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Author Topic: Am i weird or what?  (Read 979 times)
WB0DKY
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Posts: 44




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« on: March 17, 2005, 09:25:20 AM »

Hi Guys and Gals,
   Am i decoding cw consciously while it appears most of you decode sub-consciously? When i listen to code i see the dits and dahs. I don't feel as if i am counting the dits and dahs. To me, it is like reading the newspaper. When someone sends a dit-dah-dit i immediately see an r. The sound merely tells me what to look for. The picture in my head shows a dit-da-dit. It is just like a slide show. Do any of you experiance this?              
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W4YA
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Posts: 317




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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2005, 10:01:11 AM »

What is your present code speed? I can't imagine this happening at speeds over 20-25 WPM.
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WB0DKY
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Posts: 44




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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2005, 10:37:44 AM »

Hi W4ya
       My code speed is about 20 words per minute.
It is like reading ticker tape. It seems more visual
than sound but i know sound has to be involved. I have
probably learned the code the wrong way. It most likely
came from reading billboards and signs when i learned the code. I would look at the sign and see the letter
and transpose it into dits and dahs. I will just have to change my ways. At 67 yrs old that might be a chore.
Ijust wanted to know if anyone else does it. Tnx for your input.  73 de WB0DKY Harold
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N0IU
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2005, 04:52:32 AM »

The other question is how long have you been using CW? Back in the "good ol' days", the three code speeds made sense. 5 WPM was just a basic rudimentary knowledge of the characters and there was plenty of time to associate the pattern of dits and dahs with a particular character. Most people can do this up to about 10 WPM which is why the 13 WPM speed was a real test of Morse code since it was too fast count dits and dahs. If you did that, you would miss 1 or 2 letters while you were trying to think of the one you just heard. By the time you get to 20 WPM, this is about the point where most people hear whole characters and is definitely too fast to count. You already said that when you hear dih-dah-dit, you know it is an 'R' which is right where you want to be. You are on the right track.

I don't think this is really a huge problem. All you need is time and maybe to turn up the speed just a bit. I think the more you use CW and the faster you go, it actually becomes easier. For saying that, some people might think I am the weird one!

W1AW has Qualifying Runs that send CW from 10 WPM up to 40 WPM. This is great practice since it is "perfect" code.

Good luck!
 
NØIU
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WB0DKY
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Posts: 44




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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2005, 01:11:20 PM »

Hi N0IU
      I will have to admit my cw has been spotty, but
i did download the Koch program and it is helping. I
will set it up for high speed and let it run for 5 min.
I can pick out some words so maybe some day something
will click and i will be comfortable copying. Yes, the
13 w.p.m. code test was nerve racking. If you missed
just one character in 65 in a row you failed the test.
Those F.C.C. engineers had no sense of humor. The radio
room aboard the Queen Mary was a lot of fun. I got to
operate the rig in 1986. Thanks for your input. I will
do better. 73 de WB0DKY Harold
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K0EWS
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2005, 08:54:12 PM »

Sounds to me like you may be a visual learner.  I'm a music teacher, and do a bit of music arranging as well, and after a long night of working on a score, when I hear a piece, I can "see" it scored in my mind's eye.  Wierd.  At any rate, you sound like there you have a bit of translation going on in the mind, and it is part of that learning process.  I would think this is probably normal.  I would just tell you to do as much CW as you can, get on the air with it, and use it every day.  Your speed will increase, and then you will hear words rather than letters and pretty soon, phrases. I wish you the best of luck.  73 and best wishes.
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K7KBN
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2005, 08:23:57 AM »

I was a radioman in the Navy, and I could "hear" the code with no visual "interface".  However, after I got off watch, I would often go up to the Signal Bridge, especially at night.  When my ship's signalmen would be using flashing light to communicate with the other ships in company, I could copy these visual signals just fine, but I "heard" the code!  

A signal searchlight has mechanically-operated shutters which make a clattering sound, and of course I could hear that sound when my ship's SMs were using the lights -- but each flash of light from the other ships - maybe five miles away -was a 700 Hz "beep" in my head!

I still work for the Navy, and even though much of the visual signalling has become obsolete (there are no "Signalmen" any more; that job has been taken over by the Quartermasters).  Heck - there aren't any RADIOMEN any more!  The old RM rating has been folded into the IT rating ("Information Technician").  Sigh.

Anyway, as I was saying before I sidetracked myself: even though visual signalling as it used to be is pretty much gone, ships still have signal searchlights, and even the Quartermasters have to be able to use them.  When we go on sea trials after a ship's been repaired, if there's another ship nearby, I'll go up to the signal bridge and use the searchlight.  And the "sonic interface" is still there on a visual medium.

I don't think you're weird at all!
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
W4YA
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Posts: 317




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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2005, 03:21:41 PM »

Have you ever noticed during a CW contest, when you take a break after 10 hours and flush a toilet, that the toilet sends CQ TEST? Now, that's weird! How did the toilet learn the code?
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NS6Y_
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2005, 12:50:00 PM »

Some people are more visual thinkers, I think I'm harmed less by looking at a visual chart of the code than most because I'm pretty visual myself. I managed to get through my 13WPM test just with visual charts, lots of mumbling to myself (dits and dahs, translating road signs etc) and some old Army practice tapes from the library. Never worked a CW contact on HF! Um, never have still but that's about to change!

