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Author Topic: why "machine gun" high speed CW  (Read 2984 times)
KA1VF
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Posts: 131




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« on: November 17, 2017, 02:51:27 PM »

   I learned Morse Code in 1959 to get a 5 wpm Novice ticket, then a 13 wpm General ticket,
and my traditional comfort level is 18 wpm to 20 wpm. Given the fact that the CW speed
guidelines for Commercial telegraphy and Military telegraphy have always been 20 wpm
to 25 wpm, why do a lot of Amateurs feel the need to operate at 35 wpm and beyond?

                 73,
                      Bob
 
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KE6EE
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Posts: 1861




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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2017, 03:38:19 PM »

Why do a lot of Amateurs feel the need to operate at 35 wpm and beyond?

I went through the same learning process as you, just a couple of years earlier. A few years
later I was a Marine Corps radiotelegraph op. 20 to 25 wpm is a fine speed range for efficient
communication and code that can be clearly and cleanly sent by hand.

Many years later I got a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology and spent several years
as a clinician.

The "why" may well be a variety of anxiety disorder, based on developmental shortcomings.
As in everything else, there are exceptions and no overall explanation will serve for all.

Many ordinary, happy folks do exceptional things because they have special abilities. But I would
guess that because such things come easily for them, they don't make a big deal about it.

The problem seems to me to be that people starting out these days in learning Morse Code come to think about
it in a distorted and self-destructive way, emphasizing the quick achievement of speed. This kind of
thinking comes in large part as a result of the near-universal use of paddles and keyers.

When most ops, amateur, commercial or military, had to rely on hand-powered devices, the ridiculous could not so easily become the norm.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2017, 03:49:45 PM by KE6EE » Logged
K5LXP
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Posts: 5329


WWW

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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2017, 04:39:13 PM »


Because at 20wpm you hear letters, 30+ WPM you start to hear words.  It's transformational.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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K3STX
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Posts: 1589




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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2017, 04:54:04 PM »

1. What Mark said.

2. You have more of a normal conversation, more words per minute before QRM/QRN/QSB sets in.

3. Why not?

paul

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VK5EEE
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Posts: 1155




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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2017, 06:17:03 PM »

Sorry but this seems like a silly question, so I don't understand WHY you are asking it. Is it because YOU yourself see no need to go faster? Or does it worry you that others go faster and you cannot keep up? If so, use a decoder, those of us sending real QRQ either use keyers and very well error free with good spacing, or keyboards. And we are chatting with our friends, at a speed that is COMFORTABLE and ENJOYABLE for us. It is NOT what you are perhaps also thinking that it is a race or showing off. I have one good friend, on and off air, when we go on air sometimes we chat for hours, twice we chatted over six hours. Probably around 30-40 WPM. Now that is considered QRQ by some, and average speed by others. How do you define QRQ? Why does it MATTER? Are two in QSO with each other not free to use whatever speed they like or feel enjoyable and easy and relaxing? Naturally we slow down to the slower of any two in any QSO.
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
K8AXW
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2017, 09:42:04 PM »

For once I agree with EEE.  What the hell....go as fast as you want.....as long as you find someone to chat with at that speed.  I used to watch in awe as two blind kids chatted for an hour or more at 45wpm. They didn't write anything down....being blind....what for.  They were conversing! What's more they were enjoying themselves.  Oh yes, both were using bugs and we recorded them.....played it back at half speed and the character formation was as close to perfect as you could expect.

Now, the military and commercial operators and their speed.  Both copied  verbatium on paper and accuracy was paramount!

The second reason the military limited their operators to no more than 25wpm was because they were monitored and copy was on paper, verbatim.  Many intercept operators could not stay with them at higher speeds and maintain accuracy using a mill.

If an operator can't go faster than 15wpm, go find someone using the same speed and leave the fast guys alone.  It's great to QRQ and head copy CW!
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VK5EEE
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2017, 10:19:26 PM »

For once I totally agree with K8AXW too, well said, great example of a WHY Smiley

Maybe Original Poster could explain to us though why he asked the question? Why does he think there should be a speed limit on CW?
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
G4LNA
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Posts: 144




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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2017, 12:19:50 AM »

   I learned Morse Code in 1959 to get a 5 wpm Novice ticket, then a 13 wpm General ticket,
and my traditional comfort level is 18 wpm to 20 wpm. Given the fact that the CW speed
guidelines for Commercial telegraphy and Military telegraphy have always been 20 wpm
to 25 wpm, why do a lot of Amateurs feel the need to operate at 35 wpm and beyond?

