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Author Topic: What to do if you goof up...  (Read 709 times)
KC0ODY
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Posts: 78




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« on: April 15, 2003, 03:40:49 PM »

Hi there,

I'm pretty new to HF and CW; though I try to be careful, I sometimes find myself making mistakes in a character by putting in an occasional extra dot or dash (I have had a very hard time adjusting the sensitivity of my iambic paddles, which is usually how this happens) or, more rarely, I send the wrong character.

Now, I've heard various answers to my question, but I'd like to get a 'definitive' answer from some folks who work a lot of CW. What's the "proper" way to indicate you've goofed in sending a character? I mean, obviously, the person who's copying you will catch it, but I feel as if I should probably indicate when I've made an error... on the air, I've heard people type some extra dits, like 5-6 in a row, to indicate when they've made an error. Is this the correct way to do it? Previously, I would just type the correct character after the erroneous one.

I would like to use the correct way of indicating erroneous characters when I get my straight key. My iambic keyer's broken... no, I didn't throw it against the wall, though sometimes I felt like it... I surely don't recommend those things for newbies, especially the cheaper ones.
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20612




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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2003, 04:20:55 PM »

The international Morse prosign for an error is eight dits in a row (........), however that takes time and is rather punishing to anyone using a straight key.  Normally, the accepted manor by which to identify a mistake just sent is .. .., or essentially two letter "i" characters sent rapdily, in a row, with a small space between.  You'll hear experienced CW operators do this.

Dual lever paddles can be very robust, and their adjustments last a lifetime, if you use the right ones!  I prefer the Bencher BY type dual-lever iambic paddles and own three of them...the oldest is more than 20 years old, and after adjusting it 20+ years ago, it has never required re-adjustment, not even once.  I never mess with any of them, and they remain almost sight-unseen way back at the rear end of my operating bench, under shelving that renders them invisible except for the lucite paddles themselves.

Paddles should, for most of us, be heavy and non-skid, so they don't move as they're used.  And they should have adjustments that can be locked well so they don't change.  The Benchers fit both of those requirements, and don't cost much.

73 & CU on CW!

Steve, WB2WIK/6
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NI0C
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Posts: 2408




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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2003, 05:09:47 PM »

Most CW ops will repeat the whole word (rather than just a single character) after making a mistake.  As one who started out with a straight key and progressed through "bugs" and several generations of keyers, I must say I've never mastered the dual lever paddle.  I use mine (an old Brown Brothers model) with back and forth motion as if it were a single lever paddle.  I use a mouse pad to help keep the paddle planted in place on the desk.

73 de Chuck  NI0C
 
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KC0ODY
Member

Posts: 78




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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2003, 06:13:02 PM »

I hope to see some improvement once I get the new Bencher straight key. Besides the problem with too-sensitive paddles on the iambic, I have a less-than-awesome command of right and left. Same thing with east and west! My innate directional problems aside, thanks for your help guys. Maybe I will work you both on CW one of these days (more likely, evenings) soon.

Very 73,

Jackie
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W5HTW
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2003, 08:59:32 PM »

As with the English (and probably others as well) language, deterioration of procedure/spelling/use has been noticeable, and that applies to Morse.  It is more noticeable now that Morse is purely a 'hobby' and is no longer a mainstay of military communications, where precision and discipline were required.  So ...

The "approved" procedure would be to, upon sending an erroneous character, stop, send 8 E's, then start again with the 'last correct word sent.'   In other words if you sent:  My name and QTH are OK in this yeahs callbook,' you would stop, after the "h" in "yeahs" (when you realized the error!) and send the 8 E's and then start back with the word "this."  

However, as pointed out, the common ham procedure now is to send a couple of "I" characters, pause, then resend the word in which the error occurred.  This is a much shorter and less formal procedure, and appears to be pretty much universally understood.  In sending formal traffic, though, you would want to revert to the formal procedure, for traffic requires more discipline in operations to be understood.  

It is becoming VERY common on the ham bands now to hear the number '6' sent as five dits and one dah.  You are not the only one having trouble with the number of dits in characters.  For one thing there seems to be the idea that "close enough" is "good enough," (just as in English!!)  For another, a lot of people are taking up keyers they have not learned to handle but they think they have.  You are fortunate in that you recognize your difficulties and you choose to make corrections.  So many do not, but prefer to just let 6 be dahdidididididit.  

Once we all speak different languages, we will stop communicating entirely.  So thanks for your attention to detail!  

73
Ed


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KC8VCB
Member

Posts: 102




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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2003, 06:56:17 AM »

thats funny, another ham op i know told me to send two question marks after error? how bout it?

73 de kc8vcb
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20612




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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2003, 12:11:33 PM »

The two question marks after an error is such a huge waste of time and spectrum I wouldn't recommend this, ever.  I think repeating the last correctly sent word after catching an error is likewise.  Why bother?

When I make a mistake, I send the .. .. and just keep on going as though the mistake never happened.  Any experienced CW op will know exactly what that means, and anyone who doesn't really shouldn't be concerned about it.  We're not saving the Titanic, here, we're usually just ragchewing.

As for the numerals, experienced CW ops all use the shorcuts, and I surely do.  Any CW op should know at least the popular shortcuts for numerals, which are "N" for 9, "T" for 0, etc.  Who doesn't at least use "5NN" for "599?"  Novices were doing this their first day on the air back in the 50's and 60's.

WB2WIK/6

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N8UZE
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Posts: 1524




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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2003, 05:14:47 PM »

Hi Jackie,

There's a lot of difference between different types of paddle designs too.  Some are designed to have a very short paddle movement even on the max setting.  These are for the speed demons but can be very frustrating for the rest of us.  Other paddles have a wider range of motion.  I find this more comfortable and less prone to errors for me.  However I do best (for now) on a straight key.  It just seems to make for sense to hold the key longer for a dash than a dot.  But if you do that with paddles and a keyer, it's very easy to get an extra dot or dash.

The advantage to paddles with a keyer is speed.  The straight key pretty much limits the sender to 20wpm to 25wpm.  Those who aspire to greater speeds need to switch to the keyers.
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KC0ODY
Member

Posts: 78




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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2003, 11:03:37 AM »

Hey Dee... thanks for your post. I agree that a straight key will likely limit my speed, but as I need to keep right around 10 WPM sending now (which is the speed that I can reliably copy at) I guess I'm more concerned with accuracy at this point.

I am going to buy a Bencher straight key this weekend, and get it hooked up ASAP.

73 de Jackie
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