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Author Topic: Hard work..  (Read 6084 times)
KC8OYE
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Posts: 297




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« on: September 16, 2012, 08:25:10 PM »

wow.. it's be a long uphill climb, but the hard work and time I've put into code-copying-practice is finally starting to show some really noticeable results.
I remember when I first started, (using farnsworth, and I didn't know about koch at the time)  trying to copy a group of 5 characters at wpm.. the frustration was incredible.

now I've been really busy this summer (Been interning as a broadcast radio engineer (my Amateur Extra Class license got me in through the door  Grin )) so I haven't been doing a lot of code practice.. but I just picked it back up over the last couple of days. 

to stop the practice getting too monotonous I mix up my technique and goals from time to time.  I'm having so little trouble with remembering the letters (Thank you farnsworth and Koch) So this time around I started out with just the letters A & B and then set a target speed I know is just a SMIDGE past my current skill level.. (15wpm character speed, word speed of 13wpm) I use a realy cool but old dos program called "Morse Academy).. I start out at a nice leisurely 8wpm and have it ramp up into 13wpm to give me some 'warm up' time Smiley

I know i'm working on a limited set of only 8 characters right now.. but i'm still amazed that I am comfortably copying at 13wpm Smiley

This is where progress slows down a little bit and perseverance is needed.  up to 7 characters was no big deal.. when I added the 8th one I started having difficulties.  (I do 4 minute exercises which also helps keep the frustration to a mimimum)

so I'll do the 8 character exercise again, and possibly a 3rd time until I'm comfortable with it.. then I'll add a 9th character, rinse and repeat  Cheesy

once the colder weather gets here, I'm going to make arrangements with the local VE team to take the 5wpm code test and get the certificate for it.. just because I can Smiley
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G4LNA
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 03:40:29 AM »

Good for you, well done, keep up the pratice so that I can have a QSO with you soon.
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AC4RD
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 04:09:21 AM »

Congratulations!   It may seem like hard work now, but soon it will be fun, honestly!  Wink

This is JMHO but one of the best ways to improve your code speed is to get on the air and make a few contacts.   You'll make mistakes and you'll miss some of what the other guy says (I've been doing it since 1991 and I'm STILL making mistakes and missing things!) but it can be a world of fun, and the thrill of making contacts on CW will make it fun instead of work.

I passed my 5wpm test in '91 and spent a year working DX on 15 meters.  Didn't "practice" my CW at all.  Then I went to upgrade, tried the 20wpm test as a warmup for 13, and passed it without expecting to! 

Have fun, and 73!
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K8AXW
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2012, 09:12:41 AM »

 Grin  It will be difficult to get on the air with knowing only 8 characters but 4RD is right.  When that time comes.  One thing that might help is go get someone to practice with.... both sending and receiving.  Just setting there listening to CW letters gets to the place where all the characters start to sound the same.

Switching over to a straight key and CW oscillator will give you a welcome break and quite often helps you remember the letters. 

It does mean learning another skill at the same time but if you understand the element length and spacing scheme, it won't take long.  The dual learning process gives you that "all in" feeling and makes it more enjoyable.

You also need to remind yourself constantly that this is a process that takes time.  Too many try and fail because they think they can learn to copy code in a week or two.  Perhaps some can but for the rest of us mortals, it takes longer.

Good luck and as 4RD says, "it will one day be fun!"  I've enjoyed this "fun" for 55 years!

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KC8OYE
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 11:00:14 AM »

hah hah Tongue~  I do know all 26 letters, 10 numbers, and the major prosigns...  just not at a particularly high speed.

i've actually made a few attempts at cw contacts on the air, but i have severe antenna limitations to overcome yet.  I've got a 40m dipole, but i've got to figure out how the word i'm going to hang it.

i've made a few contacts using a 10m whip mounted to the decklid of my car, and a tuner... 

and I'm sure not having a proper 8' ground rod isn't helping matters any.  (on a more positive note, they just came through and marked all the underground lines for something else.. so now I know where I can safely drive a ground rod in  Grin )


I've got a Kenwood TS-140s, and a MFJ Deluxe Versa Tuner II  that i borrowed until I put the $$$ away for the setup I want Smiley

and I'm using a SpeedX straight key.
a picture of one can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spline/325428291/
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G4LNA
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2012, 12:23:41 PM »

What about hanging it partly outside and partly in the loft or attic? I use a 75 foot doublet with one leg in the loft and the other leg out down the garden (back yard) at about 20 feet over the ground and it works great on all bands. You don't have to worry about the ground if you are using a dipole, because it is a balanced antenna.

