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Author Topic: CW speed learning rate  (Read 2911 times)

Posts: 2527

« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2009, 06:08:59 PM »

No it wasn't Mark.  You cited research.

Its too late for me to use any method to learn CW, but people do ask which method is "Best" to use.

I had hoped the other fellow could support his claim with some research.  Guess not.


Posts: 247


« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2009, 07:49:46 PM »

Speaking for myself and the thousands of people who have successfully learned Morse code in a short time using Koch's method and don't have any reason to hunt for so-called "scientific" "evidence" supporting the strange idea that it doesn't work after it worked... I'll just throw in that I have studied Koch's research thoroughly, and that research combined with the feedback from many many people using my free software is more than enough for me.

The other bloke has no background for this, he just likes to bitch and complain about the very methods that enabled him to learn Morse code with a minimal effort.  I suppose that's a hobby for some people.

LB3KB Sigurd

Posts: 2527

« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2009, 12:34:36 PM »

I believe your personal experience; was surprised to see published research about learning CW and wondered if you had seen research to either refute prior research, or support your theory.

Unfortunately, there isn't any way for an individual to test which way they learn CW the best.

I've bookmarked your site for the next time someone asks about learning CW.


Posts: 214


« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2009, 05:44:36 PM »


Hi Bob.  Thanks for your note.  There was quite a bit of research funded in the US during WWII when there was great demand for CW ops in the military and a high failure rate for conventional methods at the time.  If you do a search on "morse code reception" you will turn up literature on the topic.   Cognitive scientists today still like to use morse code in their learning research.


Posts: 113

« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2009, 08:50:38 PM »

I don't have any research that was done scientifically, but I do have some personal experience learning morse in the army in 1952.

I was in a class of hundreds where a training course of 6 months was conducted.  Most trainees had no previous morse experience, but they had scored high in a morse learning aptitude test.  The object by the end of the 6 month course was to be able to copy coded groups at 25 wpm and in the presence of qrm, qrn, and qsb.

The course started with coded groups sent at 5 wpm but with dit and dah durations proper for 12 wpm.  That is, characters were sent at 12 wpm but spaces between characters and between groups were stretched out to effect 5 wpm.  The reason for this was that 12 wpm is the speed at which most operators don't count the dits and dahs, they have to go by the sound of the character itself.  Copy was done on a mechanical mill, a typewriter with all caps.

Most of the class got up to 12 wpm in 3 weeks or less.  From that point on, progress was slow.  There were a number of plateaus before finally reaching 25 wpm.  After reaching 25 wpm, further training was given so that we learned how to copy that speed in the presence of qrm, qrn and qsb.

The Koch method was known at that time, but the army didn't use it.  I have no way of knowing if we could have gotten to 25 wpm faster if it had been employed.  Unfortunately, there is no way an individual can determine which method is faster for him.  By the time he has learned the code one way, he knows it and further testing is precluded.

I realize that the forgoing does not answer your question completely, but maybe it can throw a little light on the subject.

73 de John AD7WN

Posts: 1

« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2009, 02:37:51 AM »

5 min every few weeks or so
you are  simply wasting your time

at this rate
you will never learn morse code

this way that way
this speed that speed

no matter

you need to decide you realy want to do it
then do it

you must MUST  spend at least 20 min a day
every day for a month or so

then get on the air
make a few cw contacts every day

you can not learn to drive, sail, fly a airplane,
play tennis, baseball or even walk by just spending
5 min now and then every few weeks

now i must go cry in my beer

Posts: 4709

« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2009, 03:23:35 AM »

If you've spent five minutes every three weeks for the past three years, that's a bit less than 5 hours total, spread out very thin. And not very effective.

The recommended *minimum* schedule is 20-30 minutes a day, every day. Some folks say it's more effective to split it up into 2 or 3 sessions per day. Whatever gets you to do it.

The thing about learning code is that it's a skill, not book learning, and the methods used are different. Each person is an experiment of one, so you may have to try different things to find what works for you.

The Koch method, as I understand it, consists of starting out with just two letters and practicing just those two until you reach 90-95% accuracy with them. Then a third letter is added, and practice continues until 90-95% accuracy is reached. Then a fourth letter is added, etc., until you run out of letters, numbers and punctuation. The total is about 41 different letters/numbers/punctuation marks.

The concept is that most people can learn faster if they're given the info a little at a time, and keep being refreshed on what they've learned when new stuff is added. Learning one new thing per day for a month is a lot easier than trying to learn 30 things all at once.

The Farnsworth method, as I understand it, consists of starting out with letters sent at a relatively high speed (15-20 wpm) but with extra space between letters. That gives you more time to think and write between letters, and helps you hear it as one sound group.

The concept is that it avoids bad habits such as thinking of "H" as "four dits" and O as "three dahs". Humans don't learn language by hearing words spoken very slowly; they learn it by hearing the words spoken clearly and in isolation. So the word "cat" isn't learned by breaking it down into the three sounds that make up the word; instead you hear it as one group of sounds.

Most software trainers combine the above methods.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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