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Author Topic: My Morse Learning Campaign  (Read 71297 times)
KB1WSY
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Posts: 714




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« Reply #120 on: January 12, 2014, 09:32:35 AM »

Today I'm still on the 24-character drill, at 20wpm Actual Character Speed combined with 17wpm Effective Code Speed ("Farnsworth spacing").

It is going better than I expected. I'm not at the 90 percent copy level yet, and I can tell that it could take me a while to get accustomed to the higher speed -- probably several days. But I do get fairly long bursts of fluent copy, which come to an end with a sort of "exit lane" while I take a breather before coming back a word or two later. When characters are dropped, there's no time to "figure stuff out," which is precisely the effect I was aiming for.

Am also copying a lot of QSOs on the air today, especially 20m which is pretty busy.

Here is a suggestion I make . You are using Morse code Software which I never used because there were no computers in my day as far as I know.

Start your lesson of the week like this :: GGG GGG GGG de KB1WSY KB1WSY KB1WSY K  Using the letter you are adding new or having trouble with this week. Sending VVV is waste of time to start your lessons IMHO . You can make up your own lessons to copy or start them out like this, I am guessing ?

[snip...]

Learning Morse code is memorizing sounds. The more you hear the sounds the better the memory. When I was doing call sign copy I did ok on many calls, then a odd one would come up and I would miss it at higher speeds. But I logged my own call several times in those programs and my call could have been sent at 50 wpm or some call I know well and I would not miss them. That is nothing more than memory stored in the brain of a sound.

Thanks for the advice! Practice, practice, practice; listen, listen, listen ... those seem to be the keys (pun intended).

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 09:36:47 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
KB1WSY
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« Reply #121 on: January 14, 2014, 05:27:21 AM »

Still on the 24-character drills, still at 17wpm, slow (but measurable) progress.
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KB1WSY
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Posts: 714




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« Reply #122 on: January 15, 2014, 03:31:14 AM »

Still on the 24-character drills at 17wpm. Sometimes they go well, but most of the time they go badly. I "go off the rails" and miss entire words before getting "back on the rails."

It seems that if I allow myself to "copy behind" it works much better, in other words writing down the characters with a slight time lag, while keeping the following characters in a kind of "buffer memory" in the brain. This is especially the case with "fast" element combinations that have a lot of dits, involving the characters E, I or S for instance. I think "copy behind" is a valuable skill and I'll probably linger at this level for a while as I try to make it a routine reflex.

I also suspect that "copy behind" is one of the procedures the brain uses when "head copying."

The good news is that I seem to have annihilated the "lookup table in the brain" for the time being, and I think that's entirely due to the increase in speed from 15wpm to 17wpm.

Today is also when I begin applying a New Year's Resolution to get fitter and lose some weight, by going to the gym on a daily basis, after a two-year lapse. I *hate* "gym exercise" but what I've done is loaded up some W1AW code bulletins at 18wpm onto a small MP3 player. My workouts, usually on a stationary bicyle or treadmill, last about 45 minutes and I will try to kill the "exercise boredom" by listening to the bulletins on headphones. It's another attempt to progress with "head copy."

Too bad that the recent bulletin is a very technical solar condition forecast with lots of numbers ... ARRL is in the middle of revamping its code archive, thus only a handful of bulletins are currently available -- the most recent ones. "Solar activity declined somewhat this week. The average of daily sunspot numbers retreated nearly 21 points from 134.4 to 114.6, and average solar flux was off nearly 21 points to 138.8.  Geomagnetic indices were quiet.  These comparisons are between the recent seven day reporting period....." The other people at the gym will probably think that I am "hearing voices"....

I also have software that can turn any text into Morse. For instance I have the "To be or not to be" speech from Hamlet. I wonder whether listening to very familiar texts in Morse is helpful, or not? The gurus keep saying that the "practice tapes" are no good once you've memorized them....

