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Author Topic: Learning CW  (Read 7340 times)
M0LEP
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« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2012, 05:24:53 PM »

It will take time, but you will get there.  If you can practice for 15 minutes twice a day, that is better than 30 minutes once a day.  Between sessions your brain will be processing what it just learned and moving it from short-term memory into long-term memory.

I've heard these sorts of times quoted quite often. The trouble I have is that I can usually manage a one-minute exercise, but a two-minute one falls apart. Anything longer than that is just feeding frustration. Each one-minute exerise takes about three or four minutes to complete. There's a minute of listening and writing, another of typing the written record into the system for checking, and a minute or two figuring out what went wrong. On a good day I may complete a dozen one-minute exercises. On an average day, probably only five or six, and by the end of that my brain's fried.

Another good suggestion is to practice the last 15 to 20 minutes before you go to bed.  While you are sleeping is when your brain does a lot of the learning.

That's something else I've found doesn't seem to work for me, mainly because by that time of the evening I just don't have the concentration I need to listen to even a one-minute Koch lesson.

Just don't push yourself too fast until you have mastered the characters you have already learned.

I'm not sure I've even half-learned the first dozen characters, let alone mastered them, in the two years I've been trying to learn Morse. That's more like "impossibly slow" than "too fast", I fear...
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2012, 03:05:05 AM »


I'm not sure I've even half-learned the first dozen characters, let alone mastered them, in the two years I've been trying to learn Morse. That's more like "impossibly slow" than "too fast", I fear...

Sometimes I read from the hand of ex military instructors, that everybody can learn Morse code.
I think that statement is not true.

There was a pre admission test, and the guys that failed that test, he never saw  in the course.

In your case, I think when I should have to solve this problem for myself, I should do Koch with more wide spaced characters. 20/5 or 20/3 Till I completed the course and than do the course again from start with less wide spacing, 18/7 And so approaching finally a last complete course 12/12.

It is a curse in the cw_hurch, I know of a guy that is not able to copy Morse code, a Novice that is allowed to use some parts of 40m and 20 m band, and he does make CW QSO's by a program CWget, and sending with the keyboard of his computer. Works only when the received signal fist is OK and the signal is 599 I suspect.

Reason I don't know, they can do PSK31, that will be as good for QRP etc as CW.

Language learning and musical abilities have - in my opinion - nothing to do with learning Morse Code. I am very bad in learning languages, can read and write english but I do not understand spoken english in a way that I understand what they are talking about.  Certainly a reason for me to be a CW only ham.  In this CW forum it was pointed out to me that it take a lot of ham spirit to decipher and understand my contributions here.  I learned Morse code fast, I was young. When I nowadays try to improve my copy speed is is a question of years, hardly noticible progress in the daily noise of good and bad days.

Bob
« Last Edit: March 20, 2012, 03:37:21 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
M0LEP
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« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2012, 04:50:02 AM »

In your case, I think when I should have to solve this problem for myself, I should do Koch with more wide spaced characters. 20/5 or 20/3 Till I completed the course and than do the course again from start with less wide spacing, 18/7 And so approaching finally a last complete course 12/12.

I've been through a number of iterations involving Kock and Morse Machine. This time round I've been working at whichever of 11-15/11-15 gives me final effective speeds around 12 wpm because that's just a bit slower than I can write random characters but just a bit faster than my conscious character recognition can work.

As an experiment I just tried the same set of characters as I'm working on at 13/12 at present, but ran them at 20/5 instead. The effective combined speed is between 8 and 9 wpm, so there's time for me to think "what is that?" between each character. I can get 90% every time, and hit 100% at least one time in 5. Crank the word speed up so that the effective speed passes 10 wpm and I'm straight down to about 70% accuracy. I'm pretty sure it's that thinking time that's blocking my progress. I learned to read Morse using a conscious thinking process. Now I need to re-learn it using "instant recognition", and that old thinking process is an active hinderance.

Reason I don't know, they can do PSK31, that will be as good for QRP etc as CW.

I've encountered three situations where digital modes aren't much use:
  • 1) When the other participants are all using morse. (Obviously!)
  • 2) Operating from a remote location where a computer is too much extra weight to carry in.
  • 3) Where local QRM from things like electric fences corrupts digital reception past the point of readability.

To participate in them I need to learn morse.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2012, 05:51:50 AM »


As an experiment I just tried the same set of characters as I'm working on at 13/12 at present, but ran them at 20/5 instead. The effective combined speed is between 8 and 9 wpm, so there's time for me to think "what is that?" between each character. I can get 90% every time, and hit 100% at least one time in 5. Crank the word speed up so that the effective speed passes 10 wpm and I'm straight down to about 70% accuracy. I'm pretty sure it's that thinking time that's blocking my progress. I learned to read Morse using a conscious thinking process. Now I need to relearn it using "instant recognition", and that old thinking process is an active hinderance.


That experiment you just described, point the right direction for you, I think. Exercise 20/5 or 20/lower then 5. Proceed till the course is done then you know all 41 characters as a solid base to proceed. It may be wise to do exercises during progress 20/5 through the course, with the last 5 learned characters separate in the code exercises of LCWO, you can adjust the exercise set  for that purpose.

What I have learned  and got certified by the stories of other people is, that the best way to learn is to exercise JUST above your abilities (max 10%). So I think based on that experience of myself and other people that it is the best way that you exercise as you said.

Remember when you are limited to one exercise and then get tired, you better adjust your speed to wider separation of characters. That is a way to exercise over 15 minutes in one session.

It is no point that you have to think about a character in the wide space time between the characters, Just as when learning touch typing, you always start with conscious deciding which finger to push, and that will end up after a short and sometimes longer time with doing that unconscious.

