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Author Topic: CW Listening Ability  (Read 13639 times)
KL7CW
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Posts: 264




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« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2016, 10:14:11 AM »

When I was a High School electronics teacher about 50 years ago, it became obvious that the students who actually got on the air usually advanced to at least 13 WPM in much less than a year.  This was also my experience a decade earlier with me and my friends.  Folks who used only records and tapes sometimes would be successful, but more often than not lost interest.
I used a code record to get my code speed up to about 7 WPM so I could pass my 5 WPM novice exam.  I then got on the air and never listened to that awful record again.  At that time there were many slow speed novices on the air sending 5 to 10 WPM.  Now it is not always easy to find slow speed CW, but just look around the QRP, SKCC, and other frequencies, and yes even today you will find some slow signals.  Call CQ slowly on or near these frequencies...you will get answers. 
I do agree that some methods are probably somewhat better than others for learning code.  Probably a somewhat higher character speed with longer spaces between characters will help. Memorizing the code from a chart is probably not a good idea, etc.  However many of us did everything wrong, but still managed to advance....we were not permanently "ruined" by these transgressions. So use your code programs as long as you can stay motivated, but when it becomes too "painful" just get on the air and have fun....even if it is only at say 7 WPM. 
Now...one last thing......experienced CW operators, PLEASE occasionally tune in some slow speed CW stations calling CW at <10 WPM and make a few QSO's.  After an operating session of > 30 WPM, I often make a QSO or two at < 10 WPM....it is a way for me to give something back to ham radio after a very enjoyable 62 years of CW.
                KL7CW    Palmer, Alaska
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M0LEP
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Posts: 493




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« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2016, 04:33:13 PM »

However many of us did everything wrong, but still managed to advance....we were not permanently "ruined" by these transgressions.

Thanks. That needed saying. Smiley

What's often needed, of course, is advice for folk who have already fallen into all those traps that acknowledges they are where they are, and positively helps them escape.

It's far too easy to come up with advice that boils down to "I wouldn't start from here!" or "You should have done this when you were a kid!".

There's also a lot of "do not" advice around; "do not think in dots and dashes", "do not count", and so on. It's all rather negative, and is quite likely to draw the student's attention towards the very things the student should be avoiding. Positive instructions ("do this", "try that") are probably harder to formulate, but are far more likely to help.
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KE6EE
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Posts: 1877




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« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2016, 07:43:42 PM »

I often make a QSO or two at < 10 WPM....it is a way for me to give something back to ham radio after a very enjoyable 62 years of CW.

When you do this, which I do, you can sense the excitement in the other op of having a successful QSO, however standard it may seem to be.

Well worth doing because we all were there at one time.

And in some ways, in the sense of wonder, we still are.
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KASSY
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Posts: 194




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« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2016, 07:22:20 AM »

Of course there is a magic method. Cheesy I call it the "get on the air and use it" method.  I have found that it works like "magic" for many of my students once they "get" it.  The more we "use" the code the better we become.  By using the code I mean communicating with it and not just sitting in front of the computer or radio listening to it.  There is a difference between the two that is hard to describe or understand.  For example, I have had students who can solid copy 15 wpm listening to practice material but they fail miserably when they get into a real live QSO.  Why ?  Because there are many other factors at play when we are on the air using the code to communicate.  Nerves, anxiety, QRM, QSB, XYL, YL ... etc. The brain processes are different for using code and I believe we retain much more of what we learn when we are actually using code to communicate.  Allot of good advice has been given so far.  However, the magic happens when you use the code on a regular basis.  Back in the old days we had one year to get from 5WPM to 13 WPM.  That's a pretty big jump.  The vast majority of Novices passed their General tests at 13 WPM.  No computers, no internet.  Just a boy and his radio.  Now that's magic !!

Joe
N3HEE
CW Academy Advisor (Level II)

I agree.  My CW speed started a steady increase as soon as I quit measuring and studying.  I decided to just have fun and use it daily.  Probably it was contesting that did the most to get my speed up.  I can do 30 wpm all day in standard English QSOs, 45 wpm contest-style exchanges, with gusts to 60. Can't send that fast.

- k
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K8AXW
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Posts: 6399




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« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2016, 08:25:00 PM »

Read all of EE's posts.  In my opinion he has a better grasp on learning code than anyone I've read here on eHam!  It seems these days too many are trying to find a fast and easy way of doing everything.  Too many are overthinking something that is simple! 

(Before anyone jumps on the "simple" statement, please believe me that I've seen hundreds of men learn the code and very few flunked out and part of those were the ones that WANTED to flunk out!)
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M0LEP
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Posts: 493




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« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2016, 06:17:40 AM »

Too many are overthinking something that is simple!
Hmmm... The mistake I made initially was to under-think the process. When, eventually, I did stop to think, I realised:

1) I couldn't get on the air and use the code until I knew all the alphanumeric characters and a few more.
2) The method I was using was only teaching me (at best) one new character every month or so.
3) At that rate it would take over three years just to learn enough characters to get started on the air.