That is the quickest way to learn is to use it on the air, it is hard work, and you will wonder if it is all worth it, but trust me, it is worth it in the end.
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AC4RD
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2012, 03:44:06 PM »

  I've got a 40m dipole, but i've got to figure out how the word i'm going to hang it. ...
I've got a Kenwood TS-140s, and a MFJ Deluxe Versa Tuner II 

With that setup and a straight key, you can *literally* work the world, with a little work!  Smiley   Hang the dipole as high as you can get it, even 10-15' above the ground will get you some contacts, and you'll do GREAT.  Especially since you're willing to give CW a try--CW gets through when phone won't.  You're in great shape, OYE--you'll be having a blast soon!  73 and tell us how you're doing! 
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KC8OYE
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2012, 06:45:13 PM »

that's my problem tho.. hanging this dipole...

there's no where to hang the other end.. I can hang one end from the house no problems (two story house with my 2m/440cm vertical nearly 3 stories)

the other end is either the neighbors tree.. which I'm not thrilled about as it moves around a lot in the wind.... or the light pole in the yard.. and I'm not too sure how the local govt' would respond to me hanging my antenna from their light pole Wink

I've considered an inverted-v type configuration.. but I'm afraid that doing that with the aluminum sided house is going to make it highly directional..


i may be limited to CW anyway... I can't be for certain, but I think this radio has some output issues on SSB.  I can hear SSB signals.. but getting people to hear me on SSB is nearly impossible.  FM and AM work ok.. but SSB.. i don't know..  then again, i haven't actually made any contacts on CW either.. so i guess we'll see)

I worked a guy in Las Vegas via the Dallas repeater on 10m FM so I know that part works ok  Grin

couple of my ham buddies have threatend to put me on 'hamsexy.com' i think it was.. for my antenna setup i have been using LOL.. that's ok.. I did what I could with what I had available Smiley   I cut my 11m 1/4 wave whip down for 1:1 on 29.600 (the original plan was to use my yaesu 8900 with 10m fm in the car)   so I tossed a 50' length of rg-58 out the window, connected it to the whip mounted in the trunk lid 'cb' antenna mount...

made up a ground strap from the trunk lid to the body (buick's use nylon bushings in their hinges with insulates the lid from the body)  and then  took two tent stakes, wired them together, and drove both into the ground, and connect them to the body of the car as well.  not anywhere near adquete i know.. but at the time, I had no idea where the power feed to the house actually ran.. and I wasn't too excited about driving an 8' ground rod in, not knowing.  now i know where the power lines are, and i will be getting a proper ground rod soon. 

with the tuner, I can load that 10m whip up on most bands.. there is one band that just won't tune up well enough on.. but I can live with that Smiley
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2012, 12:03:12 AM »

Antenna: Think about a magnetic loop. Copper pipe 1" diameter, When it is difficult to make it circular (the best) use 135 degree solder lugs to join 8 straight pieces.

Morse Code: Did you think about the  idea to start a new group of 14 yet unknown characters , and after mastering, mix them with the first group?

Adding 3 characters a day to the existing group of 14 looks impossible. When you succeed doing so, write an article about your mental number training techniques  on this website.

Forget about covering up missed characters, just let a space and go on with the incoming data, is the general believe of best approach.

Bob
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KC8OYE
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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2012, 07:55:40 PM »

antennas.. I tried to build a 10m Vertical Dipole, but it never really seemed to perform at all well.. but in hindsight, not having a way to get it 1/4 wave above the ground was an issue.  i had planned to side mount it near my 2m antenna.. but I quickly found out the schedule-40 pvc pipe just wasn't strong enough to support its own weight (I used #14 awg wire for the radiators)  16 feet of 1-1/2" schd. 40 pvc pipe is remarkably heavy.. especially when it's hanging out at the end of another 8 feet of 2" pipe!



i do often do that, with starting over with a new group.  as I mentioned before, I change my approach from time to time, just to keep things fresh Smiley

why would you say it's impossible?
I think you guys might have missed the fact that I am reasonably comfortable with my knowledge of all the letters and numbers.. I'm currently just working on copying speed.

