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Author Topic: Learning Code - Writing vs. typing  (Read 7625 times)
KI4GTD
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Posts: 17




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« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2011, 06:49:33 AM »

After reading the forum posts yesterday, I logged into LCWO last night. I'm only up to 4 letters but I have started hearing the letter. The problem I have at the moment is that my brain can't transfer them to my hand quickly enough and I start losing track of letters after about 8 to 10 of them. However, if I stop trying to write them and just listen, I can easily distinguish the 4 characters. Just a matter of training the brain and hand to work together, I think.

I appreciate all the pointers from everyone. It's really started to sink in. Now all I need is about 22 more characters and the remaining symbols.  Wink

73 de Brian KI4GTD

Edit: Thanks for the tip on TM 11-459. I'm looking for a copy now. The pdf I found is lousy quality, but I think the book will be worth adding to my library.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2011, 06:51:17 AM by KI4GTD » Logged
KC9TNH
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Posts: 304




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« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2011, 07:36:05 AM »

Edit: Thanks for the tip on TM 11-459. I'm looking for a copy now. The pdf I found is lousy quality, but I think the book will be worth adding to my library.
Brian, am familiar with the badly cropped photo-copies around. Try this, TM/TO publication date 1957:

http://www.royalsignals.org.uk/

They have a VERY nicely preserved .PDF of this available in their library. It is free, but you have to go through their site registration process.  They will then email you a VERY strong password to use to login for a one-time download.  Great Org, nice & interesting site, and they have a Yahoo Group as well (which they'll point you to also in the return email).

BTW, for bug lovers, this TM has the very quaint hand-drawn adjustment instructions for the Vibroplex bug (J-36 in mil-speak). And as the TM points out, the bug is for sending easier, not necessarily faster.
The Art & Skill of Radio Telegraphy and this TM are had-to-haves for my shelf.
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73
Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
KI4GTD
Member

Posts: 17




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« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2011, 07:55:54 AM »

Funny you should mention RoyalSignals... I found their site about an hour ago and requested access. However, I'm also purchasing a copy of it as the PDF has already sparked my interest considerably. They do have a lot of great reference items and the Yahoo group has some additional information for several old tube (valve) radios. Very nice! Thanks for the tip. I'm glad I joined in this thread and got all the pointers before I'd gone too far down the road. Just being able to "hear" the characters has been great. The last time I made an attempt to learn code, I was trying to learn the look of the characters and not the sound.

Great stuff!
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K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2814




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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2011, 09:38:05 AM »

Code is an aural function, and anyone who learns code by writing it or typing it is just handicapping himself.

That's silly.

It is indeed the old "military way," which was horrible.

A better way is to just learn code by the way it sounds.  Unless you have to write down a lot of numbers or something, there's no reason to put any of it on paper.

For ham radio purposes, code is indeed "aural".  But consider Navy signalmen (now quartermasters) and others who are proficient at copying flashing light.  For them it's visual; the only sound involved is the shutter noise on the light you're using -- you can't hear the other guy's shutters when he's a few thousand yards away.

When I was learning Morse code in the Boy Scouts, our assistant scoutmaster (retired Master Chief Quartermaster, USN) taught us flashing light using a flashlight bulb keyed by a J-38, as well as the more conventional keyed audio tones with the same key.  Several years later, when I was a Navy radioman, I found that I could copy flashing light better than most of the signalmen.  For them, 12 WPM was fast.  Of course, that's a function of being able to move the shutters properly on the searchlights.  It's a whole different set of muscles than those we use with a straight key, bug or whatever.
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Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3905




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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2011, 09:51:37 AM »


When I was learning Morse code in the Boy Scouts, our assistant scoutmaster (retired Master Chief Quartermaster, USN) taught us flashing light using a flashlight bulb keyed by a J-38, as well as the more conventional keyed audio tones with the same key.  Several years later, when I was a Navy radioman, I found that I could copy flashing light better than most of the signalmen.  For them, 12 WPM was fast.  Of course, that's a function of being able to move the shutters properly on the searchlights.  It's a whole different set of muscles than those we use with a straight key, bug or whatever.

This post created an idea that I need to investigate.  I've never been able to understand the flashing light code used on naval ships.....although the only ones I've seen was in the various movies the past 60 years.

This post reminded me of the 'instant on' brake lights of automobiles.  Now I'm thinking of rigging up a bright white LED to a J-38 and see what that looks like!  Thanks!
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KC9TNH
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Posts: 304




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« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2011, 10:17:54 AM »

This post created an idea that I need to investigate.  I've never been able to understand the flashing light code used on naval ships.....although the only ones I've seen was in the various movies the past 60 years.

