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Author Topic: Need help with learning CW.  (Read 21286 times)
LB3KB
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Posts: 233


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« Reply #60 on: April 15, 2012, 12:44:05 AM »

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.

Make sure you use a solution that feeds you more of the characters you learned last.

What is your target speed, the speed you want to operate at ?  That is the speed you should learn at, from the start.  You should start over at that speed, with only two characters.  I find it very hard to believe that you would not be able to copy 90% with just two characters even at 20WPM standard timing.  There may be a limit to how long you can score 90% or better after just one session with each new character, but you should be able to do at least a few before you have to do more than one session with each new character.  Why not give it a try, following a precise description, and then report back here ?

And if that description is not precise, ask.  What you have been doing is not working, so you should try something else.  Make an effort to understand the specifics of the advice you are receiving.

You should also consider giving the keyboard a try.  How hard can it be, with only two characters ?  Disregard all the usual scares thrown in about getting addicted to using a keyboard - give it a try, and evaluate how you're doing after a few sessions.  Even if you did have to use a keyboard afterwards, it would be better than not being able to copy at all.  It seems to me that it is going to be less trouble for you getting rid of the keyboard after learning the code, than the trouble you currently face without it.  And sensible software will feed you more of the characters you miss the most.

Start out with K and M.  Each time you hear K, say "K" inside your head and hit the K key.  Do the same for M.  How on earth would that not work, and allow you to add the third letter after one or two sessions ?

73
LB3KB Sigurd
justlearnmorsecode.com
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M0LEP
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Posts: 212




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« Reply #61 on: April 17, 2012, 10:14:41 AM »

It seems there's very little on air under about 15wpm, so I'd like to get at least to that.

Typing just 2, 3 or 4 different characters isn't a problem. I can do those on the keyboard fast enough. Past that I write faster than I type. I'll give it another go when I'm back in front of a suitable computer...

73, Rick
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20633




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« Reply #62 on: April 17, 2012, 10:55:29 AM »

You must write really fast or type really slowly. Cheesy

I think anyone who didn't have classroom instruction in touch typing really missed out on one of the most valuable courses anyone could take.  I'm glad we had this in school, in fifth grade.

We used "blind" keyboards (no letters, numbers or symbols printed on them) and manual typewriters.  Everyone started out terrible and graduated 4 months later typing 50 wpm or more.  On manual typewriters, that was tiring.

Computer keyboards are a lot better. Smiley
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M0LEP
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Posts: 212




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« Reply #63 on: April 17, 2012, 01:29:08 PM »

You were lucky to get touch-typing training at school. My first serious keyboard experience was with teletypes in the university computer centre, and much of my first couple of years at work involved writing in coding forms for the punch-room to turn into cards. Even when terminals were introduced it wasn't possible to get touch-typing training... Wink

Also, there's a difference between typing something you've already composed in your head and typing random characters as you hear them, and likewise for writing. I'm sure we've been round this before... Tongue

Suffice to say, in the context of Morse training I'm unlikely to manage to record random characters at anything more than 15wpm even on a good day (though, obviously, a very reduced character set would be easier to record a bit faster).

73, Rick
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VK2FAK
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Posts: 87




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« Reply #64 on: April 17, 2012, 09:11:24 PM »

Hi all...

There really should be not problem writing up to 18 wpm.....its more a matter of getting the mind to react quick enough than writing speed...

One thing I have worked out.......I never understood the need for a website that only tested people on Call Signs.....think I argued that point on here previously.....

well I have to say I changed my mind......I learned the letters then the numbers and other things basically all separately.........I am finding now that quick recognition of a Call Sign is a difficult thing to do.......I should have learned them all mixed in........Live an Learn hey..

But as I know the characters I just have to do a mixing now.....not so bad, but could have been avoided...

M0LEP
I did read that you were finding it difficult to practice regularly....you will have to change that for sure...no way around it.....I remember. at a stage not doing any practice for 2 days while learning....because I had something else to do and thought I was at a stage that I could miss 2 days......big big mistake.....it set me back....
Two days when you know the code and have reasonable copy skills  is not so bad......but in the learning stage its not good...

If you have a computer and  digital mode software...(free download)..  I have played with a MP3 recorder(free download) to do my own CW Practice MP3's right off the software...it sounds good....and would be ideal if you had  something external of the radio and computer to still be able to listen to MP3 recordings of your own making....when you are doing other things.

John
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M0LEP
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Posts: 212




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« Reply #65 on: April 18, 2012, 08:55:59 AM »

M0LEP
I did read that you were finding it difficult to practice regularly....you will have to change that for sure...no way around it....

Two main issues there. The unavoidable "away for a week or three with no suitable computer access" one is going to happen occasionally, and is unavoidable. The other is that it takes me lots of concentration to make sense of Morse, and sometimes half a dozen one minute sessions is my limit...

What sort of text would you use for practice mp3 files? Koch random-character sessions at the appropriate lesson?

73, Rick
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3958




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« Reply #66 on: April 18, 2012, 10:00:59 AM »

Rick:  There is one more thing to consider.  Maybe you're just one of those who simply can't learn Morse code!  I've seen this before.  Actually, several times. 

If you can't concentrate longer than a minute learning it, I sincerely doubt if you'll ever be able to use it even if you learn it.

