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Author Topic: Faster than normal  (Read 2308 times)

Posts: 132

« on: August 03, 2010, 04:39:55 PM »

    I have a weekly sked with a friend Sunday nights.  Normally we just poke along with our straight keys.  We know each others fists and it makes for a nice leisure chat.  This last week my buddy got a new bug.  So we decided to give it a go.  I broke out my homemade cootie that I haven't used in a while. 
    The first exchange was sent at about twice our normal weekly chat speed.  I will admit I missed most of that first over.  I was about to ask him to switch back to the straight key but I wanted to keep the pace up, so I pushed on.  After the next couple of exchanges I was right in there.  It is funny how the brain fights change but adapts quickly when you want to push it a little further.  I missed a few words here and there but still copied most of the 45 minute QSO without too much trouble. 
    Anyway the moral of the story is...don't give up you can do it.  Just keep trying and have fun with the code. 

Posts: 246

« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2010, 07:08:20 PM »

These are good observations.  I always try to set my CQ speed to the flow of QSO "traffic".  It's like driving on the highway -- cars naturally gravitate to a certain speed.  Generally, speeds average around 18 to 20 wpm or so when the bands are relatively quiet.  There's no need force contest speeds for every QSO.  When I first started with CW I thought that higher speed makes for greater proficiency.  Now I know that proficiency relies on the practice of a number of variables.  One not only has to listen well but send well.  Some bug operators go relatively slow -- 15 wpm for example -- yet have a wonderfully clear swing that tops 40 wpm computer code any day.

I've often wondered what would happen if there were an informal "speed limit" on the old Novice bands.  That would've been a horrible idea back when code testing was mandatory.  It might've reduced some anxiety, but it would have hindered speed and accuracy building.  It was perfectly normal for a rookie operator to go through a few growth spurts on the way to higher proficiency.    A Novice (or later on, a Technician) in the subband could always find someone plodding along slowly.  There's no more regulatory need for the Novice bands.  Yet I've found fewer and fewer operators taking the time to plonk out a really slow QSO with a newbie.  Maybe there should be a movement to informally honor the old Novice subbands as a safe place for learning (and botching contacts).

73, Jordan
« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 07:12:55 PM by Jordan » Logged

Posts: 132

« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2010, 08:15:47 AM »

  I agree.  The SKCC is using some of the old novice band area for just that purpose and I have heard a lot of great slow op's and newbie's in the 7.110-7.120 area.  It is fun to chat with a new ham for the first QSO etc, but as a new op it is also fun to try and pick up the pace and move into the faster ranks of more experienced ops too. Overall-- just have fun.  Its a fantastic hobby.

Posts: 202

« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2010, 08:25:57 AM »

There's also the point about sending clean, understandable code.  I have been able to easily copy an op going faster, but crafting good characters and spacing than a slower op that's sending sloppy code.  As a bug operator, too, I'm amazed at some pretty crappy sounding CW coming from some folks using semi-automatics. It's also is very annoying to hear ops running characters together like a mass of pro-signs.

When I'm sending, my goal is to make my CW legible.  Maybe I put a few microseconds more into the pauses between characters, but it's gratifying when the other op come back with the comment "armchair copy".

Anyhow, just my two cents.

Bill in Pasadena

Posts: 2808

« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2010, 10:15:01 AM »

People (including me) have noticed that working a contest is a good way to increase CW speed.  Same principle applies:

. . . There's no improvement without "pushing".

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