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Author Topic: Code copying inconsistencies  (Read 2505 times)
K1RDD
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« on: September 10, 2002, 11:36:43 AM »

I've been using a number of different tools to raise my level of code, and I'm getting a wide range of results. I can usually do 20wpm using Rufz (all call signs), up to 18wpm in the Tekla random 5 character sets and 15wpm in CodeQuick's keyboard game. However, when I try to do continuous text, like W1AW broadcasts or practice files from the ARRL web site, I can't get past 10wpm. I just ordered "Increasing from 10-15wpm" CDs from the ARRL. Any other suggestions?
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KC0IOX
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2002, 02:05:00 AM »

Your post is interesting.  From what I read, I'm going to take an educated guess that you are concentrating on the characters a great deal, and not listening for the words.  I could be wrong, but when I was learning code, my experience was similar to yours.  What I did was to just listen to QSOs on the radio.  I also would have QSOs on the radio, first at slower speeds, and the more QSOs I had, the faster I got.  I am now in a place where I hear the words most of the time, and don't pay too much attention to the individual characters.  If I "miss" a character or two in copying, I can still usually get the word that was sent. I think one of the most difficult steps that I took was to discipline myself to "drop" any missed characters and not worry about them if I missed them, and keep concentrating on what was being sent. As my confidence went up, my ability to copy did as well.  This is just from my experience.  Yours may be different.  Your post didn't say if you got on the air at all.  If you are licensed, I encourage you to get on the air and have QSOs where you are comfortable.  If you are not licenensed and have a radio, just listen, listen, listen and it will get better with time.  From the information you gave me, this is the best I can do for now.  I wish you the very best of luck in your progress, and perhaps we'll meet on the air some day.  Warmest 73, and keep working!
Eric
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N5WLA
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2002, 04:03:34 PM »

It sounds like you're doing all the right things.  Speed doesn't come overnight, but one day you'll notice that you're copying faster than you thought possible if you stick with it.
Here are some things that worked for me:
1. I used to pick up a magazine or book, open to a page and practice sending.  It helped to reinforce the sound of the characters - you can't send them if you don't know them.
2. Relax when copying.  Everyone wants to do well, therefore we put pressure on ourselves to excel.  It will come in time, and sooner if you can relax.
3. If you've downloaded the W1AW practice sessions, try reversing the order and run from fast to slow.  At the faster speeds you may not catch any characters at first, but before long you'll be able to pick some out here and there.  Then, when the speed drops, you'll pick out more.  By the time you get to the slower speeds, you'll be amazed at how slow it seems.  This boosted my copy more than anything else.
Just keep at it -  the more you do, the better you get.  The better you get, the more fun it is.  Good Luck!
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2002, 07:43:46 PM »

K1RDD, I'm confused.  The data base says you're a General, which means you have CW privileges right now.

Best way to increase code speed and proficiency is to use it, not study it or listen to it.

I've taught code classes for 20 years, usually four sessions per year, to groups of about 15 students.  The ones who got on the air and used CW, going way faster than they could possibly copy and just trying to get as much as they could, were all going 20wpm within a matter of days.  The ones who "studied," using tapes, CDs, software, and by listening to code practice broadcasts, almost invariably got stuck in a rut below 15wpm and never got past it.

The difference is night and day.  Making contacts using CW is interactive, fun and uses more parts of the brain.  Listening to CW is not interactive, not particularly fun, and uses less of the brain.

Try to learn a new language by reading a book.  It doesn't work nearly as well as going to the country that speaks that language and mixing with people, trying to converse with them.  Interactively, people become fluent in months.  By studying books, they might become nearly fluent in years.