Don't  typing over every written down exercise , it is just one out of 10 must be more then sufficient.
Just exercise by listening and jotting it down with a pen on paper after thinking.

When you use vertical wide spaces on paper, you can just repeat the exercise and write in between a second time.

When you master all characters it is wise to start fixed speeds with words 12 wpm. You are then learning to understand what you receive during reception. That is another additional skill, because most people then thinks what may be the next character and when it is something else they miss four or 5 characters.

Bob
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M0LEP
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« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2012, 11:51:37 AM »

Crank the word speed up so that the effective speed passes 10 wpm and I'm straight down to about 70% accuracy.

I experimented a little further using my current Koch lesson:

At 11wpm I can manage 95% accuracy reasonably consistently with nominal two-minute sessions.
At 12wpm I'm doing well if I manage 70% over two-minute sessions.
At 13wpm my score's below 50% with two-minute sessions, and I'm lucky if I manage 70% over a one-minute session. (LCWO.net's stats say I've attempted it 129 times over 25 days at this speed, with a best score of 82.9% and an average of 68.7% using one-minute sessions.)
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2E0OZI
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« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2012, 11:59:08 AM »

I found LCWO best when I switched to callsign training. Set it for no long or weird calls, and set to it. After say 2 goes a day for a week, if you listen to the bands the calls will start to come to you. Remember you are not training to be perfect Portishead Maritime Station class - its just a fun hobby. People will help you, and will repeat or slow down. I probably do far worse than you on LCWO with random groups of 4 letters and numbers - but I can pick calls out OK, signal reports, and a lot of the abbreviations.

all the best

Scotty
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Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2012, 01:06:06 PM »

Crank the word speed up so that the effective speed passes 10 wpm and I'm straight down to about 70% accuracy.

I experimented a little further using my current Koch lesson:

At 11wpm I can manage 95% accuracy reasonably consistently with nominal two-minute sessions.


The steep degrading when you increase speed is OK.

When you now proceed to the next lesson with 11 wpm (?/?) and work the complete course with that speed, then you master all characters. That is an important milestone. May be you have a severe fall back when you try that with your present speed that you call 11 wpm. In that case go to 20/lower in order to obtain a realistic proceeding speed through the lessons. The plan as explained to repeatedly do the whole course approaching to 12/12 seems to me the best possible solution.

What Scotty proposes can be embarrassing because you are right now only familiar with a quarter of all characters, so when you listen to call signs 3 out of 4 characters are unknown.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2012, 01:10:32 PM by PA0BLAH » Logged
2E0OZI
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« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2012, 02:33:08 PM »

Ah yes thanks Bob - I forgot about that!  Grin
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Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
George Orwell
M0LEP
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2012, 05:23:28 PM »

When you now proceed to the next lesson with 11 wpm (?/?) and work the complete course with that speed, then you master all characters. That is an important milestone.

Yeah, I guess 11/11 is the pragmatic option for now, even though it's below the 12wpm line. I did experiment a bit with balancing character and word speeds to get the desired final effective speed, but it's less predictable, for little obvious benefit, and when the differences get big the groups turn into a string of  i n d i v i d u a l  c h a r a c t e r s  rather than "words".

Ah yes thanks Bob - I forgot about that!  Grin

I hadn't. Wink The lcwo word training can be turned back so it only uses words containing characters you know, though.

Edit 21/3/12: Meh. It's odd... Slowing down the code somehow seems to have made my performance worse today...
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 08:27:43 AM by M0LEP » Logged
M0LEP
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« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2012, 08:00:44 AM »

A little bit of reading, mostly from The Art & Skill of Radio-Telegraphy (thanks to WB3CQM for the link) has given me a few other hints.

First, that "instant recognition" is probably better learned by listening to the new character alone at varying speeds from 13wpm up, by hear-and-say or hear-and-write exercises a few hundred times.

Second, try to learn "copying behind". The aim is to have a buffer of a few characters (in plain text it would be a syllable or two) between the one you're hearing now and the one you're writing. Some folks seem to do this naturally. Others don't. If you can't do this then short characters in particular will give you trouble, and you'll spend your time "tailgating" (desperately trying to keep up with the code being sent) and getting left behind.

Third, Koch random-character exercises are all very well, but don't expect to copy them as fast as something that actually makes sense. (It'd be really nice if there were blocks of readable text corresponding to the Koch lessons, but there probably aren't, as writing text using only a dozen different characters is likely to be a severe challenge.)

Fourth, don't treat every session as a test. With Koch lessons, maybe actually check one session in ten. Just "head copy" most of the rest. (Of course, this would be easier if the sessions weren't random characters.)

There's more, but that'll do for a start...

...if I can figure out how to accomplish them.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 11:04:29 AM by M0LEP » Logged
PA0BLAH
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« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2012, 12:11:50 PM »

Copying behind means:

Copy by head at least a syllable, often a word, sometimes more words (at the) before writing them down.

At LCWO is a guy (IrishTerror...)  telling that he is easy unconscious typing on a mill, and he expects  the process is to be extended to just receiving by ear Morse code and typing it unconscious on the mill.

Beware of that. That is the worst thing that can happen. You are degraded to a unconscious machine . and have to read back your typing in order to know what was sent. Furthermore you are not able to copy any Morse without a mill. More silly I can't imagine.

You have an account at LCWO AFAIK: warn that guy IrisTerror or that extremely stupid goal.

Proceed through Koch at a speed that you proceed at least one lesson each week.
 Remember the guys that copy with ease 35 wpm plain text, fail at Koch 20/15. Koch is just nice to learn all character set and then go over to plain understandable words.  Finally it are words that you communicate with. Not with random mixed groups or whatever nonsense people created.
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