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Author Topic: Brick Wall - frustrating and hard to get time to fix  (Read 7390 times)
KB4MB
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« on: January 13, 2012, 10:57:46 AM »

I am at about 10-12wpm and hitting the brick wall.  I find it hard to find time to practice - I listen to practice qso's or the Ziliak tapes in the car going to and from work, but it is tough without a pen to get everything in head copy, and i find after five minutes I get frustrated.

Then, lately at home, I haven't had time to get on the air due to having a full time job, a full time farm in addition, and a full time marriage Smiley... hopefully when Idol gets back on the air I will be able to sneak into the shack for some air time, but since I can't operate every day I just keep sliding backwards...

Very frustrating - to be sure.  The only thing I can think of is just have the practice code on in the background and hope for the best - maybe I will pick out a letter or two, maybe I won't.  Does this technique work at all?

I do my best at not repeating what I hear, but I learned from a lookup table and it has taken a LONG time to try to break that and just recognize the sound as a letter... I still find myself hearing . - - and saying in my head (Di-Dah-Dah W) instead of just saying (W).

Any tips would be appreciated... I am just frustrated and finding it hard to get past this.  I have been working on my code on and off for two years now. 
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AK7V
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2012, 11:08:39 AM »

As you're driving around, "say" things you see in code.  If you see a sign that says "One Way," say out-loud to yourself, quickly (maybe 20wpm or so - as fast as you can) "dah-dah-dah dah-dit dit  di-dah-dah di-dah dah-di-dah-dah"  You'll be hearing it in your head as you say it - and it'll get better as time goes on.

I used to do this all the time and it helped.  It's more active than just listening to a tape, and the more you do it, the more you'll think of letters as sound patterns as opposed to lines and dots.  Sending helps receiving, and receiving helps sending.

Good way to get something done when you can't really do much else. Smiley  Plus, if you have passengers, you can drive them nuts.

Seriously, give it a shot.
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KB4MB
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2012, 11:20:12 AM »

Quote
As you're driving around, "say" things you see in code

I've done that, too Smiley  It helped learning the letters, but not gaining in speed for me, I think, because I know what is coming next and just do it - on receving I don't know what is next and I either anticipate and then lose what is being sent, or I question if I heard it right, think about what was sent, and then lose the next three characters doing that.  But when I was learning the characters, it did help quite a bit.

Hard to break all of these bad habits, which I somehow got loads of them.  If I have a pen I tend to zone a bit, but the goal for me is 20wpm head copy.  Maybe I am just expecting too much... Sad

So far, the best thing has been having actual qso's, but again, that hasn't been working into the lifestyle as of late...
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KC7YE
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2012, 02:25:43 PM »

One sure fire way to up your code speed is operate in contests as CW . In Feb there are several state QSO parties, most Q parties are low key and what ever you can do is fine. Won't be long ( first day) speed will increase. Most op's will slow down to what your doing, If one dosn't forget him others will play.

Stay away from the big contests, too many run and gunners to be fun for newbies (imho)
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KE4ILG
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2012, 04:37:35 PM »

I agree with the contest idea. 

In addition one thing that forced me to copy faster was dx.  I go to the bottom of the band listen for dx stations calling.  They tend to be very repetative so even fast ops can be copied.   Then listen to what the responding station sends in return and you are ready for a very quick qso. 

Its fun and really puts the pressure on.  Its something you can try most anytime there isn't a contest going on.  And you get to put a dx station in the log book.  73, Mike.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2012, 02:41:59 AM »

Is is unbelievable.

In this CW part of the forum recently their were guys promoting a course for 25 bucks or 40 bucks don't remember that says one million sold proficient in 2 weeks. You are expected to think: Can one million people be stupid?, No well let I buy it , with tables codewheels and pictures and other tricks to remember the characters.

Research had been done: Use Koch or Farnsworth,
Promoted in this forum recently with bold letters was : don't do that.

Back to topic: You are a victim.

You have only time during driving in your car.

