Thanks again, everyone, for the encouragement. I am spending more time listening on the air now, which is an interesting puzzle. If you combine the Koch method (I have only 21 characters learned) plus QRM, QSB, plus interference from the Nashville-based Bible-thumping station WWCR, all on a dinky little receiver kit with a bandwidth like a barn door, plus my middle-aged befuddlement, you get this (from my listening sessions in the past few days on 20m). The dashes represent one or more characters that I missed because I don't know them yet or didn't catch them, or QSB/QRM that zapped the characters:
(Example 1) "r nice r- -- u iy- sou- -- rig u 5-0 es nt --w- sunny te- t 0 f- always since ch-w- -l- in north j-y -to f-- kill m-"
(Example 2) "ir- rig yaesu k es yagi if jeff trng yrl"
(Example 3) "qri seems to uh tt in worst so ill say-- tn- f-- qso ho- cl -- - claw at -kk0--"
(Example 4) "rst is 599 5nn, name is vernie vernie, qth lk wales, lk wales fla fla" (cool, a complete sentence and I even know where Lake Wales is).
(Example 5) "tu tuner a-- hr --- ham -- -- yrs -- sunny"
(Example 6) "la omni looked -- om -- thought -- nn- only, just -- es -- out tt sof-"
(Example 7) "rig u 5--0 es nt -- -- sunny ----- always nice ch-w- --- in north j-y --"
(Example eight) "fine a so really fa-t--us to hr ag -- sig o swa"
(Example 9) "acc--ion. my qth 5 miles on e-w -- nashville ---"
You old-timers can perhaps barely remember that phase of CW learning! So near, and yet so far! Still it is great to be copying "real stuff" even if only partially. By the way I am finding only a very distant relationship between CW speed, and my recognition rate (except that anything above about 20wpm is too hard). It seems to have much more to do with the fist at the other end. The worst ones are either running the characters together too much, or spacing them way too far, like an exaggerated Farnsworth tape. But again, who am I to criticize!
I am only able to read *call signs* occasionally, because I haven't learned the numbers yet except zero, so when I hear a number, I stop in my tracks to try and figure out which number it is (by adding the dits and dahs and seeing in what order they are) and by the time I have figured it out, the rest of the call sign is long gone.... and probably the repeated call sign too....
73 DE Martin, KB1WSY
Look at it this way, Martin. Once you can solid copy through the QRM, QRN, QSB and other obstacles, you'll be able to copy anything, anytime.