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Author Topic: My Morse Learning Campaign  (Read 95751 times)
N3DF
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Posts: 252




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« Reply #195 on: May 09, 2014, 09:09:22 AM »

I wouldn't knock anyone's chosen method of learning code, and yours may well be more efficient than mine.  However, I think I had more fun.  In the mid-1960s I memorized the characters--took 3 or 4 days--and passed the Novice 5 wpm test.  In the following seven or eight months, I made perhaps 250 qsos on 40 and 15 meters.  Also listened to W1AW code transmissions about twice per week.  Then easily glided past the General 13 wpm test with no special practice and no difficulty.  Over the next two years, made perhaps 1,000 QSOs, together with occasional light contesting and DXing.  Then passed the 20 WPM Extra easily with no special practice.  Probably could have reached 20 faster with a disciplined program, but I sure enjoyed being on the air.  I feel sorry for you that you keep putting off your very first cw QSO. 
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 09:11:36 AM by N3DF » Logged

Neil N3DF
KB1WSY
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Posts: 794




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« Reply #196 on: May 09, 2014, 10:21:31 AM »

Thank you for your questions. I am still plodding along, in a holding pattern, at the 29-character/17-wpm level. I am doing just enough practice to prevent my skills from regressing, but no more. Unfortunately my non-ham life has become much too busy. In answer to N3DF's question, the reason I'm not on the air has nothing to do with deliberately "putting off" my first QSO, it has to do with life in general. I haven't had time to revamp the shack, put up the antenna and build the transmitter or do anything more than about 20 minutes of CW practice every two or three days, plus monitoring the bands a few minutes every few days with a simple regenerative receiver and a long-wire antenna.

This will change, eventually, but it could be several more months before I can clear enough time. I run my own business and currently work about 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. These are "good problems to have" in today's so-so economic climate, but they wreak havoc on hobbies!

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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KK4MRN
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Posts: 92




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« Reply #197 on: May 13, 2014, 06:03:19 AM »

Martin,
I discovered that I can hook up my straight key to my HF rig and practice pounding without it actually transmitting.  Yet, you hear nice audio.  This is much better than the awful sound of the MFJ code practice oscillator that uses a 555 timer. 
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M0LEP
Member

Posts: 209




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« Reply #198 on: May 13, 2014, 10:01:24 AM »

much better than the awful sound of

Almost all the bits of Morse-teaching kit (including the computer programs) out there that I've come across seem to have horrible sound generators. G4FON produces a sound that's bearable (if you tweak it with some of the effects it comes with). The rest (including JLMC, LCWO, etc.) are varying degrees of torture to listen to.
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KB1WSY
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Posts: 794




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« Reply #199 on: May 13, 2014, 10:58:08 AM »

Martin,
I discovered that I can hook up my straight key to my HF rig and practice pounding without it actually transmitting.  Yet, you hear nice audio.  This is much better than the awful sound of the MFJ code practice oscillator that uses a 555 timer.  

For sending practice, I built this "vintage" code oscillator using the circuit from the 1968 edition of "How to Become a Radio Amateur," which uses a couple of vintage germanium transistors and is mounted on the small wooden board on the left. The tone is quite pleasant.



Before then I used an Ameco kit, which IIRC uses a timer chip and sounds, to my ear, more tiring. On the 'scope it is pretty much a square wave (top trace in the following photo; the 'scope is ratty coz I haven't restored it yet):



73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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KK4MRN
Member

Posts: 92




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« Reply #200 on: June 12, 2014, 08:05:44 AM »

Martin,
Still practicing?   Where are you at now?

Don't feel bad; I still have not made my first contact - yet.   But I will when I feel the time is right...

Daniel, KK4MRN
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KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 794




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« Reply #201 on: June 12, 2014, 04:04:58 PM »

Martin,
Still practicing?   Where are you at now?

Just got back from a 2.5-week vacation in Europe. Haven't done any code practice for more than three weeks; not good!

I will be getting back into it in the next few days and it will be interesting to see how much I have "lost" in terms of skills. My wild guess is that I've dropped back, but hopefully not too far.

Stay tuned.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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WA7PRC
Member

Posts: 221


WWW

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« Reply #202 on: June 13, 2014, 07:59:51 PM »

Instead of practicing, why not just get on the air... a lot.  As a new Novice in September 1970, I found my proficiency improved quickly and I was having a blast.  Besides, the vinyl LP record I had was wearing out.

My shack was in my folks' separate 2-car garage, next to the log stove. It didn't take long for me to learn to split wood and load the stove while copying Morse at 20+ WPM (while wearing "cans").  By the time I was ready to take the General exam at the FCC office, 13 wpm was a snooze.  You can do it too.  Just get on the air... a lot.

vy 73,
Bryan WA7PRC
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N4OI
Member

Posts: 208




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« Reply #203 on: June 14, 2014, 06:00:06 AM »

Martin -- Wow -- that old EICO oscilloscope in your photo sure brought back some memories...   (Now have a nice, digital Rigol, though.) Thanks!