                 73,
                      Bob
 

You think the Americans are fast? You want to listen to the Germans, they are sending somewhere in the 40-50WPM and I often listen, I can't send at their speed and neither can I understand much German, but it's great practice  Grin
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VK5EEE
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Posts: 1155




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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2017, 03:51:22 AM »

True Paul, I used to sometimes chat with the "WAA" brigade, the developers of Pactor back in the late 80s I think, on 80m, they were chatting away at 60+ WPM, I could only go to 45 WPM iambic.

BTW, what's this about 20 WPM in commercial service? Which commercial service? The Russian and many other ship sparks routinely sent telegrams at 35 to 40 WPM. I think O.P. meant the minimum requirement. Naturally one adapts sending speed to conditions as well as the other operators skills, but I've never heard of any reason to advocate a Morse Code "speed limit" and thankfully there is none.
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
KA1VF
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Posts: 131




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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2017, 07:27:02 AM »

An example of Commercial telegraphy operation and guidelines can be found at
the following website www.radiomarine.org (Maritime Radio Historical Society).

      note: They ordered their Vibroplex bugs directly from the factory, and they
               had Vibroplex supply the weights that kept the Operators confined
               to CW speeds between 20 wpm and 25 wpm.


                                  73,
                                       Bob
 
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VK5EEE
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Posts: 1155




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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2017, 07:37:48 AM »

DR OM BOB,

Nice to read your post! MRHS do a FANTASTIC job, as far as I know they are now the ONLY keeping 500 kHz alive world wide. We hope that will continue and that good folks will continue to support MRHS keeping all this expensive to maintain gear running. One day, who knows, after NEMP or huge solar flare knocks the world back into the "dark" ages, maybe ships will again use 500 kHz and valve radios.

Do you have a direct URL to the information on the regulations about the speed, as I cannot find it. Are you saying it was a regulation in USA the bugs had to be kept below a certain speed, or that was what the operators just wanted, since most all communications took place between 20 to 25 WPM as I remember, not just in USA but in most maritime nations. A few were above, a few were below!

Now I understand the context of what you were asking, before it did not make sense. Hopefully the above answers also make it clear why in amateur radio, it is (and was far more common) to have higher speed QSO, because at QRQ nothing is being written down, people are just conversing with full QSK, and it is more natural conversation, with words generally spelt out in full. Thus QRQ at 60WPM for example, is not three times as fast as QRS at 20WPM if less abbreviations are used, but it is easy to chat at that speed (if you have the skill).

I think maybe you may not realise that those who can send at 40 WPM don't find it hard at all, the fingers just "twiddle" on the paddle, which can be even a very small paddle, and the reflexes have been honed, eg. sending "the" one does not think of sending T then H then E but the pattern of small movements that have been done so many times before. Likewise for some at 60WPM or more on a single lever. But if a word like MISSISSIPPI comes along then you will hear long gaps between the letters :-) but not for common words used in general conversation.

In commercial operations obviously things had to be written down and accurately, hence it would not be encouraged nor fruitful nor efficent to send a QTC at 40 WPM! Not that there weren't those who could, but they were few, and there would be little reason to do that when everyone else is going around 22 WPM. But I'd be interested, was there an actual REGULATION limiting the upper speed?
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 07:46:11 AM by VK5EEE » Logged

Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
KE6EE
Member

Posts: 1861




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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2017, 10:20:33 AM »

An example of Commercial telegraphy operation and guidelines can be found at
the following website www.radiomarine.org (Maritime Radio Historical Society).

The folks at MRHS keep the old bugs at the station adjusted as they were by the original commercial ops
through the decades. The preservation of those bug adjustments is a preservation of history as much as
is the preservation of the bugs themselves or any other piece of historic gear at the station.
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KA1VF
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Posts: 131




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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2017, 05:57:00 PM »

   My "MOS" (Military Occupational Specialty) in the U.S. Navy was "RM" (Radioman),
   and I remember that during a orientation/training they briefly mentioned that any
   CW operation on Military freq's ("Circuits") should be limited to the 25 wpm max.

