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Author Topic: Words vs Letters  (Read 1362 times)

Posts: 15

« on: February 09, 2005, 07:17:31 PM »

It's been a lot of years since I learned CW to pass the 20 WPM extra test. I haven't operated much CW in the interim, but I really do want to operate CW on the bands. I've been listening to some code tapes during my long commute at varying speeds (Farnsworth.)
I find that I can solid copy random letter/number groups in my head at 17 wpm, but real words at the same speed are tougher.  Somehow, I tend to be focused on "guessing" the word after the first few letters and miss the balance of longer words when the speed is >>10 wpm.  I can't seem to break this barrier.
Short words such as "the" "this" "and" are no problem.

Any suggestions how I can get my head focused, so I don't miss the last part of the longer words?
Any help is appreciated.
Thanks and 73,

Posts: 490

« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2005, 05:06:05 AM »

I'm sorry I don't have any help to offer.  Just wished to comment I have also found random code seems to be easier to copy than words for the same reason you mention - I get caught up on guessing the rest of the word.

I have played around the the G4FON program trying to get it to sent a word at 25wpm, with a long space between words - seems like that would be a good way to develope "head copy" which we all aspire to.

Good luck,

Ken H>

Posts: 173

« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2005, 05:28:58 AM »

Just my own $.02 here, but I am speaking from my own experience of being inactive for 19 years, then coming back onto the HF CW bands.  In my case, I was really active for 20 years or so, at speeds up to 30-35 WPM.  Then I "drifted" away from ham radio for 19 years, just recently coming back.  I simply turned on my old receiver and started listening to on-the-air QSO's for a while.  I was amazed at how quickly the code came back to speed for me.  A day or two listening, then I fired up a transmitter and got back on the air.  I think the time spent listening to actual QSO's was what brought back the old "instinct" for CW.

Just do it!
Steve  WA9FZB

Posts: 21758

« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2005, 08:54:57 AM »

I've always found, both for myself and hundreds of students over the years, that "listening" to code is a passive, uninteresting activity that causes the mind to wander pretty quickly and that's why it's not terribly effective for learning or improving.

Interactive use of the code is far better, and keeps one focused on a fun activity.  I'd stay away from the tapes or CDs and just get on the air and make some contacts.  

I've offered this challenge many times and haven't lost a bet yet:

Make 500 CW contacts, 5 a day, for 100 days (only 3.3 months), and get them all in the log.  For every single contact, don't write *anything* down on paper except the other station's callsign and very brief notes you might want to include in your log (name, QTH, maybe some interesting comment).  If, by your 501st CW QSO, you are not 100% comfortable copying in your head and having zero problems copying words, sentences and thoughts, let us know and I'll buy you a very special gift.  

Never had to buy one, yet.  Everybody is successful at this.  It does take some will power to put the pencil away and just use the code as an alternate language, though.  That's the toughest part for most people who didn't learn the right way.

This 3-month exercise, I've found, is far more effective than three years of "studying" code.

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