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 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Zen and the Art of Radiotelegraphy  (Read 8418 times)
KD0EXQ
Member

Posts: 23




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2013, 04:02:53 PM »

I am on my third try   Embarrassed  The first two times I worked at it about a month, got about half way through and quit.  This time I made a personal commitment to finish.  Started in January and am getting close to the "end" (actually, the end of the beginning). 

My learning has been uneven -  some times it comes quickly and other times it takes a few days. And then sometimes a letter I had "goes away" and I have to relearn/practice some more.  Maybe its my age.

Made an email contact with Lane (KD8IIC), who just posted again looking for CW newbies to work with a slow speed, a few weeks ago.  I hope to be ready to sked a contact with him  at the end of the month - that is my goal.   That is helping me push through this last bit.

You have gotten a lot of good advice so far. Perseverence is the key.  If I can do this, (almost) anyone can!  Good luck.
Logged
K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3900




Ignore
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2013, 07:35:23 PM »

4JC:  One thing to help with the "loss of focus" caused by any number of things can be helped by using a handkey and oscillator to practice sending.  Actually "doing" something or doing something different often breaks this loss of focus thing. 
Logged
STAYVERTICAL
Member

Posts: 875




Ignore
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2013, 02:25:53 AM »

Hello everyone, I am back after some remedial reworking on the bio-chassis.

Nice to see everyone still helping out new code ops.
As others have said - it really does not matter how you learn - just that you keep learning.
I learned myself from a book a few characters at a time, in the time honoured method open to geographically isolated enthusiasts.
Later when I did my commercial ticket, I learned from an ancient paper tape reader.
Koch was only the german word for cook in those days, and we slept deeply, as those ignorant of other methods always do.

I agree with Al (8AXW) about not worrying about head reading in the early stages.
It will come naturally when the speed gets high enough, and your rapid graphite pencil strokes set the paper on fire.

When you learn something new, writing it down as well as reading it works wonders with knowledge retention.
I guess it is something to do with the additional brain pathways that are needed to control muscles and so on, but it works.

So, my advice - forget the Koch and other methods - you need to learn in a natural setting, as you will hear it on the air.
Very few guys send conversational morse like a Koch speed sequence, and it will only make you have to adjust later.
Listen to the code from a computer generated "perfect" spacing model.

If you want to learn  a language, you do not normally pick an unusual dialect of the base language - but the "proper" implementation.
Once you have sufficient experience, you will be able to pick up dialects such as those spoken by mechanical bug users, and others.

So to summarise:

1. Learn a few characters at 5 wpm - then learn a few more until you have them all.
2. Use perfect morse spacing when learning the characters.
3. Write the characters down by pen or pencil - this will reinforce your learning and memory retention.
4. Gradually increase your speed of reading by 1 or 2 words per minute - you will hardly notice the increase.
5. Take a break of a day or two from time to time - the brain needs time to re-organise itself and you will be better when you resume.
6. At some speed, you will find yourself head reading naturally- but this will generally be from around 30WPM - let it come when it will.
7. Remember - this is a hobby - something we do for relaxation and fun - keep it that way.

73 - Rob
Logged
K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3900




Ignore
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2013, 09:30:00 AM »

Hey Rob.... welcome back!  Hope the bio-mods are doing well. 

Your analysis and summation on code learning are right on.  The one this I would like to add or emphasize is to also practice sending with a hand key.  The act of forming characters with the proper spacing, which is a very deliberate process of forming a character, also reinforces memory retention and also speeds up the learning process.

Using the Koch and other "trick" methods will require changing at some point to "real life" code reception.  That's an additional step to learn, or perhaps, unlearn. 

I've heard that the Kock method prevents "dit counting."  When the military taught us code and we started this "dit counting" they sped up the code tape.  That took care of that problem and still maintained the correct spacing and sound.

I wish you good health Rob.



Logged
STAYVERTICAL
Member

Posts: 875




Ignore
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2013, 02:47:17 PM »

Thanks for the good wishes Al - I send the same back to you with interest.

