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Author Topic: Starting into CW  (Read 29043 times)
KC8Y
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Posts: 243




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« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2013, 06:33:43 AM »

RE: K8AXW

I just found a keyer that accepts BOTH, as input, a keyboard or a hand-keyer.  The MasterKeyer MK-1 (www.hamgets.com) has many memories,  see the website for detail specifications.  I think this keyer must have its' own keyboard as input?  Just acquired a new/plain keyboard (DYNEX) for only $ 24.00. 

Because of my handicap, will try SENDING, as soon as I set it up?
Don't care about non-responsive come-backs!

I'm going to try head-copy CW.  If not must try machine software. 


.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2013, 08:58:41 AM »

8Y:  I was thinking of the MFJ-452 keyboard keyer.  Reasonable price and full featured.

I've never used the 452 but I've homebrewed 3 keyboard keyers and can tell you that they work great. 



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KC8Y
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« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2013, 12:09:26 PM »

My opinion:  I just like, the one I have.  Take care.  Hope to work you

73
Ken, KC8Y
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K0EWS
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Posts: 38


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« Reply #33 on: July 15, 2013, 05:53:31 PM »

Welcome to the wonderful world of CW! With your use of FLDigi are you using a sideband tone to key the rig? Even if it were, I'd guess that you should be able to see some responses on your waterfall. If you are really interested in doing CW, I suggest you use a straight key if you have one, and use it. Go as slow as you want. You might want to check into the SKCC group. They have a lot of slow speed operators and a lot of activities on the air which are great for new CW ops. Also, get on the air and make QSOs! And, if FLDigi helps you along, go ahead and use it to copy CW. My guess is that if you make enough contacts, you won't need it for long. I, for one, would rather see you use CW with help than not use it at all.
Anyway, good luck!
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K8AXW
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« Reply #34 on: July 15, 2013, 09:00:44 PM »

Quote
I, for one, would rather see you use CW with help than not use it at all.
Anyway, good luck!
 

Very well said!!
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KD8IIC
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Posts: 158




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« Reply #35 on: July 16, 2013, 09:31:58 PM »

 I found a good used MFJ CW Keyboard arrangement on R&L's Used List the other day. Looks like they still have it to sell if you are interested.  73
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AC6CV
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Posts: 33




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« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2013, 07:32:26 AM »

If I want to talk to a station I will wait until he or se is finished with their transmissions. I call his call once and pause long enough them to respond. If they are listening to the freq and if they hear you they will probably respond with de if so finish with. De and call. If they don't respond just give de and call sign .
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K8AXW
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« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2013, 08:23:44 AM »

CV:  Sometimes brevity just doesn't get it.  Although I do use your method quite often, when I don't get a response I go for proper procedure which is, use his call de my call and "pse."

I've found that the guy I'm trying to call  is sometimes preoccupied with filling out his log book, has turned the dial a bit or is simply running antiquated gear (his preference) which requires manual changeover and takes a few seconds.

I think the key to success is flexibility and persistence.
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AC5LS
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« Reply #38 on: September 11, 2013, 09:39:27 AM »

...and a way that works for one won't work for all, because folks learn in different ways.

That's just not true.

I learned CW before there WERE PCs, software for CW, and all the rest of the crutches that are available now.  If you wanted to learn CW, and everybody did, because CW was about all Novices were allowed, you just learned it the old fashioned way, letter by letter, and gradually learned what each letter sounded like in Morse code.  

With practice, what began as agonizingly slow recognition of each letter as it was sent and heard started coming more easily, and receiving speed increased.  It takes dedication and practice, but relying on other techniques to make it happen is absolutely not required.  In fact, I think it complicates the process needlessly.

Dave
AC5LS
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 09:44:11 AM by AC5LS » Logged
M0LEP
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Posts: 209




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« Reply #39 on: September 11, 2013, 01:42:50 PM »

you just learned it the old fashioned way, letter by letter

Folks learn different ways. Koch-method does help some but not others. Farnsworth spacing helps some and hinders others. Some folk can leap straight in at 15, 20, 25 wpm. Others have to work their way up from zero. Some folk will get stuck at 8 or 10 or 12 wpm, others will be able to get faster with no obvious barriers. Some folk learn to head-copy easily, others have to write (or type) it down. Computers may help some, while others will need teachers. Some learn in a few weeks, others take years. Some pass, others fail. About the only certainty is that it takes practice to get anywhere.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #40 on: September 11, 2013, 08:11:34 PM »

AC5LS:  Dave, very few people feel as you do.....unfortunately.  I've been haunting this CW forum for several years and I think I've hear about every excuse in the book for not being able to learn the code or for taking years to learn it. 

