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Author Topic: Learning Morse Code the Right Way.  (Read 13023 times)
N9AOP
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Posts: 641




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« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2017, 12:42:15 PM »

There seem to be a lot of right ways proffered up.  I learned for the novice test in a classroom with about 50 others.  The instructor said that if we wanted to get better, get on the air early and often.  Soon I was doing 13 and about 6 months later 20.  Then I started working eastern Europeans and got to 35-40.

Those that say to get on the air and use CW are not kidding.
Art
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K8AXW
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« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2017, 09:51:39 PM »

EEE:  You make some very valid points. 

Points I am trying to make to help other understand are:

If gimmick methods work for you, have at it.  BUT, you will run into a problem,  how serious varies....with dealing with code as it is used.

When starting out, write everything down.  The benefits are action/reaction which is copying CW.  I emphasize "starting out."  Later it will become letters, words and sentences in your brain.

Count the dits and dahs.  Although this is discouraged by the military and everyone else, it is human nature or natural to do so and this 'problem' will take care of itself as the speed increases.

EEE, your observation is correct about the 8 hours a day for six weeks, or in my case 6 months.....45 hours a week minus chow time and hourly 10 minute breaks.

While nobody is going to do this in civilian life, discipline should be established.  So much time, rather it's 15 minutes or an hour or whatever.  But it must become a routine.  If not you become one of those "it took me a year to learn Morse code" guys.

Along with discipline, determination should be paramount.  One seldom learns anything, especially something a boring as learning Morse code or playing a piano without discipline or determination.

It will pay dividends to understand that once you bite the bullet and learn CW it will open a whole new world of communications for you; an expansion of ham radio fun that you would never believe no matter who tells you.  It's something you have to experience yourself.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2017, 04:20:03 AM »

Learning and using Morse code and CW operating is a great ego boost if you ever flunked French or Spanish 1 in High School.
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VK5EEE
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« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2017, 06:30:08 AM »

Don't think counting dits and dahs is a good idea, hence best to start at a speed where you listen to the sound of each letter. Otherwise we're on the same page, and my respects to you. Hope we can finally get some QSOs going, I have to try to get a better signal to USA. I'm missing out on a lot. If I had good signal on 30m and/or 40m and less QRM from YB SSB, it'd be good as lots of good CW Ops are there!
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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,
KM3K
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Posts: 396




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« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2017, 07:32:04 AM »

Count the dits and dahs.
Wrong!!!!! Wrong!!!! Wrong!!!!
I did that and ultimately realized I wasted time mentally searching a look-up table converting all the dits/dahs to a character.
Better to start right off at character-speed of 20wpm (better yet at 25wpm) and listen for the sound of the character; instant recognition that way.
73 Jerry KM3K
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N3HEE
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« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2017, 08:19:55 AM »

It's human nature to count dots and dashes if someone introduces the code to you as a series of dots and dashes.  When the code is introduced as sounds it becomes human nature to listen for particular sounds.  It takes quite a long time to stop counting the code but eventually we start hearing it as sounds. This comes with regular use and experience.  For many this may be fine.  I spend a lot of time deprogramming students who learned to count the code.  We can accelerate the learning curve to proficiency by teaching the code by sound. 
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Joe
N3HEE
CW Academy Advisor (Level II)
K8AXW
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« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2017, 09:53:32 AM »

3K:  I indicated that counting character elements is wrong and discouraged.  However, at slow speeds it can't be helped and actually formulates that character in your brain.  (One actually can visualize what that character looks like this way)  However, I repeat, it's frowned upon by every code instructor I've ever encountered.

Now if you count the elements and look it up on a chart.....this is simply ridiculous!  I've read that on this CW forum a few times and simply write it off as idiocy.

I've maintained all along that learning the character sound at 20wpm is wrong as well. I think you will find it takes longer to learn a character at that speed simply because the novice brain simply cannot grasp the sound at that speed. 

If you or anyone else was able to do this, great.  Bless your hearts.  However we mortals can't understand a character sound at 20wpm when first starting out.

As an example, pick your highest speed.  Now listen to CW at twice that speed.  Do this and I believe you will understand what I am saying.  Sure, it can be done but as I said, overall, it will take longer to learn the 36 characters.  (minus special characters)

You're right Jim.  It is an ego boost to be able to copy code.   Cheesy

Learning Morse code boils down to time, patience and determination.  It is NOT rocket science and those who want to or expect to learn Morse in a very short period of time should find something else to do.

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KC4ZGP
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« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2017, 11:39:02 AM »


I agree AXW. There is no right way to learn Morse code or learn anything for that matter.

You learn it, you learn it.

There you go.

Kraus
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K8AXW
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« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2017, 05:04:42 PM »

Kraus:  I know this perhaps better than most.  I have a learning disability that requires 3 to 5 times the amount of time it takes what it normally takes.  If you tell me 3 things to do, when you get to #3, I've forgotten what #1 is.

It's been a hellova way to have to live.....busting my hump when everyone else is having fun doing other things; not being able to go to college and to this day I have to take two pills a day to keep my stomach from eating itself because of this self inflicted stress!

Why?  Because I have a determination that I will learn; I will spend the 3 to 5 times the normal effort to learn something I need to learn or simply want to learn.

I guess this is why I get somewhat annoyed with those who wants to learn code in two days or spend most of their time trying to find the easy way of doing it instead of just doing it!

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KQ4MM
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« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2017, 05:47:01 PM »

AXW... I'm with ya on the tell me three things be lucky if I recall #3 ... Forget being introduced to people at a gathering forget names 3 seconds after introduction ( its embarrassing sometimes as I feel people might think Im rude or not engaged)...  and No college for me either, simply not a good test taker and dont have a good ability to memorize things... Learned my trade (IT) in the USAF, worked hard and made a good living.

