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Author Topic: 13 wpm wall  (Read 12740 times)
N0IU
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« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2016, 05:10:19 AM »

  Regarding the 13 wpm "wall", I've always been curious why the FCC
picked that particular speed for the old school (receive/send) General
class exam?

IMHO.... Having experienced it myself, I absolutely believe the "wall" is very real. If most people are like me, up to about 10 wpm you can count the dits and dahs as you hear them. Let's see, I hear a dit, a dah then another dit. Now let me go through the list of characters in my head. Ah hah! That was an "R"! However, when the speed increases just a wee bit faster than this, there is no time to go through the whole mental process of counting the dits and dahs and equate them with a particular character. By the time you do that, you may already be 1 or 2 characters behind! This being the case, at 13 wpm you really have to have a higher degree of proficiency of code knowledge than at slower speeds.

This is why I think it is not necessarily a good idea the learn CW at slower speeds because it is too easy to fall into that trap of counting dits and dahs instead of listening for whole characters.... which is as it should be.

Then at the 18-20 wpm level, this is when I began to hear whole words, not just individual character and is why I believe that speed was chosen.

Just keep practicing!
« Last Edit: August 21, 2016, 07:32:17 AM by N0IU » Logged
K8AXW
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« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2016, 09:54:24 AM »

In code school it was emphasized NOT to count dits and dahs but emphasizing and doing are two different things.  But, everyone in class did it....counted the dits and dahs.

However, as speeds increased, this practice became impossible and that's when we learned code characters as complete sound with the correct spacing between characters and words.

This is just the opposite of what is taught today......according to most posts here but then there is the problem of getting your brain to hear a character at 20-25wpm, which is difficult.....and then longer than normal spacing between characters and words....which has to be unlearned in order to copy code on the air.  Pick your own poison!

This is why I suggest trying anything for a bit but then pick one and stay with it.  Just do it!

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W4KYR
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« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2016, 12:26:34 PM »

In code school it was emphasized NOT to count dits and dahs but emphasizing and doing are two different things.  But, everyone in class did it....counted the dits and dahs.

However, as speeds increased, this practice became impossible and that's when we learned code characters as complete sound with the correct spacing between characters and words.

This is just the opposite of what is taught today......according to most posts here but then there is the problem of getting your brain to hear a character at 20-25wpm, which is difficult.....and then longer than normal spacing between characters and words....which has to be unlearned in order to copy code on the air.  Pick your own poison!

This is why I suggest trying anything for a bit but then pick one and stay with it.  Just do it!



The producers of that code course whose name that I forgot, suggested learning at 25 wpm or whatever and just stick with that.  And it was a good argument at the time to go from not knowing the code to starting out learning at 25 wpm right off the bat and then being able to actually copy at 25 wpm. Because when you passed the 20 wpm extra code test, then all you have to do is just the written tests (this was back in the early to mid 90's).

Now since there is no longer a Morse Code requirement, the argument for learning at 25 wpm is less than it was in the 1990's.  I think hams should learn in the 18 to 22 wpm range. But others would disagree, and that is fine. Whatever your preference is, and it works for you. Then that is what really matters.

What I think hams should do. Is to set personal goals to reach whatever speed you decide upon. It helps to have other ham friends who are also seeking to increase their own speed. Have regular schedules  and meet on the air. If you'll live in a few miles of each other and you all can practice on 10 meters when the band shuts down for the night.

Good Luck

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K8AXW
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« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2016, 11:01:58 PM »

KYR:  I have no idea who came up with the process of teaching code in the Army but what you said wasn't the way it was.  We started out at 5/5 and the speed to character ratio remained the same.

Call it brute force and ignorance.....but this was the way they turned out thousands of intercept operators.  As I pointed out in previous posts, the fail rate was very low.
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AI8IA
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« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2016, 05:30:08 AM »

Still chugging along here... I found a box of blank CDRs at work and burned a few with the 18WPM files from the ARRL, so now I can listen in my car during my 45 minute commute (but I try to limit myself to about 15-20 mins.) Some words are really coming out at me with no effort.... the, and, for, it, in, to, also. Longer words are coming easier, usually I will hear the first 3 chars pretty well, and try to pick up the last letter... for instance, PROpogatioN, or ACTivitY etc etc, and they are pretty easy to figure out from there.

