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: Prev 1 2 [3] 4 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: The Secret to Learning CW  (Read 2284 times)
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3880




Ignore
« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2009, 01:15:50 PM »

"Back in the day the FCC used to require 21 wpm code copy without error on their Extra test."

Not exactly.

What was required was 1 minute solid legible copy out of 5 minutes at 20 wpm (not 21). That worked out to 100 consecutive correct characters out of 500. A "word" was 5 characters.

A person could make 5 mistakes out of 500 characters and fail the test if the mistakes were in just the right places.

The speed for Novice and Tech/Plus was always 5 wpm, and the speed for General, Conditional and Advanced was 13 wpm.

Back in the Class ABC days, there was only one test speed. 10 wpm until 1936, 13 wpm afterwards.

In addition, there was no time allowed to go back and fill in blanks, make corrections, or neaten up one's writing. When the code stopped, you put the pencil down and the copy had to be legible to the examiner.

In the 1980s, FCC added the fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice methods, but you could also do the 1-minute-solid if you wanted. Any of them would pass you. The multiple choice was eventually dropped.

Until about 1978, sending was also tested.

73 de Jim, N2EY  
Logged
KZ1X
Member

Posts: 3228




Ignore
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2009, 07:36:09 AM »

The 'secret' to learning CW is to **not do it by yourself. **

Get a qualified instructor and several friends, and learn it in a classroom setting, with a weekly class syllabus, testing, and homework.  Two 45 minute sessions a week.

Takes 5-6 weeks to go from zero to 'slow conversational' CW, and another 3 weeks to go from that to break the 10-12 WPM 'barrier' level.  That's for adults.  Kids go faster.

Trying to learn CW on one's own is difficult and frustrating at best and subject to failure more often.
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3880




Ignore
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2009, 09:39:17 AM »

KZ1X writes: "Trying to learn CW on one's own is difficult and frustrating at best and subject to failure more often."

I disagree! Many if not most of us learned it essentially on our own without a lot of difficulty.

Sure a classroom setting is good, but for the vast majority it's just not practical. And unless the classes are held daily, there will still be a need for lots of out-of-the-classroom practice.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
N3DF
Member

Posts: 252




Ignore
« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2009, 12:55:00 PM »

...And back in the pre-ABC days the Amateur Extra First Grade license required 20 wpm.
Logged

Neil N3DF
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3880




Ignore
« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2009, 03:17:49 PM »

N3DF writes: "...And back in the pre-ABC days the Amateur Extra First Grade license required 20 wpm."

Yes, it did. I suspect that number came from the fact that the 'regular' US amateur license of those times required 10 wpm.

The Amateur Extra First Grade, like the Class A, required 1 year experience, too.

IIRC, the original, pre-WW1 code test speed was 5 wpm (1912-1917). When US hams were allowed back on the air in 1919, the speed went up to 10 wpm.

In 1965, when the changes that would eventually be known as "incentive licensing" were being hashed out, FCC proposed a new "First Class" license that would have been between General and Extra. The "First Class" license would have required 16 wpm code, a written exam between the level of General and Extra, and 1 year experience as General, Conditional or Advanced. Existing Advanceds would have been demoted to General in both privileges and name.

That 1965 FCC proposal (Docket 15928) held some other doozies, too:

- The amount of spectrum lost by Generals, Conditionals and Advanceds would have been even greater than that which was eventually enacted. But all lost 'phone spectrum could have been regained with a First Class, while all lost CW/data spectrum would have required an Extra.

- There would be distinctive callsigns for every license class, even to the point of separating the old-timers from the newcomers. For example:

W1AA - Extra, first licensed before July 1 1932
WA1AA - Extra, first licensed after July 1 1932
K1AA - First, first licensed before July 1 1932
KA1AA - First, first licensed after July 1 1932
W1AAA - General (Advanceds when renewed/modified)
WC1AAA, WD1AAA - Conditional
WT1AAA, WU1AAA - Technician
KN1AAA - Novice

- Amateurs whose callsigns did not conform to the above list would have them changed when renewing, modifying or upgrading. (Imagine the QSL-card-printer business boom!)

Fortunately, most of that proposal was not enacted.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
N3DF
Member

Posts: 252




Ignore
« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2009, 07:25:24 AM »

Or, possibly, the Amateur Extra First Grade required 20 wpm because the Commercial First Grade (of the same time period) also required 20 wpm plain language.  As I recall, the Commercial Extra First Grade required 25 wpm plain language.
Logged

Neil N3DF
K7LRB
Member

Posts: 18




Ignore
« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2009, 09:06:23 AM »

Oli,

I believe most folks reading here are interested in your comments/advice. Yes, there are always those who must "argue" with anything they did not post themselves, if they ever post anything original at all. I have often thought of making a simple post of, "Ham radio is fun." and then sit back and watch the vitriol, flames and outright "hate" that would probably ensue, but I digress.

