Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: Prev 1 2 [3] 4 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: My code journey  (Read 8389 times)
M0LEP
Member

Posts: 199




Ignore
« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2012, 02:04:52 PM »

There's heaps of contradictory advice out there about learning morse code. This thread's touched on some of it. These are some of the contradictory bits of advice I've been given, all of it offered apparently sincerely and in the belief that it would help:

  • * Learn fast from the start.
  • * Learn slow and then build speed.
  • * Learn fast but with extra space Farnsworth-style.
  • * Learn conventionally spaced morse from the start.
  • * Learn character by character Koch-style.
  • * Learn the alphabet in one go.
  • * Learn to read first and then to send.
  • * Learn to read and send at the same time.
  • * Learn with a straight key first.
  • * Learn with a paddle and keyer from the start.
  • * Get on the air as soon as you know the bare minimum.
  • * Don't go on air until you know the code thoroughly.
  • * Write down (or type) what you hear.
  • * Only write what you need to record, and "head-copy" the rest.

I figure there are many ways, some better than others, but no one true way, and a way which works for one person will quite likely be a hopeless way for another. For me, Farnsworth spacing was a disaster, as was trying to learn the alphabet in one go, and there's no way I'll go on air until I know I can reasonably reliably read any callsign at the speed at which I'm working...
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 02:37:09 AM by M6LEP » Logged
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2382




Ignore
« Reply #31 on: March 08, 2012, 03:32:27 PM »

True enough, there are lots of options and no shortage of advice today.   

I learned the code from a LP record set from Ameco, then by listening on the air to W1AW code practice sessions.  While waiting for my license to come in the mail, I also started listening to QSO's in the Novice bands, to see what I was getting into.  In those days, we never heard of Farnsworth or Koch. 

Best thing is to go forward with something and see what works for you.  Just do it.

GL & 73,
Chuck  NI0C
Logged
M0LEP
Member

Posts: 199




Ignore
« Reply #32 on: March 08, 2012, 04:43:06 PM »

These days there aren't the Morse classes there used to be, nor the on-air practice sessions, nor any particularly obviously "novice" bands.

There's a good selection of on-line resources, though.
Logged
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2382




Ignore
« Reply #33 on: March 08, 2012, 05:01:19 PM »

You're absolutely correct on that.  We used to have a community of learners in the small slivers of spectrum known as the Novice bands.  These were ghettos of sorts, but we didn't care.  We had fun before we graduated to the next level.  My particular goal was to get on 20 meters and work DX using a VFO. 

The online resources are great for acquisition of skills-- technically better than anything we had in those days-- but not as much fun as getting on the air.   But getting on the air is only fun when you have someone to talk to and have the skills to understand and be understood.  That's the tradeoff.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
Logged
N3IG
Member

Posts: 36




Ignore
« Reply #34 on: March 09, 2012, 01:43:10 AM »

     I have been a ham for 22 years so I had to do my 5 wpm to get my novice and tech. Back then other than 10 meters I had to use cw to get on the other HF bands which I did for 2 years. I eventually built up to 13 wpm and got my general class, then I threw my key away because I now had SSB privileges everywhere. I was inactive for several years and got back on in the mid 2000s using SSB.

     To get to the point, I have recently caught the Qrp bug which has renewed interest in cw since at 5 watts you will make more contacts than with SSB. But since I am just getting back into it after a long time my speed is about 10 wpm. After reading this post, it make me feel like I should just sell all my Qrp equipment and go back to SSB since I can not do 15 or 20 wpm. This post says to me that I should not be tying up the bands with slow code.