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: January 15, 2014, 03:37:18 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
PA0WV
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Posts: 105




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« Reply #123 on: January 15, 2014, 04:42:31 AM »

I wonder whether listening to very familiar texts in Morse is helpful, or not? The gurus keep saying that the "practice tapes" are no good once you've memorized them....

73 de Martin, KB1WSY


Are that the same gurus that preach that you have to recognize whole words (and hence exercise that)?

Very good to listen to the same text of 5 minutes duration with unknown content, and when you get used to it change it.
However better take plain daily laymans text, then some antique unusual grammar.

You can find the 5000 most used words in US English in wikipedia (or probably also elsewhere), put them in the JustLearnMorseCode program separated by new lines (0x0D) and play them random, preferably in groups sorted on length to chose from. When you record that you are learning with optimal result.

When you have a staircase in your house and walk it up, weighting 80 kg (Oops a USA citizen:  ) 150 kg and the difference in height is 3 m you produced 4500 joule, that is 0.24*4500 cal=1080 cal
For intercontinental understanding: 1 cal is the amount of energy needed to warm up 1 gram of water 1 degree centigrade.

So by walking up the staircase you need 1 kCal. 1 kg fat is 8000 kCal
Hence  to lose 1 kg of your weight in fat, you need to walk up the staircase 8000 times. (increasing to 15000 times when you approach 80 kg)

You better make your QSO's, relax and sit back, but do not eat your normal amount of food (>2500 kCal/day for US citizens) but half that amount. Then your weight lowers about 1 kg each week  without any exercising that makes you hungry, cost your time and money.

BTW on my website http://pa0wv.home.xs4all.nl/zelfbouw.html you will find a pretty large number of home brew learning aids for CW. transmitting and receiving.

« Last Edit: January 15, 2014, 04:50:06 AM by PA0WV » Logged
KB1WSY
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Posts: 714




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« Reply #124 on: January 15, 2014, 04:57:20 AM »


Are that the same [gurus] guns that preach that you have to recognize whole words (and hence exercise that)?

Very good to listen to the same text of 5 minutes duration with unknown content, and when you get used to it change it.
However better take plain daily laymans text, then some antique unusual grammar.

You can find the 5000 most used words in US English in wikipedia (or probably also elsewhere), put them in the JustLearnMorseCode program separated by new lines (0x0D) and play them random, preferably in groups sorted on length to chose from. When you record that you are learning with optimal result.

[snip]

BTW on my website http://pa0wv.home.xs4all.nl/zelfbouw.html you will find a pretty large number of learning aids for CW. transmitting and receiving.

Thank you for the advice, and there is a lot on your website! My daughter is studying Dutch BTW.

When you have a staircase in your house and walk it up, weighting 80 kg (Oops a USA citizen:  ) 150 kg and the difference in height is 3 m you produced 4500 joule, that is 0.24*4500 cal=1080 cal

I weigh 83 kilos (183 pounds) and my height is 1m93 (6-foot-4). That's about 8 kilos more than when I arrived in America 15 years ago. But this is getting away from the topic of Morse! I'm not a big eater -- for example, in America the restaurant portions are huge and I often only eat one-third of what's on my plate. I also walk about 5 kilometers (3 miles) per day and I try to use public transport, not the car, as often as possible.

The problem in my case is that I am sitting behind a desk all day, every day (even weekends) because I have a home business and we are very busy. A few years ago I managed to lose 5 kilos, and at the time I was also going to the gym every day, but those 5 kilos came back, quite quickly. It is true that exercise doesn't have very much effect on weight: in my gym "workout" I usually "burn" about 300 calories ... which is about what you will find in a couple of "non-fat" yoghurts!!! I am also too fond of beer and wine ... cutting down on alcohol seems to make a bigger difference than cutting down on food, in my case. So I need to reduce the intake, but not too much! I'm not a Puritan!

Now, if I can find a way to combine "taking exercise" with "learning Morse" I might make better progress in losing weight!
« Last Edit: January 15, 2014, 05:05:44 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
N2EY
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Posts: 3875




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« Reply #125 on: January 15, 2014, 06:36:46 AM »

One thing I started doing as a young ham, and still do today, is to have Morse as "background music".

