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Author Topic: Need help with learning CW.  (Read 21774 times)
STAYVERTICAL
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« Reply #45 on: April 10, 2012, 01:06:37 PM »

PA0BLAH,

I was with you until you mentioned synergy - I have been in too many corporate meetings where synergy was the magical ingredient, the philosophers stone, which would solve any problem.

The point I was trying to make was that when guys suggest this method, or that method (Koch, etc,etc) it is in fact like the old parable of the man, the boy and the donkey.
As you may recall, by taking the advice of everyone they lost the donkey in a river.

Simplicity and persistence will always win in the end.
Whether it is in war, cracking a difficult problem, or carving out the grand canyon by humble water, the power of persistence is irrefutable.

Sometimes we can become mental slaves to the very technology we have created, and that is something we must never allow.

That is the only point I was trying to convey.

73s and thank you for your point of view, I respect it.

« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 01:34:49 PM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged
WB2WIK
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« Reply #46 on: April 10, 2012, 03:18:46 PM »

Stayvertical,

All guys are different seems to me.

His problem is not persistence, but something in his mind that refuses to go over to unconscious reaction after a learning time.

People here in this forum advice to make connections, because 1. it is rewarding, 2. you learn from it by synergy 

May be, give it a try.

BUT he has first to know the set of characters and numbers in order to do that.



In my experience (and I have no "competition," since I'm not selling anything and never charged anything in 20 years for all the code classes I provided), I've found kids are better than adults at learning almost anything including the code.

Kids pick up skiing almost immediately.  Try to teach a 30 year-old to ski.  It can certainly be done, but it's trickier.  The adult knows he can get hurt, the kid either doesn't know or doesn't care. Wink  Plus kids develop "muscle memory" so quickly and easily.

In the case of the code, I think it's mostly because kids usually never heard of it and nobody ever told them it was difficult, so they go straight in thinking it's easy, like everything else is.

I learned with my friend David (who became licensed same time I did) and there was no internet and no personal computers and we really didn't even know what speed we were supposed to know.  We were taking the U.S. Novice test, which only required 5 wpm (!) but for some reason we both thought it was 13 wpm and we got there very quickly, just using it together.

We never wrote anything down and did a lot of our "practicing" while walking back and forth to school in eighth grade.  The walk was about a mile each way, so that was a good 30-40 mins of walking each day, and the whole time we just "dit-dah'd" to each other.  I'd see a bus and go "Dah-di-di-dit di-di-dah di-di-dit."  He'd see something else and send that.  We did it every day, five days a week for a couple of weeks, and were both copying 13 wpm but had never sent with a key. 

THAT was a separate exercise, but we got surplus J-38s and screwed them down to scrap pieces of plywood and built a little oscillator.  We sent.  We were terrible, but got better.

When we both went to take the Novice test, the 5 wpm "copy" sounded ridiculously slow, and when the proctor asked us each to send, we each sent at about 13 wpm.  He said we did fine.  Our proctor was a big CW operator who used code every day, so we trusted his opinion.

Skills are honed by using them, though.  When we got our tickets in the mail and both got on the air (the same day!) we started making lots of contacts.  Hundreds of them.  After a few more weeks we were both going 20 wpm and our hands hurt from sending that with a straight key.  I discovered the W9TO Electronic Keyer circuit and built it.

What a difference. Cheesy

If someone would have told us back then that keyers would be built into transmitters, and we'd all have personal computers at home, we would have laughed ourselves silly.



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LB3KB
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« Reply #47 on: April 10, 2012, 09:44:55 PM »

WB2WIK,

You do have ”competition” and you usually address it by talking negatively about it while promoting your own methods.  You may not be competing for money, but you are obviously competing for something.

Anyway, this was a nice story about how you practiced Morse code when you were young.  However, you don’t give any insight into how you went about learning the code.  A kid doesn’t just walk down the street and out of the blue know what each letter in any word sounds like in Morse.  Since the two of you were able to converse like this, both of you must have done something first to learn the code.

I also notice that you learned and practiced Morse code to where you could comfortably copy at 13 WPM before even touching a key.  So what's this big issue you have with other solutions that do the same ?

