and I can manage 12-15 WPM using a Navy searchlight.  That doesn't sound like much, but it's on par with most Quartermasters of today.

As I said earlier, what was once a simple task has been made unnecessarily complicated by commercial interests.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
LB3KB
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« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2008, 11:13:47 AM »

K7KBN,

> "Records were not free" -- my Boy Scout troop
> had a set of the records donated.

Well, aren't YOU lucky.  Does it occur to you that there may have been other kids without free access to those commercial resources ?


> Our assistant scoutmaster had been a
> Navy radioman and taught a dozen of us.

Well, aren't YOU a part of the lucky dozen.  Does it occur to you that this is something that was not available to everybody ?

Some people were lucky enough to be students of Ludvich Koch in the 1930s.  The rest of us are lucky that his method is now available to anybody that has access to a computer.

The real difference is that nowadays, you don't need to depend on luck to learn Morse code or to learn it for free.  And you don't need to waste any time on inefficient learning methods.


> No "Koch", no "Farnsworth". Pitch? We copied
> at whatever pitch the ASM was using.

Like I said, there is NO need to follow the theoretical arguments and discussions on the Internet in order to learn efficiently.  The fact that two of the best methods for learning Morse code and increasing ones abilities have names that people are aware of does not reduce their intrinsic value.  In fact, any sensible "Navy radioman" of today teaching Morse code would use these methods even if he doesn't tell his boy scout students that the methods DO have a name and are not his own invention.

Nobody needs to know that Koch and Farnsworth invented these techniques.  In fact, if you start any modern Morse code program they WILL work without mentioning any of these.  The same goes for pitch - if you're not interested, just copy whatever is thrown at you.


> I don't need to "decide" on any program to try.

I realize that - you know Morse code, and like so many others you think that the way you learnt it is THE way to learn.  I was responding to your post, but I was really talking to anybody interested in learning or practicing Morse code.  Who knows - such individuals might actually read this thread.


> As I said earlier, what was once a simple task
> has been made unnecessarily complicated by
> commercial interests.

I maintain that you're wrong about it being made complicated - it IS the other way around.  It only gets complicated if you throw in complicating factors - most of which your "solution" wouldn't have any way to deal with in the first place.

You keep going on about these "commercial interests" that make things complicated for you.  Could you elaborate ?


73
LB3KB Sigurd
http://justlearnmorsecode.com
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K7KBN
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« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2008, 12:45:46 PM »

Uff da.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
KD0AFK
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Posts: 245




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« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2008, 01:38:13 PM »

Dang lb3kb, does anyone but you have a valid point of view or an opinion on anything?
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KB1OOO
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« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2008, 06:07:16 PM »

> Uff da

Hey, at least you didn't get the "we used to use to get around by horse and carriage but now we use automobiles" bit Smiley

Marc
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KB1OOO
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« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2008, 06:24:01 PM »

> On the other hand - if I'm the only one that thinks I've been forgiving in > this thread I seriously need to work on my English skills.

I don't know Sigurd, he made a mistake, admitted it, apologized twice, praised JLMC and you couldn't just let it go, having to follow with an insulting statement like

"There are MANY features with actual value that will appear in Just Learn Morse Code a long time before I waste any time on reducing the sound quality..".  

What part of that is forgiving?  Give the guy a freaking break.  And what does "Whatever you say, little prince. Sweet dreams ! " mean anyway?

Marc
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KB1OOO
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« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2008, 10:43:29 AM »

Hi KD0AFK,                                                                                                          

I just wanted to relay a couple comments regarding Koch training to real                                            
world transition/comparison from my experiences.  I found that the main                                            
problem was the effective speed difference b/w koch random code groups
and real QSOs.  The effective speed for real QSOs is considerably faster                                            
because morse was designed so that the most frequent letters in the                                                
English language have the shortest codes.  E.g. e, i, t, and s (which                                              
have short codes) appear far more frequently than z, q and x.  So for a                                            
fixed dit and dah length, you will receive more characters per unit time                                            
in real conversation than from a uniform sampling of the letters.  

Another problem with koch is that you get much better at the early                                                  
characters in the koch sequence because you practice them for much
longer. (Sigurd will tell us that this is partially taken care of by his                                            
automatic modification of the freq of letters depending on the mistakes                                            
you make)  I found that even when I completed my 20wpm koch training at                                            
90% accuracy, I could only copy real QSOs at about 15wpm.  Also, if I                                              
split the characters into halves and tested myself separately on each                                              
half, I was 98% for the first half of the characters but only 70% for                                              
the second half.  

In short, random code groups are totally differently than real
conversation and while I think that adding QRM, QRN, etc simultation
capability is a good idea, I think that you'll ultimately find in your                                              
transition to real QSOs that noise simulation is tertiary to the issues                                            
I've raised above.  Some things you can do to help: In JLMC you can                                                
modify the frequency that the letters appear by listing the more                                                    
frequent letters multiple times, like aaaaaabcdeeeeeeeeeee  etc (this is                                            
a suggestion of Sigurd, I've never tried it).  You can also work on the                                            
letters in separate groups.  E.g., split the letters into say 3 groups                                              
and work in those groups separately, but at the same time.  When you get
to 90% for all the letters in a group, you add a letter from a
neighboring group.  Eventually all the groups bleed into one.  

Also, I have found that putting QSO logs through my trainer to be an                                                
accurate simulation of actual on the air QSOs.  The main difference                                                
being differing skills of the sender (different dit and dah spacing for                                            
bug and straight key users, different spacing b/w letters and words,                                                
etc) that are not simulated by the trainer.  In fact I'd also put this
type of simulation as a request above noise simulation in a trainer.

Best of luck and keep up the hard work,
Marc
KB1OOO  
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LB3KB
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« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2008, 11:35:01 AM »

You're right that the real thing is different from random characters.

If you read the help file, you'll find that the section on becoming proficient suggests you add meaning when you're mastering your target speed with random characters.


The software adds more of the characters you miss, but it also adds more of the two latest characters you learnt.  The next version also remembers how you performed before, so it throws in more of what you missed from the start of each session.  This may help with problems related to remembering the first half of the characters better than the second half.

If remembering the first half better than the last half is still a problem, find other ways to practice.  Practice only the last half, practice with all the characters but throw in three times as many characters from the last half, or something like that.  Identify particular trouble spots and practice only those for a while.  Be creative - there are a lot of ways you can set up the software to suit your needs.


Koch said you should add another character once you score 90%.  He didn't say that you're done when you score 90% after adding the last character.  You should probably aim for something closer to 100% when you know all the characters.

If you're able to score 100% on random characters at 20 wpm I would be VERY surprised if you had to lower the speed for plain text.  Random characters words of random length are very hard to copy 100% because you can't guess and you will have significant problems remembering what was sent a few characters ago.  Even if your current experiences are telling you otherwise, you're likely to find this to be true when you become totally proficient and master head copy as well.


I have previously suggested voice recognition software for people who don't know and don't want to learn how to type.  I think (i.e. I don't know, but I THINK) voice recognition software may contribute to the transition to head copy as well.


73
LB3KB Sigurd
http://justlearnmorsecode.com
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