     Since I am a veteran ham with thick skin and take it with a grain of salt I must ask what do you think no-codes are thinking when they read this? I thought part of being a ham was to promote more activity on the bands, not less. I say if hams that are not required in any way to learn or use code that we should embrace them into cw, not discourage them. Just my $.02
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 03:00:49 AM by N3IG » Logged
M0LEP
Member

Posts: 199




Ignore
« Reply #35 on: March 09, 2012, 02:50:55 AM »

Sometimes it seems folks with strong opinions will push their favoured path because they're convinced they're right, and not realise just how discouraging that can be for someone for whom that path isn't going to work. I've received plenty of that about various aspects of ham operating, not just in learning morse...
Logged
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2382




Ignore
« Reply #36 on: March 09, 2012, 06:48:53 AM »

N3IG wrote:
Quote
I must ask what do you think no-codes are thinking when they read this? I thought part of being a ham was to promote more activity on the bands, not less. I say if hams that are not required in any way to learn or use code that we should embrace them into cw, not discourage them.

I don't pretend to know what other people are thinking, so I depend on feedback to find out.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I'd like to address the following:
Quote
I have recently caught the Qrp bug which has renewed interest in cw since at 5 watts you will make more contacts than with SSB. But since I am just getting back into it after a long time my speed is about 10 wpm. After reading this post, it make me feel like I should just sell all my Qrp equipment and go back to SSB since I can not do 15 or 20 wpm. This post says to me that I should not be tying up the bands with slow code.

Nowhere in my postings did I mention "15 or 20 wpm" as a minimum speed for on the air CW operations.  Those numbers came from you!  Since you have been through the learning curve before, though, you know the drill.  You will be much more comfortable after regaining what you have lost.  Fortunately, it doesn't take long to go from 10 wpm to 15-20, especially the second time around.

It does take some practice, involving "time on task,"though.  The rewards are great.  Nobody can do it for you.  

Since there have been some misunderstandings and hurt feelings in this thread, let's examine what we mean by air time, or "going on the air."  Most of what we (and, I mean literally everybody who operates an amateur radio station) do is listening.  Even the biggest blabbermouth you can find on 75 meters SSB is transmitting less than 50% of the time.  I suspect that most CW operators listen at least ten minutes for every one minute they transmit.   I estimate my own long term average duty cycle is less than one percent.  

I recommend that beginning (or returning) CW operators spend a lot of time listening on the air.  This can be supplemented by listening to programmed or online resources (such as Learn CW Online: http://lcwo.net/  ).  I use LCWO frequently myself to try to maintain an edge.  I can't say enough good things about this website that Fabian Kurtz, DJ1YFK, has created.  I wish it had been available when I was first learning.

For those who want to engage in CW conversations at any speed, check out the new "CW Academy" by the CWOPS club: http://www.cwops.org/cwacademy.html

The Fists CW Club also has a "Code Buddy" program: http://www.fists.org/  and: http://www.qsl.net/w9em/

I wish you well,
73,
Chuck  NI0C

« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 06:50:37 AM by NI0C » Logged
M0LEP
Member

Posts: 199




Ignore
« Reply #37 on: March 09, 2012, 08:43:14 AM »

I think the "15 or 20 wpm" probably came from PA0BLAH somewhere above, but I've heard much the same said elsewhere more than once, too. Tuning round the bands, I don't often hear morse even as slow as 12 wpm (as best I can judge, but I'm no expert) though. I'd guess most of it's up past 20 wpm.

...and the times I've had my ear bent about "getting on the air" the accompanying phrases were ones like "put out a CQ", "answer that call" and "join in a contest", which made it pretty clear I was being expected to transmit. No way am I doing that until I can reasonably reliably read any callsign sent my way at my chosen speed.
Logged
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2382




Ignore
« Reply #38 on: March 09, 2012, 09:50:57 AM »

Your estimate of typical CW speeds is spot on.  You might hear some slower code upwards of around 7050 and 7100 on the 40 meter band, at least in North America.  Not transmitting before you can reasonably copy the station you're calling is the mark of a good operator, so your instincts are good!  I hope you can get on soon!

