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Author Topic: I am taking my code test this weekend...any advice  (Read 1147 times)
GLENHOU
Member

Posts: 22




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« on: March 20, 2003, 01:21:52 PM »

Looking for last minute advice. I feel good on the letters and am working on the numbers which give me problems. Punctionation is looking fine some of the operational signs are not bad.

I used Code Quick which has helped but found Ham U software which has this strangely compelling game for learning morse code.

Any last words of encouragement, funny testing stories etc?

Thanks,

Glen
KG4SEV
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KC8SBV
Member

Posts: 50




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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2003, 04:15:23 PM »

Anyone can have a bad day with code. My advice is continue with your normal practice, don't try to cram, don't overdo it.  Before your test, get some caffine or whatever will have you at your most alert mental state.

I practiced at 5-18-5 farnsworth, and the test was given at 5-13-5, and it sounded slow to me, and it was easy to pass.

And most of all, Good Luck! You CAN do it.

Post back when your done.

73,
Ed
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KC8VCB
Member

Posts: 102




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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2003, 07:41:17 PM »

well i just took my morse code test last week, so here are a couple of tips. stay relaxed, keep your mind on the code. by the the way, since your taking the code you might as well take the general written, what can you loose?

73 de kc8vcb
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GLENHOU
Member

Posts: 22




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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2003, 10:31:34 PM »

Thanks for the advice. I actually passed my written test for general last December so now comes the hard part.

I will let you know how I far. Fortunately our club is having a VE session the weekend past this one so if I miss it I do not have long to wait to retake it.

73s,

Glen
KG4SEV
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KB1JPB
Member

Posts: 2




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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2003, 12:15:52 AM »

I just passed my tech and code exams last week; so first of all. . .you CAN do it.

Secondly, I have two words for you: QSO practice. I used NuMorse Pro shareware before the test, and now I'm using G4FON to get my speed higher (at about 7 wpm right now), but I assume Ham U. and Code Quick can generate the kind of basic sample message that they give us on the test. I found that to be the key to passing. Once you know the structure of the average QSO--the pattern of it--then you will have an easier time with translating the code because you will basically know what's coming before you hear it.

For example, the basic QSOs they use starts with the test letter v in two sets of three "vvv vvv," then they do a call sign, then "de" then another call sign (careful, one of the call signs will almost inevitably be an extended call sign with the "dn" prosign which means "/" and they will also throw in weird letters like Z that they can't use anywhere else), then there'll be a section saying something like "ur" then the QSO recipient's name, then a break prosign "bt", then there'll be an "rst" report with three numbers, then a weather report "the wx" followed by another use of the "/" sign "snow/windy" or some such, then maybe a comma, there'll be a section on the "rig" the QSO sender has and its how many watts it puts out, then maybe a period, then there'll be a "QTH" section saying where the QSO sender is from (often, but not always a US city and state), then there'll be a section on the QSO's sender's antenna "ant" follwed by the type of antenna, and its height in feet or meters, then the senders name "op" (plus the name), the something like "so hw copy" then the question mark. Then the callsign de callsign thing again. Then the AR ("+") prosign for "end of message," and the SK ("*") prosign for "end of work."

That's it. Before any of this, they'll give you a practice test for one minute which I found very relaxing. It just says something like "This is a test, etc., etc."

You'll probably have headphones on. You can adjust the sound level. Your examiner will probably also have phones on and listen in to the tape he'll play with the test on it. They use the Farnsworth system with a character speed of about 15 wpm and a word speed of 5 wpm.

Do at least two 5 minute QSO drills a day, and 2-4 5-10 minute random character drills a day. And be sure to study those prosigns (ar, sk, bt, dn) because they're worth two characters for each correct translation--which is useful if you want to pass with 25 straight correct characters rather than having to take the multiple choice test (which I was able to do).

Most importantly, at this stage, practice twice a day every day. I did it for about 3 weeks or so and it worked. Now I'm studying for my general.

Good luck,

Jason
KB1JPB
Cambridge, MA
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WA2HMM
Member

Posts: 13




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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2003, 06:04:11 AM »

Listen to the sounds and write it down, if you miss a letter DO NOT go back, it will slow you down. Continue on. Most people can comprehend the meaning of a sentence with multiple letters missing. The test is multiple choice.
If you miss a few letters: B AM an enn here, running
5 0 wat s. Now the test: His antenna is A) vert
B)Beam C) dipole, was he running A) 100 watts B) 200 Watts C)500 watts.  Got the idea???