WB2WIK/6
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K1RDD
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« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2002, 08:30:11 AM »

Let me clarify a bit here. Yes, I am a General, I have code priviledges, and I do use them. The point of my original post was confusion over why I could do 20wpm in contest mode, but only 10wpm in "conversational" mode.
KC0OIX brought up a good point. I'm only listening for characters, not words, that's why I do better when I'm contesting.
I also like N5WLA's suggestion of just trying to copy at a much higher rate than I'm used to.
Thanks to all.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2002, 08:08:45 AM »

Absolutely work at a higher speed than you can comfortably copy!  And put away the paper, pencil, etc.  Listen to the code.  It's normally conversation, not characters.  Nobody's testing you to see if you got everything the other guy sent -- who cares?

Listening for characters, along with writing anything down on paper, are sure ways to never increase code proficiency.

Once you become accustomed to just reading code by listening to it and not writing anything down, you'll also find it easy to multi-task, e.g., while working CW, you can also chat with the XYL, watch TV, do lots of things.  The activities are mutually exclusive, and it's easy to work CW and do other things simultaneously -- but only once you can "copy" without relying on any paper.

WB2WIK/6

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ZL3NB
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2002, 03:05:53 AM »

Interesting...Maybe you should try the old but proven "On the Job Training" method..that is just get on the air more often and before you know it..Bingo! Practice makes perfect and getting thrown into the deep end by taking on a higher speed will certainly help you in the end.. It is true that you hit certain plateau's when it comes to learning and doing the morse is no exception. Whatever you do don't make it a chore...have fun! and as suggested by another post..try it without pencil/paper. I was thrown into the deep once and said "Oh Brother..No way" that was over 30 years ago when I was in the US Navy as a Radio Op and sent to "RM 2304" school (Immediate high speed morse code school at Bainbridge Md) Had to learn to copy 30wpm on a "Mill" (typewriter)..But believe it or not..I learned it and it wasnt all that hard..You just have to stick with it...CUL/73's de Bill ZL3NB
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W5HTW
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2002, 05:31:35 PM »

There's nothing like practice, but as Steve says, practice can be boring or it can be fun.  To make it fun, you get on the air; to make it boring, you lock yourself in your room with a code practice oscillator.  Conversational Morse is pretty easy even at speeds around 30-35 wpm, and much higher for some people though I can not lay claim to that fame personally!  Holding a Morse conversation at 25 WPM is far easier than you imagine, because, as has been suggested, you are copying characters.   While I do make notes (Heck, I'm old, I can afford to have a bad memory) about name, and maybe QTH or a rig someone tells me about, for the most part I just listen and respond.

In the mil schools such as mentioned by others, it is a different ball game and this is not what amateur radio is all about unless you are going for a code proficiency run.  We had to copy perfectly five-letter code groups at 25 GPM on a mill, with no mistakes.  But that, too, is easy, since it is code groups and you aren't "reading" it as you go.  In ham radio you ARE reading it - copying for comprehension, not precision - and that makes it different from the military methods.

Listen.  You will hear words automatically - And you will copy behind.  You'll hear the word "the" and you'll be thinking it as a word, while the other fellow is sending the next word.  It happens first with short words, such as "the" and "in" and "and" etc.  You'll hear "rig" as a whole word, not as "r i g."   When you reach that point you will be on your way to 20 WPM and perhaps beyond.

But again, it doesn't happen overnight, and it does indeed take work, one of the things that has deterred so many from getting an HF license.  That isn't politics - it is fact.  You do have to practice and the absolute best way to practice is doing it - on the air.  Dive in!  Have contacts with people you know if possible, at least initially, as you will feel they are less likely to be critical.  But if not, just have contacts with strangers.  Most hams who work CW are friendly folk and will be happy to adjust their speed up or down to suit you.  Just let 'em know

73
Ed
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N6AJR
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2002, 07:20:20 PM »

go to  http://www.g4fon.co.uk/  and down load his free  soft ware.  there is also a program there you can use to type in on the computer and it scores for you too.  this is the koch method. you start with 2 characters at 20 wpm, thenlisten and copy for 5 minutes.  when you get 90% on the two, add one letter and go again.  when you have all of the 46 numbers, prosigns and letters learned, you know code at 20 wpm, which is useful, and you can pass the 5 wpm test in your sleep..  Ray has made this a great program  73  tom N6AJR
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