The idea that children learn faster than adults is a popular idea.  It’s usually mentioned by grownups as an excuse for not learning as fast as they wish.  But if it was inherently true that kids learn everything quicker than grownups, why do we send them to kindergarten instead of college ?  If they learn so much faster than adults, they should be all over the campuses before the age of 10.


73
LB3KB Sigurd
justlearnmorsecode.com
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 09:47:42 PM by LB3KB » Logged
K8AXW
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Posts: 3996




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« Reply #48 on: April 11, 2012, 09:19:38 AM »

STAYVERTICAL & WIK:

STAYVERTICAL:  I read several eHam forums, sometimes 2, 3 times a day.  (Retired and have a lot of time on my hands).  With that note, your last post in my opinion is one of the most astute posts I have ever read on any forum to date!  You are right on!  

WIK: This is a perfect example of two kids wanting something and working to get it!  Note the word, "working."  This is a word that is becoming foreign to the younger generation.  They are looking for he "magic bullet," the "easy" way of doing everything, especially learning CW.  The reasons for this are numerous and pointless to list here.  My philosophy is if you WANT something you should be willing to work your ass off until you get it!  

KB:  I have disagree with you.  I have found that kids indeed do learn faster than adults.  It is a proven fact that kids learn more in their first 10 years than they do the rest of their lives.

I also had the experience of watching kids coming to Germany with their military parents and interacting with the German civilian kids.  The kids picked up German so fast I could hardly believe it.  At age 19 I was struggling to learn enough German to satisfy my needs, like food, lodging and directions.  Kids don't have as much to "unlearn" as adults.  That's the main reason they pick up most things fast.  

Or to use an analogy that we all understand, "Their hard drives are hardly scratched and their seek time is short!"
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 09:22:18 AM by K8AXW » Logged
WB2WIK
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« Reply #49 on: April 11, 2012, 09:33:20 AM »

WB2WIK,

You do have ”competition” and you usually address it by talking negatively about it while promoting your own methods.  You may not be competing for money, but you are obviously competing for something.

Nope, I really couldn't care less what anyone does.  I "promote" the method that I found works best, not for me, but for hundreds of code students who successfully learned pretty well and quickly using them after trying and trying and trying other methods.

That's all.  Since code is no longer a demonstrable requirement for licensing, I've discontinued the classes and they will likely never start up again.  I surely don't miss the extra work.

I think we should get on CW and have a chat, maybe 20m this evening?  Let's see how you sound.

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M0LEP
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« Reply #50 on: April 11, 2012, 03:09:06 PM »

Note the word, "working."  This is a word that is becoming foreign to the younger generation.  They are looking for he "magic bullet," the "easy" way of doing everything, especially learning CW.

...but not all work is of equal value. I'm looking for a more effective way of working at learning Morse. I've been beating my head against it for two years without a great deal of success, so the methods I'm using clearly aren't that effective for me. I'll keep trying until I get there, but experience suggests that when one approach doesn't produce results it's probably worth investigating alternatives. If doing that is "looking for the magic bullet" then I'll plead guilty.

The kids picked up German so fast I could hardly believe it.

At a certain age kids do learn things like languages more quickly than adults, and most of the multi-lingual folk I know seem to have been exposed to a rich linguistic environment when they were young...

73, Rick
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LB3KB
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« Reply #51 on: April 11, 2012, 04:20:20 PM »

KB:  I have disagree with you.  I have found that kids indeed do learn faster than adults.  It is a proven fact that kids learn more in their first 10 years than they do the rest of their lives.

I'm sure we could have a long, interesting and very off-topic discussion about that.  I'll just throw in that there are not many 10-year-olds that know Morse code.

My main point was that this idea is not a useful thought for the grownup who wants to learn something.  Why keep convincing yourself that this would have been easier if you were a kid or if the moon was made of cheese ?  Thinking like that is going to make it harder to learn.
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AE5QB
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« Reply #52 on: April 11, 2012, 05:44:46 PM »

... The walk was about a mile each way, so that was a good 30-40 mins of walking each day, and the whole time we just "dit-dah'd" to each other....

WIK, you forgot uphill both ways and in the snow.  Wink  I understand what you mean, though, that story illustrates the motivation you and friend had to learn it.

