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Author Topic: U.S. Army Morse Code Training Film  (Read 10638 times)
KD4AL
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« on: July 25, 2010, 10:52:46 AM »

I discovered a really neat Morse Code training film from the U.S. Army in 1966. It is posted on YouTube in two parts. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li8Hiwbc664&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNLlaE56I6Q&NR=1&feature=fvwp

Some of you may have seen these before. I really like the approach and got a big kick out of watching them.  Enjoy.

Bill
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2010, 03:53:30 PM »

It's fun, and is the basis of Code Quick, which has to be about the worst, least effective, and slowest way ever to learn code. Cheesy

Leave it to the Army to come up with something so ridiculous.

The reason this is a really poor method is it causes one to think about different things to copy code: First, "what's that sound like?"  And then, "Oh yeah, like a horse galloping."  And then, "Oh, I guess that must be H."

As opposed to just learning "H."

Geesh, there's only 26 letters.  Western Union telegraph operators used it learn it slam-dunk in one day, to secure a well paying job 150 years ago.   No tricks, no gimmicks, just learned it by listening to "clackers," which takes more talent than hearing a musical note.

"Code Quick," which is based on this very same Army method, is one of the silliest things I've ever heard. Grin

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AE4RV
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2010, 04:10:48 PM »

It's fun, and is the basis of Code Quick, which has to be about the worst, least effective, and slowest way ever to learn code. Cheesy

Leave it to the Army to come up with something so ridiculous.

The reason this is a really poor method is it causes one to think about different things to copy code: First, "what's that sound like?"  And then, "Oh yeah, like a horse galloping."  And then, "Oh, I guess that must be H."

As opposed to just learning "H."

Geesh, there's only 26 letters.  Western Union telegraph operators used it learn it slam-dunk in one day, to secure a well paying job 150 years ago.   No tricks, no gimmicks, just learned it by listening to "clackers," which takes more talent than hearing a musical note.

"Code Quick," which is based on this very same Army method, is one of the silliest things I've ever heard. Grin



I think the target audience of this film was people who have recently learned the code.

I respectfully disagree with the Code Quick comparison. While I was reminded of that method once or twice while watching this, that is not what they were aiming for. They were talking more about sending rhythm, not teaching the characters. I think they wanted to stress some rhythmic analogies to teach better sending but not mental crutches for long term use. Also, Code Quick has a gimmick for each character, this movie provided but a few, and they weren't good ones for character recognition, just sending technique.

Also, I find it hard to believe that any Western Union man learned the code at a useful level in a day, but I can not confirm or deny that. I've been surprised (and wrong) before.

End of respectful disagreement.

Did anyone else laugh when "22" was sent in Morse after the small handgun was shot?

Very 73, Geoff
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2010, 07:08:16 PM »



Also, I find it hard to believe that any Western Union man learned the code at a useful level in a day, but I can not confirm or deny that. I've been surprised (and wrong) before.



I wasn't alive then, either (!) but read this several times when researching the history of the Western Union Telegraph.  Some history is on line, but a lot more is in library books.  Several stories seem to confirm that "new telegraph operators," hearing that jobs were in offices and not pitching manure, and involved "sitting down all day," which was a pretty easy job compared to most in the mid-19th century, lined up for these new jobs.  Nobody in line actually knew the code, which was new and had no use prior to the telegraph.  Some stories, including "quotes" from people interviewed in the early 20th century who were early telegraph operators, reveal they literally learned the code while waiting several hours in line -- at least well enough to pass the test when they got to the front of the line.

That code isn't quite the same as the Morse we use today, and involved dits and spaces without dahs.  But the concept is the same, and the skills required similar.

It's amazing how motivated people can be when it means getting a "nice office job" to feed their families.
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N2EY
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2010, 01:21:37 PM »

If you liked the Army training film, you might also enjoy this:

Harry Shearer did a 2 hour tribute to Jean Shepherd, K2ORS, (SK) which includes several great monologues he did on the radio.
 
The first hour is here:
 
http://hearingvoices.com/news/2009/08/hv067-jean-shepherd-1/
 
You can download the MP3 file at the link (right click, then "Save Target As"), or listen to it online.
 
There's a great Army code school story that begins about 28 minutes into the file. Shep and several high-speed radio operators/radar technician buddies were mistakenly sent to basic Morse Code instruction - which, as Shep puts it, was like training a brain surgeon in how to put on a Band-Aid.
 
So the guinea pigs took over the experiment, so to speak.

It's kind of a companion piece to the training films...
 
"I COULD TEACH CODE TO A DOG!!!"
 
The second hour is here:
 
http://hearingvoices.com/news/2009/08/hv068-jean-shepherd-2/
 
Same deal. Shep was in the Army in WW2. 
 
73 de Jim, N2EY
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AE4RV
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2010, 01:37:18 PM »

I listened to a few hours of Shep archives today, including one dedicated to CW (which I've heard before, I can't get enough - "I could teach code to a dog!"). There are several shows where he talks about amateur radio quite a bit and a few more to a lesser extent.

