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Author Topic: copying at a slower speed  (Read 4716 times)
KM3K
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Posts: 285




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« on: March 15, 2011, 09:32:59 PM »

I'm using G4FON's program to learn the code.
I'll admit that I'm being rather ambitious in starting out at 25 wpm but whether or not I'll be compelled to drop to a lower speed level will be decided later this week.
But lets say for now that I'll be successful at 25 wpm.
What happens should I try to listen to slower code, like even 5 wpm?
How well does the brain process the slower speed?
One other question...at what speed does printing or writing the characters become a problem?
Said differently...at what speed is a change made from hand-writing characters to using a keyboard?
73 Jerry KM3K
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VE4EGL
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Posts: 23




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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2011, 07:15:26 AM »

I love the Koch method; start at the speed you want to achieve and don't waste any time thinking about dahs and dits!   Grin

Just make sure you still set the speed high enough that all the sounds of each letter run together so you hear "CQ" instead of "da-di-da-dit da-da-di-dah".  I mostly learned at 20wpm but did the test at 10wpm because I wasn't quite able to copy behind at that speed.

Listening to slower code won't be a problem, just imagine if ... someone... starts... talking... like... this.... You'd still get the message, it just takes a bit longer.  Heck, for added fun, try recording your voice and playing it back at half speed.  You'll still understand what's being said even though it's slower than what you're used to, code's the same way.

As for printing or writing, everyone's different, just switch to a faster method when the current one's not working.  You will end up copying behind at some point but that's a good thing, it means you know it well enough that you can queue the extra characters until the word finishes.  You could even learn to copy in your head, though in my experience there's a drastic drop in speed when you decide to go that route.  I see it as the difference between a kid learning to read out loud and actually hearing what they're saying when they do it.
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I used to think you needed an elaborate setup to work DX, then I made a QSO 3,000 miles away using a dipole 8ft off the ground in the middle of a forest.
KM3K
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Posts: 285




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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011, 08:29:18 AM »

You could even learn to copy in your head, though in my experience there's a drastic drop in speed when you decide to go that route.  I see it as the difference between a kid learning to read out loud and actually hearing what they're saying when they do it.
Thanks for the good news about the slower speed.
But I don't understand the part about a drastic drop in speed when copying in your head; that does not make sense to me.
73 Jerry KM3K
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KE4ILG
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Posts: 150




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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2011, 08:35:04 AM »

I can only answer with my experiences.  I didn't learn with G4FON because it wasn't available to me in 1993.  I did use it to brush up after an eight year break from ham radio.  I believe it would be perhaps the best way to learn code.  I am glad to hear you are willing to adjust your training.

Now to your question on slow code copying.  I don't find it difficult to copy well sent slow code.  The key is "well sent".  Regardless of your speed if you try to send the very best code you can others will want to talk with you.  I can not stress this part enough it does not matter what speed you are sending send well. 

I currently operate at about 18-22 for most ragchew qso's and faster for the quick dx contacts.  I also work ops at a very much slower rate.  I was blessed with great ops who worked me when 5 wpm poorly sent was my best.   These hams encouraged me to continue with cw and I will be forever gratefull.  After you have on air experience you can also be an elmer for others. You may find at first it is difficult to slow down your sending, you must practice this as well once you are on the air.  Many of the slower ops are very interesting guys who just prefer a more relaxed pace.
                                                    73, Mike ke4ilg



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VE4EGL
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2011, 08:50:13 AM »

Thanks for the good news about the slower speed.
But I don't understand the part about a drastic drop in speed when copying in your head; that does not make sense to me.
73 Jerry KM3K

I'm going to go with what my wife says on this one, it probably comes down to the fact that I'm not a good listener.   Roll Eyes

I've found it a lot harder to keep the whole message in my head than just a word or two, the mental buffer fills up pretty quickly I guess, so I need to hear it at a slower speed to compensate for trying to remember the message I've already heard while adding more to it.  It's a mental juggling act I haven't quite mastered yet.
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I used to think you needed an elaborate setup to work DX, then I made a QSO 3,000 miles away using a dipole 8ft off the ground in the middle of a forest.
WB3CQM
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Posts: 116




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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2011, 09:10:59 AM »

Just a few added thoughts to this topic . I use RufzXP and Morse Runner for call sign copy practice.

LCWO - learn CW online is another one I really like. I use word training and call sign practice most of the time.

Forget the fact I can copy in my head or use a pen to copy. My goal is to copy 100% with a computer.

One of the drills I use is to not type in any word or call into the blocks on LCWO until the word or call is completely sent. The idea is build a BUFFER and memory on my part. It is little tricky for me and perhaps someone on this forum can explain the system better than I can. Sure I am typing most of the code at higher speeds.  I ask which is harder , to copy in your head or copy and then Type it 100% correctly . As in like contesting and logging?

I am sure many code ops have learned using the system of building a buffer. Typing the full word once sent instead of as it is being sent.

Just something to think about- But yes I do copy and type as calls are being sent in general. Because one, I have poor short term memory .

By the way - I have also been recommending the system of learning you are using . And a local ham here had great success using the learn at 25 wpm system. He did have to back down to carry on qso with stations. I would be interested in how you make out doing this system of learning code. My friend found typing and learning was no worse than trying to copy with pencil. So he learned to type and copy. I think it took longer to learn code, but he is already at 25 now by passing that speed curve for the most part.