there are a few letters down the bottom of the alphabet I have some struggles with to overcome.. but I'm not too worried Smiley

the problem with just 'ignoring' missed characters, is the software will not let you miss characters.. just a small limitation of the interactive software. when I'm copying W1AW's code practice files for example, I do indeed just skip over the letters I missed or whatever.. more often then not, their 'value' becomes obvious from context Smiley

i.e  if I managed to copy "be_omes"  chances are pretty good that was a 'c' (and the rest of the sentence would offer clues too)
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K8AXW
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2012, 08:50:07 PM »

Quote
I know i'm working on a limited set of only 8 characters right now..

Sorry for the misunderstanding.   Roll Eyes
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2012, 04:34:43 AM »

(Been interning as a broadcast radio engineer (my Amateur Extra Class license got me in through the door  Grin ))

Will be cuz u aren't afraid of climbing high towers.

Quote
I start out at a nice leisurely 8wpm and have it ramp up into 13wpm to give me some 'warm up' time

ARRL W1AW their files are not what the title announces. 13 wpm ARRL is about 15 wpm character speed and 10 wpm character spacing. Roughly measured, I suppose they publish somewhere the exact data. Keeping the character spacing down is the problem, not so increasing the speed of characters.

Quote
I know i'm working on a limited set of only 8 characters right now.. but i'm still amazed that I am comfortably copying at 13wpm Smiley
That did put me also on the wrong leg (translated Dutch proverb)


Think about what you really want. Typing is dangerous, Finally you will be able to copy solid not knowing what you typed down. You have to read it back, to know.
Best thing is writing; and as fast as possible copy plain text words. Take in Wikipedia the 5000 most used words, they publish a list. Sort on length. Start with short words, copy by head just by adding the characters sequentially together in your mind.
Repeat each word till you are sure you got it right. Pretty long words are easier to copy then average sized.

That is the way to do it.

gd luck es 73 Bob
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 04:40:20 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
N0NB
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 05:54:30 AM »

or the light pole in the yard.. and I'm not too sure how the local govt' would respond to me hanging my antenna from their light pole Wink

"It's always easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."  Wink
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73, de Nate
Marysville, KS

SKCC 6225
PA0BLAH
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« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2012, 07:14:02 AM »

or the light pole in the yard.. and I'm not too sure how the local govt' would respond to me hanging my antenna from their light pole Wink

"It's always easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."  Wink


Right, that is cuz when you ask permission you shift responsibilities. and the permission giving authority has nothing to lose only to gain when they  did not permit you.

So just do what you want and when they complain say "Sri" , hang out the dumbo like I always do, and remove it.

Place a huge flagpole with the US flag as proof of you loving your nation, nobody will or even dare to complain abt that, and you have your hidden antenna. The buried radials are a symbol of the connection of the nation with the ground you have your home and live on with your family. However only work CW, or even better some FSK mode, otherwise, it turns out your neighbours are going to complain because they are at random time obstructed to consume their daily political, moral and commercial  indoctrination distributed by the local or nation wide TV network.

Bob
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KC8OYE
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2012, 04:54:41 PM »

hahahah yeah.. I read an article on line, where someone actually constructed a mount to turn the entire flagpole into a vertical antenna.. the pole itself... not using it as a support Smiley

anyway, I figured out how to do it.. I got my numbers mixed up.. i was thinking the total length of the dipole was the length of each leg..

the leg that hangs out over the front yard (towards the light pole) doesn't even clear the end of the roof.  I attached a piece of rope to the insulator, ran it over the edge of the roof and tied it off on one of the brackets that hold the downspout in place Smiley

ran the other leg over the back of the roof, and tied it off to a bird feeder pole that keeps  it over my 6' head Smiley

the fun part was hanging the center section from my antenna mast for my 2m/70cm vertical.. which hangs out over the edge of the 2nd story roof..

all i have left to do now, is climb up in the attic and poke a hole in the drywall and feed the coax through Smiley



as for the other vertical i have.. I changed it from a half-A$$ mobile setup into a ground-mounted vertical... i put 4 radials on it.. somewhat random in length but all at least 1/4 wave on 10m.  (best I could do with the room I have)
since it sits between the property line and the concrete driveway, my options were limited, and I didn't want ground radials stretched across the driveway!
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