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Author Topic: spacing  (Read 4902 times)
KC9TNH
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Posts: 304




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« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2010, 08:50:37 AM »

Folks should learn with well-formed CW, not poorly formed CW. Just me being an Old Fart maybe, certainly all the young guys swear up and down that Farnsworth Method is the only way they can learn.
Am not an OF, just a chronological one maybe.  Wink

From the perspective of someone new who is neck-deep in learning at the 5-6 wpm level this minute (and chomping at the bit to take the Tech & Gen in 2 weeks), I find that listening to properly spaced stuff (have an MP3 player with K7QO's course, assume that's traditional spacing) translates directly to smoother keying by me on the flipside of the learning process. And, literally, recording some of that answers "could I copy me?"

My pistol coach told me years ago when tackling a particular stage: "Shoot it clean first, you can go faster when you get bored." Copying someone's slower text after they sent a burst of garble (their callsign) would be just a listening exercise to me; not an invite for a contact.

Thanks N3QE, one 'of' to an OF.  Grin
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73
Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
N4KZ
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Posts: 599




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« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2010, 12:30:01 PM »

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old ham, I am hearing many poor fists on the air these days. Now, don't get me wrong. I think it's wonderful so many new hams are tackling CW even though they are not required to. And there are plenty of poor fists belonging to longtime hams too. But a little inaccuracy here and there changes Morse Code -- sometimes a lot.

Case in point from last night. I am working a station on CW and he keeps sending a 3 in my call. But I'm a 4. On each over, I paused a bit to put emphasis on the 4. He never got it. So I finally told him in a transmission that I was a 4 station. He said OK but continued putting a 3 in the call. And the last letter of my call is Z but half the time he sent a 7. So for at least half of the QSO, I was N3K7. In Morse Code, accuracy counts.

And to top it off, his own call ended with the letter "I." But several times he sent an E instead of the I on his own call. Some people have a good ear for what good Morse Code sounds like and apparently others don't.

Copying a poor fist isn't fun. Pay attention to what you're sending, folks. Please.

73, N4KZ
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KA9QGH
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Posts: 5




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« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2010, 12:18:30 PM »

Oh, my favorite is the guy with the bug that has a 5 WPM dah and a 30 WPM dit. Im not fast i can copy some stuff at 15 to 20 wpm in my head but its the guys that are sending 10-15 WPM as an endless succesion of dits and dashs...which messes up my head copy becasue now i gotta think....start over.

My question is, if we dont say something who will? I think I should say something...but what?

G
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N3QE
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Posts: 2285




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« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2010, 02:58:23 PM »

Oh, my favorite is the guy with the bug that has a 5 WPM dah and a 30 WPM dit. Im not fast i can copy some stuff at 15 to 20 wpm in my head but its the guys that are sending 10-15 WPM as an endless succesion of dits and dashs...which messes up my head copy becasue now i gotta think....start over.

My question is, if we dont say something who will? I think I should say something...but what?

It's not a new phenomenon or a new Q-code (it was around when I was a kid):

QLF - I am sending with my left foot.
QLF? - Are you sending with your left foot?

Tim.
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K5TEN
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« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2010, 03:42:14 PM »

When I was a novice in the very early '80s there was an awesome "Back To Basics" article in CQ magazine about properly spaced Morse, and I wish it was in the hand of anyone who spends time on CW--especially folks with a year in or less.


Spacing, at any speed:

Between letters = the space of at least one dash
Between words = the space of at least two dashes

It does seem like folks are so much in a hurry all the letters just slam into each other--making copy of even a 599 signal difficult.

It's been known since the dawn of radio and CW that even at 18 to 20 wpm that greater spacing makes for more solid copy--less repeats--and a more relaxed contact.
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W4PC
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Posts: 314


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« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2010, 03:42:32 PM »

I looked in my old DX Handbook and I found I was wrong on the spacing. Once I read it, I remembered thats how I learned code.

1. A dash is equal in duration to that of 3 dots
2. A space between the signals forming a letter is equal to the duration of 1 dot.
3. The space between the letters of a word is equal to the duration of 3 dots.
4. The space between words are equal to the duration of 7 dots.

DX handbook Page 67
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KA7PLE
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2010, 12:16:13 AM »

I actually use to do the opposite, putting to much spacing between letters. I was taught the Farnsworth method early in my ham career, IE sending letters faster with longer spacing.
With much practice I think I was able get the correct weight. I have found that if you are running your letters together with a keyer, or using to much spacing,  drop back to using a straight key for a little while. For me that seems to help correct my sending errors. I guess because I learned to use a straight key, and I tend to fall back to what I'm most comfortable with, if I find I am having a sending problem.
May not work for everyone, but for me it does. And besides I enjoy pounding brass, it's fun.

