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Author Topic: Future CW speed?  (Read 6777 times)
N5RWJ
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« on: November 28, 2011, 02:38:21 PM »

Some think that future averaged code speed, will be around 10 wpm, because of no code testing and the natural loss of older full time code operators? Do you have an opinion?
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AC4RD
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2011, 02:56:50 PM »

One thing I can be certain of:  USING cw will increase your speed.  So people who start out at 10wpm will be doing 25 soon.  :-)   I went to take my General in 1992, and AB4VJ told me to try the 20wpm test just "as practice" for 13wpm.  I passed it, without any actual study, just a couple of hundred CW contacts on 15 and 10 meters.  :-)  So people may start off at 10wpm, but the more they use CW, the more they'll be speeding up.  73!
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N5RWJ
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2011, 03:06:26 PM »

OP/ The point is that new operators start off at around 5 wpm, and then average around 10 wpm in the future? What do you think.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2011, 03:48:08 PM »

OP/ The point is that new operators start off at around 5 wpm, and then average around 10 wpm in the future? What do you think.

Hi Charles, read your question. Interesting point.

What is your CW rag chewing speed as technician with 12 years experience?

Bob
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W8MW
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2011, 04:20:16 PM »

Don't know if 10 wpm is the magic number but yes, I think Morse code proficiency in  amateur radio is on a steep decline. Today it's very noticeable to me how few CW QSOs are in the 25 to 45 wpm range which used to be quite common.   Previously a large percentage of CW operators came from military and commercial backgrounds.  They pretty much set the benchmark for excellence in the ham bands.  Their code was clean and fast.  Over the years we lost most of them.   Many good operators are regular people who became enthusiastic about code and put forth the effort to get good at it.  I read comments from beginners saying they're practicing two or three times a week and I think we're doomed.

I hold the unpopular opinion that hand keys are responsible for a new generation of CW runts that will be at beginner level forever.  Like training wheels on a kid's bike, the straight key is a helpful entry level tool.  But actually we now know it's not even necessary for a new code operator to learn on a straight key.  They can begin with keyer paddles.  At any rate, they need to be off the hand key as quickly as possible and make strides at sending clean and sending faster.  Get on the air and try to hang out with people more proficient than you.
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N4FBW
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2011, 07:50:57 PM »

My experience has been that the code goes at a mighty clip in the Extra portions of the 40m and 20m bands. I'm working on getting my code speed back up to 25wpm so that I can keep up!
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LX2GT
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2011, 01:52:49 AM »

Some think that future averaged code speed, will be around 10 wpm, because of no code testing and the natural loss of older full time code operators? Do you have an opinion?

I do not think this will become true. Considering the recommended training methods, train the characters themselves at the speed you want tol archiee, which is highter then your projected 10wpm.

73 de Luc, LX2GT
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NN4RH
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2011, 03:36:10 AM »

Speeds will not go down.  But accuracy will deteriorate. 

We can already see it happening.  Letters and words get run together and too many set their keyers faster than they can really keep up with and the result is gibberish. "73" comes out as ---.........-  -     

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N2EY
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2011, 03:56:21 AM »

It all depends on where and when you listen and operate.

When I was a Novice, 44+ years ago, the Novice bands were full of slow CW signals - 5 to 10 wpm. If I had only listened there, I would have been convinced that was the speed.

Of course in the General/Advanced/Extra parts things were faster. And the real speed demons hung out at the low end. The serious traffic ops went faster as the NTS level rose; many sections had "slow" (under 20 wpm) and "regular" (20 and up) section nets. Region, Area and TCC went even faster.

The contesters and DXers have serious speed too.

There is no "average speed" just as there is no "average ham". It all depends on the situation.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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NI0C
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2011, 04:22:43 AM »

I think AC4RD provided the best response.  There's simply no reason why average speed should drop down to novice proficiency levels.

If you get on the air and converse with others using the code; if you listen to W1AW or other code practice (and there are lots of online tools for practice) then your speed will increase quite easily and rapidly.   

I liked W8MW's bicycle "training wheels" analogy.  Just as a bicycle at training wheel speeds is not a viable option for actual transportation (commuting to work, for instance), Morse code at 5-10 wpm is excruciating as a conversation mode. 

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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N4OI
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2011, 05:02:16 AM »

... Morse code at 5-10 wpm is excruciating as a conversation mode.  ...

We enjoy nice paddles (e.g., Begali) and ubiquitous keyers that are included in nearly all modern rigs.  Throw in very smooth QSK, and you have the formula for increasing CW rates that will facilitate "normal" QSO conversations. 

You could also make an analogy to extreme sports -- skating, skiing, motocross, mountain biking -- "youngsters" seem to always push performance beyond what was considered exceptional even 10 years ago.

As for the code requirement, the 5 WPM minimum was just enough to push me to that first QSO.  From then on, I was driven by CW's own rewards.  Therefore, I believe the conversational CW will continue to improve in rate and quality -- for many cycles to come. 

73 ES GOD BLESS U ES URS DE KEN N4OI
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N3QE
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2011, 05:28:52 AM »

Some think that future averaged code speed, will be around 10 wpm, because of no code testing and the natural loss of older full time code operators? Do you have an opinion?

I hear more good fast code on the bands today, and much less slow bad code, than I did in the 1970's. And a lot of the good code (be it slow or fast) is being sent and received by young ops.

I think the reason for this, is we have escaped the "CW ghetto" mentality of the 1970's. Today the future for a young CW op is very bright.
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N4OI
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2011, 05:29:57 AM »

...I hold the unpopular opinion that hand keys are responsible for a new generation of CW runts that will be at beginner level forever.  ...they need to be off the hand key as quickly as possible and make strides at sending clean and sending faster.  Get on the air and try to hang out with people more proficient than you.

Look, I am an SKCC member and own a Begali Spark key -- but I will also go out on a limb here with W8MW and state my opinion that the popularity of operating with straight keys may have a detrimental long-term impact to CW.  I find the 25 to 35 WPM code produced by paddles and keyers much better quality than from most 10 WPM straight key brass pounders.  And don't get me started on bugs... although it is worth concentrating a bit harder just to be able to have a fast rag chew with an interesting Old Timer who has a just as "interesting" bug "swing"! 

So yes, why don't we all (except perhaps you OTs who have "earned" the right to do as you wish) strive to move beyond the "training wheels" and have more good clean and fast conversational CW? 

73 ES GOD BLESS U ES URS DE KEN N4OI
 
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N2EY
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2011, 05:44:42 AM »

I think the reason for this, is we have escaped the "CW ghetto" mentality of the 1970's. Today the future for a young CW op is very bright.

What is this "CW ghetto mentality of the 1970s" of which you speak? I have been a CW op since 1967 and never heard of it.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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N3QE
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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2011, 05:53:54 AM »

Speeds will not go down.  But accuracy will deteriorate. 

We can already see it happening.  Letters and words get run together and too many set their keyers faster than they can really keep up with and the result is gibberish. "73" comes out as ---.........-  -     

I hate to say this... but there have always been guys on the ham bands who don't know how to work the key. US or DX, newbie or old-timer, there have always been folks like that.

A better thing to figure out, is why they think they have to set their keyer or bug so fast. I don't think that speed is correlated with quality in any way today. Sure, 40 years ago in the "novice ghetto" there was a correlation. But we've moved beyond that.
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