The bottom line is so many will work their behinds off trying to do something the easyway.  If they would just put forth the effort and dedication the whole process would go great.

I learned a long time ago that if a person prefers to use the Koch method or Farnsworth method or whatever..... go for it.  But nothing beats dedication and patience.  This observation has been made by watching hundreds of men learn the code, at first copying by pencil and then with a mill

Somehow, sometime,  dedication (because you WANT it) and patience have disappeared down through the years.  So many want it NOW but it ain't gonna happen!
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M0LEP
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« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2013, 04:26:34 AM »

Quote from:  link=topic=89400.msg700166#msg700166 date=1378955494
I've been haunting this CW forum for several years and I think I've hear about every excuse in the book for not being able to learn the code or for taking years to learn it.

How long should it take to learn Morse?

Seems to me there's a lot of pressure to "get started fast" these days. The un-spoken undertone to that is that "slow is bad". That pushes folk into Koch-type "get started fast" methods. I was pushed that way, and stuck with it for over two years, putting in effort, and dedication, and patience, and perseverence, and got near enough nowhere.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2013, 09:26:28 AM »

Quote
How long should it take to learn Morse?

Now there's a worm on a hook if I've ever seen one!  Of course the correct answer is, "It depends."

I have no idea what you're talking about, "pressure to get started fast."  Pressure from whom?  

I think this is the way it has been going for a long time.

A guy wants to learn code and has no idea where to start.  He gets on eHam.com, CW Forum and asks the question, "What's the fastest and easiest way to learn code?" This is the wrong attitude right off.  The correct question is, "How do I get started?"

Then the answers come in from all over the world and from what I can see, boils down to about 4 different ways.  There are variations of these 4 ways so the "answer" now becomes another problem.  At first it was "how" and now we have "how" and "which one?" Consequently the potential CW op tries one that sounds good and when he doesn't learn the code in a week of messing about he goes to the next one and before long he's wasted several weeks if not months.  During this time he becomes discouraged and either drops it or continues to look for an easier and faster way to do it!

Learning the code is like learning a musical instrument.  It simply can't be done by spending a few minutes here and a few minutes there.  It just isn't going to happen, unless the guy is "gifted."  And that isn't who we're talking about, are we?

Dedication and patience means that you're going to see that you spend at least 30 minutes a day dedicated to learning code, without distractions of any kind.  This is YOUR time and disciplining yourself at this point is necessary. This means no TV, no wife, no kids or dogs....nothing but you and code.  

Patience is understanding that you're going to have difficulty someplace, or more often, several places along the learning curve.  There are "mental brick walls" along the curve and you need to understand this and have the patience to work around, over or through them.  

It's also necessary to have the correct equipment to learn the code.  It's necessary to have something to play perfect code to you at any speed you want, preferably using headphones.  Not a speaker.  

I also recommend a half decent straight key and code oscillator so that you can practice sending code.  Several that I know of have found it easier to send code that to receive it.  

While this might sound bass ackwards, learning to send before you can copy, teaches emulation.  You learn to form the characters with your hand and this helps you recognize a character when you hear it.  You might also call it "brain conditioning."

A short example:  If you have a code tape that starts out with, say 3 characters, listen to the sound of these characters and then while looking at a chart showing what these characters look like, practice forming them with the key.

At first this might seem like learning two things at once would be overwhelming, but the fact is one is reinforcing the other....in both directions.

It must also be noted that one person can learn faster than another.  Don't even talk to these "fast learners" or people who don't understand why it's taking you so long.  One thing you want to avoid is discouragement in any form.  Don't even tolerate it.

