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Author Topic: Copying CW for newbies?  (Read 9240 times)
K7MEM
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« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2015, 03:32:27 AM »

When the characters of a word are sent very fast it's easy to hear words because the brain has been trained to rapidly assemble these characters into a word and it's easy for the person to say, "I hear words." They really aren't.

You are probably correct, It just "feels like" you are hearing words because the process happens quickly. I find this similar to decoding the color bands of resistors. When I first learned about resistors (<1965) I used the crutches that most people used, like the silly poems or the cardboard calculators. But after a while, I no longer needed those things. But since then, resistors were always a part of my daily life. So when I look at a resistor now, it is as if there were numbers printed on the resistor, rather than color bands. I can rummage through a box of mixed value resistors and easily pick out the one I want. Conversion to a value is almost instantaneous.

Of course, now I need a magnifying glass to make out the printing on the 0402 surface mount parts.  Smiley
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Martin - K7MEM
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K8AXW
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« Reply #31 on: November 01, 2015, 07:58:10 AM »

Martin: I have experienced the same thing with resistors.  However, at 80 years of age....I find myself on occasion going back to the "crutches" of yesteryear to identify a resistor.

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OZ8AGB
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« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2015, 02:10:53 AM »

Interesting. I actually have a question on getting better at copying words and this question led to a descision a month ago.

Since I got on air on CW in february I have spent most of my time doing DX chasing and operating the danish OZ90IARU callsign. This has made me better at getting callsigns and 5NN. But not at more conversational QSOs. I have also gone from 12WPM to about 18/19WPM.
But I always wanted to be much better at conversational QSOs so I decided to join FISTS and found my old straight key and started working at 12 WPM again in the Ladder sessions.
I don't know if this is the best approach. Someone here at eHam wrote that "at 20 wpm conversation starts"...
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K8AXW
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« Reply #33 on: November 02, 2015, 08:01:02 AM »

AGB:  Conversation starts at 5wpm!  A sssllllooooowwww conversation you understand, but never-the-less, a conversation!

One piece of advice that has been posted here many times has been, "Get on the air and make contacts.  Your speed will increase dramatically."   This is absolutely correct.

You should understand that ssslllooooowwww conversations can be somewhat boring but most of the time such conversations will be with other stations that either are as slow as you are or operators who understand and wish to help you converse at your speed. So they are much more enjoyable than the 5NN contacts.

When your speed gets to 18-20wpm, then your conversations will become more interesting, just as coversations at normal speaking speeds are.

But, the bottom line is, get on the air at any speed and enjoy chatting with the world.  These 5NN contacts suck for air and not much fun.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2015, 10:00:00 AM »

I disagree that we don't know what word is coming until we've heard all the letters.  I've actually never found that to be true for about 90% of all common language.  It of course is true if copying an address or some other piece of information we can't possibly know in advance.

I was a contributing editor to N0HFF's good work The Art and Skill of Radiotelegraphy which of course is now a free download and pretty good reading for newcomers.

In that chapter I explain how I taught my nephew Rob (who has Cerebral Palsy and did not do well with a pencil or pen at that age) Morse by sending phrases and having him just "listen" to them, without writing anything.  I'd send LOS ANGELES LA and he would shout out "Lakers!"  Or NEW YORK GI and he would shout "Giants!"  We proceeded to QTH IS MINNEA and he would shout "Minneapolis!" or MY NAME IS GE, and "George!" 

You don't need complete words with all the letters in them, either, as most active CW ops know -- we use tons of abbreviations, some conventional and some we just make up.  U DNT NEED ALL THE LTRS TO FORM GUD SNTCES.  And even when the sender is using all the letters for everything (I think only keyboard ops or newbies do this -- I rarely hear experienced CW ops doing it), if the receiver misses half the letters he'll normally still have close to 100% "copy."  The only time solid copy is required is for numbers, callsigns, perhaps serious "traffic" where the message to deliver needs to be exactly as originally sent.  But these are rare instances. 

My method is to put students at ease and emphasize how "solid copy" normally doesn't mean anything, and if you miss a letter or six, just forget it and keep listening to what's coming now.  The students who struggle are those who try to "fill" in missing characters; they have a really hard time progressing.  Those who avoid that and just kick back and relax do much better.
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SV1XV
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« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2015, 10:41:02 AM »

I disagree that we don't know what word is coming until we've heard all the letters. 
Of course... There is a lot of redundancy built into human languages, which also facilitates solving crosswords and crtyptogram puzzles.

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K8AXW
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« Reply #36 on: November 03, 2015, 07:50:39 AM »

WIK-XV--Of course you both are correct....for the most part.  Especially if you're speaking of common words that are usually heard on ham radio CW. 

However, if something is sent that is not common, then this is where the "brain vapor lock" takes place. 

When head copying and a word is used that isn't expected or "presumed" then most of the time the next word or two will be lost.  The exception to this is if you're ability to head copy exceeds the speed you're presently listening to.  Then the brain can go back and forth and sort it out.  This is where the intercept operator shines.  Since he is normally 3 to 5 characters behind anyhow, most of the time he can sort out questionable characters.  This is comparable to head copy ability exceeding the present speed.

It's been my experience that learning sloppy code copying creates a problem when accurate copy is wanted or especially if needed.  This holds true of almost everything.....sloppy basics have a tendency to come around and bite your butt later.

I still feel that learning and copying code by pencil in the beginning is best.  The rest will take care of itself.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #37 on: November 03, 2015, 09:36:49 AM »

WIK-XV--Of course you both are correct....for the most part.  Especially if you're speaking of common words that are usually heard on ham radio CW. 

However, if something is sent that is not common, then this is where the "brain vapor lock" takes place. 


I see how that can happen.  I think the more relaxed you are, the less likely it is to happen.

Since I can't even remember the last time I handled any "emergency traffic" on CW (or otherwise), I figure nothing I'm copying is important. Wink   Some text can be a surprise.  I worked a guy a few months back who sent his name was Agamemnon.  Seriously.  He wasn't even in Greece, I think he was in Canada. 

But anyway, that's such an unusual name I missed it.  Simple solution, next transmission send NAME? BK and then he sends it again. Cheesy
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K8AXW
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« Reply #38 on: November 03, 2015, 09:29:33 PM »

WIK:  THAT name would vapor lock most brains!!   Roll Eyes
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PA0WV
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« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2015, 08:48:35 AM »

WIK:  THAT name would vapor lock most brains!!   Roll Eyes
Right, when a ham sents Agamemnon (Age mem non) it means :Age; I don't remember my name.
do not think about βασιλευτατος πάντων

@WIK
Quote
I think the more relaxed you are, the less likely it is to happen.

Sure when I consumed a bottle and a half of a good Faustino Grand Reserva Spanish wine, CW plain text flows QRQ in my mind like gods word  ( o MY god, not yours) in a Shaker
« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 09:17:09 AM by PA0WV » Logged

K8AXW
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« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2015, 07:50:02 PM »

Like many years ago, a half bottle of cognac let me speak German quite well.  I think it has something to do with the tongue.  Tongue
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OZ8AGB
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« Reply #41 on: November 05, 2015, 02:50:01 AM »

Like many years ago, a half bottle of cognac let me speak German quite well.  I think it has something to do with the tongue.  Tongue

Or australian...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/australian-accents-drunk-settlers_56326150e4b0c66bae5b83ae
 Roll Eyes
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