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Author Topic: Sloppy CW sending: I hate it!  (Read 11314 times)
NK6Q
Member

Posts: 202




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« on: May 24, 2012, 07:32:44 AM »

OK, I'm sure I'm gonna get flamed all ways to Sunday for this one.  I'm not admitting to being a perfect CW op, but perhaps I'm tending towards a CW Henry Higgins:

The other day I had yet another QSO with an op who splattered dits around like rice at a wedding.  I's were S's, S's were H's, or sometimes H's were S's, H's were 5's or worse (the op later informed me he has been a ham for 57 years and is CW only!) This wasn't even with a bug; and don't get me started on bugs. As a dedicated bug op myself, I can't accept the sloppy sending I hear as their characteristic "swing". I call it lazy and not caring enough to practice off-air.

Can't these guys hear what they sound like?  Don't they realize they've been omitting a few dits or throwing around way too many dits?  When I make a sending mistake, it sticks out like a sore thumb to me.  I attempt to send as clean and legible code as I can muster; most other ops do too.  But whooo, some guys out there are really stinko!

Yeah, yeah.  Got to support those ops still using morse, etc., etc.  But guys, c'mon now, clean up your act.  Don't butcher your code.

Bill in Pasadena, NK6Q
(pissed off & on my high horse)
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12840




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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 07:41:36 AM »

Consider the **possibility** that the guy's hands are not a steady as they once were and he may be struggling to hang in their with CW. Most sloppy CW comes from guys who are trying to send way too fast for their ability with a keyer.
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NK6Q
Member

Posts: 202




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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 07:57:47 AM »

I've had several QSO's with a guy up in Nor Cal who's in his late 70's and is paralyzed and has brain damage after surviving a massive stroke. The only function he still has is his right thumb and forefinger.  He doesn't use a keyboard, he uses a paddle, and his CW is flawless.

OK, cut some ops some slack for having physical/neurological/age issues, but I'm thinking too many are just being sloppy.
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PA0WV
Member

Posts: 133




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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 08:25:50 AM »

Everybody has the choice to answer a call or not.

We are all amateurs, a lot are professional engaged with Morse code in the past, and they still give the standard.

However a lot of guys nowadays learned code without feedback, or were  QRT for a long time and not willingfull to admit their losing of proficiency.

Best thing is to copy by head and to use a keyboard. I designed a keyboard producing Morse and Hell and plan ASCII using an old PC-AT keyboard. Works excellent. Prosigns, memories, all included. When you are interested  http://pa0wv.home.xs4all.nl/zelfbouw.html chose the link MKB (abbreviation for Morse Key Board)
You just generate machine code, and that is easiest to copy especially QRQ.

AND when you will copy your own sending :TIMorsedecoder .  
Best thing is the Fistmeter that reports all the deviations from the average.

And the Synchroseiner requires you to sent the quick brown fox just in his pace, every difference gives another frequency side tone and increases  penalty points as reported on a LCD screen. An excellent tool to increase the readability of your hand generated code.




Wim PAoWV
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 08:31:27 AM by PA0WV » Logged

Using an appliance without CW is just CB
AC4RD
Member

Posts: 1235




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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 09:08:17 AM »

Consider the **possibility** that the guy's hands are not a steady as they once were and he may be struggling

This is sure going on with ME.  I'm back on CW after a 20-year hiatus.  I've got a bit of tremor in my arms and hands, and I just can't send by hand as cleanly as I used to--have to slow WAY down to be able to send cleanly.  I rely on the memory slots in my keyer to do anything above 12-15wpm. 

I'm about to get a different set of paddles to try, I'm hoping that may help some.  I really don't want to have to use a keyboard (I'm so old-fashioned I log on paper and transfer the data to a database later.)   I've got around 500 CW contacts under my belt in calendar 2012 so far, and if I don't start getting better I may have to try the keyboard.  But it sure doesn't look like as much fun as paddles.  :-(
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3836




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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 09:39:16 AM »

I think what 6Q is talking about are the ops that QLF (send with their left foot) and don't seem to hear themselves!  Like owners of barking dogs.  They never seem to hear them but their neighbors sure as hell do. 

It's one thing to have physical disabilities that prevent good sending but it's something else to not know your sending sounds like crap. The first can be corrected but the second is nothing more than laziness......or perhaps stupidity and usually can't be corrected.

