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Author Topic: Sloppy CW sending: I hate it!  (Read 10837 times)
PA0BLAH
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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2012, 10:48:48 AM »

I was thinking more of a program

THAT is a bad idea.
Those decoding programs are able to decode what is absolutely rubbish.
Make a sound file with all dits 1,9 instead of 1 dittime unit and all dahs 2,1 dit instead of 3 and they copy perfect.

Furthermore you get your results too late. You need immediate correction.

Sri, I stop this off topic "discussion". You have your advice, do with it what you want.

73 sk Bob
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 10:50:59 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
M0LEP
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« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2012, 04:08:36 PM »

THAT is a bad idea.
Those decoding programs are able to decode what is absolutely rubbish.

You're thinking, presumably, of programs written to try to get copy some way or other from whatever is fed to them at whatever speed. I can see they wouldn't help a trainee much; for training purposes you'd need a program to be written with stricter timing in mind, but I guess no such program exists.

I've seen some fairly ancient morse-training kit that used paper tapes and slaved keys with relay actuators to train operators. The teacher (or paper tape) could send code and the trainees could feel the way the keys moved, or try to move the keys in exactly the same rhythm. Your left-and-right ear technique would seem to be aiming at something similar. Not quite so easy to implement if you're not using a straight key, though. I've tried sending (using a paddle connected to a rig's iambic keyer) in time with the morse output by a program. Because of normal human reaction times, it's very difficult to start in step with the program's sending, and it seems there's also a rather slim chance of getting a program and a keyer to agree on the length of a code element. Throw in the slightest mistake, even the slightest hesitation, and you're lost...

How can you learn to send well if you don't have someone who can tell you how well (or not) you're doing? In times past there used to be training classes, and presumably the teachers would tell students how well they were doing, what they were getting wrong, and what they might try in order to improve. These days the emphasis is on providing computer programs instead, but they're only teaching half of the task...

...and if there's no feedback, then perhaps it's not so surprising if there's "sloppy sending" on the air.
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AK7V
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« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2012, 12:28:49 AM »


...and if there's no feedback, then perhaps it's not so surprising if there's "sloppy sending" on the air.

It's simple, really.  Listen to yourself as you send!  If you can't tell whether you're sending properly, can you really copy Morse?

At the very least, record yourself sending and listen to the recording later.

Sending does require practice.  But if you can copy, you already have the skill to evaluate your sending.  You just have to focus and do it.  I "hear" in my head the code that I am sending -- and if what I send doesn't match what's in my head, I know I've made an error.

I learned to "hear" code that I intend to send by imagining the sound of various words/street signs/etc. as I go through the day.  See a STOP sign, think "dididit dah dadadah didadadit."
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M0LEP
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« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2012, 03:49:21 AM »

It's simple, really.  Listen to yourself as you send!  If you can't tell whether you're sending properly, can you really copy Morse?

Oh, I can read what I'm sending (well, what the practice oscillator plays back at me) and I think I spot my mistakes, but I've no idea how much of that readability (from my point of view) is because I know what I've tried to send.

At the very least, record yourself sending and listen to the recording later.

Good idea. That at least puts a break between sending and listening which might make it less subjective.

There is still the tricky issue of judging your own letter and word spacing. It should be easier to get that right with help from someone who knows.
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W6YDE
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« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2012, 07:12:33 AM »

Hello to all, one reader replied that we don't have to answer a call to "CQ".  This is true, but what I have a problem with is the ham that is sending his or her "CQ" at a good and clear 20 plus WPM and then I answer back at the same speed and there is silence.  After a few repeat calls back there is no answer from the "CQ" caller.  I will find that same op calling "CQ" down 5 or 10 KCs.  Again I return his or her call for "CQ" and the same things happens all over again.

Other answers to a call for "CQ" is where the caller is at 20 plus WPM, good clear code and when I answer the return I receive nothing but mistakes, misspelled words, combinations of dots and dashes that resembles no CW letter or character that I have ever heard before and a series of "E" to let me know there are mistakes and the whole transmission is unreadable.

Then there is the sender that is sending at 40 WPM but with a 3 to 5 second delay between words, I don't have an answer for this one.  I believe that one reader wrote that this troubled sender has never heard themselves on he receiving end or learned to send correctly.  I have a list on paper of who I can answer and who I can not.

