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eHam Forums => CW => Topic started by: AE8RS on November 07, 2017, 01:25:52 PM



Title: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: AE8RS on November 07, 2017, 01:25:52 PM
Does anyone have experience using the morse decoder in fldigi? I'm piping my CW into fldigi to practice my sending. I keep reading on this forum the biggest annoyance on the air is poor spacing. When I send into fldigi it's separating all my letters. I don't want to be the guy running my words together trying to get fldigi to put them into nice clean words. So, is it an accurate decoder?


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: VK5EEE on November 07, 2017, 03:50:18 PM
That's likely nothing to worry about but a "feature" of decoders when they are not locked on exactly to the speed. So long as you can hear a gap in your sending between characters, that's surely fine. Running letters together means there is NO gap. Listen to W1AW or type in some text into LCWO.net or a known working CW keyboard sender, and listen to the rhythm, that is what you would want to ideally emulate, but some variation from it is not going to render your sent CW poor or unintelligible.


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: AE8RS on November 07, 2017, 05:42:22 PM
Thank you! That's tremendously helpful.


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: VK5EEE on November 07, 2017, 06:51:48 PM
You are welcome. Another fact, is that there are a great many hams now, perhaps due to having learned CW at higher speed with Farnsworth spacing and not ever got the spacing down, who send with exaggerated gaps between letters. It's not a big issue, but in your case, you may be worried about not having enough gaps because of some recent discussions here in the forum. Those MAY also be exaggerated cases, in all honestly, the official gaps of 3 dits between letters and 7 between words (which only decades ago was officially JUST FOUR DITS BETWEEN WORDS, i.e an almost imperceptible difference between inter-letter and inter-word spacing, as regulated by the ITU Morse Code regulation) is often not adhered to: many use less than 3 dits between letters, perhaps 2 dits, and less than 7 between words, perhaps 5 dits, and there is really no problem at all. Morse is a LOT more flexible than many would have you believe!


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: VA7CPC on November 07, 2017, 10:57:46 PM
. . .  So long as you can hear a gap in your sending between characters, that's surely fine. Running letters together means there is NO gap. Listen to W1AW or type in some text into LCWO.net or a known working CW keyboard sender, and listen to the rhythm, that is what you would want to ideally emulate, but some variation from it is not going to render your sent CW poor or unintelligible.

The danger, of course, is that _you_ will hear the gap (because you know it's supposed to be there), but your listener will not (because he _doesn't_ know, and it's too short to be recognizable as a gap).

Yes, "fldigi" is reliable.  If you can send code that it can understand (no gaps between letters on the decode, and a space between words), you're doing very well.

A question:

. . . What are you sending with?

If you can get fldigi to decode your sending with a straight key, you're doing better than most experienced hams.  It's a lot easier to accomplish with a paddle and keyer.

If your keyer offers "autospacing", turn that on, and see how you do with it.  If you're putting too much space between letters, it'll tell you right away -- each of those too-long, inter-letter gaps will be extended to an inter-word gap.

.      Charles


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: AE8RS on November 08, 2017, 04:29:45 AM
I'm using paddles into a Arduino keyer (K3NG). So, no straight key yet. I'll try turning on the autospace. You're 100% right I've seen the articles about running things together over the last few weeks and wanted to make sure I wasn't trying to get tighter CW at the expense of legibility.


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: KD8IIC on November 08, 2017, 05:39:47 AM
  Thank You for your interest and effort to perfect your fist!


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: N3HEE on November 09, 2017, 05:20:33 AM
One tool I use with my students to check their sending is to have them record themselves sending.  Then they play it back and see if they can copy it.  This quickly makes them aware of spacing and timing issues without anyone needing to tell them.  We also have a sending drill at the beginning of each class and I give feedback and suggestions.  Sending good quality code is more important than being able to receive code at a higher speed. 


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: KE6EE on November 09, 2017, 07:22:20 AM
One tool I use with my students to check their sending is to have them record themselves sending.  Then they play it back and see if they can copy it. 


