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Author Topic: How did you old heads learn morse?  (Read 2693 times)
KA2DDX
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Posts: 20




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« Reply #45 on: July 19, 2009, 05:44:06 PM »

Well, back in the day....

was 1962 and I had this little battery operated code oscillator and a Hallicrafters S108 receiver. So, I wrote the code down on paper and memorized it 5 characters at a time. Then drilled myself until I had letters, numbers and punctuation down pat. Then I practiced sending till I got around 5wpm. Next, was to tune in the ham bands and listen. But, in those days were also a lot of commercial cw stations. I copied those guys endlessly, even tho' I didn't have a clue what they were sending. Didn't matter, the objective was to get good at code, not interpret a message. That would come later.

I spent a lot of hours listening to stuff faster than I could copy and before I knew it, I was copying the fast stuff.

So, it's a natural progression. Just gotta stay with it. I didn't use tapes, thought they were boring and predictable.

73's - Larry - KA2DDX
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N5XM
Member

Posts: 242




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« Reply #46 on: July 23, 2009, 06:55:25 PM »

Great stuff!!  At age 56, I got a late start at age 43.  My Elmer, kf3l, kept encouraging me to get on CW as that was where the juicy dx was, and as I worked for the guy anyway, I wanted to please him.  He is an Ortho surgeon from Johns Hopkins who got his pre-med and EE from Cal Tech in the early 60s, and we would talk about theory every day when we did surgery.  I started listening to Gordon West tapes, and being dyslexic and an ex- rock guitar player who had no high-frequency hearing left, it was tough, but I hung in there because I loved it, and because pursuing excellence had become part of my life.  I am very proud to be a daily CW operator.  n5xm, Richard
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WO7R
Member

Posts: 714




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« Reply #47 on: July 30, 2009, 09:06:53 PM »

I learned in the late '80s if that qualifies as old enough.

Basically, what I did was some simple work on my computer (a 20 line BASIC program) and had it send me whatever I thought would work using the computer's "beep" function to send the code.

A lot of it was carefully constructed 5 letter not-quite-random groups.

Things like:

A5H5A
BTMTB

and things of that sort.  The game was that the middle three were "nearly the same" but there was just enough "other stuff" to keep me honest.

It worked -- I got to 13 and then 20.

The main ingredient, though, is spending time on it _every night_.  When I slacked off, I did less well the next night.  The pros will all tell you 20 minutes a night, but if you can't manage that, squeeze in 10.  Anyone has 10 minutes a day to spare somewhere.

Do that and just about any method will get you there.


Wo0Z
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W5RKL
Member

Posts: 891




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« Reply #48 on: July 31, 2009, 08:45:11 AM »

I learned each individual letter, number, and
punctuation code combination by looking at each
correct code combination until I could instantly
recall each one without having to think. I did not
use a code oscillator. I simply looked at each
character's code combination until I knew it correctly
and could instantly recall it without having to think
of the code combination.

At this stage I trained my ear to actually hear the
character being sent which allowed me to eliminate
the code to character conversion step. I knew once I
trained myself to actually hear the charactes my
receive speed would increase significantly, allowing
me to copy in my head. This takes a lot of practice
and does not happen overnight! Once you have achieved
this point, you can get up and go get a cup of coffee
and not miss anything in the conversation.

I only write down a person name and callsign and,
if necessary, any questions a station asks me and
only so I can refer back to the question. Listening
to good character formation, good character and
word spaced CW is a pleasure. Horrible, sloppy,
and swing sent code is, for me, very difficult to
copy.

When I got to this point, I started to learn how
to send. I wanted to sound as good as W1AW or
the many commerical machine generated CW stations
I use to hear on the air. I did a lot of listening
and using a straight key, learned to form the
characters properly and with continued practice
I was able to sound very much like W1AW. The
continued practicing to improve my sending to
achieve my ultimate goal of sounding just like
W1AW or the commerical stations I heard on the air.

I am a retired Chief Radioman and spend many years
teaching code in the Navy, not only on ships I was
stationed on but as an instructor at the Navy's
Fleet Training Group when it was located on the
Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Everytime I get on the air on CW, I do my best to
ensure my sending is as good as it possible can.
Anyone who has worked me on CW knows what I am
talking about. I have received numerous compliments
on my fist, "great fist and easy to copy" and, yes,
I'm proud of that!

Mike W5RKL
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