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Author Topic: Legal cheating on CW test.  (Read 1212 times)
KD1E
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Posts: 25




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« on: December 21, 2005, 07:14:30 AM »

I discovered this years ago.  At 5 wpm there is time to write down the dot-dash pattern of the char.  If you learn code by sight and write down the elements, you can take all the time you need after the test to translate it and get the content.

I consider it legal cheating but if all you want to do is to get past that "stinking CW requirement" it can work to get your ticket and get you on the air.

- Keith -
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N0IU
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2005, 11:23:48 PM »

KD1E wrote, "I discovered this years ago. At 5 wpm there is time to write down the dot-dash pattern of the char. If you learn code by sight and write down the elements, you can take all the time you need after the test to translate it and get the content.

I consider it legal cheating but if all you want to do is to get past that "stinking CW requirement" it can work to get your ticket and get you on the air."
----------------------------------------
First of all, if you are "learning" the code by sight, you are doing it wrong! Morse code is an auditory mode, The whole idea is to hear a pattern of dits and dahs and associate them with letters, numbers or punctuation.

Second, some VE's who grade the tests will only allow letters or numbers on the test papers. Legally, they don't have to allow you to write down dot-dash patterns. As a VE, I announce at the beginning of the test that I will only allow letters, numbers, prosigns and punctuation. If I see anything else, you fail and it is my perogative to conduct the test session in that manner.

Third, you don't have "all the time you need" after the code transmission is complete. The examiners will usually give you a few minutes.

If you have to resort to using this method to pass the test, then you don't know code well enough to take the test.

N0IU
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2005, 09:33:31 AM »

"Cheat"... on a FIVE WPM test?  C'mon...Maybe if the subject's IQ is also 'Five'...   Gimme a break
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KD1E
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2005, 11:43:31 AM »

N0IU - When I found this technique, the VE did not restrict what was written nor the time spent decoding.  Maybe they should have, maybe they do now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all condoning this method, just observing that it exists or at least the loop hole has existed in the past.

Yes, someone who does this is not ready for the 5 wpm test (duh!), but on the eve of you're written credit's exiration (for example) any help to pass 5 wpm becomes attractive.

No I've never done it.  When I passed 5 wpm, I was required to both send and receive.  My 13 wpm test was done by the FCC and just may have been random groups.  I don't recall just now.  My 20 wpm test was 2 minutes of solid copy plus all the questions correct.

N7DM - not sure whose IQ you're referring to.  I'll assume you mean the IQ of the person who has to resort to writing down the dots & dashes and then decoding them at a slower rate after transmission.

- Keith -
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2005, 12:06:54 PM »

Sorry....I thought the context was obvious.  Someone that has to 'scheme' to pass 5 WPM....[sheesh]
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N3ZKP
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Posts: 2008




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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2005, 01:45:37 PM »

<< I consider it legal cheating but if all you want to do is to get past that "stinking CW requirement" it can work to get your ticket and get you on the air. >>

If you are not advocating its use, then why publish this scheme in the first place? You own statement is encouragement, IMHO.

73,

Lon - N3ZKP
Baltimore, Maryland
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20547




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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2005, 02:21:41 PM »

I wouldn't advise this method because not only will most VEs simply not allow it, but it's obviously counterproductive to learning the code, which is the only reason a code test exists.

Here's a tip for the multiple choice written exam, though.  I learned this from my blonde teenage daughter, who really is blonde (naturally):

When taking the test, she flips a coin for each answer.

When she has time left over at the end of the test, she goes back to the beginning and flips the coin all over again to "check" each answer.

Smiley

WB2WIK/6
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KE4DRN
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Posts: 3718




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« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2005, 06:19:53 PM »

No need to 'write down' the di'dah's..

W5YI vec's use the tapes and headphones
for the test.  Then they check your copy.
If your copy is not a pass, then they
give you a question sheet and you must
answer the ten questions, fill in the
blank answers, no multi guess !

If you can copy in your head, you can
pass the test without any 'games'.

73 james
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N8UZE
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Posts: 1524




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« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2005, 03:39:18 AM »

The current CW testing is generally done as follows:

1.  No writing of dits & dahs though it can be allowed at the discretion of the VE team.  However it is seldom allowed because of the time factor.  I.e. no one wants to hang around while the candidate turns that into letters that can be graded.

2.  The multiple choice test was dropped by agreement of the VECs.  They use a fill in the blank test.

3.  Most VE teams give the written, fill-in the blank test and only check for solid copy if the applicant did not get 7 out of 10 right.
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N0IU
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« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2005, 03:56:33 AM »

N8UZE wrote, "3. Most VE teams give the written, fill-in the blank test and only check for solid copy if the applicant did not get 7 out of 10 right."