PA0WV has a good answer, in part.  I don't work these QLF guys.  Or if I get into a QSO with one and he starts this "machinegun dit" thing, I simply tell him I can't copy him and sign.

As for the physical disability thing, I'm rapidly getting there.  I've found it necessary to get another keyer..... one with a feel that I can handle.  When I get into a situation where I'm having difficulty sending, I sign and rest then practice until I get the feel back again.
No doubt if I live long enough I foresee a keyboard.  My feeling is, there is no excuse for sloppy sending. 

Now, you can flame me along with 6Q.
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K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2802




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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2012, 09:45:17 AM »

And what happens when you suggest to these maladroits that their code is unreadable?  Most of them, from my recent experience, get all offended.  When I played a recording that I made, one of them denied it was he sending.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
NK6Q
Member

Posts: 202




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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2012, 10:43:14 AM »

Thank you AXW and KBN.  Love the QLF pro-sign.

I went back on-air after a 40 year hiatus, and I sure as hell made certain to get in some practice on a CPO before getting back in the water.  Especially with the bug!  The greatest compliment another op can give me is on my fist, especially when I'm using a bug, which is almost daily.

Not to toot my own horn, but what I'm getting at is that we should all strive to "speak" legibly.  It's CODE, meaning it's a CIPHER, which means that one way or another, handwritten, typewritten, head-copy, the receiver needs to DECIPHER the message.  Sloppy code makes it hard, well-formed code is a joy to copy.
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PA0WV
Member

Posts: 133




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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2012, 11:38:33 AM »

When you use a bug (paddles), and produce the correct characters, with the right number of dots and dashes, it is still so that character spacing and word spacing are not always correct generated.

So you can prefer paddles, your choice, but  that code is in general less readable then correct spaced code.

So, when you prefer to use paddles, because it requires skill, it is your fun, but realise that the other party has less fun when your code is not correctly spaced. Especially omitting word spaces and replacing them by letter spaces make copy by head difficult. In those cases I have always a pen and paper at hand.

Last November I had a stand at the home brew exposition of the ham club of this country. I had home brewn a device "the BugMaster" that required that you sent "the quick brown fox" correct with the paddles. Repeated trials OK. A full color wall paper certificate was handed out for free to the successful guys. That means:

1. at least 1 run with no character errors (Iambic B on Brown bros paddles)
2. character spaces at least 2 and max 5 dits.
3 word spaces at least 5 and max 9 dits.

Fair huh?

Every error was explained by voice, speed was at will, you had to start with at least 5 dits, in order to determine the expected speed. When succesfull the average character- and wordspace were displayed on 0.1 dit precision and the speed.

Nice to know that only 2 certificates were handed out in a 10 hour exposition.  

So don't we all have some kind of barking dog syndrome?

The "Bugmaster" can also be found on my website
http://pa0wv.home.xs4all.nl/zelfbouw.html
Wim PAoWV
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 12:08:54 PM by PA0WV » Logged

Using an appliance without CW is just CB
STAYVERTICAL
Member

Posts: 864




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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2012, 02:27:47 PM »

I sympathise with you Bill,

First, let me say that for hams with disabilities, nerve damage, or other factors which hinder CW sending manually, I only admire and support them.
Their tenacity and "never give up" attitude is something to which we should all aspire.
I have worked quite a few of these guys, and in my experience, they are pretty easy to spot - and should be treated like the elder statesmen of CW that they are.

There is however, a different category.
These are unencumbered hams who have acquired sending habits which produce hard to read code.
In many cases they are QRQ as well, and this makes it an unpleasant experience to copy.

I was taught in English classes that the purpose of language is to facilitate the passing of a message, not be in the spotlight.
If you were to use inappropriate language in a particular setting, your message would be lost in the attention your language receives.

CW sending is similar, in that nicely formed code just disappears from your consciousness, and the message is passed seamlessly.
Poorly spaced and formed CW is like trying to receive a station with S9 noise in your receiver - making it much harder to communicate.

However, as others have noted, criticism is not something which is welcomed by many of these CW ops, since they have long ago
convinced themselves that a "swing" or other quirk of sending is a sign of guru status.

Consequently, I believe, that although nothing will change for these souls, we should all at least aim to send the purest CW possible.
And in the end, if all else fails, a keyboard to send CW is not a Faustian contract.