This post reminded me of the 'instant on' brake lights of automobiles.  Now I'm thinking of rigging up a bright white LED to a J-38 and see what that looks like!  Thanks!
I like your idea.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a collection of books (25-cents per) created "for boys" that fostered all manner of neat things that the versatile renaissance person should have a handle on. Many used in concert with scouting programs, ranging from "how to pole vault" to "Flying: by Eddie Rickenbacker."

I have a copy of "Gilbert's Signal Engineering for Boys" (which was a quarter).  It is about a 20MB payload .pdf but you can probably find it online.
There are all manner of interesting things and should be on your table at-hand just for interest when the blizzard's raging, the bands are in the toilet, you have insomnia, etc.  Just 'cause.

There are great illustrations of flashing light & naval signal flag methods (and the flags), Morse (both kinds), building a cypher kit, explanations of heliographs, other int'l signalling methods, semaphores, wig-wags.....   Grin

It is out "somewhere" on the net. I think one of the Univ of Cal libraries might have it online...

If a person can't have fun with this volume they should stick to SSB.
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Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
PA0WV
Member

Posts: 137




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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2011, 11:59:41 AM »

Be sure to have a free copy of
http://www.qsl.net/n9bor/n0hff.htm

73 Wim
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Using an appliance without CW is just CB
K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2814




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« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2011, 01:09:40 PM »

One Bremerton ham who has a house overlooking Puget Sound Naval Shipyard has a light atop his tower which flashes a Merry Christmas/Happy New Year message starting mid-December every year.  It's only about 5 WPM, if that, but it's become a holiday icon in the area.

For those who might plan to make a flashlight-battery-and-light-bulb blinker arrangement to learn visual code, keep enough distance from the other sender so you can't hear the mechanical sound of the key.  You have to keep it entirely visual, with no audible clues.

I found that the flashing light triggered some sort of "oscillator" in my head, and at higher speeds I could - in some sense - "hear" the flashes.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
PA0WV
Member

Posts: 137




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« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2011, 03:38:11 PM »

I wonder how you could make hard copy of visual light signals. Constantly looking at the light source, the only possibility is head copy, not appropriate for encrypted messages, hardly for plain text, and the other possibility is
using a type writer and touch typing.

After reading the forum posts yesterday, I logged into LCWO last night. I'm only up to 4 letters but I have started hearing the letter. The problem I have at the moment is that my brain can't transfer them to my hand quickly enough and I start losing track of letters after about 8 to 10 of them. However, if I stop trying to write them and just listen, I can easily distinguish the 4 characters. Just a matter of training the brain and hand to work together, I think.

I appreciate all the pointers from everyone. It's really started to sink in. Now all I need is about 22 more characters and the remaining symbols.  Wink


It is a long way. Start with lesson 1, and don't proceed to lesson 2 before you reach a score of 90%
Keep the speed at 20/10 that means character speed 20 wpm and letter spacing as if the speed was 10 wpm, that determines your reaction time.

On the average you need 20 exercises of  5   minutes  for each lesson. So you end up to be able to make your first QSO's after 800 exercises at 12 wpm..

Best thing to do is write the text on paper, and after 4 or 5 exercises type it over so that the program can check your results. Otherwise you train only copy by typewriter.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2011, 03:54:42 PM by PA0WV » Logged

Using an appliance without CW is just CB
K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2814




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« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2011, 04:58:42 PM »

I wonder how you could make hard copy of visual light signals. Constantly looking at the light source, the only possibility is head copy, not appropriate for encrypted messages, hardly for plain text, and the other possibility is
using a type writer and touch typing.

Okay - I can answer that one.  Navy signalmen/quartermasters (ANY Navy) will have a "reader" and a "recorder" available at each searchlight.  The recorder simply writes down what the reader calls out.  The reader never takes his eyes off the sending ship's signal bridge, often having to use binoculars or IR goggles.  It can get dicey, especially when the ships are maneuvering and changing position relative to one another, and can involve moving from one searchlight to another, to another .... .  The one recorder/reader team is usually the same for the whole watch, maybe trading off the duties from one message to the next.  It's fun - and today the stench of stack gases is a lot less than it was 50 years ago.
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Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K8AXW
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Posts: 3905




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« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2011, 09:48:05 PM »

A friend, W8OO, now SK, used to be a signalman that used the light exclusively.  He said most signalmen had problems with the long aircraft parts numbers which he found easy to do.  So whenever there was a message that contained a lot of part numbers, they put him on the light.  He also explained the "writer" who would make the "hard copy."

