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Author Topic: My Morse Learning Campaign  (Read 107352 times)
N3PDT
Member

Posts: 75




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« Reply #225 on: July 08, 2014, 12:30:09 PM »


 ...but why not wait until the course is completed. I'm nearly there.


Because you'll lean it a lot faster actually using it.
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KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 804




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« Reply #226 on: July 20, 2014, 03:08:05 AM »


 ...but why not wait until the course is completed. I'm nearly there.


Because you'll lean it a lot faster actually using it.

I have been monitoring quite a lot of QSOs on the air, but I can't copy characters that I don't even know yet. The best I can do is just skip over them and concentrate on the ones that I've already learned. That is a (major) drawback with the Koch method: it's basically "all or nothing." Anyway, not long to go now. Only a handful of characters remaining to learn, and the transmitter building project is nearly finished.

I'm scoring about 86 percent on the 32-character drills. Good enough to add a new character.

The 32 characters learned so far are: K, M, R, S, U, A, P, T, L, O, W, I, ., N, J, E, F, 0, Y, V, ,, G, 5, /, Q, 9, Z, H, 3, 8, B and ?.

Today I am adding the 33rd character which is "4" or di-di-di-di-dah.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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PA0WV
Member

Posts: 137




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« Reply #227 on: July 20, 2014, 09:12:21 AM »

Keep track Martin,

In any case you can use the program I developped for you which yields plain words with any learned set of characters.
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Using an appliance without CW is just CB
KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 804




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« Reply #228 on: July 20, 2014, 04:37:36 PM »

Keep track Martin,

In any case you can use the program I developped for you which yields plain words with any learned set of characters.

Indeed Wim, that program has been very helpful! Thank you again!

The transmitter is nearly finished ... only the tank circuit and sidetone monitor are still left to build.



73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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AC2EU
Member

Posts: 410


WWW

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« Reply #229 on: July 20, 2014, 05:10:00 PM »

Tube QRP?
You did some nice work so far. I saw an unsoldered joint on the variable cap and on the 100 ohm resistor near the bottom of the picture. You did say there was more to do, so perhaps those were left that way intentionally? I repaired some old Heathkits where there were unsoldered joints that didn't cause problems until 20 years later- very strange.
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KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 804




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« Reply #230 on: July 20, 2014, 05:30:42 PM »

Tube QRP?
You did some nice work so far. I saw an unsoldered joint on the variable cap and on the 100 ohm resistor near the bottom of the picture. You did say there was more to do, so perhaps those were left that way intentionally? I repaired some old Heathkits where there were unsoldered joints that didn't cause problems until 20 years later- very strange.

I don't solder the joints until there is nothing left to connect to that point. So, yes, at this point many joints have been left unsoldered.

For more details on this project, there's a separate eham thread: http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,97719.0.html.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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KK4MRN
Member

Posts: 92




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« Reply #231 on: July 21, 2014, 06:35:20 AM »

Martin,
Seeing the posts about your ongoing CW learning campaign, the building of your novice receiver and transmitter, I think these 3 could be combined into a nice Article for eHam.net written by you or someone willing to make an article out of them.  I am sure others would enjoy reading about it.  I know I would! 

I did not catch on to your postings in the CW and HomeBrew forums until around November 2013 when I started learning CW.  So, I have been following your progress ever since.  And I'm sure there are plenty of others too.  Gotta love this hobby.  Can't wait to hear you on the air!

I've since learned that the best way to practice CW (for me) is to actually practice by listening and writing down what I hear.  Just listening does not seem to help.  In my college days, I found it best to study by listening and writing down notes what the professor said.  The note taking helped me memorize better.  I feel the same with learning CW.  Head copy is not for me.  Interestingly, I learned that I can understand CW at 20 WPM or higher.  Yet, it is the spacing of 18 or 20 that gets me.   But real world CW does not use Farnesworth spacing.  So, I have been trying to learn at 15 WPM at normal spacing.  I'm tempted to even do 13 wpm with normal spacing just to speed my learning progress to get on the air.  I've also learned that CW is one of those use it or lose it memories - unless you practice everyday, you lose what you've learned.  Since I stopped for awhile, I had to go back to the beginning of learning K and M again.   I really do want to do Straight Key Night, so this is why I keep trying.  I hear CW on 40 meters each night, and I want to respond when I hear CQ, but I am not ready.

