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Author Topic: Talk less, Practice more  (Read 427 times)
WA4D
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Posts: 99


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« on: October 27, 2007, 09:49:28 AM »

Recently 3 “new” hams have begun threads stating a curiosity about CW.

KI4RHC  Sept. 11, KE7NDD Oct. 15, KE7LGD  Oct. 27.

They ask all the questions that often pop up when pursuing a new mode. What is the “BEST” way to learn?  Enthusiastic CW veterans put forth their favorite learning vehicle. (Mine is the “Just Learn Morse” program).

But we seldom hear back from these people or of their journey. I suggest to you that most CW inquirers never become accomplished at Morse Code. Not because they are not capable. Rather learning morse code requires a commitment that  few see as worth the effort.  And since there is no metric to measure their achievement, we’ll never know.  

That aside, the one area that is too seldom emphasized is the  necessary trait of DISCIPLINE.  It has zero to do with radios and cw devices. It comes from within.  At some point one must adopt a methodology that works for them and move on. I will resist the urge to use the cliché, “talk is cheap”….and just say, get on with it.

Talk less, practice more.

Mike
WA4D
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2756




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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2007, 11:56:20 AM »

Too true.

I learned Morse code in the 1950s, when I was working on my First Class Scout requirements.  There were no speed requirements, just "get a message through".  Most scouts learned Morse for this requirement, whether by sound, flashing light or by "wigwag", involving one flag on a long pole.  The sender would tip the pole 90 degrees to the right for a "dot" and to the left for a "dash" (the mnemonic was "remember what the Germans say:  'dot's right!'").  If you were on the receiving end, you had to think backwards in order to copy it correctly.  You could also use semaphore (with two flags); however, this method didn't involve Morse code, only arm positions.

There was no such thing as the Internet, of course, and very few commercial products.  I used the Boy Scout Handbook - nothing else - to learn the code, and then I practiced with a key and buzzer.  The whole troop did this during meetings.  Why?  Because if you wanted to be a First Class Scout, that was a requirement.

To the new guys who want to learn code: just learn it.  Now that you don't have to demonstrate proficiency, learn it and get on the air and USE it to build up your speed.  If you have somebody nearby who also wants to learn, or if you have an Elmer who's a code operator, so much the better.  Don't fret over "Farnsworth" and the other red herrings out there.  Just learn the code.  If an 11-year old kid like I was can learn it, you can too.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
WB2WIK
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Posts: 20542




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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2007, 07:44:42 PM »

"Code is."

Best way to learn is by using it, not by studying it.

As far as I know (and believe me, I've asked a LOT), not one single person on the planet ever became code proficient by studying it.

Or by "listening" to it, even if the listening was 24 hours a day.

You learn code by using it.  I doubt there's any other way, or ever has been.

Like "learning" a foreign language: You can study it for 20 years, but you'll never actually know it until you use it.

WB2WIK/6
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NS5M
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Posts: 196




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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2007, 09:54:44 AM »

WIK writes: "Like "learning" a foreign language: You can study it for 20 years, but you'll never actually know it until you use it."

While struggling to learn Finnish (go figure) as a young Marine in the 60's, the idea was "You'll never really know the language until you start to THINK in it." And of course, you'll never think in it unless you USE it.
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K4AHO
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2007, 08:06:21 AM »

I am 66 and been a Ham since 1953. Yes, I first learned the Morse code in the Boy Scouts.   In the late 60's I was very much into CW traffic handling.  Recently as I near retirement I have wanted to rebuild my CW Skills.  I discovered SKCC and started working for the SKCC award. When I first started out it was a struggle but with more OPERATING time, it became easier and easier... I have some nerve damage in my right arm so I tend to spaz out occasionally. I have been pleased to find the more I OPERATE, the easier it gets and the better I get. I now can bop along on a straight key at 18 to 20 words/minute almost error free, and can copy about the same. No Practice, just OPERATING...  I think that's the key. Check the SKCC freq's, we will slow down for you...

Jim
K4AHO
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W5ESE
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Posts: 550


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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2007, 08:21:21 AM »

Speaking of which, CW Sweepstakes is this weekend.

A fun event in which to practice CW skills while
having some fun.

The rules are at:

http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2007/novss.html

Hope to hear you on, and have fun!
73
Scott
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KE7NDD
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Posts: 11




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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2007, 08:18:59 PM »

Heya Smiley

I'm one of those types to not jump in to anything too quickly. I finally picked out the key I think I would like and have ordered it hooray!! I have been listening to cw on 7.038 (at least thats what it says on my kenwood) *laugh*  and trying to copy it

I am still interested in learning morse code (which i seem to be doing).It is definanly a challenge but not impossible. Once I get my key (j-38 cw straight key)  and figure out how to get it hooked up to my ts2000, I will try my first qso.

I don't know if i'll ever be as proficient as the contesters but I am really looking forward to chatting with people.

One of the Elmers where I live always talks about qrp and cw and how much fun he has. In a year Im thinking about trying to put together one of those kits. Before though I need to focus on getting less solder on the workbench and more on the project *Laugh*.

I'm looking forward to meeting all the nice folks on the other end of that key!

Ill keep you all updated on my progress Smiley
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