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Author Topic: CW practice after the Character learning  (Read 8215 times)
VK2FAK
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Posts: 87




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« on: September 17, 2011, 02:51:49 AM »

Hi all..

When you have learned the code, by whatever method you used...did you continue to practice copying, using  random letter words or just standard words..maybe it was on-air practice sessions, which I guess would be standard wording or abbreviations..
The same with sending, was it random letters or your practice was to send words from books or other publications..

If you had to drop your speed by half, would you be able to copy random letters...?

John
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2011, 07:40:36 AM »

Hi FAK, John

Just consumed  half a bottle Kopke late bottled Vintage Port 2006, So don't take my answers serious.

I see that your question is read 50 times at this moment , hence less than 2 % is answering.

Pretty lucky for you, when you notice the the bunch of chit chat and nonsense that is posted on this website.
Exemptions prove the rule, So don't worry Jim.

I learned the eish5 method at 5 wpm as amateur, just because I was very curious and thought hams know everything about electronics, was the reason I would be a ham.  I remember well known hams were astonished  to notice that I was an "extra class" i.e. full licensed after 3 month.

Nowadays I am already daily exercising QRQ CW for over 5 years but at 50 wpm, it seems that repetitions just as aa or ee sound as a single a or e. amazing. I suppose  50 wpm will be my ceiling. but 40 wpm plain text MACHINE CODE   is OK, however when you intermix figures and random characters I fall back to about 75% of my text reading speed. Not so with call signs, because you know about what to expect (After DL a figure)


Mixed code has no sense, so I am not training that, and rubber stamp QSO'are so easy you can easily go to 60 wpm, however my shaking fingers don't do that task so everybody comes very politely back in the speed I produce, not knowing I can copy their rubber stamp data at double the speed.

Let it be , let it be

73 Bob
« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 07:44:20 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
N3QE
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Posts: 2289




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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2011, 07:48:36 AM »

When you have learned the code, by whatever method you used...did you continue to practice copying, using  random letter words or just standard words..maybe it was on-air practice sessions, which I guess would be standard wording or abbreviations..
The same with sending, was it random letters or your practice was to send words from books or other publications..

If you had to drop your speed by half, would you be able to copy random letters...?

Traditionally after getting the novice ticket (including a 5WPM code test) you got onto the novice CW bands and got practice there. There were lots of newbies working in the 5-15 WPM range on the novice bands, as well as some more experienced hams who liked to help the newbies. There was W1AW code practice and bulletins too which were standard english language text with punctuation and beginning/ending with standard prosigns.

Today all the same resources exist. Well, the novice band is no more but there are some excellent band areas where slower code is the norm. W1AW code practice and CW bulletins are still there for everyone to use. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have your radio on and listening to the CW segment of the band to hear real CW in real use. Computer practice is OK for those who don't have a radio but ... you gotta have a radio. CW without a radio is like a radio without CW - what's the purpose?

As to copying random letters - RufZXP comes pretty close and comes pretty close to having a real purpose. The mix of calls in RufZXP is way more random than in a real contest. (Where after a while you can identify some of the big guns by their defective keying! In fact you have to identify them by their defective keying because they never send their own call! Oops, that's a different diatribe.)
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K8AXW
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2011, 10:25:04 AM »

FAK: After you get your ticket you will find that your speed will automatically increase as you operate.  If you have time to practice you have time to operate. 

However, if you would rather not operate or find yourself away from your rig... like traveling, then by all means continue practicing with any means you have at your disposal.  However, use clear text.... random letters/numbers are seldom used on the ham bands.  Although, sometimes it sounds that way.

Practicing clear text (words) will automatically help you to recognize words which leads to learning "head copy."  My opinion.
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LB3KB
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Posts: 227


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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2011, 11:00:55 AM »

The Just Learn Morse Code help file has a section on becoming proficient.


73
LB3KB Sigurd
justlearnmorsecode.com
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N2EY
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Posts: 3895




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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2011, 04:23:12 AM »

did you continue to practice copying, using  random letter words or just standard words..maybe it was on-air practice sessions, which I guess would be standard wording or abbreviations..
The same with sending, was it random letters or your practice was to send words from books or other publications..

If you had to drop your speed by half, would you be able to copy random letters...?

All of the above, and more.

The key fact to remember (pun intended) is that being a good CW op is a whole set of skills, not just one skill, and requires lots of different kinds of learning. Rag chews...contests... pileups...plain language...random groups...writing it down...following in your head...high speed....low speed...and more.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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NO2A
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Posts: 801




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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2011, 06:27:17 PM »

I always found getting on the air often made the most difference. Copying random letters/numbers would be good in the sense that you can`t guess what`s next like in a typical qso situation. For me though,on the air practice is all I ever do.
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AB2T
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Posts: 246




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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2011, 12:05:34 AM »

Put away the pencil and pad.  The code testing has been abolished.  There's no need to demonstrate a solid minute of copy, or fill in blanks.

Things:

1) Download the League W1AW archive mp3s.  Find a comfortable pace, and then go for the speed one notch higher.  Again, listen.  Don't write. You will start recognizing words.  Also, you will begin to recognize syllables and then predict (with some degree of error) what the word means.  If you guess wrong, you have a second or two to lag behind to listen to the individual characters for context.