I would tune in a CW QSO, or W1AW, or whatever I could find, and just let it play while I did other things. Fast, slow, whatever. In the old days I would pick out a letter or two; today it's like listening to somebody talk.

This does NOT replace active learning! But it helps.

I equipped my cell phone (Samsung Note) with MorseRing, a 99 cent app, the day I got it. It "rings" by sending the caller's name as it appears in my contacts list, or the number if it is not on the list. That way, I know exactly who is calling by the ringtone itself.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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LB3KB
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Posts: 224


WWW

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« Reply #126 on: January 15, 2014, 07:22:11 AM »

You can find the 5000 most used words in US English in wikipedia (or probably also elsewhere), put them in the JustLearnMorseCode program separated by new lines (0x0D) and play them random

You can do that.  You could also just select /Source/Words.  The 1000 most common words are built into the program.


73
K4NL Sid
justlearnmorsecode.com
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PA0WV
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Posts: 105




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« Reply #127 on: January 15, 2014, 08:53:36 AM »



You can do that.  You could also just select /Source/Words.  The 1000 most common words are built into the program.


73
K4NL Sid
justlearnmorsecode.com

Sri Sid,

First of all thanks for making that excellent program for the ham fraternity.

I came to that advice because I put another language in the thesaurus of your program.

May be an idea for the next release, to add repetition of the words. Can also be done by the user of your program, I suppose, by repetition of the repetition words space separated with an editor.

I published the Kujer2, it is on my website, which is pronounced as QRQ-er, that is home brew hardware and transmits
words that when I began were 10 times repeated, but right now 3 times. Mostly I copied the first time correct and read known data during the two repetitions. It makes me very proficient in a relative short time. Last November I claimed 71 wpm words copied correct at the during a hamfest orginized CW competition "Dag van de Radio Amateur 2013" Top of the list at age 80 with the with that age degenetated brains. Amateur, not some ex professional telegrapher.

So I Believe that I have the right way of exercising the art of CW. But often I read that it differs from person to person what the right way is.
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20559




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« Reply #128 on: January 15, 2014, 11:47:51 AM »

Quick question for the CW mavens: does anyone still preface their transmissions with VVV VVV?

I actually find it extremely helpful to have a "header" to get my ear tuned in to the transmission speed and fist, but I've barely heard it on the air. If I'm not mistaken, it's something I used to hear more when I was a kid doing SWL (I didn't understand the transmissions, but I knew about the VVV bit).

Interestingly, the canned QSOs that come with G4FON software *do* have the VVV VVV at the start of each "typical" QSO.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY


Martin: No, nobody does that.

However, a lot of hams send "R" or sometimes "R R" or even "R R R" (I guess that means "I copied it all three times!") at the beginning of a rag-chew type transmission.  In rag-chews where the transmissions are each fairly long (maybe a few minutes, or more), it's also common that each "exchange" begins with a full set of callsigns KB1WSY DE WB2WIK, so that provides quite a lot of "preparation" time. 

As you get into more "conversational" rag chews, the full callsign exchange becomes more rare for each transmission, and a simple "BK" signifies "I'm done, back to you."  In full QSK at higher speeds, we often omit the "BK" entirely and just send back and forth any time there's a slight pause.  Then, CW becomes more like a real conversation, such as in person or via telephone.

But slower ops almost always use the full callsign exchange at the start and end of each transmission, until they get steady enough to stop doing that.  And it's still very common.
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KB1WSY
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« Reply #129 on: January 16, 2014, 12:16:16 PM »

Today I supplemented my usual drills with some "passive listening." My food-shopping involves three 20-minute walks so I listened to the W1AW 18wpm bulletin on headphones during all three walks. I deliberately didn't try too hard to "copy" what I was hearing, but instead, tried to snatch individual words here and there and just generally let it soak in. By the end of my walks, after 1 hour of listening (the same bulletin 3 times), I was more familiar with the short words (articles and prepositions) and also some of the longer ones that appeared in the bulletin, for instance: QUIET, MOSTLY, SOLAR, THEN, THIS. These short words were appearing more as "units" than as a collection of individual letters.