73 de Daniel, KK4MRN
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KM4CLJ
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #232 on: July 22, 2014, 09:01:20 AM »

I'm one of the elder clan as well and working to recover my old speed. During my military career I was a direction finding operator and at times just filling in as a morse intercept operator. I was getting 100% copy at 22+ but this was all on teletype or typewriter at various time of my career. We had to hand copy and send 15 with a good old J-38 just for training. Can you say hand cramps from the hand copy?

I started out in ham radio back in 1965 and let my ticket expire while i was overseas. The new story was my return to ham radio almost 40 years later. I had my first QSO on 2 meters FM upon my return, but I have always been a morse operator and will forever be one. At least I'm not starting out from scratch.

73's and good luck.

Bill KM4CLJ
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KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 804




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« Reply #233 on: August 02, 2014, 04:05:53 AM »

My Morse learning campaign has been neglected for the past two weeks. I've been devoting all of my spare time to finishing the building of my homebrew station. The rest of the time I am too exhausted for Morse practice.

This will change in the next few days because that station-building is almost finished (only the antenna remains to be built). Meanwhile I will get back to the CW-learning but I'm going to short-cut it deliberately: there are only eight characters remaining to learn. Some of them are numerals and I can skip over those (because they are easy to identify, and skip over, in monitored code). So I really just need to learn the few remaining letters. I will not try to achieve a "high score" on these: I just want to get a passing acquaintance with them so that they don't trip me up when I get on the air, which should happen in the next few weeks.

For those who haven't seen my station description (in the "homebrewing" forum), here are a couple of photos.

This is the cover of "How to Become a Radio Amateur" (1968):



This is my station (I deliberately made the photo black-and-white to give a vintage feel):



I look forward to rag-chewing with y'all ... on the air and in CW!

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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AC2EU
Member

Posts: 410


WWW

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« Reply #234 on: August 02, 2014, 09:56:56 AM »

You made an almost exact replica of the QST cover, complete with antique headphones, clock and the books?   Shocked
May I ask why?
The build looks great, by the way.
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KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 804




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« Reply #235 on: August 02, 2014, 10:00:25 AM »

You made an almost exact replica of the QST cover, complete with antique headphones, clock and the books?   Shocked
May I ask why?
The build looks great, by the way.

Because I'm strange Roll Eyes.

Thanks for the compliment.

It's the station I wanted to build in 1969 when my parents gave me the book when we were living in America, but we moved back to Europe and there was a lower-age limit of 14 years old to be licensed in the UK. By the time I reached that age, I had lost interest in ham radio and I never built the station.

Concerning the headphones. The receiver will only work with high-impedance headphones, which are no longer widely available. Thus it was actually logical to use the "antique" 'phones (although, I could have used an output transformer and connected modern 'phones....). The other period details simply prove that I'm outstandingly eccentric (I'm British, so it comes with the territory).

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 10:12:47 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 804




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« Reply #236 on: August 19, 2014, 02:18:21 AM »

It's been a bad month for Morse-learning, with heavy work and family commitments. I have devoted a fair amount of time to Morse, but exhaustion is contributing to "bad" recognition scores. (I haven't bothered to calculate the rate, but it's much lower than 90 percent.) I have spent more time than usual doing *sending* practice, and monitoring QSOs on the air, which is fun.

Despite the "bad" scores, in the spirit of "forging ahead" I am adding a new character today.

The 33 characters learned so far are: K, M, R, S, U, A, P, T, L, O, W, I, ., N, J, E, F, 0, Y, V, ,, G, 5, /, Q, 9, Z, H, 3, 8, B, ? and 4.

Today I am adding the 34th character which is "2" or di-di-dah-dah-dah.

One possible factor in the "bad" scores is that I recently switched the software to "favor recently learned characters." This is useful when you are approaching the end of the Koch course because otherwise, the new characters tend to get "drowned" within the large number of already learned characters. But it also tends, initially, to lower your score because a large percentage of the characters you hear in your headphones are new, less familiar ones.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 804




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« Reply #237 on: August 27, 2014, 12:28:57 PM »

I would like to make a general observation about "writing it down" vs. "head copy."

