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Author Topic: Koch morse training method  (Read 15866 times)
N9ESI
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Posts: 6




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« on: March 04, 2013, 07:40:34 AM »

I started to use this method to improve my CW speed which is stalled at around 12 wpm. Can anyone clarify how to properly set the sending speed vs effective speed? I have been using 25/15 and copy almost 100% with 4 letters. However, I tried setting 25/25 and my ability to copy goes way down. Any suggestions on how to properly set this? Thanks.
   -- Bill
 
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KD0EXQ
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 02:42:42 PM »

To my old ears, this is what I am seeing/hearing:

The number on the left sets the wpm speed, so if you want to increase to 15 wpm, you would have 15/?.  It effectively sets the time BETWEEN letters. 

The number on the right sets the relative speed at which you hear the letters, that is, the length of the dots and dashes and the space between each dot and dash, WITHIN EACH LETTER,  so a speed of ?/15 gets you longer dits and dahs and more space between them than if you set it at ?/30, for example

So, setting it at 25/25 is effectivly doubling your current rate of 12 wpm.

Since I am a beginner, I set it at 5/20.  5 wpm so I don't feel rushed and 20 so that I hear that letter more as a sound, rather than drawn out dits and dahs (I found that at 15, the starting point, I was counting the dits and dahs, which is not good).  I can put that second number up to 25 when I am really "on", but it is a stretch at this point, unless I am working with a small set of characters.

So, you might set that first/left number at 15  - 18 to stretch yourself a bit.

Good luck.  Can't wait to feel confident enough to make that first contact.

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M0LEP
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 04:27:36 PM »

It seems you're actually talking about Farnsworth timing rather than Koch training. I've seen both character-speed/word-speed and word-speed/character-speed used in various places. However, you can reasonably assume that the larger number is the character speed expressed as an effective words-per-minute value, and the smaller number is either the overall effective words-per-minute, or the length of the gaps between characters and between words similarly expressed...

Either way, if both numbers are the same then you should get properly spaced characters and words. If there's a difference then you should get individual characters sent as if they were at the higher speed, but with relatively longer gaps between them.

In my experience, having more than a small difference between the speeds encourages all the wrong ways to listen to Morse.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2013, 04:34:07 PM »

You know,

Bandwidth of your ears decreases with aging.

You have really old ears when the bandwidth is reduced to one octave around 800 Hz. That means 600-1200 Hz

Count your blessings, cuz you don't have to spent money on a selective 500 Hz wide CW filter in your receiver.

In that case you can only communicate with a whistle with your wife, (via a sound channel) just like the birds starts doing these days. Romantic Isn't it?

Concerning the question: x/y means characters with speed x and spaces between characters with speed y.

So 25/y has sense when you like to end up at 25 wpm.

Beware of what you like. (Proof: the large percentage of divorces in the USA)

When you are old and not proficient a better goal  to end up is at 20 wpm. When you finish and reach that goal you always can decide to take a more proficient goal. But you probably want.

So when you like to teach yourself with Koch's method start with 20/12 and when on some day after a good glass of wine you copy more then 90% perfect increase to 20/13 and so on increase to the goal  20/20.    x/y with y>x is not an advisable goal, because it teaches you to glue.

However, like always with forum advices, the problem is not to collect advices, but to decide which are fire wood and which are valuable, just what you need.

This one is possibly firewood. Can't be OK from a guy that writes un-understandable your mothers tongue. Right?

Look at what is the purpose of exercising Morse code:
Probably you want to jot down what you hear, and what you hear will be plain language (NOT code groups) and when you reach your goal, you can make a QSO , even rag chew (bad tasting rags) but you always have to read back what was actually sent. So the next wish will be that you copy in your head.

So this firewood advice will be : work at the speed you are able to copy x/y with x=y and try with separate words to copy them. Repeat the words till you are sure what the word will be. Go over to the next word and so on.

Gd luck
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KD0EXQ
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2013, 05:27:50 PM »

Should have stated that my comments refer to the Just Learn Morse Code program.
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N9ESI
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 06:49:52 PM »

I appreciate the comments. I should have added that I am using the G4FON CW trainer software. The first number is the character speed (since my goal is 25 wpm) that's the speed the characters are sent at. The second number I gave was the effective speed (as I increase this from 15 to 25 wpm my proficiency significantly decreases). I'm guessing I do 25/15 till I've built the reflex response for all charatcers THEN work on increasing the effective rate to 25 wpm. Does that make sense?
  Bill
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AC2EU
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Posts: 366


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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 09:41:35 PM »

I am a recent convert to cw and I have used both "Just Learn morse code" and the G4FON.
Those are great tools to learn the letters and numbers, but once that is accomplished move onto listening to the W1AW MP3 recordings or their broadcasts.
Random letter groups are meaningless and boring. I got to feeling that if I missed a letter or two, it didn't matter that much, so i fell into a pattern of no progress.
However, when I tried the recordings and broadcasts, I found that I tried harder to get it right because there was an actual message to decode.

I also feel that super slow 5 wpm code probably does more harm than good since there is a tendency to count the dits and dahs.
The proper method is to hear the rhythm of the character without counting. Slowing down too much is similar to slowing down a song to the point where it becomes unrecognizable.

The other problem is that some Hams have no sense of rhythm and are very difficult to copy, especially the some straight key guys. I found that listening to "bad fists" sharpened my listening and interpreting skills ( not that they are anything to write home about)...your mileage may vary...

This is the way I found the confidence to GOTA with CW. OSOs are still difficult for me, but I improve a little with each one.
There is definitely a rush and feeling of pressure when doing it for as opposed to drills.
Don't worry if your first CW contact is a disaster, as I have been told that most are, as was mine.