Then when I'm home I switch to 13wpm and hand copy, and it's becoming quite easy. Once I near 100% accuracy on that I will start listening to the 20WPM files and try to hand copy 15, and we'll see where it goes from there.

95% of my operations are QRP (well K2 - 15 watts-ish) so 15wpm solid copy should do me pretty well. Not going to stop there though, I do have a new 100 watt rig at home now and will probably spend a lot of time on that over the cold months!

Thanks for all the advice and encouragement. This is my third major push to learn code, and I believe it may be the charm indeed.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2016, 09:21:50 AM »

DJW:  I applaud your efforts and determination! 

However, allow me to throw something into the pot for you and perhaps others.  Once you become proficient at 15wpm, you will find the more you use it you will find there is a NATURAL tendency to go faster.  Depending on how active you are, before you realize it you'll be banging along at 18-20wpm!

Once you learn the code the brain actually demands you go faster.  You will actually have to put forth an effort to stay at 15wpm!  People who communicate regularly at 30-35wpm and up almost go crazy when working someone at 15wpm.

And for whatever it's worth, it has been my experience (not only for myself but watching 40-50 other men - pros, not hams) there seems to be a natural 'barrier' for most at speeds around 35wpm. 

We have the same type of limit with speech...both listening and speaking.  I suspect it's simply individuals ability to process information.  While the brain can be trained to process faster it becomes an effort and usually takes more time than at slower speeds.

I love to listen to Air Traffic Controllers.....not because I'm particularly interested in what they are saying but simply to try to UNDERSTAND what they are saying!   Tongue

 
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AI8IA
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« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2016, 09:47:17 AM »



However, allow me to throw something into the pot for you and perhaps others.  Once you become proficient at 15wpm, you will find the more you use it you will find there is a NATURAL tendency to go faster.  Depending on how active you are, before you realize it you'll be banging along at 18-20wpm!
And for whatever it's worth, it has been my experience (not only for myself but watching 40-50 other men - pros, not hams) there seems to be a natural 'barrier' for most at speeds around 35wpm. 
 

Thank you - and yeah, I have no intention of putting the brakes on - like I said, I will be using the IC-7300 when outdoor QRP conditions (not to mention propagation) deteriorate... so I will definitely want to get in on the higher speed action. I'm really starting to head copy 18, I only get really thrown off when names are thrown into the mix, etc.

I can definitely see 35 as a barrier, hihi... at 35 the code sounds extremely percussive to me. About the only characters I can pick out are e and 5 Smiley



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W4MPT
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« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2016, 07:37:01 AM »

One of the code tapes I had (I forget which one) said to learn each character at (something like) 22 or 24wpm and so you can learn high speed code right off the bat and just learn it once and go for the 20wpm Extra and avoid bothering with 5 wpm and 13 and the threshold problems. I wish I could remember the name of the Code course . I'm sure it wasn't the ARRL or Gordon West tapes.

Was it the Jerry Ziliak KB6MT tapes?  I benefited from both sets he had.
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W4KYR
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« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2016, 11:39:10 AM »

One of the code tapes I had (I forget which one) said to learn each character at (something like) 22 or 24wpm and so you can learn high speed code right off the bat and just learn it once and go for the 20wpm Extra and avoid bothering with 5 wpm and 13 and the threshold problems. I wish I could remember the name of the Code course . I'm sure it wasn't the ARRL or Gordon West tapes.

Was it the Jerry Ziliak KB6MT tapes it w?  I benefited from both sets he had.

