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Author Topic: Easier to copy fast code than slow code  (Read 1436 times)

Posts: 349

« on: August 31, 2004, 06:02:44 PM »

Hi!  I am a Canadian amateur who can copy 20 to 30 words per minute (maybe faster) in his head.  I do not "form" each word letter by letter, but wait in my mind until the entire word has been sent to me, in which case the word magically appears in my subconcious.  This is great, *except* for slow speeds, where I _forget_ the word halfway through as it is being sent.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Posts: 21764

« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2004, 06:55:31 PM »


But with practice, you can copy slow code, too.  It takes shifting mental gears to a much slower pace and trying to keep your mind from wandering between letters.

The brain is fascinating and is capable of multi-tasking, parallel processing at blinding speeds almost from birth.  One of the real obstacles to learning code is that it's so damned slow, compared to the speeds at which we're used to processing new data such as reading, listening to speech, watching a film or television.  Even a painfully slow reader can read 60 words a minute.  Most can read hundreds of words a minute, and those with unique training are in the thousands of words a minute.

35 years ago in my Evelyn Woods Reading Dynamics class, we had our best student (who was a classmate of mine in high school) read War and Peace backwards, from last page to first, in the course of one 60 minute class using a page turner to flip pages faster than most could with their fingers, then pass a 100-question examination about its contents, scoring 96% correct.

So, the brain's pretty capable.

Code is very slow.

Practicing copy at slower speeds will result in your being able to do it just fine.


Posts: 729


« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2004, 08:22:48 PM »

The problem most of us have with copying slower code is we hear separate components of a letter rather than the letter itself.  Consequently the letter "B" becomes "T E E E"  As Steve says, it really takes a gear shift to do it. And a lot of concentration, at least initially, until your brain slows to that pace.  I hear some guy sending "name is" and I hear "T E E A ... " etc.  But once I have adapted, which takes only a few characters, really, then it becomes readable.  I recently had a contact with a guy who was doing, at best, 3 wpm.  I switched the keyer over to semi-auto and we did just fine, but it took me probably one minute or so into his first exchange before I really 'got with the program.'  Above about ten wpm this disappears and after that no gear shifting seems necessary.  I do enjoy, though, going into the Novice bands and trying to find a truly slow speed beginner (though actually they are elsewhere, not just in the Novice bands anymore) and having a nice QSO.  

As Steve notes, too, the brain is marvelous.  I worked with a fellow who could copy 45 wpm, letter perfect, onto a 'mill.'  Only thing was, he was not typing out the received code - he was typing out the clear text from enciphered code!!  Deciphering it in his head from the key text, which he pinned beside the mill.  The rest of us had to copy the enciphered code down then go about the slow business of  deciphering it.  And if you spoke to him, he would acknowledge you, and keep right on going, though I wouldn't say he could actually hold a conversation while doing this.  

This old man couldn't do that when I was not an old man, and will never reach such levels or skills.  And now I find I have to actually copy down more of what is sent, as my memory isn't good enough to hold all the other fellow said.  


Posts: 491

« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2004, 08:53:11 AM »

While I'm not in anywhere the same league as you gents on code speed - Just got interested in cw over the last couple of yrs....  I do find that if the keyer speed is set at 18/20wpm with extra space between the letters and words to give a 15wpm overall speed, I can copy much better than if the keyer is set to 15wpm and sent at 15wpm.  Those little extra spaces between the letters and words allow my tiny brain to process the code better.

Yea Steve, I know when I reach that magical 500 QSOs I should be good at 20wpm:)

73 de Ken H >
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