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Author Topic: Anxiety  (Read 15522 times)
K5DTE
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Posts: 9




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« on: May 14, 2012, 05:58:49 AM »

Guys,

I have grown tired of reading about how to learn CW and decided to start actually doing it!  I am using the "Just Learn Morse Code" program and I am on my fourth letter after my first session using a 20WPM character speed and a 15WPM spacing.

I get very anxious when going through the exercises, and if I get stuck on a character or doubt my answer, I dwell on it causing me to miss even more characters.  I expect the proper thing to do is just to "let go" and not worry about that lost bit. 

Does anybody have any alternate suggestions or ideas that might help?

73

Robert
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K8AXW
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2012, 07:29:09 AM »

Why not simply stop and "dwell on it"?  Run it through your mind over and over..... then start the session again.  Sometimes you need to feed the need!
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K5DTE
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 07:48:21 AM »

I did that this morning, I stopped for about 10 minutes and started again.  It worked out much better, than the process started all over again when I added another letter.   Shocked

Oddly enough I also noticed myself just zoning out.  I'm not sure what that was about, but I will continue to see if it gets better and work to find out what I can do to help focus.

Robert
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M0LEP
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2012, 08:05:42 AM »

For every session you actually try to score, maybe try several sessions where you just listen; no typing, no pressure...
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NA7U
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2012, 09:04:28 AM »

Robert,

What you're experiencing is completely normal. There are a minority who have an aptitude for things like the Code (not me!), the rest of us must work at it, and then work at it some more. You have to "let go" indeed, let your brain's learning process do what it must do. I'm happy to see that you are using a high enough overall speed and character speed to overcome the natural urge to count dits and dahs (never do that!).

Some suggestions:
- if you have a receiver, tune it to CW bands and just leave it on in the background while you do other things. You'll be surprised how much this helps. Even better than using an RX (IMHO) is to tune into CW using one of the many WebSDR sites. This way you can even see the signals and not waste time turning the dial on the RX hunting.
- don't just use one program. G4FON I can recommend as it has a lot of settings you can play with so you don't get in a rut for too long (but expect plateaus in your learning, that's part of the process). One thing about the Koch method is, if you use it straight, is that when you get up to about 10 characters or so you are hearing a lot less of the new characters. G4FON or maybe the program you're using, can compensate for that.
- always try to use a speed that feels like it is just beyond your comprehension. That's how you increase speed. When you're getting above 80% copy, move the speed up a notch.
- most of all, have fun with it. If you think you're anxious now, just wait until you have your first CW QSO! Smiley  We all go through this, so don't worry, keep your eyes on the prize, it will be worth it.

73,

Casey, TI2/NA7U http://cloud-warmer.blogspot.com
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M0LEP
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 10:02:40 AM »

overcome the natural urge to count dits and dahs (never do that!)

Be warned. That's a horribly easy urge to fall for, and a very tricky habit to break...
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N5XM
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Posts: 242




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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 10:25:35 AM »

We all have anxiety when we start.  Just consider it a fact!  Practice receiving and sending off the air.  Listen to QSOs and be patient.  Nothing worth having happens overnight!  I'm dyslexic and have a high frequency loss but can now send and recdeive 40+wpm.  It didn't happen overnight.  It has to be a long term project.  You must be patient and persistent.  There is no other way.  Good luck!
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K5DTE
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 10:41:31 AM »

All,

Thank you very much for your help and words of encouragement.  I have no intentions on giving up, just someone in shock at my brains reaction.   Wink

I learned another letter during lunch, so I am making progress, I just need to calm down.  My "buffer" is starting to work better, but trying to "let go" of the lost characters is proving difficult.

I expect as I practice more and more my nerves will settle, or not, either way I find the challenge exciting and look forward to the end result!

Robert
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2012, 10:48:16 AM »

Hi Robert,

You decided to become a real ham. Welcome as possibly future  member  of the pig society.

Remember that from the 100 starters at most 5 will be successful, so be sure what you want, may be you spent your time preferably CB wise with talking chit chat in a mike as appliance operator of a commercial available transceiver.

Best thing to do is pay me 100 bucks and when you succeed you get 200 in return, when you fail nothing. That is the easiest way for me to grow rich.

OK, you did 4 characters in a short time and you thought probably 4 characters in 24 hours that makes 40 characters in 10 days.

That is not true because choosing one out of 40 is more complex then one out of 4. (Think back at the dating time when you were a youngster)

So take your time, every day 15 minutes AT LEAST and EVERY day . When your mother in law passed away and you hence are missing a day,. catch up next day.

Report back about you progress right here after a year from now, and tell us how far you are advanced.
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K5DTE
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Posts: 9




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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2012, 11:17:09 AM »

Hi Robert,

You decided to become a real ham. Welcome as possibly future  member  of the pig society.