This very interesting observation suggests that some students do not listen to themselves as they are sending code. Which in turn says to me that their learning is superficial and incomplete.

I think that most of us who learned code without using a contemporary "quickie" method for learning, can hear even minor spacing errors as we send.


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: VK5EEE on November 09, 2017, 07:45:41 AM
I definitely can hear EXACTLY what I send even to the minutest timing difference, admittedly I'm quite QRQ capable, I wonder if it had anything to do with receiving (approx age 8 to 12) for some years before transmitting? I can't help but feel that one should learn to receive well before sending, but I may well be wrong on that.

I have observed an unusual (to me) phenomena of some who are new to CW being able to send FASTER than they can receive -- in fact MUCH faster. E.g. they may be sending well at 16 WPM but can't receive 14 WPM well. I assume this is because when they know what they want to send they can recall the character, but when hearing it unexpectedly they cannot readily recall it.

It is strange to me as I did spend years listening before first sending at age 12, and when I did get on the key for 8 hours each day for 5 weeks, right from the get go I was a good fist. This is what leads me to think that sending can always come AFTER receiving without any problem, in fact you are eager to send, and when sending you can then hear quite well what you are sending.

From that early age up until even now, I've always been able to receive a lot faster than I can send, but I think this may be in part due to not realising that I should have trained on single lever (and thus non-iambic) as I was unaware of the speed limitation of 45-50WPM in iambic mode, for normal human beings (or perhaps even exceptional ones). Thus I can receive 60-70 or so plain English but send only 45 WPM before too many errors get in (and still, with an iambic keyer but now also with single lever, but haven't had much QRQ practice).

So I'm just not sure about whether it is a good idea to be sending until CW has been mastered, because that mastering does involve being very perceptive to timing and any slight variations in timing. As an aside here, I think a great many seem to think that bug and cootie operators who deliberately swing and create music, and vary from the standard ratios, don't know exactly what we are doing: we do, and I can prove it by repeating any variations twice in a row EXACTLY no matter the length of the word. But, key to this, is knowing exactly what you are sending, and it would appear that those who learn sending along with receiving, or before mastering reception, thus would likely not (unless supervised) know their errors.

So a question to those who are teaching people to send before they have been able to receive CW at above 20WPM, what is your reason for teaching sending early on? To overcome potential boredom of the student or keep them more interested? Or as you believe there is some benefit? I have a suspicion that delaying sending until reception is good, will lead to better sending (sooner), BUT the down side is that may prevent many from going on air at 12WPM and I think it is a GOOD thing that there are more stations on air, no matter how slow or "sloppy" though others will likely disagree.  :)

Perhaps it all comes back to, as I think KE6EE has mentioned many times, those now learning these days, overthinking the methods and worrying too much, rather than getting on with it, and having fun, and getting practice on air (reception and, when they feel able, sending). I just did not learn any traditional way, I learned by listening to mostly unmodulated CW in an AM receiver, at speeds above around 18WPM from the get go, and without any instructor, but as a youngster having fun.


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: OZ8AGB on November 09, 2017, 11:33:49 AM
Yes interesting. Learned morse 2½ years ago @ age 49. Can send at 23 wpm but to attain > 80% copy I need to receive at <= 15 wpm.


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: M0LEP on November 09, 2017, 12:20:40 PM
At the Essex CW Boot Camp a few weeks back the instructor leading my group insisted that Morse is mostly rhythm, and you can't learn rythm just by listening; you have to repeat it back. Using a key is as good a way to send the rhythm back as any, so learn to send at the same time as you learn to receive.


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: VK5EEE on November 09, 2017, 05:13:19 PM
Yes interesting. Learned morse 2½ years ago @ age 49. Can send at 23 wpm but to attain > 80% copy I need to receive at <= 15 wpm.
What method(s) did you use to learn, how did you go about it, if possible to explain, both the sending and receiving? I'm not sure everything applies to everyone, only a few things likely do, but it may throw some light on why this is.