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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2011, 05:28:33 AM »


I have a copy of "Gilbert's Signal Engineering for Boys" (which was a quarter).  It is about a 20MB payload .pdf but you can probably find it online.
There are all manner of interesting things and should be on your table at-hand just for interest when the blizzard's raging, the bands are in the toilet, you have insomnia, etc.  Just 'cause.



Well, I tried to download it, roughly 11 MB in pdf format, it turns out repeatedly that the downloading stops at 8 MB, finally I succeeded to get it all, by jumping to different pages in the pdf document, but a lot of pages look very out focus.

Another way was the epub format, That's is only 1,5 MB, and I transferred it to a Sony reader. Now it is readable with some strange errors.

It raises questions just as reading the TM-11-459 document .

Writing in the prescribed military way, which suggests that all private initiative is deadly,  is limited to 18 wpm in that document, above that speed they use a mill.
When you write the way I write cursive all characters of a word with pen down,  you reach 40 wpm. Just test your max speed by repeatedly writing great great great etc during one minute and count the number of words. And you understand what I am talking about. When you write wrong (the TM-11-459 way) you will never be able to copy 40 wpm on paper with handwriting. So when that is your goal you better change your writing in a more natural way. NOT as military with the same suit, the same steps, the same food (the same wife?)

That Gilbert book is amazing, I read about wigwag, as far as I can see there is no specification of the duration of a wand position. Is the dash (left) equal time as the dot (right) or is it 3 times longer. I couldn't find the answer in the epub file. In the last case it looks like a cootie key (side swiper). Both are equal probable, because in intercontinental sea cables the dash was equal in length as the dot but opposit polarity, That was done to limit theinfluence  of the very limited bandwidth of those cables.

After that the writer (Gilbert) goes on writing about procedures, it looks like a form of indoctrination to prepare boys for the service. Amazing.

I don't know much about American history, don't blame me if you don't know about France, Germany or Denmark, but the reading about Signal Mountain urges me to say to the xyl:" First they murdered all the Indians, and after that each other"

Bob
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 05:36:50 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2814




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« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2011, 09:05:26 AM »

Hey Bob -

In wigwag signaling, the flag (or wand, or whatever you're using) moves to the right for a dot and to the left for a dash.  There's no actual time ratio between the two.

The assistant scoutmaster who taught my troop told us to "remember what the old German said:  'DOT IS RIGHT'" (when sending, anyway). REMEMBER: "Dot is right" FOR THE SENDER.  If you're on the receiving end, you have to transpose.  If the flag moves to YOUR right, it's a "dash".  IOW, if you see LRLL, the sender sent "Y", not "L".

We had some guys in the scout troop who got quite proficient in wigwag.  That's the one area I really didn't care for.  Morse, semaphore and flaghoist; those were my favorites.

Come to think of it, wigwag and semaphore at night, using a couple toy Light Sabers from Star Wars might just be cool!
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 04:15:58 PM by K7KBN » Logged

73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
PA0BLAH
Member

Posts: 0




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« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2011, 09:13:11 AM »

Tks Pat,

Finally your appreciation turned out to be right, right now with CW on the bands.

Bob
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 09:15:17 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
KC9TNH
Member

Posts: 304




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« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2011, 10:05:56 AM »

After that the writer (Gilbert) goes on writing about procedures, it looks like a form of indoctrination to prepare boys for the service. Amazing.

I don't know much about American history, don't blame me if you don't know about France, Germany or Denmark, but the reading about Signal Mountain urges me to say to the xyl:" First they murdered all the Indians, and after that each other"

Bob
Actually it was quite common, in a land BCP (before couch potatoes), that boys (and girls) learned things appropriate to what was seen as a part of their role in the culture of the time. Whether or not they ever did military service was irrelevant. Learning about things that might be useful was part of the the culture, whether it's how an airplane works, how to make a crystal radio, or how to find north with a stick & some semblance of a shadow. Self-sufficiency and a well-rounded person. Did that lend itself to eventual (and socially-accepted) service in a military branch in case there was a draft? Sure.

As to the last, true; and true of any country that engaged in colonialism, anywhere.

Back to the writing method in the TM, I think it's clear that copy by hand at all was something relegated to lower speeds and/or situations not at a fixed base. A military manual of any kind needs to be taken for what it is. A largely successful method by which to get the most people, of the widest basically acceptable demographic, qualified to a basic standard, in the least amount of time. Types of people or situations where it doesn't work?  Sure, but shown to be the exception not the rule based on large & repeatable samples. If you want to copy in italicized lower-case or whatever shorthand works, go for it - whatever works, if one doesn't have to hand their scribbling to someone else for further use, or keep it as a durable record.

It's an Army manual. Take what you need, leave the chaff & drive on.
 Smiley
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73
Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
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