People unfamiliar with Jean Shepherd should start with N2EY's links, that's a good radio program.

http://shepcast.blogspot.com/

73 Geoff
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N2EY
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2010, 03:10:02 PM »

The training film is about learning to *send*, not receive. Has nothing to do with Code Quick.

Note that there's a tie-in with learning the standard phonetics and the standard printing method.

Yes, some of the pieces are a bit silly. But that helps you remember them! And to a bunch of young guys going through training, anything with an attractive YL in it will hold their attention.

Thanks for the links.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2010, 06:15:52 PM »

The "I could teach Morse Code to a dog!" piece might offend some hams who claim it's really hard to learn. Shocked

I taught my daughter Robyn the code in one Saturday afternoon when she was home sick with the flu, when she was 8 years old.  She got 26 letters, 10 numbers and a few punctuation symbols down cold in about six hours.

It was easy for her, because I told her up front, "Any idiot can do this," so she believed that.  It certainly wasn't nearly as hard as deciphering Shakespeare or the other things she was learning at the time.

Anyone who's heard, "This is very hard to learn!" will likely believe that, too.
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KG4TKC
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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2010, 05:19:55 AM »

Nice link KD4AL. I enjoy those old training films and old newsreels and such. The internet archive http://www.archive.org has a nice collection of audio,video,and text material in the public domain that covers a range of subjects. There is another older training film there much like the one posted. It is here  http://www.archive.org/details/gov.dod.dimoc.23735
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KC9KEP
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« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2010, 05:15:48 PM »

I suspect that that "movie" was produced by David Lynch!
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N0NB
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2010, 04:25:13 PM »

It's fun, and is the basis of Code Quick, which has to be about the worst, least effective, and slowest way ever to learn code. Cheesy

Perhaps so, but it was the only way that I found that worked for me.  Anyone able to learn it without the need for mnemonics has a gift I was not given.  I tried several code courses back in the early '80s and none of them worked for me.  True, I have had to unlearn the mnemonic associations over the years and it is still there at times which is limiting.  I'm thankful that I took a chance on the course or else I may not have been able to upgrade above Technician until 2000 rather than getting the Advanced in '85 and the Extra in '92.

I understand that everyone will learn something differently so I don't disparage whatever method works for someone else.
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73, de Nate
Marysville, KS

SKCC 6225
KE4JOY
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2010, 10:01:32 AM »

The "I could teach Morse Code to a dog!" piece might offend some hams who claim it's really hard to learn. Shocked

I taught my daughter Robyn the code in one Saturday afternoon when she was home sick with the flu, when she was 8 years old.  She got 26 letters, 10 numbers and a few punctuation symbols down cold in about six hours.

Young minds are amazing.

I am most fortunate to have leared the code at a young age. Back then I could head copy, talk on the phone, and read a magazine all at the same time. Now I struggle with over 20wpm. Thing is though I learned young and it stuck with me.

BTW thanks for posting the video I found it entertaining.
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AF3Y
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2010, 05:58:41 AM »

Sadly, I used the Code Quick program to learn Morse Code. Now, some five or six years later, I STILL hear "Dog Did It", "Cross at the Door", etc. etc., and it certainly has prevented me from getting my speed up where I would like it. It is really hard to get those silly little hints out of my mind. I wish I had never used it, but I just had SO much trouble with the other methods, that I went ahead and got it.

Lately, I have found that copying callsigns on the air have helped me more than anything to improve my speed. The G4FON Koch trainer is helpful as well, but trying to get those callsigns right when sent at 25-30 wpm is not only fun for me, it is helping my copy speed.
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AE4RV
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2010, 06:48:22 AM »

AF3Y, have you tried http://www.rufzxp.net/ ?  Five minutes a day for a month and you'll add 10WPM to your current best. At least.

73 Geoff
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2010, 10:12:19 AM »

Sadly, I used the Code Quick program to learn Morse Code. Now, some five or six years later, I STILL hear "Dog Did It", "Cross at the Door", etc. etc., and it certainly has prevented me from getting my speed up where I would like it. It is really hard to get those silly little hints out of my mind. I wish I had never used it, but I just had SO much trouble with the other methods, that I went ahead and got it.

Lately, I have found that copying callsigns on the air have helped me more than anything to improve my speed. The G4FON Koch trainer is helpful as well, but trying to get those callsigns right when sent at 25-30 wpm is not only fun for me, it is helping my copy speed.

I always thought Code Quick, which actually replicates an old Army code training method, was horrible.  The only Army operators I ever met who could really do code well were ones who were hams and used a lot of code both within and outside the Army (many years ago, when they actually used code).  And I worked with a lot of them, at the Signal Corps Command/Ft. Monmouth, NJ back 40 years ago.

Copying calligns on the air certainly helps, but IMO actually making the contacts works better because it improves sending skills.  Just as it's easier to learn a foreign language by speaking it as well as hearing it, I've found code is the same way: The better you send, usually the better you'll copy also.



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