So when this happens and the caller is not on my list yet I just tell them that I just got a call on the telephone and have to go or someone is at the door.  I have never told them that I could not copy their sloppy sending.  Who knows... I may be one of them some day.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2012, 08:29:14 AM »

Quote
Then there is the sender that is sending at 40 WPM but with a 3 to 5 second delay between words, I don't have an answer for this one

This is one reason why I've always advocated learning code the conventional way instead of these "alternate" methods.  I feel that the "alternate" (Farnsworth, etc.) methods might help in the beginning but it then becomes something that must be unlearned.

I suppose I sound like an old grouch or something but I think if you want to learn the code, learn the code as it's used.

Too many people are always looking for an easier way which in itself wastes a lot of time and effort and in many cases creates confusion and even discouragement.
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AG1LE
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« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2012, 11:44:13 PM »

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...

Interestingly enough I have been struggling with similar problems. I implemented two new features to Fldigi, namely matched filter and Self Organizing Maps (SOM) decoder http://ag1le.blogspot.com/2012/05/fldigi-adding-matched-filter-feature-to.html.  SOM algorithm originates from artificial neural networks - my idea was that it would improve Morse decoding capability http://ag1le.blogspot.com/2012/05/fldigi-matched-filter-and-som-decoder.html.

The algorithm actually provides an error metrics - if your CW does not match the standard codebook timing (measured by Euclidian distance) this experimental software shows you both "dit"/"dah" timing distribution and error metrics - see examples here:
http://ag1le.blogspot.com/2012/05/fldigi-analysing-som-decoder-errors.html

73
Mauri AG1LE
« Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 11:54:46 PM by AG1LE » Logged
VK2FAK
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Posts: 84




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« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2012, 12:55:27 AM »

HI all...

Maybe if it was possible to add a file to a post....people who are about to go on air could post an MP3 file of there sending ( and brief short story would do ) and then get the opinions of members here and give advice if needed...

John
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2012, 05:09:34 AM »

Hello to all, one reader replied that we don't have to answer a call to "CQ".  This is true, but what I have a problem with is the ham that is sending his or her "CQ" at a good and clear 20 plus WPM and then I answer back at the same speed and there is silence.  After a few repeat calls back there is no answer from the "CQ" caller.  I will find that same op calling "CQ" down 5 or 10 KCs.  Again I return his or her call for "CQ" and the same things happens all over again.
For some reason he avoids answering your reply and he is too "diplomatic" to transmit CQ de ID1OT except  W6YDE [AR] K
Quote
Other answers to a call for "CQ" is where the caller is at 20 plus WPM, good clear code and when I answer the return I receive nothing but mistakes, misspelled words, combinations of dots and dashes that resembles no CW letter or character that I have ever heard before and a series of "E" to let me know there are mistakes and the whole transmission is unreadable.
Obviously a guy that a) has learned CW as no code never FCC examined guy, and
b) a fellow that read in this forum that you can learn CW by making QSO's, because that is so rewarding, and other BS remarks in order to promote littering the CW parts of the amateur bands with signals of the quality you indicated. He obviously bought a memory keyer, learned with tongue between teeth to enter e message under the knob (or a friend did), and has the opinion that you can buy everything with money obtained from exported sub-prime loans, so why learning a skill. Point him to the possibility to use the PC as a Morse generator, and install on ur  PC an Awardmaker in order to mail him a personalised  QLF award .
c) Some guys reply to bad Morse code in the same way, by producing unreadable or hardly readable code. That behavior is known as the "mirror approach".
Quote
Then there is the sender that is sending at 40 WPM but with a 3 to 5 second delay between words, I don't have an answer for this one.  I believe that one reader wrote that this troubled sender has never heard themselves on he receiving end or learned to send correctly.

That is a guy with a keyboard, and the keyboard waits for the next push on the spacebar before sending the entered text. That code is OK, no problem to copy that, his typing speed is much lower then his sending speed.

Quote
I have a list on paper of who I can answer and who I can not.

So when you call CQ and someone answers who is on your black list, you just don't answer and call a CQ again 10 kHz lower , good idea!


Bob
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 05:24:11 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
N6DZR
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« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2012, 12:33:50 PM »

How can you learn to send well if you don't have someone who can tell you how well (or not) you're doing?

I am in the process of learning CW and for sending practice I use software. My WinKey keyer came with a program called wktest that will "read" my CW and translate it into text. I can do this without transmitting. Not only does this tell me if I sent the correct character vs garbage, but it also shows if I got the spacing right. Too fast and your letters run together - usually producing garbage, but sometimes a different letter or number than what you intended. Too slow and you get spaces between the letters. My first priority has been to send the correct characters, even if they are a bit slow. Then I work on smoothing it out so I can get a word without spaces between the letters.