73
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KJ4MPT
Member

Posts: 33




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« Reply #204 on: June 14, 2014, 02:41:49 PM »

Instead of practicing, why not just get on the air... a lot.  As a new Novice in September 1970, I found my proficiency improved quickly and I was having a blast.  Besides, the vinyl LP record I had was wearing out.

My shack was in my folks' separate 2-car garage, next to the log stove. It didn't take long for me to learn to split wood and load the stove while copying Morse at 20+ WPM (while wearing "cans").  By the time I was ready to take the General exam at the FCC office, 13 wpm was a snooze.  You can do it too.  Just get on the air... a lot.

vy 73,
Bryan WA7PRC

That is the drawback to the Koch method...you can't!  I, like you and many others, learned from cassettes (ARRL, Gordon West, 73 mag, Ameco) that utilized the Farnsworth method.  All the letters, numbers, and prosigns learned slowly.  Well, the characters themselves at a high WPM, but big gaps reducing it to an effective speed of slow.  After a few glacial qsos, I went back and used LCWO to get my speed up quickly.  But I knew all the characters, and learn higher speeds quickly.  The Koch method gets you out of the gate at a very high speed, but it takes a while to get to that gate.  Both ways will work, it is just what works best for the learner.
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20603




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« Reply #205 on: June 14, 2014, 06:20:08 PM »

Instead of practicing, why not just get on the air... a lot. 

Ditto.

My nephew Rob (was KD6EWT as a Novice, now N8YM) knew barely enough code to pass his Novice back in the 80s (at age 10).  I pushed him to "just do it," and get on the air with my station, and six weeks later he was fluent at abou 30 wpm...after about 500 contacts.

There is NOTHING like simply "using it."  And there's no cash prize for "solid copy," unless you're involved in a lifesaving emergency (which would be awfully rare on ham radio), "copy" matters very little.  If u gt abt haf cpy thts mor thn enuf.
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N6PG
Member

Posts: 55




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« Reply #206 on: June 16, 2014, 12:51:39 AM »

Martin,
Still practicing?   Where are you at now?

Just got back from a 2.5-week vacation in Europe. Haven't done any code practice for more than three weeks; not good!

I will be getting back into it in the next few days and it will be interesting to see how much I have "lost" in terms of skills. My wild guess is that I've dropped back, but hopefully not too far.

Stay tuned.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY


Everybody will find what works best for them, but I have enjoyed getting back on CW after being absent since I was 15 (30 years ago).  I have little free time, but I've enjoyed throwing out a wire and getting on the air with my KX3.  I spent a lot of time on my iPhone app before, and I found I was at 20 wpm on the app, but in a real QSO, my speed went WAY down. And then there was sending! For me, I should have gotten on the air sooner.  A QSO a day would have been a lot more effective.... And fun.

I brought the KX3 to Europe, and after everyone is in bed I throw a wire out he window and I'm up on 40 meters. It's been great practice and a lot of fun.
73,
Scott N6PG
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KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 794




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« Reply #207 on: June 16, 2014, 08:27:36 AM »

Instead of practicing, why not just get on the air...

WA7PRG, N6PG, WB2WIK, et al.:

You are right, of course. I need to get on the air.

Time is the constraint. Doing the odd 10 minutes of "taped" code practice from time to time is one thing. Finishing my station setup (because of my eccentric insistence on homebrewing everything) is another. Looks like it will happen this summer though. In real life, need to to get "ahead" of that large pile of work on my desk first.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3860




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« Reply #208 on: June 16, 2014, 09:24:51 AM »

WSY:  Martin, homebrewing is MY thing with ham radio.  Most of the time the homebrewing or modifying......call it bench work, interferes with on the air activities.  I really don't concern myself about this because as I said, "homebrewing is my thing."

If you have only 10 minutes a day to dedicate to learning/practicing code, so be it.  However, I suggest you do indeed dedicate this 10 minutes, every day.

I've found that many have difficulty in learning code or increasing their speeds because of sporadic practice.  Sporadic practice simply doesn't get it unless you're a young person and have the time and patience to satisfy your goal(s).

Think: Sporadic and Impatience = Failure.
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KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 794




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« Reply #209 on: June 17, 2014, 03:49:46 AM »

AXW: Al, you are totally correct to tax me with being "sporadic" and unfortunately, "that's life" at the moment. My priorities are, starting at the top: family, work, ..... ham radio. At the moment, and for much of the 2.5 years since I've been licensed, the first two items on the list have taken up most of my time.

Impatience: nope, that's not me!

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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