I believe it was.
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VK5EEE
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« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2016, 10:44:28 PM »

Never experienced any walls in receiving CW... until hitting a practical wall at SENDING qrq on an iambic paddle, which is basically 40-50WPM. One has to swap to a single paddle then. On a straight key I hit a wall long ago at 20-25WPM, would have to change my technique and key to break that physical barrier. On a bug I hit another practical wall as the bug I have doesn't go faster than 30WPM. But for receiving, never hit any "wall" simply a maximum ability at any time that was always eventually overcome by listening to on air QSOs. I may have a PC typing wall at 80WPM as I took a test and got just over 80WPM but I don't think I'll ever get faster at typing again a practical limit I think of old age, but surprised myself getting such a high result.

However, I acknowledge there are walls at certain speeds for people who use the wrong techniques of learning and I also acknowledge that Anglo-American "Best Practice" techniques, faulty as they are, starting out at 5/5 will eventually bear fruit with non-stop peristance, and that Euro-Russian techniques whatever they are (Koch?) produce faster CW operators in the PRO fields such as maritime, military etc was obvious, while hams world wide are free to choose their own methods.

As pointed out countless times by many, anyone starting out at 5/5 instead of say 20/2 is going to face a wall as the sound of the character is not learned, and the brain at some point will have to switch method and that speed up to which the brain can "count" varies somewhat from person to person. There are many angry hams who were misled by the Anglo-American military way but did not have the benefit of the court martial to keep them in line and non-stop training, but who later found out the better way and how many years they wasted in effort to reach higher speeds.

Having said that, on receive one can hear perhaps the shape of words, but on sending, you can't send an entire word as a shape, surely, so I'm not sure and haven't given it much thought, but I think it's just fast reflexes, good spelling, and practice, on sending QRQ. I don't think when I send a word at 40WPM or more that I am sending a word shape, I'm sending each letter, in quick succession. But I say why worry? Read a good book by a QRQ operator like Carlo IK0IYG "Zen and the Art of Radio Telegraphy" or use a good site designed by a QRQ Operator such as Fabian's LCWO.net, or a software that doesn't allow you to make the mistake of setting 5/5 speed, such as G4FON.

Whatever, as many have said, practice, and ideally on air in my opinion, is the key to success, and to just relax and enjoy.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2016, 04:12:22 PM by VK5EEE » Logged

Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
SM0AOM
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« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2016, 04:07:17 AM »

I can just echo what has been said previously, if a "wall" is encountered it is a consequence of improper learning methods.

The Koch method was specifically designed to avoid this problem,
and proper application of this method is a good example of that everyone can learn Morse
- there are no "hopeless cases".

Much of the argumentation that eventually resulted in the abolishment of the international Morse requirement was centered around that it was unfair to those that could not learn Morse, which was quite unfounded in reality.

It only takes a modicum of effort and dedication to learn the art of Morse, which in general also is character building (pun intended).

Amateur radio needs more of quality instead of quantity "instant hams", and I am still astonished about how much effort that was put into avoiding to have to learn something valuable.

The Morse requirement was one of the filters that kept the CB:ers out of amateur radio,
and it was a great mistake to abolish it.
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M0LEP
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Posts: 490




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« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2016, 02:17:43 PM »

The Koch method was specifically designed to avoid this problem, and proper application of this method is a good example of that everyone can learn Morse - there are no "hopeless cases".

If Koch were the only option for learning Morse then I would certainly have been a "hopeless case". The Koch method simply did not work for me at all. I wasted two years and a considerable amount of time and energy trying to learn Morse characters using it. In retrospect, if I had taken a look at my early progress, I'd have realised I was wasting my time using it, and changed track far sooner.

As it is, six (or so) years down the track, I can, on a good day, push the LCWO callsign exercise past 30wpm, and if I choose short words I can sometimes push the LCWO word training past 40wpm, so I can certainly recognise characters sent that fast. However, I've never yet managed to take down five minutes of Morse without errors at anything over 10wpm.

Call it a "wall" if you like. One thing's for sure; is is not caused by my not having learned to recognise the characters at high speed. There's something else getting in the way...
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VK5EEE
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« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2016, 04:17:10 PM »

One thing's for sure; is is not caused by my not having learned to recognise the characters at high speed. There's something else getting in the way...
I agree, it's either a wrong application of learning methods, we will never know, as you did it alone without a teacher, or it is some different though process or brain/reflex functionality that may be more unique to yourself. There is no doubt that almost anyone even with some form(s) of (cognitive) impairment can, so long they can use letters to form words (even if phonetically without spelling) learn Morse given will, effort and time.
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
VK5EEE
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Posts: 1055




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« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2016, 04:30:45 PM »

I can just echo what has been said previously, if a "wall" is encountered it is a consequence of improper learning methods.