The other statement about kids learning might be better worded as children MAY or CAN learn things much faster than OLDER folks.  As an educator I am reading every book and research paper I can find on the subject.  Like others, I am looking for that holy grail to make my kiddos learn faster and deeper. 

The brain based research I have read indicates that the brain of a child is different and is capable of making those neural connections faster.  There is "white matter" in the brain called "myelin" that wraps itself around the neuron.  When it does it insulates the neuron enabling it to work faster and in sync with other neurons.  Myelin is rich and thick in infancy and starts to become less prevalent after age 30.  This is why it does take more work to learn at an older age.  And that is why reflexes, speed, balance, and coordination deteriorates as we get older.  Several of the big neurological diseases are actually types of autoimmune disorders that attack and destroy the myelin.  This doesn't mean us old folks can't learn.  On the contrary we can all learn, it just takes a little more effort and time to wrap that myelin around the nerves.

With that said, notice I also added that children MAY or CAN learn, but it is not a given that they will.  Along with the ability to learn quickly is a need for deep practice.  The 10,000 hour rule which states that to become great at anything takes on the order of 10,000 hours of deep practice is probably true.  To put in that kind of time requires motivation and the fact is that most of us are not motivated enough to put in that 10,000 hours of deep practice it takes to become the best at anything.  Look at the child prodigies and while genetics, environment, raw talent, etc. is a part of the equation, deeper research typically shows that as children these kids had a supportive environment that enabled them to get in that 10,000 hours faster.  Why are there so many asian prodigy pianists?  Simple their parents value the ability to play the piano and make them practice several hours a day since they were two.  This is not always the case and there are exceptions, but a great deal of the time it is true.

So what is my point?  I am not sure! Wink  Other than to state that children can learn faster and with less effort IF they are motivated to do so.  Our issue in this time of excessive luxuries is that a large number of children and adults don't feel a need to work hard to get by.  In other words, we have become spoiled and we have spoiled our children to the point that survival and even living a good life no longer require a great deal of effort.  There is not as much motivation to learn and move up as there once was.

As far as learning code is concerned, pick a method or two and try them.  If they don't work for you try something else.  Persistence, regular-structured-deep-practice, and never giving up for even one day is the way to learn code or anything else.  Motivation to do what it takes is the magic bullet.   
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #53 on: April 11, 2012, 06:26:18 PM »

AE5QB, nice comments.

Of course kids learn "faster," as they start out with zero knowledge and only instinct. 

That they progress from that to walking, talking and understanding language within 18-24 months is the fastest progress a human can make.  It all slows down after that. Wink

I think all species are like that.  My dogs learned almost everything they're going to know within about 9 months.  They live a lot longer, but don't learn a lot more.

Humans are unique in that we can keep learning, but as we age we also forget some of what we learned and the process begins slowing at a pretty early age, like 18-22.  I learn new things every day by reading the newspaper, books, magazines, watching TV and talking to other people; but it's a very slow process compared with what kids can do.

I taught my daughter Robyn Morse code when she was six years old and her biggest complaint about that was how boring it was, because her brain could work a lot faster than the lessons were going.  She went from "nothing" to about 10 wpm in one afternoon.

No computer, no special methods, just sending to her and annunciating each letter as it was sent.  Then when I put the paddle in her hands and showed her how to use it, she could send pretty well within that same afternoon.

Difficult to learn?  I doubt it. Tongue
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K8AXW
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« Reply #54 on: April 11, 2012, 08:40:36 PM »

LEP:  Rick I have no idea what you have been doing for 2 years and still haven't learned the code.  I suspect that you haven't been rrreeaallly working at it for that period of time.  Maybe once in a while??

If you can't learn the code by practicing 20 minutes a day 5 days a week for a month... perhaps two at the most, you are doing something drastically wrong.  Note that I said LEARN the code.  I'm not saying anything about speed or being able to copy solid but simply knowing the code.

Now, once you know the code it becomes practice, practice and more practice, again almost daily to solidify what you have learned.  Two years?  I don't think so.

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KG4NEL
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« Reply #55 on: April 12, 2012, 04:31:52 PM »

LEP:  Rick I have no idea what you have been doing for 2 years and still haven't learned the code.  I suspect that you haven't been rrreeaallly working at it for that period of time.  Maybe once in a while??