Going back to the Koch drills, they seem to be going slightly better, following this "passive" listening. Not a dramatic improvement, but still, interesting.

I'm still at the 24-character level at at 20wpm Actual Character Speed combined with 17wpm Effective Code Speed ("Farnsworth spacing"). Working my way toward the 90 percent accuracy that will allow me to proceed to the next element.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 12:18:26 PM by KB1WSY » Logged
KB1WSY
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« Reply #130 on: January 17, 2014, 02:14:57 PM »

Today my copying at the 24-element level (17/20 speed settings) is still improving, but slowly.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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KB1WSY
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« Reply #131 on: January 18, 2014, 02:34:23 PM »

Encouraging. I've reached 89 percent copy accuracy at the 24-character level at 20wpm Actual Character Speed combined with 17wpm Effective Code Speed ("Farnsworth spacing"). So I am nearly ready to move on to the next element; hopefully within a day or two.

It took me a whole week to get to this level of accuracy on the 24-element level but that surely must be because I was getting accustomed to the faster speed, 17wpm. I'm hopeful that in the future it will take less than a week to assimilate each additional element ... we'll see.

I'm also copying quite a lot of CW on the air, in a fragmentary manner, and continuing to listen "passively" to CW texts on headphones while, for instance, taking my daily walk.

I'm feeling quite confident about the process, and enjoying it, although it looks like it could be very slow. I am finding that, with a lot of practice, the copying is pretty "automatic." I'm also trying to learn to "copy behind" but that is actually quite hard: it requires a strange combination of relaxation and vigilance, but it does seem to be one of the keys to mastering the code.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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KB1WSY
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« Reply #132 on: January 19, 2014, 09:03:14 AM »

OK, I've reached 90 percent accuracy at the 24-element level. However it is not consistent. Sometimes I get high accuracy, but then I do another 5-minute drill and it's below 90 percent.

Now, according to the Koch method, that doesn't matter: I'm just supposed to forge ahead to the next element. However, after what happened last time I "forged ahead," I've decided to go on drilling the 24-element tests to death, until I *consistently* get 90-percent-accurate copy. I don't care how long it takes!

It is clear to me that the problem is somewhat different to the one I used to have. "Back then," the issue was "rogue characters" that were tripping me up. Now however, it's more a question of speed/fluency at 17wpm: it's not triggered by any particular character. That's why I'm keen to get it "completely under control" before forging ahead to the next elements.

At this point is is *very* affected by how much sleep I've had, how relaxed I am, and so forth. N2EY's points about finding a good place to practice, being rested, and so forth are right-on.

One more thing: I still haven't got very far with "copying behind." Sometimes I manage to get into the right "frame of mind" for a few words in a row. But then, a word comes along that's full of dit-characters that just fly by, and it's hard to keep those in the brain's "memory buffer."

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 09:10:18 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
KB1WSY
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« Reply #133 on: January 19, 2014, 09:40:59 AM »

Does anyone know of software that will generate real English-language words, even sentences, from a limited character set? (Meaning, words that only include a specified subset of the entire alphabet?)

I'm thinking of supplementing the Koch random-character drills with drills that would contain "real words" or even "real sentences." The aim being to use those to practice "head copy" and also to become accustomed to the Morse cadence of "real English" which is not the same a random-character drill.

I tried Googling various terms such as "generate english text with limited character set" but all I got were endless references to IT concepts such as ASCII, Unicode, database languages and so forth....

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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M0LEP
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« Reply #134 on: January 19, 2014, 10:19:49 AM »

Does anyone know of software that will generate real English-language words, even sentences, from a limited character set? (Meaning, words that only include a specified subset of the entire alphabet?)

On lcwo.net the word training has an option to pick only words containing characters up to Koch lesson N (where N is 12 or greater). The catch is it uses a progression that differs from LCWO and G4FON in a few small but significant ways...
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