I have been primarily a CW op for nearly 50 years and as I recall I pretty much learned code the way you describe. I'm not going to say it is good or bad. As has been previously mentioned, effective methods may vary from one individual to the next.

If I have any "problem" with your post it is this, "CW operators are like a secret society. They don't want the newcomers to realize how easy it is." This was a slap in the face to the many of us who for MANY years have encouraged newcomers (and old timers as well) to learn the code, get on the air with it and have fun. One of our prime tenets has been that CW is easy to learn and most proponents of CW I know have always been ready and willing to freely give help to anyone who wants it.

Your injection of hyperbole only serves to diminish your otherwise impressive credentials.

Thank you for your post, it is certainly worthy of consideration.

73,
de Larry
Logged
WO7R
Member

Posts: 736




Ignore
« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2009, 09:26:17 AM »

>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.

I'd love to see citations for that.

It was always my understanding that the "old" license CW limits were set for different code copying styles.

At 5 WPM, most people could still copy individual dits and dahs.

At 13 WPM, one was supposed to know individual letters and numbers and be unable to do it with the dit/dah level of knowledge.

At 20 WPM, one had to "copy back" -- have more than one symbol in their head at a time, at least some of the time.

Or, so the story went.  The trick supposedly was, if you made 5, you'd drift up to 12.  If you made 13, you'd drift up to 19.  And, for me, it was true.


All I know is, learning 5 did not help me learn 13 at all and this was certainly true of many colleagues back in the day.

Some never did "upgrade" to 20 and, actually, this isn't strictly necessary.  Going from 13 to 20 was hard for me, but at least what I learned at 13 was relevant.

My version of the secret would be to learn 13 WPM.  That will get you up to about 19 WPM in practice and, for DXing, fast enough to work virtually all operations.  You can also converse at 13 to 19.

The emphasis on multiple speeds is simply a holdover from the days where the distinction meant a different license class.

Since those days are, for better or worse, past us, I suggest people new to the code concentrate on 13.

Logged
KB1OOO
Member

Posts: 214


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2009, 06:33:03 PM »

>> 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.
>
> I'd love to see citations for that.

Research into CW training and aptitude screening have been taken quite seriously by the US military.  Below is a reference from one of the leading researchers, with an excerpt from the summary discussion.

Taylor, D.W. "Learning the telegraphic code", Psychological Bulletin,
40(7), pgs. 464-487, 1946.

"Tulloss, Biegel and Koch have all recommended that in teaching
receiving the use of visual symbols should be avoided, that individual
characters should not be referred to in terms of their
component dots and dashes, and that nonsense rather than meaningful
material should be used for practice. Lipmann and Biegel
suggested that from the beginning of learning individual characters
should be sent at about 20 words per minute. Koch contended that
learning should begin with messages sent at 12 words per minute
and containing only two characters, additional characters being
added one at a time.
Taylor, however, in a carefully controlled experiment found
that whether the individual characters were sent initially at a high
speed or at relatively slow speeds made no difference in the speed
with which men learned to receive. In two other experiments, he
found that it made no difference in the speed of learning (1)
whether similar or dissimilar characters were taught together during
the initial learning period, or (2) whether immediate or delayed
reinforcement was used in teaching the men to receive."
Logged
OLLIEOXEN27
Member

Posts: 0




Ignore
« Reply #39 on: May 02, 2009, 11:44:05 PM »

K7LRB,

Your point is well taken. It's not so much a secret society but I know many who found learning the code and getting fast with it was much easier than they anticipated when they started. The CW (dialect) hams use is like a foreign language with only about seven or eight sentences (repeated over and over with minor variation). If newbies were told THAT it would change the way they look at learning it. It may not be a secret but I haven't seen anyone else explain it the way I have.

Biggest mistake is to convince newbies unless they copy random letters and numbers at ever increasing speed they haven't really mastered the code when nothing could be further from the truth. If I had believed that thirty years ago I would have given up (as many do to this day). You want to torture yourself? Good luck.

Yes learning alone on the air is the best way. Not in a class IMHO. There are CW qso's going on at all speeds three to forty wpm on 20 and 40 meters day and night. Jump right in. Start slow. When you're on the air you're getting gradually faster with each contact.
Logged
OLLIEOXEN27
Member

Posts: 0




Ignore
« Reply #40 on: May 03, 2009, 09:19:51 AM »

I don't mean to be rude but many of you are babbling fountains of worthless information. Way too intellectual and book learned. All you want to do is show everybody how smart you are or show other people up but the danger is you lead many astray. So type away.

oli
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3880




Ignore
« Reply #41 on: May 03, 2009, 11:05:56 AM »

WO0Z writes: "It was always my understanding that the "old" license CW limits were set for different code copying styles."