From a purist viewpoint, it is a much smaller leap from a paddle/keyer to a CW keyboard - than it is from a hand key to a paddle/bug.
If anyone tells you a keyboard is not real CW, just tell them neither is a paddle/keyer.
Only a hand key gives a direct one for one mechanical action to CW element production.

We all will have imperfect manually sent code, that is a facet of being human, and gives us a goal to seek the best skills possible.
So, use whatever you find appealing to send CW, and aim for perfect code - you may fail, but don't make it for lack of persistence.

73 - Rob


« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 02:40:43 PM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged
2E0OZI
Member

Posts: 270




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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2012, 02:31:49 PM »

I'm just starting out so I just try and send clearly and thats about it. Straight key and cant imagine using anything else really.
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Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
George Orwell
PA0BLAH
Member

Posts: 0




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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2012, 07:52:45 AM »

In a CW connection are generally 2 parties.

It is a hobby so both parties must find it rewarding and fun.

It is clear that when one party wants to start on the air with 3 wpm Koch spaced, that he can hardly find another party that will enjoy being his QSO partner AND enjoy the connection.

So my advice is: Don't start on the air before you are proficient with the lowest acceptable speed of 12 wpm, not  wide but standard spaced. Unless you will find some buddy with a sked that enjoys helping you or is crippled the same way.

A lot of people are proud to demonstrate a skill, more or less mastered.
So this MAY BE the reason they don't use a straight key below 20 wpm but a set of paddles.

When their sending skill is insufficient you get the complaints advertised in this thread, because THEIR desire to demonstrate their below acceptable level skill, is not nice for the other QSO partner to decode.

When proficiency increases and you want to copy above 50 wpm, but with correct code, your enjoyment will be maximized in the case the other party is sending with a keyboard.

So sending with paddles is to demonstrate your skill, YOUR enjoyment.
Sending with a keyboard is for the receiving party more enjoyment, because it is perfect code.

So nothing wrong using a keyboard in order to sent perfect code. The true skill of Morse code is decoding  in your head with the highest possible speed you can reach by exercising.

Exercising ought to be done with a computer or other artifact, NOT with your QSO partner, because for exercising you need to exercise with a speed that is above your ability to copy 100%.

Bob
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 07:54:52 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
M0LEP
Member

Posts: 209




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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2012, 09:14:49 AM »

I wonder how much "sloppy sending" comes from folks who followed the "learn to read before you even try to send", and how much comes from folk who learned to read and send together?  Perhaps, if you practice reading and sending at the same rate then there's a chance that, by the time you can read well enough to get on the air you'll also be able to send well enough to be understood?  However, if you just learn to read first, then you might well try to go on the air once you can read, but with poorly developed sending skill?

Exercising ought to be done with a computer or other artifact, NOT with your QSO partner, because for exercising you need to exercise with a speed that is above your ability to copy 100%

So is there anywhere a computer system which trains both reading and sending in step with one another?
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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2012, 09:45:20 AM »

I wonder how much "sloppy sending" comes from folks who followed the "learn to read before you even try to send", and how much comes from folk who learned to read and send together?  

[...]

So is there anywhere a computer system which trains both reading and sending in step with one another?

No idea. Depends on the way you learn sending code, I think.

Al least for starters is it far more easy to transmit then to send, but with increasing speed it  becomes upside down. Reverse.

Don't try speed sending, with some ingenuity , home brewing or whatever it is easy possible what you want.

Make a plain text, printed out on paper. Put the text file also in an ebook2CW program, in G4FON or in JustLearnMorse program. regular spaced, speed somewhere between 8 and 12 wpm. Play it with your computer, every day, left earpiece of your headphone only. Connect the right ear
of the stereo headphone to a by the straight key (or paddles) switchd tone source.

Keep the pace, sent in the same pace as the recording plays the original text. Exercise that daily till perfect.

It is even possible to make a stereo file, left channel morse code, Right channel fixed tone source. (with Audacy is open source freeware). Put the key in the wire feeding your right ear piece of the headphone.

55
Bob
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 09:49:23 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
M0LEP
Member

Posts: 209




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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2012, 10:03:53 AM »

I was thinking more of a program which would print on screen what it wanted you to send, and then "listen" to what you sent. Once you were done sending it might then print what it thought you sent, compare it with what it asked you to send, and score your sending somehow or other. Speed? Accuracy? Spacing? Whatever...
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