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Author Topic: Too fast!  (Read 2913 times)

Posts: 136

« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2007, 12:50:21 PM »

That's awesome.  Yes, I do see advantages of the computer programs.  I am not able to get in front of the radio as often as in front of the computer.  Sometimes the bands a r dead as a doornail too.

What do you practice with the programs?  Just call signs?  Random Characters, Random Words?

I guess I shouldn't expect so much so fast.  I need to just relax and let it come to me in its own sweet time.

Chris KQ6UP

Posts: 247

« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2007, 02:00:16 PM »

  With RufzXP, its just callsigns. With G4FON, if I have time to really concentrate, I'll do text files. It will convert any text file to cw on the fly. If I'm near the computer but working on something else, I'll set it to do random words and I just kind'a listen on the side.

Eric N3EF

Posts: 247


« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2007, 03:19:25 PM »

KB1OOO, my point was that you were making an assumption that is not true for all the available software.  You can't possibly mean that every feature should be pointed out in a help file or on a web site ?  Some programs don't even HAVE a help file...

It goes without saying that the software will throw in more of what you need to practice more.  If it doesn't, use different software.

As for the "true distribution of characters in normal conversation" - just use a text file with a real world QSO on each line as a source and practice with the [/Source/Text Lines] option.  Or use one of the other plain text options.  Just Learn Morse Code is versatile.

Posts: 242

« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2007, 10:52:37 AM »

If you invest the time, the results will eventually come.  Some are just gonna be better cw ops than others, but it doesn't matter.  We tend to live in a society where everybody wants everything in a hurry.  Skill is something that is developed over time.  Lots of times I will get impatient with the poor quality of some fists, but usually I hang on and listen, and some of the neatest folks are behind some of those lousy fists.  I end up glad I worked them.  

You have to be patient with yourself.  Practice off the air is great, even when you become experienced.  On-air QSO's can't be beat, and if you stay with it, you will improve.  I prefer to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.  We're all human!

Posts: 136

« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2007, 12:37:29 PM »

I can see that I have been too hard on myself expecting to achieve in short order what takes many people a year or two to achieve.  I was hoping to go from a very rusty crusty 10wpm paper copy, to 20wpm solid head copy in a couple of months.  This just isn't going to happen.  I have learned from this group just to relax and enjoy it.  I have also learned there are benifits to both on air and off air practice, and no one should argue that.

p.s.  The wpx was great practice.  I was actually doing pretty good near the end.

Chris KQ6UP

Posts: 247


« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2007, 02:35:30 PM »

You're missing a major part of what Koch left us...

Posts: 214


« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2007, 06:16:13 AM »

LB3KB:  I'm sorry, I got defensive because your tone seemed
accusatory--like I wasn't up on what modern Koch training software.

I think that the general point about Koch training that I was trying to
make was that it seems misleading.  When I read about Koch training, its
greatest appeal was that it seemed to be a simple prescription for
learning morse code.  That is, just follow a simple protocol which
provides positive feedback on your improvement and motivates you to stay
with the training.  Then there's always the bit at the end of the
literature which suggests that random word groups aren't like real
conversation so the next step is to practice real words and QSOs.  From
this rhetoric, I--and I imagine most others--interpreted that the
transition to real conversation from a completed Koch training program
would be easy.  That was far from true with me; the transition took as
much time or more than the time it took to complete the Koch training.
Because of the open endedness of this transition, Koch loses it's
prescription like appeal since you're basically back to practicing
copying code for a long amount of time with very slow apparent
improvement.  However, I don't think that this has to be true and what
I'm after is a simple modification to the Koch protocol that is a true
prescription so that you can almost go directly to copying real QSOs at
the desired speed. I conjecture that it is the following:

1.  If you want to copy code at X speed, then do Koch training at X +
    6 wpm.

2.  Split up the training sequence into groups that you work on
    simultaneously.  Even if the software modifies frequencies of the
    characters based on your performance, if you don't split the characters
    into groups you'll still be copying K for 3 months but SK for the last

3.  Don't use farnsworth timings:  This may be a personal thing but it's
    easier for me to copy 20/26 wpm/cpm than 20/20 wpm/cpm.   So even if
    20/26 helps me get to 26/26 faster I'd rather be able to copy 20/20

The other alternative is to give up Koch.  The stories that WB2WIK tells
about how rapidly his students learn morse code using his send/head copy
protocol blows away any success stories I've heard about people using
Koch.  Saying that you can't do it on a computer isn't an excuse; CWIRC is
a great program that turns an IRC chat room into something like 4000
virtual radio frequencies for cw.  WB2WIK could even conduct one of his
classes online using CWIRC.