73
KA7PLE
Mike
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KC2MJT
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Posts: 59




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« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2010, 01:32:14 PM »

I worked a guy in a wheel chair a few nights back that actually was using his left foot (QLF). He sent better formed code than most I've heard with a bug, and far better than the ops that we roast on this thread. In fact, it was a very pleasant QSO until both QRN & QRM drowned him out.
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W4PC
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« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2010, 06:22:18 PM »

It's been years since ive seen a QLF contest at a hamfest
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2813




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« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2010, 08:55:19 PM »

Oh, my favorite is the guy with the bug that has a 5 WPM dah and a 30 WPM dit. Im not fast i can copy some stuff at 15 to 20 wpm in my head but its the guys that are sending 10-15 WPM as an endless succesion of dits and dashs...which messes up my head copy becasue now i gotta think....start over.

My question is, if we dont say something who will? I think I should say something...but what?

It's not a new phenomenon or a new Q-code (it was around when I was a kid):

QLF - I am sending with my left foot.
QLF? - Are you sending with your left foot?

Tim.

Or you could use a more valid Q signal: 

QSD - Your keying is defective.

I've used this a lot lately.  One guy out of about two dozen actually asked what was wrong, and I explained that his spacing was terrible and suggested how he could correct it.

The others got mad at me for being so hypercritical.  Tisk.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
N3QE
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Posts: 2285




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« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2011, 06:12:08 AM »

Or you could use a more valid Q signal: 

QSD - Your keying is defective.

I've used this a lot lately.  One guy out of about two dozen actually asked what was wrong, and I explained that his spacing was terrible and suggested how he could correct it.

The others got mad at me for being so hypercritical.  Tisk.

I think the *intention* of QSD is to indicate a technical problem with keying a transmitter. e.g. carrier not going away when key up, or the weird sorts of parasitics that a simple tube transmitter transitioned through between key up and key down, things not part of the "T=Tone" of a RST report.

(I write the above having owned, or currently owning, transmitters that can exhibit all the above problems as well as keyclick and hum and chirp, so I write it meaning that I want an accurate description of how my signal sounds!)

Usually when I use QSD lately I'm using it for poor T-R sequencing. i.e. first dit is being cut off. We already have terms like "chirp" and "bad tone" and "hum" and "clicks" to convey other failings that are not exactly keying problems (although clicks and chirp are very closely related to keying problems.) Although I think here in this forum, I've blamed poor keying in contests on unknowing configuration of contesting software for stuff and called this QSD as well (e.g. 6Y1LZ in a contest, sending his own call as BY1LZ. How the heck did that happen?)

Although I think you may have a point:if the bad character or word spacing is because the operator went willy-nilly setting menu option 57 suboption 3 to some insane value on his rig and messed up the weighting or disabled the sidetone or something else, it may in some sense be the rig's fault that he's sending poorly formed code. There's just something wrong with that chain of logic though.

Several times a year I'm in a QSO with someone and the other guy's keyer just "goes crazy". Stuck on dits, stuck on dahs, random dit-dah patterns with no resemblance to anything, etc. IMHO this indicates that somehow our keying technology is in some respect getting ahead of at least some hams ability to use it. It might be that the paddles fell on the floor or that the cat jumped on the desk but it's even less right when it happens because the operator accidentally invoked menu option 57 suboption 3. Sorta like the news reports or car accidents being blamed on the accelerator getting stuck and being unable to brake... this is not a corner we want to be boxed into by mindless pursuit of techie features.

Tim.
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2813




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« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2011, 01:33:48 PM »

I agree in principle, Tim.  However, defective is defective, IMO, whether it's the fault of the equipment or that of the operator.

Now, if I knew the guy with the terrible fist had been a military communicator, I might just throw down the ultimate gauntlet:

ZBM2 (Place a competent operator on watch).

And yes, I've done that a couple of times, both in uniform and out.

73 & HNY2UL
Pat K7KBN
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
W5LZ
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Posts: 477




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« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2011, 06:38:58 AM »

Most of the common mistakes can be attributed to never learning correctly, or inattention.  The 'learning correctly' part is going to be more common than it used to be since there's no requirement for learning Morse code.  (No, I'm not for reinstating that.  And it doesn't only apply to CW.)  The 'inattention' part will happen to everyone at times.  The 'curing' of that inattention thingy is to slow down some or take a break.  Unfortunately, the 'cure' for the not 'learning correctly' thingy is very much harder, re-learn it correctly.
Paul / W5LZ

(I haven't heard 'Z' codes mentioned in a long, long time!  Smiley)
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W4PC
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Posts: 314


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« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2011, 01:53:28 PM »

http://ww2.isys.ca/lberta/zcode1.html
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KG6IRW
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Posts: 40




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« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2011, 07:52:22 PM »

Well, after reading this thread, I'm realizing I will need to find some way to learn how to send with proper spacing.  As one of the new CW guys who has yet gotten far enough along to consider himself, "ready to send", how does one go about getting guidance to do this?

To my knowledge, the available CW training systems (G4FON, LCWO.net, etc) all focus on learning the characters and then copying.  There is little available now to tell me how well I am actually sending.

Anyone help there?

Cheers and 73s,

David/KG6IRW
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