Back to CW

That said, I've been using 15wpm character speed ( started there) and have progressed from 4wpm spacing to doing pretty good at 7 now, can push hard to 10 for a min, but loose it when I start missing characters ( working on that). This seems to have worked for me and took about 3 months learn all characters and to feel confidante enough to call CQ..

My main goal now is to just get on the air as often as I can and pound it out. I make a lot of mistakes, but I'm getting the standard exchanges down and its starting to flow a little better...

Its been a great thread and I always enjoy reading about others CW journeys, one things for sure, very few are the same but all are interesting.

73 Brian KQ4MM

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K8AXW
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« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2017, 09:00:51 PM »

Brian, you sound like my kind of guy!  I didn't find out I had this problem until I was 18 years old and was going to flunk out of military school.  I simply couldn't allow that to happen and suffer the embarrassment of telling my parents.  They and everyone else thought i was just simply stupid.

When I really put my heart into learning I not only learned but didn't quit there.....I excelled.  When I learned I wasn't stupid but simply slow I made it a point of being good at whatever I got into.  Before I knew it I was training others, both in the military and in civilian life.  But I have paid a price for it.  But I wouldn't have any other way.

I like to pass on what I have learned in my 60+ years as a intercept operator and ham.  Many disagree but that's fine.  One thing I learned is that there are more than one way to learn....anything.

One thing I have difficulty with are those who want to learn Morse code but do it in a half-assed way and then complain about it.

Good luck with your endeavors and have fun.  You can remember that speed isn't everything but it does make it more fun.   Roll Eyes

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VK5EEE
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« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2017, 09:15:06 PM »

3K:  I indicated that counting character elements is wrong and discouraged.  However, at slow speeds it can't be helped and actually formulates that character in your brain.  (One actually can visualize what that character looks like this way)  However, I repeat, it's frowned upon by every code instructor I've ever encountered.
Which is why character speed should not be learned, ever, at below around 20WPM.

I've maintained all along that learning the character sound at 20wpm is wrong as well. I think you will find it takes longer to learn a character at that speed simply because the novice brain simply cannot grasp the sound at that speed. 
Sorry but I have to correct this based on frequent tests I make with people of all age including octogenarians. it simply is not true. Verbally I ask them "can you tell the difference between dah-di-dah and dah-dah?" (spoken at a NATURAL speed of around 20WPM) and the answer invariably is yes, and if I say it again and ask them to repeat it back, they repeat it back perfectly. Just try it yourself with anyone, and you will find the invariably can make the clear distinction. There is NO REASON to learn character speeds as 12WPM or even less other than Anglo-Saxon Historic Arrogance in wanting to be different from the Germans and Russians.  Which is why in general they are more proficient CW operators.

As an example, pick your highest speed.  Now listen to CW at twice that speed.  Do this and I believe you will understand what I am saying.  Sure, it can be done but as I said, overall, it will take longer to learn the 36 characters.  (minus special characters)
This is not relevant example at all. Fact is CW should never be learned at a slow enough speed to lose the overall sound of the character, and not faster than being able to distinguish the dits and dahs with comfort in that character. That is, usually around 18 WPM or so.

Learning Morse code boils down to time, patience and determination.  It is NOT rocket science and those who want to or expect to learn Morse in a very short period of time should find something else to do.
Not exactly :-) ANYONE can learn Morse in a short time: every day you learn a character you have already learned that character in a short time! How long it takes to learn all characters and at a usable speed of 15WPM or more, is simply a question of the time put in to do that on a regular basis, to allow short term memory (which in most of us is not great) to longer term memory, and to have FUN and satisfaction in doing it. If there is ONE lesson I'd tell people learning CW aside from having fun and doing it at least a little EVERY day, is do NOT start learning it below natural speaking speed of the sound "di-dah" as made with your mouth.

CONGRATULATIONS to those who suffered learning it starting at unnatural speeds, which can indeed be achieved if you sit in a class for many hours every day for six weeks to a few months. But that is not going to work for those these days who cannot spend that 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,
GW3OQK
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Posts: 386




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« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2017, 02:47:56 AM »

Quote
If there is ONE lesson I'd tell people learning CW aside from having fun and doing it at least a little EVERY day, is do NOT start learning it below natural speaking speed of the sound "di-dah" as made with your mouth.

Yes! First learn the alphabet by speaking the characters at the natural speaking speed of the sound "dah-di-dah-dit      dah-dah-di-dah" as made by your mouth.

Learn a few more characters every day and practice saying them whenever you see a shop name, a road sign, a newspaper, an advertisement etc. That was my way and I had learnt the code in a week and was ready to listen to and write down properly sent Morse. 18wpm is a naturally flowing speed imho.

73, Andrew
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KC4ZGP
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« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2017, 06:05:19 AM »


AXW,

Ten-four to that.

 Same here. Determination. I WILL fix my EB-104. Problems began when I added two used Astrons into the mix.

Last FET and back to square one. All original power supplies. We'll see.

Kraus



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KQ4MM
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Posts: 19




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« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2017, 06:20:46 AM »

EEE

Whilst I learned at 15wpm character speed with long spacing, I just tried and can copy 21+ character speed so long as I don't shrink the spacing.... Thing is, what I hear on the air is all over the place... Worked a guy the other night that was being nice and QRS for me, but I think he was trying to slow down a bug, super fast dits and longer slower dahs .. was hard to copy but I made it through ... Like I stated earlier I now just need to practice on the air, nightly I listen and try and copy above my ability to different ops fro a while, then I call CQ or answer one I can find at my speed level, and most of all I just relax and have fun.

73 de KQ4MM - Brian
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