I agree with you about sending.
Once you have proficiency at even 5 WPM hand sending is ok.
The goal should be perfect sending - and never swap speed for accuracy in sending.
The greatest compliment a straight key user can receive is to be told by the other guy they thought he was using a PC to send.
Swings should be left on the childrens playground, not imported into CW sending.

One thing I have found particularly useful in both morse and other learning is to give the brain time to "stew".
I don't mean this in the vengeful sense, but in the sense of allowing time for knowledge to percolate through the neural network.
The subconscious mind, will work in the background, ordering and defragging our brain cells.
You will find that after a few days hiatus from morse practice - you are magically better at it than when you left the study.

This is not magic, but just a normal part of the learning process, similar to the effects of sleep and dreaming.
In fact, a little research will show that this process was used by many "geniuses" in history to aid them in their creativity.
For example Leonardo da Vinci took naps during the day with a spoon clutched in his hand.
When he dozed off, his hand would relax and the spoon would fall and wake him up.
He found that many ideas in his subconscious would now be available to him for a short while, which he duly wrote down.
Such is the power of the subconscious.

Our brains are designed to efficiently learn whatever we deem important enough.
Make morse important to us - and we cannot help but learn it.

73 - Rob
Logged
K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3900




Ignore
« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2013, 09:19:30 PM »

Rob:  Great quote!! 
Quote
Our brains are designed to efficiently learn whatever we deem important enough.
Make morse important to us - and we cannot help but learn it.

This is probably the biggest reason people have so much trouble learning code or failing to learn the code. 

This, in my opinion, is why so many fail at a diet or losing weight. 

Logged
STAYVERTICAL
Member

Posts: 875




Ignore
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2013, 11:48:48 PM »

I agree Al - someone who is relentless in pursuing a goal is a force of nature.
For thousands of years the mantra of visualising a goal, and keeping it close to us, has been proven an effective ideology.

From Jesus saying that if we had faith as small as a mustard seed we could say to the mountain raise up and drop into the sea,
to Norman vincent Peale's power of positive thinking, we have been shown the way.
Most modern motivational books are simply variants of this truism, and work - but we have to be unflinching in our purpose.

An often quoted piece by the philosopher Wolfgang von Goethe says it better than I ever could:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”  

–Wolfgang von Goethe

73 - Rob
« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 11:52:11 PM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged
IK0YGJ
Member

Posts: 43


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2013, 07:29:54 AM »


So to summarise:

1. Learn a few characters at 5 wpm - then learn a few more until you have them all.
2. Use perfect morse spacing when learning the characters.
3. Write the characters down by pen or pencil - this will reinforce your learning and memory retention.
4. Gradually increase your speed of reading by 1 or 2 words per minute - you will hardly notice the increase.
5. Take a break of a day or two from time to time - the brain needs time to re-organise itself and you will be better when you resume.
6. At some speed, you will find yourself head reading naturally- but this will generally be from around 30WPM - let it come when it will.
7. Remember - this is a hobby - something we do for relaxation and fun - keep it that way.

73 - Rob


Hi Rob, I strongly agree on getting the most even, gradual and relaxed mood in learning. This is why starting out with a straight key, in a relaxed mood is practical method to gain proficiency in a simplified environment, relatively stress free.
Doing CW is a matter of mind state, more than a technical approach. Just like when going on the bycicle, who does care any more of the subtleness of movements we do?
Practice and fun. As simple as that!
73 Carlo

*******
Download Zen and the Art Of Radiotelegraphy free in PDF format here:

http://www.qsl.net/ik0ygj/enu/index.html

Now in 4 languages: Italian, English, German, French 
Logged
N5XM
Member

Posts: 242




Ignore
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2013, 06:04:58 PM »

Good stuff, all!  By starting out with a hand key, you are just about forced to learn how to make good characters with good spacing, because if you don't it sounds like crap.  If you have musical abilities, you are ahead of the game because you already have the ability to recognize when things just sound right.  Not everyone has a musical ear.  As well as persistence being critical, patience with yourself is also critical.  A building is built one stud, one wall, and one brick at a time.  Yes, you have to be able to copy well, but if you have a lousy fist, no one is going to want to have more than a short QSO with you.  Proper word spacing is just as important as proper character spacing. 