A nice story, but I think it has little basis in fact.

The following is only about USA amateur licensing.

In the USA, the code test speed for an amateur license was 10 wpm from 1919 (when hams got back on the air after WW1) until 1936.

In 1936 the speed was raised to 13 wpm, where it stayed until 1951.

(For a few years in the 1920s, there was a license called the "Extra First", but very few hams actually got one.)

So until 1951, practically all US hams had passed either a 10 or 13 wpm code test - and no other.
 
The 5 wpm test, used for Novices and Technicians, was added in 1951 when those licenses were created. The idea was that 5 wpm was easier to learn, and the new Tech and Novice hams could learn 13 wpm by on-the-air practice. By all accounts, FCC wasn't aware of Koch or Farnsworth at the time.

The Extra license and its 20 wpm code test were added in 1951 as well, the 20 wpm speed being based on the old 1920s Extra First class. But when the FCC granted all amateur operating privileges to Generals and Conditionals in late 1952, there was no operational reason to get an Extra, so there were very few Extras until incentive licensing came along in the late 1960s.

WO0Z: "learning 5 did not help me learn 13 at all and this was certainly true of many colleagues back in the day.

Some never did "upgrade" to 20 and, actually, this isn't strictly necessary. Going from 13 to 20 was hard for me, but at least what I learned at 13 was relevant."

I think this was true of many hams in that what worked at 5-8 wpm stopped working around 10 wpm. That's what the Farnsworth method was designed to avoid.

Personally I never ran into any speed bumps or barriers except the ability to write at high speed (beyond about 30 wpm, block-printing in Signal Corps style).

WO0Z: "The emphasis on multiple speeds is simply a holdover from the days where the distinction meant a different license class."

Hams used to learn the code for two reasons:

1) To pass the license test

2) To actually use it on the air.

Reason 1) is long gone, at least in the USA. But Reason 2) is right there same as always, so training should focus on learning for use.

For example, when the FCC waived the sending test 30 years ago, a considerable number of hams stopped trying to learn sending. That was a mistake, partly because learning to send helps one learn to receive, and partly because receiving alone doesn't make one a CW op.
 
WO0Z: "Since those days are, for better or worse, past us, I suggest people new to the code concentrate on 13."

I agree mostly, but I'd aim for 15 wpm or so. Training software makes all this pretty easy, too.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
K8KAS
Member

Posts: 569




Ignore
« Reply #42 on: May 12, 2009, 02:49:51 PM »

As an Army code instructor (05B20 and O5C20 school's at Ft Knox during the 60's I can tell you there is no magic, it just takes time copying the code, not 10 min a day but real time. An hour or two or more copying at every day at 10 wpm or more and you will make it. The radio/tele op's were tested at 15 wpm to graduate  with 10 to 15 day's of training in the Army schools. I saw only 1 or 2 out of 100's that could not make it after 10 to 15 days. To me it's just time spent copying that makes you learn. We had no magic code method's just time spent learning 5 letter group's sent at 10 to 15 wpm. simple and effective, just remember if you don't cut the code your going to be a Tank Mechanic (wash tanks) or a Cook, thats all it took and you loved radio and the code. It worked.
Denny K8KAS
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3880




Ignore
« Reply #43 on: May 12, 2009, 04:07:30 PM »

To K8KAS:

First, thank you for your service.

A couple of questions:

How did the military decide who would go to radio school?

Did hams and commercial ops get any special treatment if they already knew the code?

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
W5UX
Member

Posts: 39




Ignore
« Reply #44 on: May 12, 2009, 09:59:28 PM »

The Navy sat new recruits down and taught them three letters  I  N  and T in about five minutes and then gave them a test by speeding the same three letters up.  The recruits filled in little rectangles in the proper places.  The higher scores were encouraged to attend radio school.  In radio school, We learned first, abcde, later adding the next five.  All had typewriters.  After hearing the letter twice, the letter appeared on a chart in the front of the room.  Final test was 24 wpm for five minutes. Three of us only had one error.  Mine was a typo  Somehow I hit the wrong key and missed the break sign BT. No strike overs were permitted.  I could copy thirty before I joined so it was easy for me.  About one third of the class could not type. The had to rely on the huge keyboard in the front of the room.
Logged
Pages: Prev 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!