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Author Topic: CW speed learning rate  (Read 1213 times)
K4LHA
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Posts: 7




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« on: December 31, 2008, 10:10:16 AM »

I have been trying to learn CW for about three years now, well off on because I don't practice enough maybe five minutes every third week or so anyway. It just struck me why do people learn it at five words per minute when I listen to QSO's and its at fifteen to eighteen words a minute. If that is what the going speed is why don't most courses go at that speed??
 
               Thanks
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K7PEH
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2008, 04:09:32 PM »

If you are listening to a course that gives you 5 wpm then I think you should switch to something else.  There are some nice programs such as G4FON that allow you to control the training speed.  One nice feature is being able to set the speed of character deliver to something like 20 wpm and then set the word delivery (this may not be the right way to describe this) to maybe 15 wpm.  

I suggest you learn at something between 13 to 15 wpm.  It is actually easier to copy and learn that way.

I am not a speed demon -- I normally operate in a comfort zone of 15 to 18 wpm but I can do 20 wpm and miss a few here and there.  But, if I am doing code at 5 to 7 wpm to match the other guy then I need to pull out the paper and pencil.  I cannot head copy at anything less then 10 wpm because it is too slow -- it disrupts my rhythm.
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2008, 04:41:27 PM »

I don't practice enough maybe five minutes every third week or so anyway. I


You need to practice at least twice per day, that means every day, for at least 10 minutes each session.

It all about commitment.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2009, 11:48:24 AM »

I find it interesting that "training" at 5WPM ever got started, especially when you consider the time this started wasn't terribly long after commercial Morse training had reached its' peak.  The idea of starting slow and working your way up only forces you to relearn the code to move up, known as "plateaus" in the amateur world.  The Koch method has been well known and proven for decades, why amateurs would do it any other way is beyond me.  A League conspiracy, perhaps?  :-)  By all means, go with a  Koch training method and save yourself a lot of aggravation.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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W4YA
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Posts: 317




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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2009, 07:41:24 PM »

All good advice. It takes as much time and effort to learn code at 20 WPM as it does at 5 WPM. If you go through 4 plateaus to get to 20 WPM, you have learned it 4 times!! That doesn't make sense.
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KB1OOO
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2009, 05:46:43 AM »

> I find it interesting that "training" at 5WPM ever got started, especially
> when you consider the time this started wasn't terribly long after
> commercial Morse training had reached its' peak. The idea of starting
> slow and working your way up only forces you to relearn the code to
> move up, known as "plateaus" in the amateur world. The Koch method
> has been well known and proven for decades, why amateurs would do it
> any other way is beyond me.

Really?  Where exactly has it been proven?  Where has the "plateau" theory been proven as well?   The academic papers on morse code reception I've read concluded that the path 20wpm copy took the same amount of time whether or not you started at 5wpm or about 12wpm.

Thanks,
Marc
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LB3KB
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2009, 08:34:36 AM »

KB1OOO,

>The academic papers on morse code reception I've
>read concluded that the path 20wpm copy took the
>same amount of time whether or not you started at
>5wpm or about 12wpm.

The "academic papers" you mention obviously don't refer to Koch's method.

Using Koch's method, there is only one "path" to 20 wpm and it does not include starting at 5 wpm or 12 wpm.


73
LB3KB Sigurd
http://justlearnmorsecode.com
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KB1OOO
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2009, 11:32:10 AM »

> The "academic papers" you mention obviously don't refer to Koch's
> method.
>
> Using Koch's method, there is only one "path" to 20 wpm and it does
> not include starting at 5 wpm or 12 wpm.

Yes, they do Sigurd.  Here is one reference:

Taylor, D.W. "Learning the telegraphic code", Psychological Bulletin,
40(7), pgs. 464-487.

