Hi Guys! Here's a bit on my little ham adventure I call "W0XI's CW Chronicles."
Once I got the K1-4 together in September - and I'm enjoying it on 20-meters - I've been working at my ripe-ole-age of 69+ to improve my code for pure enjoyment. It's coming along. One thing I’d been looking for is a CW practice program that allows for the adjustment of inter-word spacing (IWS) while maintaining character speed and inter-character spacing (ICS). I have finally found just one: NuMorse Pro, which has a small price tag of $35.00. I have been using good yet free programs such as RufzXP, JustLearnMorseCode, and G4FON. My second problem had been that My Dell XPS-420 is running Vista Home Premium and may long-standing CW Programs (in my file drawers) will not run there.
The idea behind variable IWS is this: starting at about 25 wpm for words but with an IWS six times normal, one has time to say (not write down!) the word out loud once it is sent, before receiving the next word. I started by using a small portion of the 100 common words I compiled. The list combines sources of the most commonly spoken and written words, CW abbreviations, pro-signs, and Q signals in separate and combined text files. As my score reaches 80 to 90 %, I decrease the IWS a bit, hopefully eventually reaching normal spacing. Right now I'm at 25 WPM for words with IWS 4 to 5 times normal.
An interesting twist of the compiled word list is that the spoken words portion in the list (>40%) comes from a recent study by Steven Greenberg (Berkeley linguist). Most of the old CW programs obtained their 100 word list from William Pierpont's (N0HFF) famous "Art and Skill of Radio-Telegraphy." His compilation ( some 50 years back?) was sourced from written words. Our language and usage has changed since then. The ten most frequently spoken words account for approx 25% of all spoken. The top 100 spoken words account for about 66% of all spoken. IMHO, spoken words (might better) fit for QSO practice. Guess we'll see, Hi. 73, Phil, W0XI.
I do have a PDF listing and references of the 100 words, abbreviations, etc. I also have subset files of the words in notepad files. Many programs, including those above accept these text files. E-mail me if you wish copies.