Best remedy will be: A Morse source in your car fixed speed 15 wpm.  Only meaningfull words. Plain words with normal spacing between the letters but wide spaced 3 second or so wordspace  to start with. Double each word and limit the length to 5 characters. Take 100 different words, after playing those words repeat the file. Use this record till the point that you copy every word the first time, after that throw it away and make a new file with longer words / less repetions / smaller wordspacing/ higher speed just what you think is appropriate.

Bob
PA0BLAH

Example
apple  apple  dumbo  Dumbo  listen  listen to to your your wife  wife

Select from a word source words with 5 or less characters, edit the file by doubling each word, record it as MP3 and there you go.

When you have the file with written words, you can translate it in Morse code sound with the ebook2cw utility from www.lcwo.net.

When you can't find the time, ask me in my PB and specify max wordlength, number of repetitions, number of words spacing time between words, speed in wpm toneheight and give your emailaddress.

gd luck
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KB4MB
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2012, 05:27:56 AM »

Thanks so much for the suggestions so far.

I have made a qso cd with software, at 15wpm, but I run into the same thing of getting lost... however the same 100 words over and over is a good idea and I will definitely try it.

I will also venture to the bottom to try to pull out calls.  I would love to work DX, but I am not there yet.

I will also listen for QSO parties, and I will try to dip my foot in operating (though it is intimidating - though I guess it always is the first time).

Thanks again for these new suggestions.  I know it is time and repetition - and I will try to endeavor just to leave the rig on code even if I am not listening and see if that helps.

--Kris, KB4MB
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N5XM
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2012, 06:55:20 AM »

Just listen!  I got stuck there myself, but it was just a matter of time.  I had to be a bulldog about it, but I'm that way about almost everything, hi.  Practice sending off the air and work on perfect tempo, character formation and spacing.  Your brain gets used to it however you do it, but it will not happen overnight.  Listen to the w1aw practice sending.  They start out at 35wpm and work their way down.  You'll be surprised how much more you can copy as they slow down.  You need to figure out how to do something every day, if only for 30 minutes.  Get up 45 minutes earlier, that oughta work.  You can do it. 
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2012, 07:59:04 AM »

Right,

When you are not a bull dog and just have only time to copy while on tires, and want to obtain as fast as possible results, cuz it is then not a frustration generating experience, you have to do what I said.

But the disadvantage of forums is that everybody thinks they could give you advice, and when you are not able to distinguish the best way to obtain the desired proficiency yourself, you also don't know which advice is best.

So forums are pure bull faeces. Keep away from listening to people on forums.

When you think you could obtain proficiency with contests : Beware of contests, you are interested in getting proficiency in speed not in unweaving a call from a pile up, above that, difficult to work a contest in your car.

You could, when at home and your wife watching idols ( I understand that, my wife is watching me all day long) log in to www.rufzxp.net . Download their program and start using it. It generates ham call signs and when you copy right it increases speed when wrong it decreases, so you are always copying at the limit of your ability. That helps certainly, but AT HOME.

When you like to rag chew and copy in your head, and learn it in your car, do as I said, independent of further chit chat in this thread.

Remember do not listen to advices on forums, hence also valid for this advice.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2012, 08:07:30 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
K8AXW
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Posts: 3830




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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2012, 09:49:21 AM »

Quote
So forums are pure bull faeces. Keep away from listening to people on forums.

Quote
Remember do not listen to advices on forums, hence also valid for this advice.

These statements are similar to the saying, "I once thought I made a mistake but I was wrong!"

4MB: Your problem is a common one.  You're situation is creating frustration which in turn is  hindering you.

When it comes to learning code or increasing speed there is seldom a substitute for practice or repetition.  BLAH is somewhat correct in his assessment though.  Most of the so called "easy or quick" learning methods he describes are simply money making gimmicks.

Since the only time you seem to have for code listening is while driving, make a few tapes with code practice from W1AW or another source, at a speed you're comfortable with and listen to them.  Listen to them over and over and eventually you will find yourself getting further with each session. Stay with one tape until you can copy most of it in your head.  If this means slowing down to a speed below your ability, do it. 

Then and only then change tapes but use one at the same speed. Change speed when you can comfortably copy the entire tape.  If after you hit a "brick wall" doing this, then go to a faster tape and listen to it for awhile.  Then come back to your lower speed tape.