"Tulloss, Biegel and Koch have all recommended that in teaching
receiving the use of visual symbols should be avoided, that individual
characters should not be referred to in terms of their
component dots and dashes, and that nonsense rather than meaningful
material should be used for practice. Lipmann and Biegel
suggested that from the beginning of learning individual characters
should be sent at about 20 words per minute. Koch contended that
learning should begin with messages sent at 12 words per minute
and containing only two characters, additional characters being
added one at a time.
Taylor, however, in a carefully controlled experiment found
that whether the individual characters were sent initially at a high
speed or at relatively slow speeds made no difference in the speed
with which men learned to receive. In two other experiments, he
found that it made no difference in the speed of learning (1)
whether similar or dissimilar characters were taught together during
the initial learning period, or (2) whether immediate or delayed
reinforcement was used in teaching the men to receive."
 
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LB3KB
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2009, 05:01:39 PM »

No, they don't.

If you ever get to where you almost understand Koch's method, you will understand that you should start out at whatever speed you want to operate at.  If you want to operate at 20 wpm you should learn at 20 wpm.


73
LB3KB Sigurd
http://justlearnmorsecode.com
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KB1OOO
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2009, 05:44:57 PM »

> If you ever get to where you almost understand Koch's method, you will
> understand that you should start out at whatever speed you want to
> operate at. If you want to operate at 20 wpm you should learn at 20 wpm.

Stop talking to me like I'm an idiot Sigurd.  I understand Koch's method, as did the Harvard and Columbia researchers that did that study.  It's impossible to have a reasonable exchange with you on this issue so I'm done after this message.

Marc
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LB3KB
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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2009, 05:49:44 PM »

Sorry pal, I just can't help you with that but I'm glad to hear that you are finally done.

73
LB3KB Sigurd
http://justlearnmorsecode.com
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W7ETA
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Posts: 2527




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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2009, 06:34:09 PM »

Got any real research to back up your claim?

Bob
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W7ETA
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Posts: 2527




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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2009, 06:36:46 PM »

Its too late form me to use use method.  But, every once in a while, people ask about the "BEST" way to learn CW.

73
Bob
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KB1OOO
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« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2009, 06:50:01 PM »

> Got any real research to back up your claim?

Is this directed at me?  If so, I didn't make a claim.  And what qualifies as "real research" for you?  For me, it's research conducted under the scientific method, published in a reputable peer reviewed journal.

> Its too late form me to use use method. But, every once in a while,
> people ask about the "BEST" way to learn CW.

I don't know what this means?

Marc
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1124




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« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2009, 07:10:50 PM »

The BEST way to learn CW?

Obviously it is the way that works and that you are most comfortable at using.  I think different people respond differently to the different training methods.

I learned on ARRL 33 rpm LP records that my parents bought for me when I was 8 or 9.  That took me to 5 wpm or so, that is only how fast they went (I think).  From operating for a year as a novice, my speed went from  5 wpm to about 20 wpm -- from J-38 straight key to a Vibroplex Original that I bought brand new for $35.  But, I was young, malleable, teachable, and hungry for CW contacts.  I do think it is harder as you get older.

By the way, I am proof that the code never leaves you.  Or, at least it did not leave me.  I have told this story before but it surprises even me so much that I thought I would tell it again.

Back in 1967 I left ham radio for good.  College just got too busy for me and I sold my equipment.  Until January 2007, I did no code at all (do the arithmetic, 40 years!).  Then, I got hungry for CW again.  I think all the noise about the FCC dropping the CW test got me interested in CW.  So, I started listening to the CW bands (oh, I got re-licensed in 2004 but I was SSB only).  At the time, if you asked me what was the Morse code for the letter F for example, I wouldn't be able to tell you.  But, when I started listening, and I heard letters like F or G or L or whatever, I did know them.  I think within a week's time of listening a few hours each day my copy speed was at least 12 or 13 wpm.  In fact, I felt so good that I decided to try my first CW QSO.  Only then I realized that I had to practice sending as well.  I aborted that first QSO in frustration from making so many mistakes that my code was probably some super-secret NSA cipher and not Morse code at all.  So, I started practicing sending.

Today, I am going good at 18 wpm with reasonable copy at 20 wpm and I can even do a few contests at 30 wpm.  Even though I did learn about the Koch method and the G4FON software, I never did use it to actually re-learn code.  I stuck with listening on the air and dredging up those skills from my teenage years.
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