Relax, and enjoy your NEW license, or UpGrade. GUD LK
73 Charlie
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W5RB
Member

Posts: 564




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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2003, 07:21:27 AM »

Relax.If you hit a snag , forget it and move on .Mark characters you don't know with an underscore to keep track of how many letters are in the gap .I watched an examinee some time back , who got off to a bad start on a test. He shook it off , and started writing about 30 seconds after the test had begun .I watched as he shook his head in disgust for the entire rest of the 5 minutes , but his pencil kept moving .When the tape ended , he was sure he'd blown it , but I looked at his paper , and he had nearly 2 minutes of solid copy , more than enough to pass without taking the written quiz.

When you're done writing , it's "Wheel of Fortune" time. .Most VEs give you a couple of minutes to fill in any gaps you can figure out on your copy sheet , and you don't have to pay for vowels .Completing the following correctly could be all you need to get your one minute of solid ."M_   ANTENNA   _S   A   D__OLE    AT   27   _EET  " .Work on your numbers a bit between now and test time, and you should be good to go .

Good Luck ,
Russ, W5RB
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K1ZC
Member

Posts: 113




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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2003, 09:20:36 AM »

I would work on my guessing skills.  If you have studied at all, you know what the QSO is like.  There are maybe 7 antenna types, so you can guess if you only get a few characters.  Similarly, learn some of the more popular rig types.  Certain manufacturers use a particular range of model numbers.  As an example, if you hear "Rig is a Ken" you can pretty much guess that the next bit is "wood TSXXX" where the XXX is a number, probably ending in zero.  Icoms start with ICXXX, etc.  There is a whole site of CW test advice here:

http://www.qsl.net/wj5o/mcode.htm

Now for the funny story.  Never, ever lose hope.  The VE fired up the tape recorder but I was so nervous I could not copy ANYTHING.   About half-way through the QSO, the tape recorder decided to quit; it just died and neither the VE nor I had any audio.  He disassembled the unit, did a quick repair on the audio jack (it had a loose connection), and we resumed.  He grabbed a different tape and we started over.  That time I copied just fine; I had a run of 38 characters in a row and another of 32 characters.  
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GLENHOU
Member

Posts: 22




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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2003, 01:44:42 PM »

These are all great posts. Thanks for your support and advice and amusing stories.

As for studying QSOs I have found the following website very helpful

http://www.aa9pw.com/radio/morse.html

I will let you know how I fair.

73s,

Glen
KG4SEV
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N0FI
Member

Posts: 14




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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2003, 02:53:38 PM »

This is a great link for helping you be the most prepared for the test. I wish I had seen something like this back when I took the code test.

http://www.qsl.net/wj5o/mcode.htm

-N0FI
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N8UZE
Member

Posts: 1524




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« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2003, 08:11:17 AM »

by GLENHOU on March 20, 2003  
"Thanks for the advice. I actually passed my written test for general last December so now comes the hard part. "


Don't think of it that way.  Like the written, it requires study.  If you have put in the necessary study, you will pass it unless you get nervous or have a preconceived notion that you might fail.  By the way don't listen to the people that say "I learned it in a week using xxxx."  That is NOT the norm.  The normal person needs more time than that.
 
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GLENHOU
Member

Posts: 22




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« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2003, 05:41:09 PM »

Well here are the results........I PASSED!

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement and tips they helped tremendously. I do agree you have to know the numbers very well. I passed by having more than 1 min of solid copy the questions were not so good as I had missed the callsigns at the beginning and the end. Well actually I got have at the beggining and thought I would pick them up at the end by I copied the same ones and missed the same ones Sad

The VE team was extremely helpful and put me at ease during the process. The fellow giving the exam was very patience with me.

I am relief to be able to send my call with /AG at the end now. I might even try some CW contacts for fun since well I "know" it now Smiley

Anyone wondering about upgrading I would say this. It took my 2 months of on again off again studying. I used Code Quick, Ham University and the websites noted in this posting thread. The QSO sim is awesome!

Anyone could do this in a month with solid studying or in 2 like I did. It is worth it to get on HF and mostly what I am interested in is PSK, my new RigBlaster arrives on Tuesday Smiley. If you are studying study the numbers, punctionation and pro signs. These will allow you to pass the 10 question exam even if you do not get solid copy.

Once again thanks. Now off to experience HF fun....and study for Extra no point stopping now!

73s,

Glen
KG4SEV/AG.
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