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Author Topic: can you multitask while working cw?  (Read 14303 times)
KH2BR
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« on: March 07, 2014, 10:14:19 PM »

I have surprised my self yesterday. I was head copying cw at 35wpm and at the same time reading a web page.
It was like natural. Both content was absorbed and understood. I haven't tried sending and reading at the same time, I don't think that will work.
I know Don, w6jl and he can send cw with one hand and work on his inventions with the other hand at the same time.
He told me that he knows some guys that can send cw and have a conversation with someone at the same time, but he cannot do that. One day I was talking to him and at the same time he was making lunch. He uses wireless headset and paddles.
What about you guys? what kind of incredible things can you do at the same time sending cw?
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KI6LZ
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2014, 10:23:54 PM »

Can't even come close to that. One of my contest buddies that allows guest operators to operate contests at his super station did describe one of those savants that could use left hand to send at 40 wpm while splitting time between eating and typing with his right hand and carrying on a conversation with those in the room at the same time. Guess there are a few like that out there.
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DJ1YFK
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2014, 01:08:28 AM »

I can do almost anything while head copying Morse code: Reading, surfing the net, walking around, eating, and so on. In my student days I converted a lot of books to Morse code with ebook2cw and "read" them while walking around outside or doing the chores at home, with a portable MP3 player.

While sending I can do a lot of things at the same time, including stuff that requires quite some dexterity like typing with my left hand or taking care of tuning the amplifier.

What I cannot do while transmitting (with the exception of sending stuff like "CQ" from muscle memory) is to talk at the same time without stuttering.

Despite lots of claims here and there of people being capable of doing this, I have yet to see it in real life before I believe it.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2014, 02:11:29 AM »

Re: KH2BR

  I did a double take when you mentioned Don W6JL and my eyes immediately went up to his QSL card on the wall, he is definitely a top notch gentleman and ham along with his ultimate homebrew station and he had no problem working my 5 watt qrp/cw station here in Maine. As far as head copy multitasking I'm at the point where I can drink coffee and eat a bowl of cereal and sometimes even look up the contact in my paper log to see last time worked as long as code speed stays in the 12-15 wpm range. I aspire to being able to do that Armchair thing and peruse these eHam forums at the same time.
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KA5QMA
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Posts: 21




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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2014, 04:50:20 PM »

I have surprised my self yesterday. I was head copying cw at 35wpm and at the same time reading a web page.
It was like natural. Both content was absorbed and understood. I haven't tried sending and reading at the same time, I don't think that will work.
I know Don, w6jl and he can send cw with one hand and work on his inventions with the other hand at the same time.
He told me that he knows some guys that can send cw and have a conversation with someone at the same time, but he cannot do that. One day I was talking to him and at the same time he was making lunch. He uses wireless headset and paddles.
What about you guys? what kind of incredible things can you do at the same time sending cw?


Thats very good!
I can understand someone speaking to me while sending or receiving CW, but I can't speak to them in any coherent fashion. I just nod Smiley Way back when, an Elmer told me about USN operators who could work 50 wpm and carry on a conversation at the same time.
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KB1WSY
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2014, 05:41:48 PM »

I'm still learning Morse.

I can, however, think about something else altogether while pencil-copying a practice Morse drill. In fact, I often pencil-copy *better* if I'm also "relaxing" by thinking about something else.

"Head copy" is something else. It's a skill I'm only just beginning to work on.

I'm also a fast touch-typist, a skill I learned in high school 40 years ago. I can type at about 80wpm from "source text" without any "reading" of the text in question, and while thinking about something else altogether.

Unfortunately this requires an old-fashioned keyboard with tactile feedback. I am useless on the modern "touch screens."

« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 05:46:40 PM by KB1WSY » Logged
WD4ELG
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2014, 06:35:34 PM »

DJ1YFK, agree 100%.  The brain focus required to speak and converse, form sentences and interact in real time prevents me from doing CW (or anything else) simultaneously.  I suspect this is true for most humans, which is why it is not a good idea to do cellphone calls from the car.  Even when hands free, it consumes much of the brain.  I argue that having a QSO is NOT the same.  There is no quick back-and-forth, it is a predictable conversation on the ham radio.  No emotional involvement either.  In fact, I have done a lot of CW DXing while driving (not in traffic).  If it is just the callsign and signal report, easy on CW.  A rag chew is more involved and I tend to not do it unless there is no traffic around. 
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W4FO
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2014, 12:52:41 PM »

Well I use to think I was a pretty god CW op, but you guys sure have me beat. Shocked
pat w4fo
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K8AXW
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2014, 06:12:42 PM »

2BR:  I got a nice grin from your post.  Any cold war Morse intercept operator can copy 25wpm on a mill with one hand, drink a Coke and smoke a cigarette with the other hand while carrying on a conversation without missing a character!

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AE7UT
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Posts: 73




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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2014, 10:44:43 PM »

There have been numerous studies on multitasking.
They almost invariably show cognitive impairment in
the multitask groups.   Productivity is worse when trying
to multitask and it has been pretty well proven that doing
single tasks serially is more productive.

Interestingly the worst multitaskers were the people who
"thought" they were the best multitaskers.

This may not correlate with CW but.....

73
Stan AE7UT

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KI6LZ
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Posts: 602




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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2014, 11:29:55 PM »

The word multitask got all muddled up by the computer industry. Try mowing your lawn and washing your car at the same time. Now that is multitasking.
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NK7Z
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2014, 04:16:07 AM »

Can't even come close to that. One of my contest buddies that allows guest operators to operate contests at his super station did describe one of those savants that could use left hand to send at 40 wpm while splitting time between eating and typing with his right hand and carrying on a conversation with those in the room at the same time. Guess there are a few like that out there.


I bet he was an older Navy operator...  Most of the WWII Navy guys that did code, could do that sort of thing...
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
M0LEP
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Posts: 220




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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2014, 04:41:19 AM »

Most of the WWII Navy guys that did code, could do that sort of thing...

For some folk, Morse clearly gets through at a sub-conscious level. At least one OM at one of my local clubs, who was an intercept operator way back, has told me he could take down five letter code groups while holding a conversation. There was a Gaelic language programme on TV in Scotland recently about ships radio officers, presented by one and interviewing a number of others. One of them said he could pretty much sleep at his desk and wake up the instant he heard his ship's callsign. More than one of them mentioned taking down the day's messages while doing other things...

Me? I have to give Morse all my concentration, and I still miss stuff...
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NK7Z
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2014, 05:28:11 AM »

Most of the WWII Navy guys that did code, could do that sort of thing...

For some folk, Morse clearly gets through at a sub-conscious level. At least one OM at one of my local clubs, who was an intercept operator way back, has told me he could take down five letter code groups while holding a conversation. There was a Gaelic language programme on TV in Scotland recently about ships radio officers, presented by one and interviewing a number of others. One of them said he could pretty much sleep at his desk and wake up the instant he heard his ship's callsign. More than one of them mentioned taking down the day's messages while doing other things...

Me? I have to give Morse all my concentration, and I still miss stuff...
I used to know a fellow who could do this...  He would hold a chat, be listening to CW, at the same time, and then when the CW was done, write down all that was sent.  All the while talking to me...  Scary!
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
W3HKK
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« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2014, 12:38:39 PM »

Good thread.

Prior to multi-tasking, just to get up to a good speed copying cw, I had to teach myself NOT to write down what I was copying.  Of course, if you do write it down, you cant be going that fast. 

Now with computers, logging a qso during a contest is the only "writing" I do. 

It IS hard to listen to  choppy cw, rushed cw, or oddly spaced dots/dashes, but by doing so ( without ever telling the guy on the other end he has a poor fist- as one poster on her asked - since the guy is doing the best he can)  you get to appreciate those who have all together.   And perhaps recognize you may be  working a guy who is getting up there in age or has  a medical issue, but still loves cw enough to get on the air and give it a go.  good for him!
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