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: VK5EEE on November 09, 2017, 07:49:20 PM
At the Essex CW Boot Camp a few weeks back the instructor leading my group insisted that Morse is mostly rhythm
He is right, musical types (I do come from a musical family but I was only interested in Morse from a young age) are said to have an easier time learning it.
, and you can't learn rythm just by listening; you have to repeat it back.
He said that, or you concluded that?
Repeating back may take place IN YOUR MIND.
Using a key is as good a way to send the rhythm back as any,
He said that, or you concluded that?
I'd assume he did not said that, but that you drew that conclusion. It isn't a good way, because you need someone on hand who knows whether you are doing alright or not, otherwise you will learn hard habits that you cannot undo. I know several hams who have that very problem, and simple as the problems are they are completely UNABLE to undo those bad habits. The only way you can do this YOURSELF is once you have actually mastered the rhythm itself, on receive. Otherwise the outcome is going to be anything from appalling and barely decipherable to at most lackluster.
so learn to send at the same time as you learn to receive.
I really believe that is bad advice. I think listening comes first.

What is also observable is that on this forum advice is being handed out by those who themselves have far from mastered Morse and admitted to not being able to -- after many years of trying different methods -- unable to send or even receive 20WPM. I know it gets shot down as being arrogant or condescending, but it is not: it is a reversal of (as much these days) that advice is best received from the masters who are thus qualified to teach, than students giving such advice -- you did not say "I THINK it may be best to send at the same time as you learn to receive" you said "So learn at the same time as you receive". I did not say "Listening comes first" in spite of my demonstrated expertise in Morse Code, I said "I think listening comes first" at least when it is unsupervised. In a class room setting, on or off air with an experienced teacher, that may well be a different matter.

It's astounding that time and again people come up here, which is understandable, looking for advice, and then every time the same people (we are but a handful) dare to come out and give advice, and the same people always give the good advice (KE6EE, N5HEE and others) and the same people come out and give contrary advice (almost always those who have NOT mastered CW). I say time and again, that the thing that should be at least READ by anyone wanting to learn AND master CW, is Zen and The Art of Radio Telegraphy by OM Carlo IK0YGJ http://www.qsl.net/ik0ygj/enu/ and honestly if you haven't read through that, you should. It's also what anyone should read who wants to learn Morse. There isn't a magic answer on this forum, though KE6EE has clearly many times stated the POSITION that one should take, in learning Morse, and other helpful advice, and then get on with it rather than worry endlessly about conflicting advice without, as I've pointed out before, knowing the qualifications of the doctors.  ::)

If someone is a CW Academy Advisor, you already know they have a great success rate, and they would be safe to take advice from, as well as those who have extensive experience and qualification and written on the subject such as Carlo IK0YGJ. There isn't any short-cut gimmick to learning Morse or indeed anything else, put time in, but, there are surely a few right ways to do it and many wrong ways.

I can only share what has worked for me and what I have observed in others, and I'm still learning about OTHER people's experiences in learning Morse. There do appear to be some common traits among those who mastered it,  e.g. they enjoy Morse, put the time in (having fun or at least in a relaxed state), and did a lot of listening.

These days on air is hard to find "standard good Morse" as long QSO are rare, broadcasts are almost non-existent and the commercial Morse bands are all but dead. So it's only computer generated Morse, which is not too helpful, though G4FON software without a doubt is one of the recommended "go to" as you cannot, I believe, set the character speed too slow (which IS harmful without ANY doubt) and it also simulates QRM, QRN and/or QSB.


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: M0LEP on November 09, 2017, 11:07:53 PM
He said that, or you concluded that?

He said that.

We were in a classrooom situation, and in a class the instructor needs to hear what the students are repeating back or he can't correct them when they're going wrong, so that may have had a bearing on it, but he was quite insistant that we should practice sending right from the start, and to listen to what we sent, and to compare what we sent with what we'd been sent, and to go back round and do it again until we got it right...