Maybe I just haven't heard enough anecdotes about Koch which is a real
possibility.  You have over 10000 users of justlearnmorsecode, so maybe
you have some success stories to share?


Posts: 21764

« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2007, 08:20:58 AM »

I don't think Koch training, or any other kind of training, is "bad" at all.  Any method that teaches the new user the characters he needs to use to make contacts on the air, which is only about 40 or so characters, is great.  Personally, I used the "buddy" system (which works terrific), learning code with a schoolmate back in eighth grade.  Most of the time we didn't even use oscillators or keys, we sent code by "saying" it (like "di-dah, dah-di-di-dit, dah-di-dah-dit, dah-di-dit" etc) out loud as we walked to and from school.  We'd each take turns "sending" code and restrict our entire conversation on the way to school and home from school to using Morse code by "mouthing" the code.

At the end of two weeks, we were both doing 5 wpm easily, so we went for the Novice test and got our Novice tickets, then actually got on the air and used the code.

Nobody had a computer back then (1965).

Excited to be actually using the code to make contacts on the air and chase DX, both of us were up to probably 25 wpm within a few weeks.  All our "practice" was on-the-air practice, both sending and receiving, which I think is far better than "receiving only."

I believed very early on that I shouldn't write down any code "copy."  I think this revelation hit me when I broke through about 20 wpm and found I really couldn't print as fast as I could copy code, so I just stopped writing anything down.  That was in 1966, and I've never written down any code copy since then, about 250,000 QSOs later.


Posts: 492

« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2007, 03:07:46 PM »

"I am a high speed CW newbie. I have just taken a couple of months with G4FON to get up to about 20WPM. At that speed, I am at the bleeding edge of my copy speed. I can't stand it when I call cq and someone comes back blazing at 30wpm. I don't understand. Should I always call cq at slower speeds, but then I am not pushing myself. I do fine on the computer, but at 20wpm on the air I can copy RST, Name, and sometimes QTH. If they come back faster, I'm lost. It's a little discouraging for the newcomer (esp. the bad fists that come back to a cq)."

Only a lid comes back at a faster speed than a CQ was called at.

Far too much has been made of "head copy", high speed, operating at the limit of ones ability, etc. It is not uncommon for humans to want to walk before they've mastered crawling. Proficiency with Morse code requires application and use and does not result from analysis.  When you have become proficient and competent at 25 wpm, you will intuitively understand what it takes to go beyond. These things and more "open up" to you as you become more proficient.

Posts: 2

« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2007, 06:31:27 AM »

I would like to write this post to defend G4FON a bit. I understand the point that it may not be totally like the real thing, but I have always felt that it is close enough to get tremendous benefit.
I tried to learn code years ago with tapes and records-they didnt work for me. G4FON was great. Also, I was always advised to listen to GOOD code and comprehend as much as possible without writing down. Thats good advise, however, the ops that say G4FON is not realistic because it generates too perfect code-to them I say nonsense. I understand that all ops wont be able to generate perfect code and I need to copy them all the same, and that comes with practice. G4FON generates code perfectly, and it is not that hard to learn to send code correctly. If ops do not have proper timing and such, they need to work to improve that. G4FON I feel is a much better way to learn code than tapes or records. While it may not be perfect- I felt it needed to be defended a little.
One last thing.
I cant stand it when I hear people say that "Real CW ops dont copy on paper", or something to that effect. While it is true that with practice it is easier to copy code in your head, there are certainly a great bunch of people who copy at +25 wpw by writing. If that works for them, who are these people to say that they are not "REAL". If good communication is taking place whether in their heads or on paper-thats the goal.
With time, it is easier to copy in your head, it will come with time, and yes, you need to put the pencil down in order to do this-but to say that others are not "Real" is inappropriate.
Sorry if this upsets anyone, I know this reply may not be a complete answer to the original question, however I felt that G4FON and those who COPY code are not necessarly bad things for the future of CW. Many of these ops should be glad that G4FON is available to help people who otherwise would have given up on the code. And by the way-many have learned to copy at 30+ by using G4FON. Thanks for reading my post.
Sincerely, Greg Sarris  KC8OKG
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