Often I hear the argument, "But I just can't write fast enough to copy at 20wpm or 25wpm with pencil and paper."

So just for the heck of it, I just sat down with a stopwatch and wrote a stock phrase down on a piece of paper, in capital letters. (NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD MEN TO COME TO THE AID OF THE PARTY.)

Without even pushing myself, I discovered that I was writing at 28wpm (and it would have been much faster in longhand, of course).

The problem, in my opinion, has nothing to do with "not being able to write fast enough," at least not below about 30wpm. I believe that the problem is entirely with the speed of the mental "Morse copying" process.

If you can get to the point where, upon hearing the Morse character, it comes out of your pencil automatically and without effort, it is my opinion that copying with pencil and paper should be not only possible, but relatively easy and non-stressful, at speeds of up to 25wpm. Beyond that, you'd probably either need to develop a form of written shorthand, or use a "mill" (old-fashioned typewriter or modern keyboard) if you want a paper record of what you're copying.

In my case, what happens is that even at 20wpm I can copy whole strings of characters relatively easily, and then suddenly I hit one or two characters that I still haven't completely "internalized" in my brain. At that point, copying falters and if I'm not careful, I lose an entire word before getting back into the saddle.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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M0LEP
Member

Posts: 209




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« Reply #238 on: August 27, 2014, 06:23:54 PM »

Without even pushing myself, I discovered that I was writing at 28wpm (and it would have been much faster in longhand, of course).

I guess folks differ quite a bit there... I did something similar (using "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog") and discovered that if I wasn't writing longhand then I could manage 22wpm at best, and after a couple of minutes at that speed I'll be feeling writer's cramp. My comfortable copy-taking (character by character) speed is definitely somewhat slower than that, especially if it's sustained for five minutes or more. Anything faster has to be taken longhand (whole words at a time). I suppose, longhand, I might manage 30wpm for a short while.

At that point, copying falters

Non-words (especially callsigns, but some punctuation and numbers too) do that to me.

Tomorrow's my first chance in three weeks to catch GB2CW. I wonder how far back I've fallen...

73, Rick M0LEP
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KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 804




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« Reply #239 on: August 28, 2014, 12:37:53 AM »

Without even pushing myself, I discovered that I was writing at 28wpm (and it would have been much faster in longhand, of course).

I guess folks differ quite a bit there... I did something similar (using "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog") and discovered that if I wasn't writing longhand then I could manage 22wpm at best, and after a couple of minutes at that speed I'll be feeling writer's cramp.

Makes sense that folks would differ on this. In a former life, I worked as an international journalist for nearly 15 years and often had to take written notes "on the fly" and sometimes for long periods of time (a long press conference or interview), including verbatim quotes that would be reproduced in the articles I wrote later. So I've had a lot of practice.

I also find that ergonomics make a big difference. Several things make it easier for me:
--Sitting relatively low down and close to the table (for hand-writing). For typing, the opposite is true: it's best to be perched reasonably high above the keyboard.
--Writing as small as possible.
--Using efficient strokes of the pencil: there is a "Signal Corps" method of writing that is taught in old ARRL books; I don't follow it 100 percent but it's a good place to start.
--Using a recently sharpened pencil, not a ballpoint or other pen.
--Making sure that the headphone cable is tucked out of the way.
--Total lack of distractions such as extraneous noise, or people walking around in the vicinity. Until recently, I did all of my code practice in the living room, in front of a PC. Recently I moved it to the shack, violating my "all-analogue shack" rule by putting an old laptop on the station desk for use during code practice. I can shut the door and be in a totally peaceful environment.

Having said that, I still find there are huge variations in performance from one day to the next. Copy success is closely connected with (a) how much sleep I've had and (b) general mood and stress level. For instance, the past month has been high-stress (in a good way, getting some important "life and family" things done). Now that the stress is largely over, Morse performance has improved noticeably; plus, I've got back to doing at least 30 minutes of code practice (copying and sending) per day.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: August 28, 2014, 12:49:45 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
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