Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: The Secret to Learning CW  (Read 2250 times)
OLLIEOXEN27
Member

Posts: 0




Ignore
« on: April 16, 2009, 02:57:04 AM »

Most beginners to Morse code believe it will take them forever to get fast enough to work high speed DX stations. Truth is if you listen to DX pileups you'll hear the same characters repeated over and over.
They are: 599 or 5NN (strong signal), BK (back to you), 73 (regards), QRZ? (who is calling me), TU (thank you), SK (sign clear), plus the two call signs
(one you already know).

Morse code is a language. Fortunately high speed DX operators speak with very few words. So actually working a DX station is very easy once you understand what you are listening to.

For example I copy random code at about 22 wpm but I can work a basic QSO (exchanging name, QTH, and RST) at 30 wpm and a DX QSO at about 40 WPM. The reason: I have heard all the words (sounds) used in QSOs so many times I don't have to translate letters as I would do with random code. And there are very few words unless you get into a ragchew which is more difficult.

I just gave you the secret to Morse code that most ops
will never tell you. Don't be discourage. CW operators are like a secret society. They don't want the newcomers to realize how easy it is. It really is easy once you've learned the characters then get on the air and learn the basic sounds. Basically, for QSO purposes, it's a language of very few words.

oli
Logged
OLLIEOXEN27
Member

Posts: 0




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2009, 04:54:51 AM »

My Advice:

Learn all the characters at 5 WPM then get on the air or listen on the air to QSOs only. Listen to pileups.
Listen for common words, phrases and the protocol between stations.

Forget about the tapes and software unless they play QSO's. Listen to QSO's until you are sick of them and you hear them in your sleep. If you are like me once you get on the air you will get to 20 WPM in about 4-6 weeks.

Forget about ARRL code practice. You will never hear a page of QST magazine sent in a QSO. It will never happen! By the same token you will never hear the Encyclopedia Brittanica or random letters and numbers (jibberish) transmitted in a QSO. Forget about practicing random code at high speeds - you will never use it. Besides it's too fast to write down on paper and you won't remember it which is why you'll never use it. Forget about Koch, Pepsi, or 7-up. Your speed will come naturally when you don't worry about it. It will increase with each QSO. Soon you'll be high speed and you won't be able to explain how you got there.

Hope that helps.
Logged
KC9HOZ
Member

Posts: 103




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2009, 07:07:28 AM »

"Learn all the characters at 5 WPM"

Worst piece of advice I've ever seen in this forum.

Learn the code at *no less than* 15 wpm and then build up your speed from there.  If you learn the code at 5 wpm, you will only have to re-learn it at a higher speed later.

Don't know about you, but I can't afford to learn things twice anymore!

Scott
kc9hoz
Logged
AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12836




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2009, 07:16:39 AM »

For most people, learning at 5WPM means you are counting dits and dahs rather than recognizing the sound of the entire character or even entire words. It'll really set you back when you try to increase your speed.

Logged
AD7WN
Member

Posts: 113




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2009, 07:55:11 PM »

Agree with Scott.  It may vary somewhat with the person but 12-15 wpm is the range where a person can no longer count the dits and dahs.  The good folks at ARRL know this and, for 5 wpm practice, they send the characters much faster (sounds to me like about 13 wpm) and just increase the space between characters to make it come out at 5 wpm.  This saves a lot of frustration in having to relearn the code.

Memorizing the sounds of RST reports etc. may work for DX QSOs, but it isn't especially useful if there is emergency traffic to be passed.  It all depends on what you intend to use ham radio for.

73 de John/AD7WN
Logged
WA4OTL
Member

Posts: 2




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2009, 09:05:51 PM »

The break-through comes just moments after you slam down your pencil and proclaim "I'll never get this!" Get up, walk away, drink a coke, return to your radio and try again. You'll be soooo pleased.

Bill
WA4OTL
Logged
K5END
Member

Posts: 1309




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2009, 01:30:06 PM »

Here's my experience.

I learned by typing, because I have trouble handwriting at more than 5 wpm.

FINALLY I am at the point where I hear the character and the finger hits the correct key (on keyboard) without me having to think, uh, "C" and hit the "C" key.

Head copy is still a challenge, and I'm trying to learn that too. Patience...

Last weekend I heard some "antique" code at the beginning of an old movie on TV: "VVVV Radio picture."
That was a seriously bad fist, but it was going well past 20 wpm. The tone was an annoying squeak. They apparently went to the trouble to simulate QSB and QRN. The movie was 1934 or so. I had to "rewind" the DVR just to hear it again and copy it.

I think I must be spoiled by the modern radios.
Logged
KB1OOO
Member

Posts: 214


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2009, 05:09:17 PM »

>> Learn all the characters at 5 WPM
>
> Worst piece of advice I've ever seen in this forum.
>
> Learn the code at *no less than* 15 wpm and then build up your speed
> from there. If you learn the code at 5 wpm, you will only have to re-
> learn it at a higher speed later.
 