Actually I look for the "solid copy" first. If the candidate can show they have copied the code well enough to get 1 minute of copy, then why waste time giving them the fill-in-the-blank test?

Scott N0IU
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W5HTW
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« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2005, 03:43:11 PM »

Long before I became a ham, perhaps when I was around 11 or 12, I used to sit in front of one of those big floor model radios with the shortwave bands.  I thought those "thumps and hisses" (No BFO) were fascinating.  I thought writing down the dots and dashes, actually making a long mark for a dash and a short mark for a dot, was the way it was actually done.  So I tried it.

I admit I was listening to much faster speeds than 5 wpm.  But coordinating a long mark, or a short mark, with what I was hearing on the air, was just about impossible.  Simply no way.  An accomplished musician MAY could do it.

I can assure you, it is FAR harder to do it that way than to do it the right way.  

In addition, anything, physical or mental, that introduces an intermediate step to copying code is a stumbling block, not an aid.  Adding a third step to the translation (step one being hearing and step two being understanding) will dramatically slow the process. (Which is why I don't like Dog Did It learning  methods, since they do introduce a third step.)  

I'm not debating the legality or not of such a thing.  I'm recalling my own attempts at exactly that, and how horribly fruitless it was.  I did not learn Morse until I was 15, but at least I learned it by sound of the character, not sound of the "long mark" and "short mark" which would have been impossible to translate.

In fact, I would bet there is a maximum translation speed using that method of something less than 5 wpm.  Why?  At five wpm, with an average character consisting of say three "bits" that's 25 characters a minute times three, or 75 marks per minute one would have to write. That's more than one per second.  Each second can you coordinate your hand with your ear, so that you know to draw a long line or a short line?   Or worse still, write "dot" or "dash" which vastly multiples the effort again?  

If so, you can do much better with the same coordination by writing a full character, and subtracting three translation steps.

Ed
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N8UZE
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Posts: 1524




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« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2005, 09:51:53 AM »

To N0IU:

Very good point about the solid copy and the written test.  That's good if you can read the candidate's writing/printing.

I know when I took the code, my paper would have been very difficult for anyone but me to read (due to nerves).  In the tests that I have helped administer, only two people had neat enough papers to read easily.  One was a former ham who was getting a new license.  The other just happened to be someone who was very meticulous and overprepared for everything.  The rest of the tests I graded, I only went to look for solid copy if they didn't make the 7 out of 10 questions as they were very difficult to read.

I remember one guy who only got about 3 questions right.  It was a real struggle to read but we did find one minute solid copy.
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NF6E
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2005, 06:35:48 AM »

Approximately 10 years ago I was an active VE and administered 5-wpm, 13-wpm and 20-wpm CW exams.

The candidate's answers to questions as well as their copy was turned in to the examiners for grading at the end of each test.  If the candidate failed the fill-in-the-blank exam, they could still pass if their copy showed one full minute of successive characters at the corresponding test speed.  I think numbers and punctuation counted as two characters, letters as one.

Any candidate who was found to have written down dashes and dots instead of actual characters was disqualified, since such action only proves you can hear long and short sounds and write little dashes and dots on a piece of paper.

That rule made sense to me then and makes sense to me now.

I'm out of touch with VE testing today, so I don't know what the rules are for pass/fail.

You deserve to fail a CW test if you can't translate the sounds into actual characters.  But since CW testing is going bye-bye, it really doesn't much matter anymore.  Those who want to learn Morse code will learn it, those who don't will not have to burden themselves with it.

Jason NF6E

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K4SAV
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Posts: 1831




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« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2005, 02:39:54 PM »

WB2WIK wrote:
Here's a tip for the multiple choice written exam, though. I learned this from my blonde teenage daughter, who really is blonde (naturally):

When taking the test, she flips a coin for each answer.

When she has time left over at the end of the test, she goes back to the beginning and flips the coin all over again to "check" each answer.


Steve, your daughter must have dyed her hair to match her sisters. But it's a great technique. I checked with my wife, who is also blond, and she said this should work just fine.

Jerry, K4SAV
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KI4GYT
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2005, 06:41:50 PM »

Speaking as someone who failed a code test this month, and who is now studying using the Koch program.. I would think that even if one was going to learn morse and dump it after the test, it'd be harder to scribble dits and dahs and then decode while the VE's look on with disdain than to do it the right way...
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