2) Tune your radio to a speed slightly higher than you're used to and listen to the exchange.  This will give you a better idea of real-world operation. 

Also, just get on the air, even if it's 3 wpm. 

73, Jordan 
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NT0A
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Posts: 97




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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2011, 12:11:36 AM »

When you have learned the code, < . . . > did you continue to practice copying, {etc.} The same with sending, was it random letters or your practice was to send words from books or other publications.

Like most hams there were several things that helped me improve my code speed. The first thing was to get on the air. Once I had done that and could get through a basic RST-name-QTH-rig-is QSO, I started listening to the ARRL code broadcasts, and, off the air, I practiced sending similar text from QST.

My goal was an Extra Class ticket, but I could not seem to get above 15 wpm on receiving. I read an obscure little afterthought note in QST where someone said that the way he built up his speed was to convert the text on road signs into vocal Morse dits and dahs as he was driving down the highway. I snickered, shook my head at such a silly idea, and continued listening to the ARRL broadcasts.

After a month or so without any improvement, I thought I've got nothing to lose. I drive 45 miles to Denver and back by myself at least once a week so why not give it a try. All of a sudden I realized that both my copy and sending speeds were improving. Heartened, I started studying the Extra Class manual.

I was only 2/3 the way through the manual when I went to a local ham fest where they were giving license exams. On a lark I decided to sit for the Extra Class exam. Thanks to ditting and dahing back and forth to Dever, the code was a piece of cake, and fortunately I passed the written by the skin of my teeth.

The reason why I am regaling you with this story is to encourage you to try several different methodologies to improve your speed, even if some of those suggestions sound really stupid. If they worked for one person, they might work for you as well (they certainly did for me).

Quote
If you had to drop your speed by half, would you be able to copy random letters...?

As several have said, there is really no need for random groups or random words because that's not how we communicate on the ham bands, but random groups can certainly improve your code speed both sending and receiving. I suspect that most CW operators would agree that cutting your speed by 50% would ensure perfect copy of random words, characters, or groups.

Hope to hear you on the CW portion of the band in a high speed QSO soon.

73 de Bob NT0A

« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 12:15:01 AM by NT0A » Logged
KC9TNH
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Posts: 304




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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2011, 06:33:26 AM »

All of the above, and more.

The key fact to remember (pun intended) is that being a good CW op is a whole set of skills, not just one skill, and requires lots of different kinds of learning. Rag chews...contests... pileups...plain language...random groups...writing it down...following in your head...high speed....low speed...and more.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Oh my, raise a glass, if we only had such truth in advertising as well.
 Wink
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73
Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2011, 07:12:36 AM »

The Just Learn Morse Code help file has a section on becoming proficient.


73
LB3KB Sigurd
justlearnmorsecode.com

Listen to this guy, he knows where he talking about.
With his program and a long term daily exercise I am proficient right now   at QRQ rag chewing.
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KC9TNH
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Posts: 304




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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2011, 07:20:58 AM »

The Just Learn Morse Code help file has a section on becoming proficient.


73
LB3KB Sigurd
justlearnmorsecode.com
Don't suppose there's a mirror in CONUS to download the .msi is there?
Smiley
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73
Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
LA9XSA
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Posts: 376




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« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2011, 04:31:12 AM »

Computer practice is OK for those who don't have a radio but ... you gotta have a radio.
If you don't have a radio, you can listen to the CW on websdr.org sites. You can also have computer "QSO's" in CWirc and CWcom; these programs let you use your mouse buttons or even a real morse paddle or key to send morse code over the internet.
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W0GXA
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Posts: 27




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« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2011, 05:43:55 PM »

I recommend copying plain text.  Random characters are not what you'll experience on the air.

Also, there will come a point where you need to put down the pencil and just listen.  I got to 15-20 wpm range and kind of hit a block.  Then I started listening to code (W1AW) at 35 wpm.  I'd pick out letters, once in a while a word, but I just listened to get my ear accustomed to the speed.  Then I went back to 20 wpm and it seemed sloooow.... allowing me to move forward.  You'll also find as the speed increases, its easier to copy in your head because your brain has less time to wander between characters ;-)  Good luck!
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WA4FNG
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Posts: 162




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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2011, 10:24:56 AM »

...Then I started listening to code (W1AW) at 35 wpm.  I'd pick out letters, once in a while a word, but I just listened to get my ear accustomed to the speed.  Then I went back to 20 wpm and it seemed sloooow.... allowing me to move forward....

That's a great observation and practice technique. It's a little like doing sprints when running. That short, sudden overload gradually moves your working threshold up a little at a time. The W1AW practice transmissions start at 35wpm. Just close your eyes and listen. Don't get anxious, and don't try to "replay" missed characters in your head. You'll just get behind. But, if you do, just clear your mind, wait for a new sentence and start over. By the time you get down to 25 or 20wpm it seems slow(er) and easier.

In the real world of CW, the operators fist and sending style will play a role in how fast you can copy. There are ops out there that I can copy at 30wpm in my head. Others, I can barely copy at 25 or 20wpm. I heard a fellow the other day using a straight key with dots almost the same length as dashes, no spacing between words. It was hard to copy at any speed.

Hope we meet on the air someday.

73, Milt
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