I think it will shift over to more pure auditory/"instinct" as you do more code, in re-learning it and getting up to speed myself, I'm intellectually decoding some letters and some like C, Q, 6, stuff like that I heard a lot in the old days, take no intellectual decoding. So, don't worry about it!
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AA4PB
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2005, 04:21:24 PM »

While I had 5WPM down as a ham, I got most of my code training in the Navy. Since all the training was on a mill (typewriter), I directly translated from the code I heard to the finger that pushed the proper key. I had a heck of a time getting any speed with pencil and paper for a long time because I had to go thru the finger step in my mind. I also got distracted by the conversation text. I did much better with 5 letter code groups that had no meaning to me. A one track mind I guess.
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N6PEH
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Posts: 104




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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2005, 05:19:49 PM »

Problems with the visualization thing is, if you're seeing dits and dahs when you hear code, your brain is taking the initial audio, converting it to a virtual, visual experience, then converting it to a letter.  The middle step loses time, the middle step is the visual experience you're having.

I believe this is a very common occurance when growing your code speed.  Most people at some point are recalling visually .-. when they hear it.  I know I still do it from time-to-time, but it is getting less and less with practice.  I find myself writing down a character and going wow!  Didn't think about it, visualize it, dog did it, nothing, I just wrote it down.

Also, you mentioned signs.  Quite often when I see a sign, I can hear the code for each letter.  Now that's wierd!
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KE4MOB
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2005, 08:37:18 AM »

Harold, I'm right there with you.  Same thing is happening to me.  But you're about to hit a transition...I've found that if I go any faster, say up to about 25 WPM the "vision" of CW disappears and it becomes what I would call "instinctual"...letters that I really don't hear because of distraction or mental lapses or just plain miss still pop into my head.  It's kinda strange the first time it happens, because I hear the letter (or sometimes I don't) and think "oh, I missed that one" but then it will pop into my brain out of nowhere. And instead of copying letter for letter at 20 WPM, at 25 I start copying about 2-3 letters behind.  Now if I could just put words together without using paper...

My suggestion?  Start listening to code running 25-30 WPM and see what happens.  You might be surprised.
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W5HTW
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2005, 07:59:52 PM »

Re: AA4PB.  Of course, you can copy on a computer keyboard, except there are differences from a mill. While I learned code first as a ham, and wasted some time learning it by counting dits and dahs, by the time I got my General I was doing quite well with a pencil and pad.  

Then I was hired as a government radio operator and transistioned to the mill.  

It is absolutely true that code groups are easier to copy, but there is a caveat.  In copying code groups you cannot go back and fill in a letter, as there is no way to guess what letter it was, since the context won't tell you.  In a way, that is good, because you condition yourself not to waste even a fraction of a second trying to figure out what a missed character was; you just go on to the next.  That makes letter-by-letter solid copy in code groups a must.  

Another disadvantage of copying groups is you can't learn 'words.'  In plain text we learn to recognize whole words, which speeds up the copying process.  Early on you recognize words like "the" or "and."  But as you get more comfortable, you recognize words like "name" or "also" or "time" - other four letter words.  And then you begin to recognize five letter words, or even six letter ones.  At some point you can even recognize short sentences as whole phrases, not as individual letters.

In copying clear text, you have a strong tendency to read it as you go. That, too, can slow you down.  It is particularly difficult when the word you expected to receive is not the word you actually do receive!  Your mind tries to figure out the real word, and by then, at 20-25 wpm, you have missed three characters of the next word.  

Also, in copying clear text, you can get by with just making notes, instead of copying.  You don't have to put down:  NAME HERE BOB ES QTH CHARLESTON.  You just put down "Bob" and "Charleston."  If he says his weather is cold, about 25 degrees, you just put down 25F.  So you shift more to notes.  Of course, if your memory is bad you won't remember that he told you his rig was a 746, or that he's 29 years old.  So notes become very important at higher CW speeds - unless you DO have that good memory!  

If you are a touch typist (as any mill operator had to be) you can learn to do the same thing on your computer.  You can then take full copy, not just notes, into the 50 wpm plus category, and copy everything. I think it's more difficult at that point to just make notes on the keyboard than it is to copy solid.

Ed
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AA4PB
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« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2005, 05:23:57 PM »

Ed, everything you describe I experienced, especially the experience of being slowed down by trying to read what I was copying as I was writing it down. Of course when I took the tests it was in front of an FCC examiner and you had to write it all down with pen and paper. There were no computers and a mill wasn't permitted.

For casual on the air work I now just take notes. I haven't done much CW net stuff but I would expect that copying a formal message would require you to write it all down letter by letter.
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KF5ER
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Posts: 103




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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2005, 01:18:24 PM »

I experienced the same thing trying to write code.
I was a navy radioman also, got out of rm-a school
copying 28 wpm on the old mill.  Got my speed up
to 35 wpm the next few years.  Then I took my
ham exam and just barely passed the 13wpm cw test.
The information from my brain went my fingers to
type, not write.  Strange!
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