I don't think that this is clear.  It seems to be the widely accepted viewpoint, but I haven't seen anything beyond anecdotal evidence that supports it.  On the contrary, I have read scientific evidence which shows that it will take you the same amount of time to build up to your target speed regardless of whether you start at 5wpm or 15wpm.  

73,
KB1OOO
Logged
WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20595




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2009, 09:34:01 PM »

I've taught code for a long time, and don't think it matters much what speed is introduced originally; however I'll say without reservation that going "too slow" makes it more difficult for people to figure out what the letters are, as at 5 wpm (painfully slow) the dits and dahs are so far apart it's easy for a beginner to construe them as separate elements not part of a letter.

In my classes we usually start out at about 10 wpm or so to avoid that problem.

The goal, of course, is for people to become "fluent" in code, like fluency in any other language.  If you learn French, you don't start out by listening to it or speaking it very slowly.  You start out by listening to it and speaking it at a normal conversational rate, but of course keeping it very simple, using only a few words.  Then, as you add words, the student builds vocabulary skills.

Code is no different.

WB2WIK/6
Logged
OLLIEOXEN27
Member

Posts: 0




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2009, 12:31:57 PM »

To all critics of learning first at 5 WPM. I understand your point. Most learn code at first by translating dits and dahs in their minds. Even if you learn by the Koch method you will still be translating the sounds of letters into words in your mind when you listen to plain words which is just as detrimental as translating dits and dahs into letters. This nullifies the advantages of the Koch method.

Morse code is a language. It must be learned conversationally. The reason I suggested you learn at 5 WPM is just so you know every character. It does nothing to help in learning conversational Morse code. If you were illiterate you need to know the alphabet before you learned to read.

Morse code is not something you learn but rather something you understand. You understand it by hearing the same works and sentences over and over until they become second nature to you. Knowing the characters first is a necessary first step.

oli
Logged
OLLIEOXEN27
Member

Posts: 0




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2009, 02:00:01 PM »

I'll reword my original post:

Learn all the characters at 1-2 WPM - it doesn't matter. Then listen to or work QSOs on the air. Start with the slow ones then faster as you are able. You'll take off from there. You do not need to practice copying Morse at high speed using tradition methods, Koch, Farnsworth, or any other method unless you feel it helps you. You are not communicating in letters but rather in understandable sounds (language) when you communicate with other hams.
Logged
K9BAG
Member

Posts: 22




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2009, 01:31:49 PM »

This OLLIE seems adament, strident too, but misleading. While it sounds interesting, an expose of the Code Cult (duh!) I'm concerned it may lead some astray, esp. the 2-WPM learning nonsense. Newbies, don't do that. First thing to go wrong, your brain will start counting, esp, for 1, J, 3, ?... Kiss-o-death. Experts here know the value of starting out at a fast char clip, and don't worry about 100% copy, it's Progress to that rate that counts. Big Tip: Code kant be learned in a day or a week--not solid copy. Takes time, oh, and practice. Practice, for that I'll reco my fav CW CD by K7QO (Look up FISTS grp). Can take it anywhere on porta CD MP3 Player, 261 CW files. Actually just did a high speed run on numerals. It's getting very kneejerk copy. That's a Good.
Logged
W8ZNX
Member

Posts: 1




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2009, 01:56:43 PM »

don't you just love
posts by anonymous
self apointed " no call " experts

interesting how ollie
some how
kinda sorta gets it right
but
at the same time has it all wrong

the line
" they don't want newcomers
to relize how easy it is "

bull
for years old time cw ops
have been telling new ops
how easy it is
not the other way around

starting at low low speed
means having to relearn
at about 11 to 14 wpm
causes all kinds of extra work

ollie has the secret alright
the secret to working twice as hard

dit dit
mac



Logged
OLLIEOXEN27
Member

Posts: 0




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2009, 08:59:20 AM »

I can prove the QSO method works in simple terms so there could be no doubt to reasonable people. Trouble is even that would not be enough for many - esp those who sell or promote code tapes and those who are stuck using the usual methods. It's difficult for people to see they've been programmed.
Logged
KB1OOO
Member

Posts: 214


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2009, 09:44:47 AM »

> don't you just love
> posts by anonymous
> self apointed " no call " experts

doesn't really bother me.  Everyone has their reasons for being anonymous.  Frankly, information about Hams is too exposed, given the security risks of the technology age we live in.  It's not like his post has inappropriate content, and it's not like the number of QRZ hits or license level necessarily correlates with having experience teaching or observing people learning morse code.

> starting at low low speed
> means having to relearn
> at about 11 to 14 wpm
> causes all kinds of extra work

Again, studies show otherwise.   If there is anything to relearn, it's been shown that it doesn't take longer to get to the target speed.  I don't understand the "counting dits and dahs" argument anyway, I can count the dits and dahs at 15wpm just as easily or easier than I can at 5wpm.  I think that the biggest reason not to learn at 5wpm is that you will find very few people willing to have QSOs at that speed.

Marc
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!