The Koch method was specifically designed to avoid this problem,
and proper application of this method is a good example of that everyone can learn Morse
- there are no "hopeless cases".

An 80 year old recently asked me, after watching me at the key and being impressed: "Lou, do you think I could learn CW?" -- I answered him: "Can you tell the difference between dah-dah and dah-di-dah?" to which he replied "Yes, dah-dah and dah-di-dah", to which I said "There then, absolutely you can, you already can read characters at 18WPM".

Much of the argumentation that eventually resulted in the abolishment of the international Morse requirement was centered around that it was unfair to those that could not learn Morse, which was quite unfounded in reality.
Indeed, and I ask myself, when are they going to get around to fixing the dearth of newcomers to amateur radio by dropping the technical parts of the exam, since hardly anyone home brews, and it may become illegal in future to use other than sanctioned black or grey boxes? For me the technical part was hard, as I was not a technician. Drop that?!

It only takes a modicum of effort and dedication to learn the art of Morse, which in general also is character building (pun intended).

Amateur radio needs more of quality instead of quantity "instant hams", and I am still astonished about how much effort that was put into avoiding to have to learn something valuable.
Which is I think why the hobby is now dying out as there is no incentive, no character building... it is not being presented as anything the Internet cannot do: there is no pride and joy in Morse, there is no values and ethics to seperate from the crowd, there is nothing to aspire to, just multiple choice check box exams, not any test of character at all.

The Morse requirement was one of the filters that kept the CB:ers out of amateur radio,
and it was a great mistake to abolish it.
Exactly, though I'll modify that a little... we can say "CB" is of course, the general unwashed masses, the "lumpen proletariat" as the communists would say, anyone can get on air without a license -- but abolishing CW should have been PARTIAL: if you don't want to sit the Morse test, then fine, do a more detailed test on regulations and technology and operating procedures, not just multiple choice either, or at least, not with exam papers published in advance to be memorised! AND, do NOT give in the license, the right to use below 14070kHz etc, because those are exclusive CW bands, so why would someone who doesn't know CW want to use those bands? Simply issue licenses with frequencies that exlude the CW bands, and then have the test (providing employment for those of us without jobs who know CW as examiners) to obtain a license variation that allows you to use those exclusive bands. THAT is what SHOULD (have) be(en) done! Now the cat is out of the bag and we have to try to put it back in. :-(
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Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
VK4FFAB
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« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2016, 05:10:11 PM »


The Morse requirement was one of the filters that kept the CB:ers out of amateur radio,
and it was a great mistake to abolish it.

And how many CB'rs have you had a CW QSO with? I dare say none, so it looks like mode itself does a good job of keeping the CB'rs out of amateur radio, or at least the CW portions of the bands and if you are doing CW, who cares what someone is doing in the SSB or digital.

Its not like CW examinations lead to more CW operators, sure everyone who had to jump through the hoops did, but how many of those actually use the mode today? Very few, because they did their tests and got SSB HF privileges they wanted and sold their keys never to use the mode again. Why, because you cannot force someone to do something they are just not interested in.

CW is not for everyone, some will only ever SSB, or digital, or use microwaves or UHF, its the way of things, so why expect everyone to be like you. I do SOTA and WWFF with at least 30 minutes of my activation's devoted to CW, wanna know how many CW experts and rag chewers call into my activation's. ZERO, and i am fine with that, see, i understand that 599 tu 73 is not for everyone, but, one thing for certain, most who do call in are newish at CW and have taking it up for the sole purpose of being mode agile and efficient for SOTA and WWFF type activities and we also contest. There is a big world of CW out there that might not fit in with how you want your radio experience to be, but its there and its growing and we are the ones who will keep CW alive well after all the experts have passed on.

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