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Author Topic: How to get good code out of head ?  (Read 2244 times)
NX2D
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Posts: 19




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« on: March 15, 2010, 04:33:04 PM »

I have a stupid and unusual question. How do you get the good code out of your head ? I have been out of the hobby for about 10 years but when I was using cw, I could copy 18 - 20 wpm comfortably. Never heard a QSO that I could not copy back in those days.

 Since I have returned to the hobby, I have been practicing my cw before I get back on the air. Well...long story short, I am back up to copying between 15-18 wpm comfortably BUT... when I turn the radio on and start listening to the code that is up there now.... I can't copy it. Dits run together, extra dits, too many dahs, words run together, words separated by pauses.... man I just can't put it together. When I hear code, I don't think of what I am hearing, it just comes naturally and I write down what I hear, but with bad code my mind is putting down garbage. I just can't get my mind to separate the extras and copy anything that makes sense. I get a few words here and there that make sense but a lot of garbage in between. I sure don't want to call CQ and then have someone come back at me and not know what they are sending. Nervous breakdown immediately, if you know what I mean.

How do you learn to make sense out of code that is not perfect ? This may sound like a trivial question but I am having a heck of a time at it. I want to get back on the air  again but I don't want to continually send
sri pse snd agn ? ?

Can anyone tell me their secrets to coping code now days ?  Any advise or suggestions ?

73 es tnx
de nx2d
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W7ETA
Member

Posts: 2528




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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2010, 05:07:58 PM »

Many ops just take notes instead of copying every letter.

My problem has been filling in the letters to make words ahead of what the other person is sending and then loosing concentration.

op hr Bri(just listen for an);  op hr Bil. wil, phi (just listen for the rest).

Rig here home (brew or made).  Antenna inv (ted Vee) ver(t);

It's the bugs that throw me.

Ultimately, if you don't enjoy running CW, there are tons of other modes to play with.
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WX7G
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Posts: 5908




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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2010, 05:08:23 PM »

It seems to be an art. I once spoke with a CW operator at the Martime coastal station KPH and he said they had to be able to copy such fists. Drunken Russian radio ops on ships he said. He even played me a tape recording. I could not copy it. They had a rude term for that kind of fist.

I know what you mean. I worked someone recently who was determined to send 24 wpm although his keyer was set to 20 wpm. Spaces between letters were perhaps one DIT. Spaces between words perhaps one DAH. He was asking a question but darned if I knew what he was asking.

Then there was the guy the same day running a bug who would randomly insert extra dits. A 'V' became a 5 with an extra dit.

This morning I heard a guy sending CQ like so over and over:

-.-. .-.- instead of -.-. --.-

I find what helps to clean up my fist is to send and have the Elecraft K3. Decode it. I have caught myself sending W as E M, and other awful things.
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NX2D
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Posts: 19




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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2010, 05:30:33 PM »

I think a lot of it is that some set the keyer for 25 wpm but they can't send that fast or think that fast and it ends up a lot of mistakes. Not patting myself on the back but I have always had a good fists. That is how I got to a application to join fist. I was on the radio one night and had one qso after the other with members of the Fists organization and they sent me an application, so I joined. Then I decided to go to a straight key and practice that for a while. Again I had many comments on how well i sent code. I guess it is just an individual goal. I always strive to sent as perfect of cw as I possible could. I alway figured that if you were going to communicate, what good is it if no one could copy you. I was fun and I practiced a lot, and I mean a lot. every minute that I had I would sit down with my radio and listen and practice. Then I had a stroke and was out for while trying to get back to normal. Well I am back but I have some new learning to do. I just finished copying Arrl code practice with 100% accuracy but I guess I need to just listen to bad code instead. The arrl bulletin is a piece of cake to copy but yet I can't copy some at 11/25/10 wpm.
Well, I will keep at it and see if I can't master some of the fist that are out there. Maybe I should get drunk and listen to it.  hi hi

thanks for your input

Glenn
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KB1OOO
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Posts: 214


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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2010, 05:43:09 PM »

NX2D,

What do you mean by "I am back up to copying between 15-18 wpm comfortably"?  Is it playback of QSO transcripts or real conversation, or is it random code groups?

