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Author Topic: Don't you dare create a lookup table in ur head!  (Read 1245 times)

Posts: 40

« on: August 04, 2006, 02:26:40 PM »

Hi Guys

I just want to give some advice to hams learning the code.  Don't EVER count dit and dahs.  You may able to pass the 5 WPM exam but you will pay for it later when you get on the ham bands!

I've got this problem right now and it's a pain.  I have started listening to 15 WPM and higher to try to break the habit.

73 and GUD DX

Posts: 26

« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2006, 02:59:45 PM »

I actually started learning Morse just for something to do before I decided to become a ham. And, yes, I fell into the same trap. I am now hopelessly hooked on CW.
I hope you are using something like an MFJ-418 or similar. I started by recording code into individual files in my MP3 player and just played continuously shuffled tracks. It worked for a while but got to be a real pain as my ability grew as I had to keep recording faster code. When I discovered the '418 is when my ability really grew. Its REALLY worth the money.
I did, however, make one FATAL mistake. I got so carried away with learning to copy that I completely forgot to practice sending and I am now playing catch-up in a big way.
One sending practice idea I have began using is to recorded a voice prompt onto my MP3 player. For example- I say the letter, number or word into the recorder then let it continue recording IN SILENCE for a second or so and then press the stop button. Thats one saved file. Then I do the same for others. The silence part of the recording is your time to do your keying. This simple method of chasing your key, straight or iambic, really untangles those fingers. The thing is the recording device MUST be able to randomly shuffle the tracks and continue to do so, without pressing further buttons (breaks ur concentration)until the battery runs flat. You could use ur windows recording device if you like but its not that portable. For me it worked out much better than just looking at print in the newspaper but I'm not saying don't do that. I guess anything helps.
The main thing is to devote EQUAL time to sending and copying practice.
Anyway, I hope this helps.

73 de Peter

Posts: 2005


« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2006, 07:25:02 AM »


You have just discovered the reason there was a 13 WPM Morse code proficiency test here in the states. Back in the 'good old days', you would hear people talk about the 10 WPM 'brick wall'. Up to this point, it is possible to count dits and dahs, but much faster than this, most people can not do this. At 13, it was just a tad bit faster than this brick wall so one had to really know code in order to pass this test. It is also at this speed that you really begin to hear the sound of letters, not just a series of dits and dahs. At 20 WPM, you actually begin to hear words.

Obviously we are not going back in time, but those three tests at those speeds made a lot of sense.

Keep up the good work!
Scott N0IU

Posts: 14491

« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2006, 07:44:00 AM »

I think a lot of us went Through that in the Novice days. The best way to avoid it is to learn code using the Farnsworth method (5WPM but individual characters keyed at 15WPM). You would be hard pressed to count dits and dahs at 15WPM. You are forced to learn the "sound" of the complete character. I think most VEs give the test in Farnsworth now days.

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
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