CW is still very much a work in progress for me, but I thought I'd share some of my revelations with a fellow struggling student.
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M0LEP
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2013, 12:51:59 AM »

Random letter groups are meaningless and boring.

I suspect the various Koch-method trainers would all be more effective if, instead of spewing random characters, they produced random words, abbreviations and callsigns (using the subset of characters they're trying to teach at any particular stage) instead...
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2013, 05:00:04 AM »

I appreciate the comments. I should have added that I am using the G4FON CW trainer software. The first number is the character speed (since my goal is 25 wpm) that's the speed the characters are sent at. The second number I gave was the effective speed (as I increase this from 15 to 25 wpm my proficiency significantly decreases). I'm guessing I do 25/15 till I've built the reflex response for all charatcers THEN work on increasing the effective rate to 25 wpm. Does that make sense?
  Bill

Is is not the fastest way.

When it takes one year to go from 20/15 to 20/20 it means that you are able to copy Morse code with 20 wpm after one year.

When you start with 25/15 it takes (estimate)  2 years to go to 25/25.  And still one year of go to 25/20 BUT after one year you cant copy regular Morse code 20/20.  You have to request for 25/20 because you cant copy 20/20 . You are not realizing that.

So better is first 20/20 as goal and later on when you are finished a new goal 25/25.

What is wrong to make smaller steps: first goal 15/15  second goal 16/16 third goal 17/17.
In short you don't need that wide character spacing at all. Is is only good for absolute beginners to prevent counting dits and dahs.

However as told to you: do not exercise with random code but with words. Do not type it in but jot it down.
In short: exercise with what you want to learn. Hence: no typing, regular spaced Morse code, and plain text.

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N3DF
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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2013, 10:13:38 AM »

Don't know how I managed to learn cw listening to W1AW code practice daily.
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Neil N3DF
LB3KB
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Posts: 226


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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 02:47:49 PM »

I am a recent convert to cw and I have used both "Just Learn morse code" and the G4FON.
Those are great tools to learn the letters and numbers, but once that is accomplished move onto listening to the W1AW MP3 recordings or their broadcasts.
Random letter groups are meaningless and boring. I got to feeling that if I missed a letter or two, it didn't matter that much, so i fell into a pattern of no progress.
However, when I tried the recordings and broadcasts, I found that I tried harder to get it right because there was an actual message to decode.

I'm not following you.  Just Learn Morse Code has many options for generating random words, abbreviations and also anything you could manage to put on a separate line in a text file.

There are options for having it send random lines of text, or a whole book if you want to.

You can paste text copied from any other program and have Morse code generated for it without having it in a file.

There are options for "recording" any and all of this to audio files, and you can have a transcript generated as a text file if you want to.

This is a lot more versatile than anything you can get from somebody else's static file collection.  You can adjust any of a number of settings to suit your preferences.


There is also a help file included, that briefly explains how to use most of the options.  Select Contents in the Help menu to see it.


73
LB3KB Sigurd
justlearnmorsecode.com
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KX8N
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Posts: 543




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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2013, 09:24:54 PM »

I am a recent convert to cw and I have used both "Just Learn morse code" and the G4FON.
Those are great tools to learn the letters and numbers, but once that is accomplished move onto listening to the W1AW MP3 recordings or their broadcasts.
Random letter groups are meaningless and boring. I got to feeling that if I missed a letter or two, it didn't matter that much, so i fell into a pattern of no progress.
However, when I tried the recordings and broadcasts, I found that I tried harder to get it right because there was an actual message to decode.

I'm not following you.  Just Learn Morse Code has many options for generating random words, abbreviations and also anything you could manage to put on a separate line in a text file.

There are options for having it send random lines of text, or a whole book if you want to.

You can paste text copied from any other program and have Morse code generated for it without having it in a file.

There are options for "recording" any and all of this to audio files, and you can have a transcript generated as a text file if you want to.

This is a lot more versatile than anything you can get from somebody else's static file collection.  You can adjust any of a number of settings to suit your preferences.


There is also a help file included, that briefly explains how to use most of the options.  Select Contents in the Help menu to see it.


73
LB3KB Sigurd
justlearnmorsecode.com

Sorry for bumping an old thread, but I think this is an important point:
You could go to the ARRL webpage, download the exact text that W1AW is using for each of their broadcasts, open it in the "Just Learn Morse Code" program, and have it sent to you at whatever word speed/character speed you want. So you are getting a plain English set of characters instead of random. Or paste in any text you want.
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AC6CV
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Posts: 33




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« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2013, 05:19:21 AM »

When I graduated from from radio school I was copying tapes at 30 wpm. Once I got on the military frequencies and copying through qrn, qrm and qsb it changes things a lot. Just copy W1AW code practice and don't make the issue so complicated. Plus everyone you have a qso with will send slightly different. It won't be all timed tapes with perfect spacing.
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AC5LS
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« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2013, 05:19:33 PM »

Late to the party, but to hell with the "koch training method". 

At the end of the day, it's about memorizing what the code sounds like for each character.  Just do that.  The rest will follow.

Oh, what do I know about anything?  Only that I started with Morse code in the late '50s, before there were any of the crutches around today, and we just learned what each character sounded like.  Once that's done, speed comes with practice.  It's not any more complicated than that.
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2788




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« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2013, 06:38:54 PM »

What AC5LS said.  Just learn the sound patterns; the only thing you really "need" is a partner to learn with you.  Oh, and a willingness to work for it.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
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