Operating on the air will increase your speed faster than almost anything else.

And I have to ask this same question once again. "What the hells the hurry?"

OK, you've been doing this for 2 years.  So what?  The Army force fed us code 8 hours a day for six months because they/we had to fullfill an agenda.  You don't and your circumstances are your own and has become your limiting factor.  Live with it and try to relax and enjoy this trip.





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PA0WV
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Posts: 133




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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2012, 10:28:16 AM »

I want to emphasize that I designed and build a hardware device, containing a few thousand of the most commonly used words in English language, the words are transmitted in audio, with a cosine square slope leading and trailing edge of the envelope in order to prevent click at high speed.

Adjustable are speed, separation time between words, maximum length of words, the number of repetitions per word and display after of before transmission in plain text on a small 2 times 16 character LCD display.

A number of dutch guys are using it in the car while driving from and to QRL. It is ideal for learning to copy plain language by head.
You don't have to construct an audio file of a limited number of words etc, and the chosen parameters are stored in EEprom, so when you start your car everything is remembered. A random number generator takes a word out of the permitted range, so you don't get used to a fixed word pattern.

webside http://pa0wv.home.xs4all.nl/zelfbouw.html click on the link Kujer2 which means something like QRQ-er.

Language of description is Dutch, but schematics and drawings  are always readable. An Yahoo Bable fish has a translation facility from Dutch to English.

Results are amazing and everything is available for free, according to the international ham spirit.

There is no kit available for connecting it to your car and car radio, so a technician license is certainly required in order to figure out for yourself how to connect it to your car.

As far as I know the army had a form of pretesting guys on the ability of learning code. So results of army courses are not applicable to the general interested public.

Wim PA0WV
« Last Edit: January 14, 2012, 10:36:32 AM by PA0WV » Logged

Using an appliance without CW is just CB
KB4MB
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Posts: 295




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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2012, 10:42:19 AM »


And I have to ask this same question once again. "What the hells the hurry?"

OK, you've been doing this for 2 years.  So what?  The Army force fed us code 8 hours a day for six months because they/we had to fullfill an agenda.  You don't and your circumstances are your own and has become your limiting factor.  Live with it and try to relax and enjoy this trip.


I suppose you are right, but you'd figure after two years I'd be at least up to 15wpm.. but everyone is different, and I tell you, when you have your own business, another full-time job, and a wife to keep happy... leisure time is where you can grab it.  So far, the car time is the constant that I have, which is 15 minutes each way - which should be enough to train... then I will grab any on-air time I can, but that is sporadic. 

The other reason I guess for my speed lust, is that since operating time can be short, jumping into a quick cq and out of a qso would be nice - us QRS'ers it might take a while to catch someone, and it certainly takes awhile to chat Smiley
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N5XM
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2012, 12:09:15 PM »

BLAH, what makes you think your drivel is any less feces than anyone else's here?  I read some good practical suggestions, and sir, I'll stack my CW up against yours ANY day.  Sounds to me like you need a laxative.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2012, 01:14:49 PM »

BLAH, what makes you think your drivel is any less feces than anyone else's here? 

Nothing Rick whatsoever . Didn't I write:
Quote from: PA0BLAH
Remember do not listen to advices on forums, hence also valid for this advice.

Bob PA0BLAH
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STAYVERTICAL
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Posts: 864




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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2012, 03:49:08 AM »


My advice would be to give the CW a break for a while.
You obviously have a desire to learn code, and your subconscious knows this.
Let your subconscious "cook" the code in your brain for a while and then come back to it.
My experience is that when you come back to the code you will be even better than when you left it.

Take a week or two holiday from the code and then do about ten minutes a day and forget it.
Like losing weight where your body seems to plateau for a while, then drops a couple of pounds, you will step up your code speed.

Don't fret about it - it is a hobby and you seem to have lots of other things to keep you busy anyway.

I have just come back from a six week break doing CW (family visit), and found my code speed jumped from 45 to 50wpm!
All this without a single dit or dah in six weeks.
Sometimes the brain needs some time to reassemble itself and make a spot for CW it seems.

CUL 73 dit dit
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