I leaned to copy with a pencil then from memory in head  then a type writer . I started at 5 wpm and worked at increase of speed , but think this is a poor way of learning.

My opinion if you get to 25 wpm I do not think you would enjoy going down to 5 wpm. My guess 10 or 13 but 5 is real struggle for me. Every one is different in that respect though.
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NN2S
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2011, 11:58:14 AM »

When I got started in cw I was given a huge amount of advice... here was the best that I remember...

Code is best learned with your eyes not your eyes.

when you have are having trouble with coping ... change your speed... either up or down. the change can help get the brain working.

Only send as fast as you can receive.

I learned to send with my left hand, so I could write with my right.

After a while you will hear words coming... not just dits and dahs.


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AE4RV
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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2011, 12:04:33 PM »

"Code is best learned with your eyes not your eyes."

You either made a typo or had a Zen Master for a code instructor. Smiley
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KM3K
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Posts: 285




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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2011, 12:33:57 PM »

....RufzXP and Morse Runner......LCWO.....have poor short term memory.

1. Those three program names are new to me; I've filed them for future referral when I get further along in learning the code.
2. As for "poor short term memory", I take a back seat to nobody; I'll keep your comments in mind.
3. I read with interest the comments about typing; fortunately, about twenty-five years ago, I was assigned a major task (come up with a Quality Assurance manual for our company) and so I taught myself to type with the Dvorak-keyboard and can cruise along at forty to fifty wpm. (If I could spell faster, I think I could type faster).
73 Jerry KM3K
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WX7G
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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2011, 12:43:20 PM »

Slow CW can be more work to copy than fast. Rather than having each word be assembled quickly in one's head it is assembled slowly and forces one to remember each letter for a longer time.
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K4PP
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Posts: 64




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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2011, 04:58:38 AM »

KE4ILG said "Now to your question on slow code copying.  I don't find it difficult to copy well sent slow code.  The key is "well sent".  Regardless of your speed if you try to send the very best code you can others will want to talk with you.  I can not stress this part enough it does not matter what speed you are sending send well."



That's what I've found too. If the code is well sent it's usually not too difficult to copy slow-to-fast over a narrow range of speed within my ability. An advantage of learning off a computer program is you tend to send like it sounds on the program and so the timing is proper. I suppose this takes away from the swing aspects, but for learning it works.

The most difficult thing I've found is trying to QSO with someone who's not sending proper letter timing. There was one QSO where someone was sending from a semi-auto bug but would substitute using the Dah side contact for a dit if there was only one dit in the letter, or something, I am not sure what was happening. Some will purposefully add swing. Others will send from the computer but then enter with a key and sending sounds totally different. It didn't sound right and I couldn't get it.

K4PP
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 05:02:19 AM by K4PP » Logged
N6GND
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Posts: 347




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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2011, 07:40:50 PM »

"Others will send from the computer but then enter with a key and sending sounds totally different. It didn't sound right and I couldn't get it."

Lovely observation! Code can vary quite a bit from the standard spacings and still be perfectly clear. This is the difference between those who "know" code and those who really don't. Stay true to the tradition (disdain the keyer, the keying memory and the like) and keep on truckin'.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2011, 08:37:35 PM »

When someone can tell the difference between computer sent code and my fist with a paddle, I'll pack it in. Wink
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K9ZMD
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Posts: 170




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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2011, 01:12:36 AM »

When someone can tell the difference between computer sent code and my fist with a paddle, I'll pack it in. Wink
Sorry Steve, I know what you meant, but it didn't come out quite right.  

When I hear perfect code in complete sentences, with good spelling (even the large words), all punctuation like commas & periods, and no prosigns at all, then I know three things immediately.  One, that is not Steve on a paddle.  Two, that is some weenie on a keyboard who won't be able to copy what I send to him at exactly that same speed.  Three . . . complete sentences with correct spelling and grammar?  Man, that is definitely not the average ham who posts on these forums.  Grin

Gary, K9ZMD/7
Battle Ground, WA (Soon to be Ridgefield, WA, in my own house with a real antenna!)
« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 01:16:28 AM by K9ZMD » Logged
KC9TNH
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Posts: 304




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« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2011, 10:18:27 AM »

Three . . . complete sentences with correct spelling and grammar?  Man, that is definitely not the average ham who posts on these forums.  Grin

Gary, K9ZMD/7
Battle Ground, WA (Soon to be Ridgefield, WA, in my own house with a real antenna!)
Smiley I'm currently working my copy up from 7wpm or so and, probably like many beginners, quite capable of writing a check with my key that my rollerball can't cash coming back. Hence, I try to spend some time listening each day. A friend who's regularly capable of 25 downshifts for me and I can also tell on-air those who are capable of 'good' code regardless of speed. Listening to them is a pleasure and I often look at my notes & realize we were trucking right along together faster than my norm. There are others who I dial away from because, regardless of how slow they are, they need to revisit some threads on spacing.

I'd rather my Elmer say "nice fist" than "your speed is really coming along - please repeat all after 'roger'."

Correct spelling & grammar in our language is a pleasure. However, separate from collegial rag-chews but not sinking to the current-gen text-kiddy trend, where would the case be for brevity in certain circumstances as applied to CW?
Thanks.
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73
Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
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