73,
Chuck  NI0C
Logged
W5ESE
Member

Posts: 550


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #39 on: March 09, 2012, 10:14:06 AM »

To get to the point, I have recently caught the Qrp bug which has renewed interest in cw since at 5 watts you will make more contacts than with SSB. But since I am just getting back into it after a long time my speed is about 10 wpm. After reading this post, it make me feel like I should just sell all my Qrp equipment and go back to SSB since I can not do 15 or 20 wpm. This post says to me that I should not be tying up the bands with slow code.

Think you'll find QRP a most enjoyable facet to the hobby.

I've begun dabbling in 'Summits on the Air', which I've found is an enjoyable way to combine my interest in outdoor pursuits with QRP.

73
Scott W5ESE
Logged
2E0OZI
Member

Posts: 269




Ignore
« Reply #40 on: March 09, 2012, 10:32:05 AM »

Hey M6LEP drop me a line any time once you know the letters and numbers and I'll be up for a QSO at a reasonable speed. I'm just starting out and have no idea what speed I can send at, just geussing its around 10-12wpm. Maybe less maybe more. My problem I think is working out what to SAY sometimes. Anyway, thats been so far when I am practicing - yet to have a QSO but I supose it will be in the next few weeks when I get the time.

I have sent out CQs a few times but never really gone at it like a bull at a gate.  Wink

all the best

Scott
Logged

Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
George Orwell
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2382




Ignore
« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2012, 11:30:19 AM »

Quote
never really gone at it like a bull at a gate.

Forgive me for intruding guys.  This remark reminded me of the hiking my wife and I did in the Lake District and Cotswolds regions of your beautiful country in 2010.  Our walks on your lovely footpaths took us through scores of private fields.  Some of the gates warned us of "Bull in Field."

carry on,
73,
Chuck  NI0C
 
Logged
2E0OZI
Member

Posts: 269




Ignore
« Reply #42 on: March 09, 2012, 03:41:10 PM »

Chuck I should maybe have used an expression from home -  "flat out like a lizard drinkin'"  Grin

Last weekend I almost had my first CW contacts I was very close, but the last 5 days I have been unwell/tired and at work preparing a legal case so have had precious little time to get ready again to give it a shot. Will sharpen up with some LCWO and listening on the bands and then give it another go maybe Sunday morning.
Logged

Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
George Orwell
KB3TXH
Member

Posts: 44




Ignore
« Reply #43 on: March 10, 2012, 09:33:00 AM »

I want to encourage hams who send slowly, to get on the air and enjoy CW. You are missing out on a whole lot of fun, and you are depriving other slow code hams of an opportunity to work you, if you don't.

 Just last night I heard a VE, sending "CQ new ham" on 40 meters, so I hear hams beside myself who actually enjoy working folks at 5wpm or so.

On the air listening is good practice, but the chance of you hearing someone sending "CQ" at 5wpm, or less, is slim. So don't wait.
 if you can send accurate code at any speed, do it.
I, and many other hams,  will answer you at the speed you sent the CQ if we only hear you.

I have been a ham for about 2 years, so I'm not too fast myself. I can copy 100% at 10wpm, and probably 50% at 13wpm, so I am really glad that I did not wait until I could receive at high speeds before enjoying CW. 
Logged
KB4MB
Member

Posts: 295




Ignore
« Reply #44 on: March 10, 2012, 10:06:20 AM »

Quote
On the air listening is good practice, but the chance of you hearing someone sending "CQ" at 5wpm, or less, is slim. So don't wait.  if you can send accurate code at any speed, do it.

That is true.  While I am really focused on my speed building right now (I am at 10wpm, but want to build up to 20wpm)... if I hear someone slow call, I will wait to see if anyone responds, but if not, I will always jump in to help. 

As a CW op, I actually think it is my duty to help new or slow ops... but then again, I am new myself and appreciate when people slow down for me.
Logged
Pages: Prev 1 2 [3] 4 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!