If I'd only thought that much a little sooner, rather than hammering on without thinking...
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W3ALG
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Posts: 26




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« Reply #36 on: May 29, 2016, 06:38:11 PM »

I respect the operators who can copy and send code at lightning speed, but just starting out trying to learn code, it's almost impossible to listen and understand. The other evening I was listening on 40M and every station was sending at uncomprehensible speed. I couldn't find a station to listen to and make sense out of anything ....
I guess it will all come together some day.
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AF6WL
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Posts: 223




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« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2016, 07:05:47 PM »

All the conversations were the same :  CQTEST ... 5NN ... TU CQTEST ...
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K7EXJ
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Posts: 875




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« Reply #38 on: May 30, 2016, 07:19:15 AM »

All the conversations were the same :  CQTEST ... 5NN ... TU CQTEST ...

Yes, there is even an app for learning to read call signs at high speed.

SOTA, NPOTA, Field Day, and the like are a little bit more interesting with the occasional weather, elevation and name exchanged. But some of the high point SOTA sites can get pretty dxpedition-ish.

Still, I like to listen to the sprints now and then and just let that 45wpm code sink in...

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73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley
K8AXW
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Posts: 6399




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« Reply #39 on: May 30, 2016, 10:24:34 AM »

LEP:  I've never heard of "underthinking" listening to or learning code before but if there is to be a way, you nailed it!

I has given me a headache just trying to analyze the 3 points you made.  I mean no disrespect, but how did you come to those conclusions?
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PA0KDW
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Posts: 96




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« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2016, 02:36:18 PM »

LEP:  I've never heard of "underthinking" listening to or learning code before but if there is to be a way, you nailed it!

I has given me a headache just trying to analyze the 3 points you made.  I mean no disrespect, but how did you come to those conclusions?

I suppose underthinking is under estimating.
The conclusions are correct  in my opinion:

When you started professional learning, there was a proficiency test. just 5 minutes increasing speed 3 or 4 characters.
When you passed you were allowed to attend the course.

So you never met the guys that did not pass the initial test. That initiated  the idea that it is easy for EVERYONE to master the code.

When you start a course that is 20/10 , that is character speed 20  wpm and effective speed (throughput) 10 wpm due to prolonged character spacing, you start with 2 characters. when more than 90% OK in an exercise you add a third character, and so on.

After a bunch of characters the frequency of a new added character is too low to get used to it.
So you stall learning. and get stuck.
People can not exercise on air by making QSO's because their characterset is not completed till they finish the course.

When they finish ( a few percent with extreme perseverance) they still can't copy normal code either 20 or (QRS) 10 words per minute, they require you to sent wide spaced characters at 20 wpm to meet the 20/10 way they learned it.

So the old way learning it with groups of 5 first the group eish5 after that the group tmo0 (previously the code four dashes was "ch") After that a mix of groups one and 2, and so on,  hence a new group of 5 and after mastering that new group  mixing with previously learned groups, at 5 wpm and later on increasing the speed to 12 wpm and making words with the limited set of learned characters was much better in my opinion, because you learned Morse code 5/5 up to 15/15 while 12/12  was required for the license test.

A forgotten method, because it should learn people counting dots and dashes, however present methods doesn't help because you have to increase up to 35/5 or 40/5 to prevent counting, and that is the way you get lost. because that is a kind of code too far from normal Morse code.

Frans
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M0LEP
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Posts: 493




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« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2016, 06:07:50 AM »

how did you come to those conclusions?

Frans has pretty well covered it.

Quote
1) I couldn't get on the air and use the code until I knew all the alphanumeric characters and a few more.

This one is, I think, probably obvious.
You'll have trouble reading callsigns until you can recognise A to Z, 0 to 9, and "/".
If you can't read the other person's callsign then you can't use the code to make a contact.

Quote
2) The method I was using was only teaching me (at best) one new character every month or so.

The Koch method adds a new character once you've  learned the set you're presently working on. For some, this is a relatively quick process. For me it quite simply did not work. By the time I had five or six characters in the set it was taking me a month to assimilate the next one, and by the time I got to ten or so it was taking somewhat longer. I pressed on to lesson 15 or 16 before stopping to think about what was and wasn't happening.

Quote
3) At that rate it would take over three years just to learn enough characters to get started on the air.

There are 40 Koch lessons. If each one takes a month then that's 40 months to get to the end. In fact I think the time per lesson was, for me, increasing. It took me two years to get to lesson 15 or so. It could easily have taken me another five years or more to get to the end. That trend should have been obvious to me within six months of starting the Koch lessons, but I didn't think about it carefully and objectively until nearly two years had passed...

Hence "under-thinking".
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