   Regarding CW operation on Commercial freq's (i.e. Maritime), I've never seen any
   written regulations regarding the 25 wpm max. But, it must have been at least a
   "Gentleman's" agreement because most/all Shore stations and Ship stations seem
   to have adhered to it.

   If you want to research this CW speed topic further, I'd suggest that you peruse
   the following website www.radiotelegraphy.net/ and click on the top left screen
   that is titled "Maritime Radio History".
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VK5EEE
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Posts: 1155




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« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2017, 07:33:46 PM »

Thanks Bob. It was a practical limit in maritime radio when taking down telegrams, or sending them, you could also see if the other guy was struggling as the operation was generally full duplex (two frequencies) and if he missed a word he would hit the key. If that happened often you'd slow down and start repeating more things. Above 25 WPM this would usually increase error rates and practical difficulties of the capability of the receiving operator, e.g. typing or writing neatly. It wasn't any legislated speed limit, just a practical one.

For the military, my guess for that limit is because at higher speeds the chances of errors increase, and also, the chances of a "distinguishable fist" would increase even on an electronic keyer, or a keyboard. I myself can sometimes tell from as little as TWO DITS who the other operator is even after many weeks of not hearing them, just a dit dit has been enough, though usually a letter or two. I can tell this partly by the actual keying duration and spacing, milliseconds are a factor, and partly by the actual sound of the transmitter, even these days with T9 again there are small variations e.g. in rise and fall, signal width. I do this with my BRAIN and honed intuition/experience but with a spectrum monitor or panadapter or whatever the latest gadget is, they can easily tell differences even without training.

For military communications, at least in the old days, I don't know about now, that was an important factor "SIGINT" signals intelligence.

But do you know understand why some of us can go fast without effort and enjoy a conversation at a more natural (to us) speed? It's NOT a race, it's NOT showing off. Sometimes I call CW at 50 WPM or barely 60 WPM with my own call sign, for FUN, just to check my reflexes, because then dropping back to say 35 WPM then becomes all that much slower and your timing is more relaxed. Anyone can speed up then slow down to the original speed, and that speed will FEEL slower than it is. This technique is also used when people are learning CW deliberately trying to improve their speed.

No one ever needs to feel that their CW is "inferior" because of a lower speed limit, I hope that goes without saying. "Accuracy transcends speed". Technique and skill is not only speed. Moreover, CW, for us hams, is to be ENJOYED. It is often for relaxation (if not  a contest) and fun, and especially the older we get, we can slow down to enjoy CW in NEW ways: where before we may have sent XX WPM fault free on a keyer and not be able to do that any more, we can take pleasure in the nuances of the GREAT FLEXIBILITY OF CW and in a slower conversation, of no less quality, with a few more abbreviations. We can also take pleasure in new keying methods we'd not tried before, such as a side swiper (cootie), or a straight key. Or even a lever switch button on a QCX.

There are those who also enjoy going faster, as a challenge, and to improve their speed skill, and this then has the result as stated earlier of making their CW at the usual speed(s) even better than before (easier, less timing errors). High Speed Club, Very High Speed Club, Extra High Speed Club, Super High Speed Club, memberships and challenges are part of that. And why not.

Sadly there are not only a decline in the amount of chirps and buzzes on the short waves these days but also there is, in most parts of the world, a dearth of QRQ-QSK chat. It is GREAT FUN to have a QRQ-QSK between even several ham friends, and I've never been able to do this in VK: we have only a half dozen faster OPs (outside of 5NN button pushing) and it seems we never manage to have a QRQ-QSK chat... at least not one that I can remember. I've had many one on ones with those various OPs. So, ham radio, is more flexible!
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
OZ8AGB
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Posts: 344




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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2017, 08:16:26 AM »

The "why" may well be a variety of anxiety disorder, based on developmental shortcomings.
As in everything else, there are exceptions and no overall explanation will serve for all.

It is OHSMCD (Obsessive High Speed Morse Code Disorder). 2 tablets Zoloft every day fixes it (disables your brain).
 Grin
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