(I suppose I should add that, in my extended stumbling attempts to learn Morse by myself, I followed the "Do not send until you can receive" advice for about a year. It's one of those bits of advice that falls firmly into the "contradictory" category, in that some folk will insist you should do one thing, and others will insist that you do the opposite.)


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: VK5EEE on November 10, 2017, 12:12:25 AM
Hi M0LEP,

Aha that's different then, thanks for clearing it up. In a class room where you are all there, indeed it is going to be of great benefit to also send and compare the sending, it will help form and reinforce characters, and the teacher can correct any problems and guide to the right way, and everyone can hear everyone and learn from others while also being able to hear differences of fists that are acceptable and thus not be stuck on "only" one precise form of keyer generated CW.

I think the problem is these days many people learn on their own at home, and there, they can develop bad habits that go uncorrected. I have one ham friend who is still unable to send his own callsign correctly, because he developed the habit over a long time, and has had no one locally able to mentor and assist to train his ear to the difference between some characters that have just one dit difference: I myself, at QRQ, sometimes wonder if I send VKHEEE or VK5EEE or VK(6 dits)EEE.

A way to train to hear the difference between B and 6, between H and 5 and between V and 4 for example are to send these sequences on your key (ideally off-air, but I've sometimes been heard doing it on air to calibrate at QRQ)  ::)

EISH5
5HSIE
EISH5HSIE
AUV4
NDB6
VVV 444
HHH 555
BBB 666

This will, at whatever speed you are capable of, enable you to "calibrate" your ear to the difference if you become uncertain.

Once someone develops a bad habit of having to COUNT the dits to send a B, 6, 4, V, 5 or H then this is a problem, as the overall SOUND needs to be heard, and this can be "calibrated" on your own by sending some of the above sequences.

Otherwise it is indeed really hard in today's socially isolated (western) world to find mentors to assist locally. There are some hams who provide an on air service, here in VK we have VK2CCW doing CW sessions a few times each week, with feedback and assistance over SSB, which has been of great help to those learning as well as increasing their speeds.

It's good you are still enjoying CW as it was a long hard effort for you and it has been for many others, all the more respect for sticking at it and enjoying this fun mode, which does not require any specific minimum speed, though I think that character speeds below 13 WPM or so could hamper the development, but, key is having FUN at whatever speed!


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: M0LEP on November 10, 2017, 03:24:22 AM
Used sensibly, computers may make quite good teachers' assistants, but they make poor teachers when used by themselves.

Back when I started trying to learn Morse in 2010 there weren't any actual Morse courses I could attend being run within a half-way sensible travelling distance, CWOps had barely started, and the only practical option was some kind of computer-based solo self-study. Of those available, LCWO.net was the only one that worked reliably on any of my computers, so that's where I started. I've learned quite a lot about how not to learn Morse...


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: W4KYR on November 10, 2017, 06:47:45 AM
At the Essex CW Boot Camp a few weeks back the instructor leading my group insisted that Morse is mostly rhythm, and you can't learn rythm just by listening; you have to repeat it back. Using a key is as good a way to send the rhythm back as any, so learn to send at the same time as you learn to receive.


(Off topic question)

CW Boot Camp? Sounds interesting...Is it an all weekend event? One Day? How many hours per session? Is it expensive?


I didn't mean to derail the thread, I just wanted to hear more about the CW Boot Camp

Thanks.......


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: VK5EEE on November 10, 2017, 06:54:31 AM
https://sites.google.com/site/essexcw/news/cwbootcamp2017


Title: RE: fldigi Morse Decoder
Post by: M0LEP on November 10, 2017, 11:34:52 AM
The Norfolk ARC ( http://www.norfolkamateurradio.org/ ) have run weekend-long boot camps in the past, and the Essex CW Boot Camp was a one-day event borrowing some of their ideas. I think ECWARC are at least considering the possibility of running another one next year. Folk travelled quite a way (by England's standards) to get to it, and I think it was over-subscribed, so there's clearly an appetite among amateurs for face-to-face training.

Here's a report on the day: https://sites.google.com/site/essexcw/news/bootcamp2017-report