Remember that from the 100 starters at most 5 will be successful, so be sure what you want, may be you spent your time preferably CB wise with talking chit chat in a mike as appliance operator of a commercial available transceiver.

Best thing to do is pay me 100 bucks and when you succeed you get 200 in return, when you fail nothing. That is the easiest way for me to grow rich.

OK, you did 4 characters in a short time and you thought probably 4 characters in 24 hours that makes 40 characters in 10 days.

That is not true because choosing one out of 40 is more complex then one out of 4. (Think back at the dating time when you were a youngster)

So take your time, every day 15 minutes AT LEAST and EVERY day . When your mother in law passed away and you hence are missing a day,. catch up next day.

Report back about you progress right here after a year from now, and tell us how far you are advanced.

I have no fantasies about how long this will take.  I expect the more characters are introduced the more confusing it will be.  I also expect some characters to take longer to learn than others.

I will have been licensed for a year on June 3rd and I am restricted to attic antennas until I can sort out a stealth solution for the back yard.  In the meantime I have spent most of my time on the digital modes and have now chosen to learn the "Original Digital Mode".

I have also spent some time doing portable operations, but lugging a FT-450 around isn't conducive to that style of operation, so I have chosen to learn CW and intend on purchasing a small portable transceiver and spend the majority of my time operating QRP.

Thanks again for your response...

Robert
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VK2FAK
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Posts: 87




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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2012, 04:59:42 PM »

Hi All...

I understand all about that "zoning out" I amaze myself at times at what is going through my head during a practice session.....then have to try get the mind back in the game....

But I do find that when I have zoned out as you say, I have made no errors during that time......so regardless of what your thinking about,  the mind just keeps on decoding...lol

This may come in handy at some stage...just think, you may be able think about what you will send next, while decoding the incoming CW.

John
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2357




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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2012, 05:24:49 PM »

. . .
I get very anxious when going through the exercises, and if I get stuck on a character or doubt my answer, I dwell on it causing me to miss even more characters.  I expect the proper thing to do is just to "let go" and not worry about that lost bit. 

Does anybody have any alternate suggestions or ideas that might help?
 
. . .

Decoding Morse is a "hard real-time problem".  That is, the "correct answer" is useless if it comes too late!

So your analysis of what's wrong is correct, and so is your corrective action:

. . . Don't hassle yourself over missed characters.

It's easier said than done!

Just a half hour _every day_, and don't beat yourself up during practice. 

             Charles

PS -- After you've learned all the letters and numbers, you can start working with RufzXP, a "callsign-practice" program.   It gives you two chances to hear a _whole callsign_, and speeds up a little bit if you get it right.  And it slows down a little, if you get it wrong.

It's a fiendishly addictive way to practice.  But you must master the alphabet and numbers, first.
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STAYVERTICAL
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Posts: 854




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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2012, 05:28:34 PM »

Hi Robert,

What you are feeling is perfectly normal, and the advice already given is mostly good.
We have all had the same reactions when we started learning code I am sure.
It seems that whenever I learn something new, even now, I go through the "totally clueless" stage,
followed by frustration, and finally enlightenment.

The nice thing is that when you get that "eureka" moment, the previous stages are forgotten.
I am so used to this stepped process that I wait for the eureka moment these days, and knowing
it is surely on its way encourages me to keep plodding along.

You will get there, I am certain.

73 - Rob
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N3JJT
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Posts: 31




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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2012, 05:35:30 PM »

Robert:  Totally natural to feel this way.  Keep going!  As you are copying down the letters, and you miss one, just put a tick mark on the paper, and listen for the next.  It will not show you much during random letters, but later when you are receiving text, and place a tick mark on a missed letter, chances are good you can go back and fill in the missing letter.  Speed will develop on its own thru time as you learn the code better.  Good quality code is the key.  Once you have mastered the code, put the pencil down and start listening for "words", not so much the letters.  This will increase the enjoyment of operating cw as a language.  A good suggestion already listed...turn cw on in the background while you are in the shack.  Another big one...never get discouraged, and never over take your lessons.  15 to 20 minutes a session, 2 times a day if possible, but no more.  Everday....When you start practicing sending, send text from the paper or a magazine...send it as you read it..very good practice.

GL..73  de N3JJT  Scott
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LB3KB
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2012, 05:56:19 PM »

One thing about the Koch method is, if you use it straight, is that when you get up to about 10 characters or so you are hearing a lot less of the new characters.

The program he is using not only feeds him more of the last characters he learned but it also feeds him more of the ones he misses the most.  Most other programs can't do that, because they don't evaluate his performance in real time.

73
LB3KB Sigurd
justlearnmorsecode.com
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 05:58:39 PM by LB3KB » Logged
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