73,
kb1ooo
Marc
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NX2D
Member

Posts: 19




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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2010, 05:53:33 PM »

I usually use the ARRL Code practice and the Arrl Bulletin to practice code. That way you never know what is coming and can not memorize the format of a computer practice program. I try to listen to at least one broadcast a day on 80 or 40 meters, but I am finding that the code is too perfect and if I hear anything but perfect spacing and perfect dits and dahs, I can't copy it anymore. I guess it might too much of a good thing, as they say.
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W1EUJ
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Posts: 11




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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2010, 05:59:46 AM »

There is some software that allows you to practice copy under difficult conditions - QSB, noise, variable weighting, straight-key variation...try the G4FON software in QSO mode, and some weeks of practice on that should sharpen you up.

Like boxing - now that you know how to move and punch well, now is the opportunity to learn to score with a wily opponent in the ring.
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N9BH
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Posts: 41




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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2010, 06:02:46 AM »

What seems strange to me, is I hear these guys in long winded qso, and they seem to understand each other. Do they really or are they just fooling each other. Seems speed is the goal at the cost of all else. Seems to me. if nothing else,  that slowing down enough to put spaces between words would be a good thing to do.

I think one of the best things to do is record yourself in qso and then listen to that recording a few days later and see if you can copy your own fist. Maybe we all need to start recording the other guy and send them a copy. If people heard what they were sending, maybe they would try to improve their fist a bit.

73
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WB5JEO
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Posts: 805




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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2010, 07:02:50 AM »

I think there's another thing to consider when there's a change like this over time. It may be worth having your hearing checked. Hearing usually deteriorates with age (and exposure to loud music, machines, gunfire, etc.) beginning with higher tones. While they are hardly professional exams, there are many free online hearing tests that at least let you know if there might be some high frequency loss. If the on-air tones aren't pure, you might not be hearing the full range, and if there's any variation within a dit or dah, that could throw off how you hear them.
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NX2D
Member

Posts: 19




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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2010, 08:48:08 AM »

All good points and rational thinking. I will try some software that allows for bad sending and practice.

I have also heard long rag-chews were they seem to be comfortable and seem to understand everything. I don't know maybe it was the same guy sending code to himself. Hey if they can have fun, that is all that matters. I love cw and have worked 95% code since I became a ham back in 1993. I am not going to give it up. I will practice get as good as I can understanding some of the code being sent now days. Who knows, maybe by the time I learn to copy bad code, they will learn to send good code. hi hi.
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20536




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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2010, 08:50:19 AM »

I'm pretty active on CW and don't hear much "gibberish" at all.  There are some bad fists, but I think 90% are fine.

Checking your hearing might be a good suggestion, but also are you sure you're not just listening to guys using lots of abbreviations instead of plain text?  That's really common, I do it all the time.

fer exmpl hw id snd mny thgs mite b lik ths

Most hard-core CW ops would copy that just fine.
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NX2D
Member

Posts: 19




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« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2010, 08:57:10 AM »

Hey ya never know, it may be my hearing. I will have it checked. I have to go to Burlington Medical Center for some test, I will ask them if they can check out the ears while they are at it. With a little luck, I plan on !00% bill of health from this trip, at least I hope they give me a good report.

Later to all!

NX2D
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W7ETA
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Posts: 2528




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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2010, 12:55:17 PM »

You can down load G4FON software and play with the tone of a CW note. For me a little above 1 kc is the clearest.

73
Bob
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NN3W
Member

Posts: 147




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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2010, 01:08:54 PM »

>>>RE: How to get good code out of head ? <<<

Buy her flowers???  Works for me.   Roll Eyes  Wink  Grin  Cool
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KQ7W
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2010, 01:28:31 AM »

I'm pretty active on CW and don't hear much "gibberish" at all.  There are some bad fists, but I think 90% are fine.

Checking your hearing might be a good suggestion, but also are you sure you're not just listening to guys using lots of abbreviations instead of plain text?  That's really common, I do it all the time.

fer exmpl hw id snd mny thgs mite b lik ths

Most hard-core CW ops would copy that just fine.


I agree, im pretty active and I dont hear a lot of crazy stuff regularly

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