Discouragement will come in all forms like "I learned the code using this method" or "I listen to code at 20WPM and then slow down" or myriad of other "ways."  Go slow, learn a few, learn a few more and go on.  Think "plow horse with a full day of plowing ahead of him.  Head down and one foot in front of the other, looking neither to the left or right.  Once you learn the code, only then think of speed.  Speed is next to last.  The last thing is head copy and a whole new subject!  Don't even go there.

Make up your mind you're going to do this, no matter what.  Dedicate the time and be patient.  With this attitude you'll find the process much faster and believe it or not, actually fun!

Sure, it's something you have to WORK for but the world it opens to you is worth it.  Believe me.  

Al - K8AXW
Ex-DL4TPO
Ex-K3FKA
CW op - Former military - Ham 57 years












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M0LEP
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Posts: 209




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« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2013, 09:38:07 AM »

Thanks. That's good solid reasonable stuff, even if it doesn't answer my (deliberately vague and open ended) question. Smiley

The way it worked for me was:

1) Pass licence exam (which includes an "appreciation of Morse code" practical) and get on air on phone and digital modes, avoiding Morse like the plague.

2) Get hooked on SOTA, and then discover that maybe this Morse stuff might actually have its uses.

3) Get on the Net and see what it says about learning Morse. There's some old stuff out there, but the recent stuff overwhelmingly pushes this "Koch" process as The Way to learn Morse.

4) Ask folks at the radio club about learning Morse. Most of them aren't interested. Those that are fall into two groups. First, the ones who learned Morse fifty or more years ago, usually while in the armed forces. Second, folks who've taken Morse up recently. Folk in the second group also recommend the "Koch" process.

5) Read more on the "Koch" process, and find advice like "start fast", "start by setting the character speed to the speed you want to end up working at" (this is what I called "pressure to get started fast") and "don't count the dots and dashes, hear the sound" (whatever that means).

6) Find lcwo.net (which has the advantage of working on the computers I have available), and get started.

7) Soon realise that 30wpm is way too fast a speed to try starting at, and reign back expectations. Rinse and repeat, reigning back expectations over about 6 or 7 months.

8 ) Take a step back and attempt to analyse causes of difficulty. Ask questions, listen to answers, come to some conclusions, and reset expectations again. Re-start training at about 15wpm characters, 12wpm overall speeds.

9) Hammer away at the "Koch" lessons for another year and a bit. Eventually grind to a halt, some two years (or more) down the trail...

10) Take another step back, figure out a few things, and abandon all things "Koch".

For me the main problem with "Koch" was the incremental approach. It seems that each time a new character was added I had to re-learn (in a slightly different way) all the previous characters as well. Occasionally an increment went fairly smoothly, but usually each one took longer than the one before. The only way round this was to deal with the whole lot in one go.

The other problem I had was one of pitch and volume. It was fairly obvious right from the start that there's an optimal volume; too soft and I'm straining to hear what's happening, but too loud and my ears are soon ringing. However, it took me a while to realise that higher pitched Morse was more difficult to listen to for any length of time. There's an optimal pitch for me somewhere around 450 Hz at which I can concentrate on Morse for a while. At 600 Hz I can manage a minute or two at most. Much higher than that and it's into "turn that off now!" territory. Oh, and computer-generated tones are more tiring than over-the-air tones for some reason or other, too.

11) Set about learning Morse characters in a "back to first grade" way (by making an "A B C" "1 2 3" kind of CD and listening over and over). That way I was able to learn all the characters (well, all the ones I included in the CD), more or less...
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K8AXW
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« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2013, 06:42:30 PM »

Rick: You've pretty well confirmed what I said.  However, it also must be understood that the Koch method has enabled many people to learn the code.  No doubt the other ways of learning code have also worked for many people.

I still contend that too many are wasting their time being in a hurry.  Sound like a contradiction of terms but it will make sense on the second or third read.

You mentioned one thing that I would avoid Rick.  That is trying to learn the alphabet and numbers sequentially.  This will create a major problem early on.  Scramble them and I also advise scrambling letters and avoid clear text or words. 

There are two schools of thought on this "scrambling the characters vs. text learning" and both have their advantages and disadvantages so choosing random characters or words will be up to you.  Each has it's own "Gotcha" which will pop up at any time. 

This is one of those things that you'll have to determine yourself.

73

Al - K8AXW
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