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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #67 on: April 18, 2012, 10:53:12 AM »

Rick:  There is one more thing to consider.  Maybe you're just one of those who simply can't learn Morse code!  I've seen this before.  Actually, several times. 

If you can't concentrate longer than a minute learning it, I sincerely doubt if you'll ever be able to use it even if you learn it.



That is what I also thought. Military instructors always said "everybody can etc.." but they only got classes to train with guys passing an admission test.

Furthermore I read last week a story of retired people, that said, for civilian RO school they started with 24 and only 9 finished to the exam of which only 4 passed.  Bad school I think, but afterall there were guys not able to do first class 25 wpm and passed for second class (20 wpm?) test.
However, from the info Rick provided, he is able to learn the characters, just by decomposing, so he must be able to go for 5 wpm. And people here said that when you start making QSO's at 5 you fast go on o higher speed.

Not my experience however, first of all a standard QSO is a very limited set of abbreviations in general and  secondly my experience is that when you want to increase your speed you have to exercise with a speed that is too high. Such that you copy 50 to 70%. Not nice for your QSO partner, to invite him to sent above your level. So I do not agree, and I exercised with recordings of plain text during driving my car every day. Every ham that I know as QRQ proficient did it that way.
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KG4NEL
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Posts: 443




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« Reply #68 on: April 18, 2012, 12:17:46 PM »

Rick:  There is one more thing to consider.  Maybe you're just one of those who simply can't learn Morse code!  I've seen this before.  Actually, several times. 

If you can't concentrate longer than a minute learning it, I sincerely doubt if you'll ever be able to use it even if you learn it.



Maybe it's possible to increase concentration length by overcompensating, just like you can train yourself to run farther and at a higher level by getting out of your comfort zone regularly?

I knew people who could never break 35 minutes in a 5K, even after regularly running for 2 years - turns out they weren't running over 2 miles or so at a time. Meanwhile, going both farther and faster than your desired pace led to quicker results.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #69 on: April 18, 2012, 01:01:36 PM »

M0LEP
Rick, when you just learn all characters with wide character spacing, as wide as you need, with Morse Machine, you did that already as I understood, you can exercise with ARRL MP3 files plain text 5wpm (characters faster space wide)

listen to a selection on http://www.arrl.org/5-wpm-code-archive text files are there also, when you print them out you can read that together with listening, also very helpfull (according also to the guys that became HST with aid of decoders.)


73
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VK2FAK
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Posts: 87




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« Reply #70 on: April 18, 2012, 08:26:46 PM »

Hi All..

Well the concentration thing is basically because you need to try to hard and your pushing yourself.......It comes back to the Time off you have from listening to the code...specially in the learning phase.....as I said earlier....I just don't think you can do that and make any headway.....thus your frustration and trying to hard.....

if you have or can get a cheap little MP3 player with earphones, that allows you to download from a PC....it would help in my opinion..
Even when away you would still have a source of CW to listen to....

Random groups would probably be better as you would not want then to stick in the head ,voiding any learning benefit...

I used to listening to Cw Practice while watching TV.....the purpose was to make me ignore what was going on around me and to concentrate on the CW...all while stretched out on the sofa in a relaxed position......in short bursts...say during ad's , who wants to listen to them anyway...lol

John
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K8AXW
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« Reply #71 on: April 18, 2012, 08:33:25 PM »

PA0BLAH:  I went through 6 months of military school learning CW as well as a lot of other things.  However, the main course was being able to graduate copying 20WPM.  There was approximately 23-24 in my graduating class out of approximately 30 that started.

Some simply couldn't copy CW no matter what and some failed because they perhaps didn't want to spend the next 2 1/2 years doing it.  Other classes had the about the same failure ratio.  Before getting into school, one had to pass an aptitude test, which included CW.

As for increasing speed once one gets on the air, I find this is very true.  I think the reason this happens is motivation and finally realizing that "this is fun!"  Actually, it's been my experience through the years that the on air speed increases dramatically as compared to continuing CW practice by any electromechanical means like tape.

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HA7AP
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« Reply #72 on: April 19, 2012, 08:28:23 AM »

If one can learn how to speak, that person can also learn CW at any speed.
If one can't learn CW, that is only a complete lack of interest.

73 Imi HA7AP
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3958




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« Reply #73 on: April 19, 2012, 08:45:38 AM »

Quote
If one can't learn CW, that is only a complete lack of interest.


I agree.  And while we're on the subject there is group that really frosts my butt.  That being those that claim they can't learn CW because of poor hearing!

Back when CW was a requirement, many got a doctor's waver saying that their hearing precluded them learning CW. 

The fact of the matter is CW is easier to hear and understand than voice!  With CW you can adjust the amplitude and more importantly, the frequency.  With speech the amplitude can be adjusted but adjusting the frequency range is quite limited.

I know whereof I speak because I am severely hearing impaired and have to deal with the frustration of trying to make heads or tails out of conversation every day. 

With stereo headphones and a homebrew outboard sound processor (two channel amplifiers and roofing filters) I can enjoy CW to my heart's content without a "huh" every minute!

Too bad my poor wife can't do CW!   Grin
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #74 on: April 19, 2012, 09:32:07 AM »

I don't think anyone can learn CW.

But anyone can learn Morse code. Wink

CW is a mode.  "Learning CW" is like "learning RTTY." Tongue
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