Remember that your stamina will build over time.  Take the long term view.  In a way, being a good CW op is like competitive athletics in that you do your best when you are "in the zone".  Cultivate the ability to be focused and relaxed at the same time.  The more time you can get into that zone, the easier it will be to get into the zone.  It's like meditation.
Logged
M0LEP
Member

Posts: 209




Ignore
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2013, 04:24:39 AM »

If you have musical abilities, you are ahead of the game because you already have the ability to recognize when things just sound right.

...or not, as the case may be. I have two musically-talented ham friends who both tried to learn Morse. One's a natural, the other not.
Logged
K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3900




Ignore
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2013, 08:06:55 AM »

LEP:  I agree.... I've always felt that the ability to copy code and music has been blown completely out of proportion.  While some code speeds do seem to have a 'rhythm' or seems to flow, some speeds between 5 and 30wpm do not.

Based on the responses of many military ops and hams down through the years it seems the 'awkward' speeds are 13 and 18wpm, whereas 15 and 20wpm and smooth or flowing.

Rob:  
Quote
An often quoted piece by the philosopher Wolfgang von Goethe says it better than I ever could:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”  

–Wolfgang von Goethe


I'm going to have to make a copy of this and put it under my operating desk glass!

The line, "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence" applies to me.  I'm not too sharp and have poor memory retention skills but I am extremely persistant and patient.  It took me about 8 years to build and get an amplifier to work properly and approximately 4.5 years to get my last electronic project to operate properly.  I never quit on a project!

To quote an anonymous redneck hillbilly.....probably from WV:

" Whatcha ain't got in yer head, ya gotta make up with yer feet!"

Thanks for sharing.

Al - K8AXW
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 08:08:58 AM by K8AXW » Logged
N4DSP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2013, 08:53:01 AM »

I would suggest going to www.cwops.org

They have the CW Academy and will teach you at 28wpm learning immediately the sound of words instead of individual letters. It's not as hard as you would think with this approach. One instructor developed this technique in the US Military which they adopted. He also uses OOVOO so you can see, hear the instructor. Cannot go wrong.
Logged
AC2EU
Member

Posts: 410


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2013, 04:13:17 PM »

Hello All,

As one in the later stages of the learning process ( painful QSOs) I wanted mention one thing that made a difference for me.
I used the Koch trainer and also "Just learn morse code" programs. Both do what they are supposed to do; teach the letters and numbers at a reasonab;e medium wpm rate.
However I feel that I lost some ground trying to master coping using these.
If I had to do it over again I would have went to W1AW code practice and listening to live QSOs as soon as I could do a reasonable job of recognizing the "sounds" as letters.
Listening to actual content is more fun and challenging than random letters. Once i made the transition, i was attempting my own QSOs a month later. The ability to copy seemed to improve dramatically for me.

That was my experience, you mileage may vary...
Logged

KE6EE
Member

Posts: 399




Ignore
« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2013, 05:53:03 PM »

Listening to actual content is more fun and challenging than random letters. Once i made the transition, i was attempting my own QSOs a month later. The ability to copy seemed to improve dramatically for me.

Absolutely. Learning theory supports this. Doing something which is intensely-involving makes much deeper impressions (memory/learning is greatly enhanced) than doing something which is abstract and has no meaningful content (listening to random groups of characters).

Think of how quickly kids learn video games.

It's all about involvement. I think artificial learning systems are the worst possible way to learn something. Boring and a turn-off.
Logged
M0LEP
Member

Posts: 209




Ignore
« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2013, 09:33:02 AM »

Listening to actual content is more fun and challenging than random letters.

I suspect the effectiveness of the training systems would be greatly increased if they ran with words, abbreviations and callsigns as soon as they could, instead of sticking with random groups.
Logged
Pages: Prev 1 [2] 3 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!