If you can't learn the code by practicing 20 minutes a day 5 days a week for a month... perhaps two at the most, you are doing something drastically wrong.  Note that I said LEARN the code.  I'm not saying anything about speed or being able to copy solid but simply knowing the code.

Now, once you know the code it becomes practice, practice and more practice, again almost daily to solidify what you have learned.  Two years?  I don't think so.

I've only been at it a week, but it's pretty darned cool to be hearing the code and my fingers automatically hit the right keys Cheesy

I'll be thinking..."How am I doing this?" And that's when I promptly lose 3 or 4 characters in a row, lol. But my completion percentages are going up, so I must be making progress somewhere Smiley
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #56 on: April 13, 2012, 03:05:49 PM »

Quote
I've only been at it a week, but it's pretty darned cool to be hearing the code and my fingers automatically hit the right keys Cheesy

I'll be thinking..."How am I doing this?" And that's when I promptly lose 3 or 4 characters in a row, lol. But my completion percentages are going up, so I must be making progress somewhere Smiley


Nice to hear. However:

You just entered the highway to hell. When you learn Morse code, there are different ways. The way you are using now, ends up with:
1. Always need for a mill (typewriter) otherwise you are not able to decode.
2. Unconscious copy, so you will be able to speak to other people and thinking on other things while decoding.
At the moment you try to understand what you are decoding: No deal, decoding stops abruptly.

That is probably not what you want.

So jot down with a pen on paper, and only one out of ten exercises type it over from paper in your computer, and that only when you want grading of your results.

As fast as possible: start exercising with words, www.lcwo.net give you the opportunity to start with only a subset of all characters. Use fixed speed.  Listen to the words repeatedly without writing down till you are sure you copied the word correct, after that type the word in the lcwo program.

Then you learn Morse the way you probably want to use it: Receiving and understanding it simultaneously without writing or typing required.


gd luck, and keep us informed here abt ur progress

Bob
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M0LEP
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« Reply #57 on: April 14, 2012, 01:23:49 PM »

Now, once you know the code it becomes practice, practice and more practice, again almost daily to solidify what you have learned.  Two years?  I don't think so.

My Koch score on LCWO say so. Sure, I know how most of the characters are constructed. Send them with big enough gaps between them and I'll get them. Send two or more at once, however...

20 minutes a day? Yes, I don't always manage that. My concentration survives a minute of listening at a time, maybe two on a good day. For Koch lessons I listen and write, then type in what I've written to check it; a minute of Morse and another for the typing and checking. String ten sessions like that together and my accuracy falls off badly. Then it's time to take a break. On a bad day it'll only take 4 or 5 sessions to get to that brain-fried state. That's likely the core of my difficulty. Folks say they can relax reading Morse, but I need to listen hard for every dot, dash and gap, or I get nothing. It's exhausting. I'm obviously not getting it automatically. I'm obviously not managing to follow along picking up words either. It's not from lack of trying.

Off and on? Yes, there've been breaks. No suitable computer. No radio. No spare time. This last week's been one such. Likely I'll not get a chance to listen to any Morse before Friday.

73, Rick
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 06:36:05 PM by M0LEP » Logged
K8AXW
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« Reply #58 on: April 14, 2012, 08:57:41 PM »

Rick:  Have you tried to copy or learn CW using the old fashioned method.... listening to it exactly as it's supposed to sound ?
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M0LEP
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« Reply #59 on: April 14, 2012, 11:28:56 PM »

I initially learned characters using Morse Machine (aka C2 etc.) I used a character speed about 25wpm, but of course it waits, so I ended up learning characters fast, but at about 3wpm.

To try to break that I've been doing Koch lessons at standard spacing (12/12 or a bit faster). Takes me about a month to pass the 90% accuracy point each time I add a character. Quickest was 2 weeks. Some have been nearer two months. I've got as far as lesson 12 in 14 months.

I've tried listening on air, but can seldom catch more than one character in six, partly because there's nothing much on air slower than 20wpm and I'm struggling at less than half that speed. Just occasionally I find something slow enough to catch a character in three.

73 Rick
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