-Jeff
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N4IAG
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« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2012, 03:09:59 PM »

How can you learn to send well if you don't have someone who can tell you how well (or not) you're doing?

I am in the process of learning CW and for sending practice I use software. My WinKey keyer came with a program called wktest that will "read" my CW and translate it into text. I can do this without transmitting. Not only does this tell me if I sent the correct character vs garbage, but it also Oshows if I got the spacing right. Too fast and your letters run together - usually producing garbage, but sometimes a different letter or number than what you intended. Too slow and you get spaces between the letters. My first priority has been to send the correct characters, even if they are a bit slow. Then I work on smoothing it out so I can get a word without spaces between the letters.

-Jeff


Another program for the Winkeyer is C-Typer, from the K1EL site. It's very useful for sending practice, programing and sending memories, change wpm etc. In options there is one called autospace. When on, it forces you to send absolutely perfect code. Don't leave it on for live sending. Think of it as a heavy bat, like the on-deck batter uses to warm up. If you can send good with autospace on, you'll feel like a pro with it off. Smiley
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 03:11:58 PM by N4IAG » Logged

I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
KN8J
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« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2012, 07:31:15 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)

You know what I cant stand? Cats...hate them with a passion. They piss everywhere stinkin' it up. You know what else, cloudy days. Its always a Debby Downer on cloudy days! I cant stand dirty dishes in the sink. I hate when people just leave their dirty clothes in the bathroom after a shower. It really gets in my crawl when people drink the last of the milk and put the jug back in the fridge empty. Candy wrappers oh it freakin' boils me when someone opens up a piece of candy and throws the trash on the counter instead of the trash. It really freakin' gets me all tweaked up when I go to the store and the person in front of me has $300 worth of food and then swipes their welfare card, then see them loading it into a brand new car. I hate it when people tease me with fun by telling me to come shoot some ground hogs then kick me in the nuts and tell me NO! You're probably wondering what all this jibberish means. NOTHING. NOTHING AT ALL.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 07:59:15 AM by KN8J » Logged
PA0BLAH
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« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2012, 09:48:58 AM »

You're probably wondering what all this jibberish means. NOTHING. NOTHING AT ALL.

Hahaha. smallest book in the world, as recorded in the Guinness book of Records, is titled "American Jokes"

They have to review that.

In short the gibberish means "I hate people that hate people because of their particular behavior on some points that they chose."
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N5XM
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« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2012, 03:03:33 AM »

Not everyone has a great ear.  I've been a musician for over 40 years and consider it a tremendous advantage in CW.  My first 10K CW qsos were with a hand key, and it forced me to learn good character formation, good spacing between characters and words, and a consistent tempo.  A trained ear knows when the "melody" is produced correctly, but an untrained ear has a lot more trouble in "getting it right".  It also helps to be a perfectionist.  It helps to have a rig that can record the text you send without putting it on the air.  That way all you have to do is replay the message off the air so you hear exactly what you sound like.  You can't legislate excellence, or the desire to improve your sending ability, if not to perfection, but with effort and consistency toward the ideal of becoming the best CW operator you can be.  This doesn't happen overnight.  I try to do my best to be very patient with CW ops with disabilities, and with those of advanced age.  You'd be surprised how many Hams at 80 and older who send great sounding CW.  That really puts a smile on my face.  These folks love to ragchew as well, which is my personal favorite.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 03:05:07 AM by N5XM » Logged
K8AXW
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« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2012, 08:55:51 AM »

Quote
I "hear" in my head the code that I am sending -- and if what I send doesn't match what's in my head, I know I've made an error.

7V  makes a point here that nobody seems to have picked up on.  The point, or word, is "HEAR." 

I suspect that many don't HEAR what they are sending but are concentrating on sending what they are visualizing in their minds or thinking, whatever you wish to call it.  There is a difference.  Of course we have to know what we want to send, call it visualization or whatever, but the bottom line here is to HEAR what you are sending.  The word hear is different from copying or reading.  This is synonymous with not being able to see the forest for the trees!

Of all the comments I've read down through the years about sloppy sending, I suspect that if CW operators would have emphasized the hearing part of learning code, we wouldn't have so many key bangers on the air as we do.

Even Hiram Percy Maxim wrote an article way back when about "sloppy sending."
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