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eHam Forums => CW => Topic started by: KH2BR on September 22, 2013, 06:22:52 PM



Title: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KH2BR on September 22, 2013, 06:22:52 PM
Some fists are really really bad but it could be due to a disability. They could be using there foot
But I would be ashamed to ask. So would you dare tell the other op that there fist sucks really bad?
What kind of excuse would you use to bail out of a bad fist qso?
Would you hang in there and help him  get his fist working better.
What's the right thing to do?


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WX2S on September 22, 2013, 06:32:34 PM
What purpose would it serve? It'd be like telling someone that their baby was ugly.

I find it a bit frustrating to work hams who can't go very fast, but I do it to build their speed.

-WX2S.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K7KBN on September 22, 2013, 07:18:58 PM
WX2S - I think he meant that the speed was okay but the fist was just bad: poor spacing, misadjusted bug, etc.

I have used QSD many times.  Might as well be I who tells the station about the problem- if everybody was "nice" about it, how would he ever know?


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K8AXW on September 22, 2013, 08:36:34 PM
2S has a point.  This problem falls into the same category as telling someone they have bad breath.....B.O......etc.

If you really get frustrated you might send him a QLF  (Now try sending with your LEFT food!)

Actually the answer is basically the same as dealing with bad breath..... don't answer them, or if his fist turns to crap sometimes after the QSO starts, drop him. 

After he checks his antenna, power output and SWR for the 50th time, he might think, maybe it's my sending.  Uh-huh....



Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: GW3OQK on September 23, 2013, 01:27:04 AM
I use QSD to indicate a faulty transmission such a slow switching where the beginning of the transmission is lost. I have heard people calling FQ FQ. Ocasionally I use it when they can not control their keyer and keep sending extra dots and can not even send their call sign correctly. If its a someone using a straight key trying his best I'd persevere and try to make my own morse perfect and error free so he/she knows what it should be. What would you say to LX1NJ who insists on sending the "1" with an extra dash as dit dah dah dah dah dah dah?
Andrew


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: W1JKA on September 23, 2013, 02:21:34 AM
    No, since I operate qrp I simply use the typical canned QRT excuses or try to bow out gracefully with the all to frequent QSB/QRM excuse. Not that my own fist is that great either.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N9KX on September 23, 2013, 02:29:19 AM
i have yet to tell anyone, but will probably do so before too long.  The one thing that bugs me the most though is when i hear an op sending dahs BARELY longer than their dits...   maybe i am wrong, but it seems to be a modern problem as i don't remember hearing that issue three decades ago but now i hear it more than i should. 

i guess one could look their email up via qrz.com and send them this video with its beautiful keying and tell them they really 'need' to check this out  :P ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOqbjbzC9V8 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOqbjbzC9V8)


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: AC4RD on September 23, 2013, 04:13:06 AM
... I use it when they can not control their keyer and keep sending extra dots and can not even send their call sign correctly.

Oh, you HAVE worked me, then.  :-)   I've got a problem with muscle tremor, the last few years.  It makes it hard for me to send by hand unless I slow WAY down.  I can work CW just fine as long as my memory buttons on the keyer are working--they cover a lot of standard exchanges for DX and contesting.  But if you ask me "UR COUNTY?" and I don't have that in one of my memory buttons, instead of "WAKE" you're likely to get "W A DAH DITDITDIT SRI " and another try.

It's embarrassing, but I'd rather not give up CW because of this, not yet, at least.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WX2S on September 23, 2013, 07:27:50 AM
KBN: My point was that the polite thing to do is to just work through the frustration, whatever it's source. Take a look at my QRZ.com page if you want to see what I'm talking about. 30 years QRT didn't do my fist any favors. I'm slowly getting it back, but I still make a lot of mistakes. And I'm very aware of when I muff it.

73, wx2s.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KA0HVE on September 23, 2013, 07:56:28 AM
I've got a problem with muscle tremor, the last few years.  It makes it hard for me to send by hand unless I slow WAY down.

It's embarrassing, but I'd rather not give up CW because of this, not yet, at least.

I'm almost in the same boat.  My tremors come and go.  It helps when I send around 10 or 11 wpm.  Last night I was using my iambic key and 3 different times I couldn't make a dah while calling CQ and sent a string of dits when trying to send the 'A' in my call sign.  I just shut off the radio for the night.  Yeah, it's embarrassing when I mess up CQ or even my call sign but I really like CW.  I have another rig that will do SSB and I have a matching microphone for it.  I'd rather leave them on the shelf though.

As for the OP statement, I've run into people that seem to only send dahs but you can pretty much tell from their timing what they are trying to say.  Personally, I wouldn't dream of saying anything to them on the air.  If I had a friend in a face-to-face QSO I would probably tactfully mention some ways of improving such as using cwget  on a computer to copy code from his code practice oscillator speaker.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K8AXW on September 23, 2013, 08:18:08 AM
Perhaps I'm wrong.....callous....whatever you wish to call it..... but I think if you have a handicap, rather it's tremors or whatever, it's time to set aside the key. 

This is no different than poor eyesight requiring one to give up the car keys or put away the pistol. 

There is usually an alternative with CW though fellow keybangers.  That's a keyboard keyer.  While physical problems might limit the use of our hands, our minds quite often can continue to copy and enjoy using Morse code. 

As for a keyboard keyer, a person can continue using CW with just one finger.  The "I can't find the keys fast enough" excuse is just that.  It might take a short learning period but it's really easy. A lot shorter than learning to use a key.

I've built three keyboard keyers and they're an incredible device.  Instead of banging a key, which in some cases is synonymous with banging one's head against a wall, try a keyboard keyer. 

Put some fun back into your hobby both for yourself and those who you want to work.



Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KC8Y on September 23, 2013, 09:10:33 AM
I am handicapped and totally agree with all the comments.

Have a rare form of MS: late-onset muscle atrophy/advancing deteriation of all muscles in body.

Going to try to perform CW (first-keyer, second-keyboard) but i can only do about 12WPM, after being  25-years away from it!

K8AXW-since your in WV (not too far from me), kinda interested in your keyboard keyerss.  E-mail me at kc8y@arr.net

.




Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KC8Y on September 23, 2013, 09:16:13 AM
MY typing error :(

e-mail---- kc8y@arrl.net


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: NI0C on September 23, 2013, 09:24:49 AM
My experience is that most people with bad fists know it all too well, and are grateful to make QSO's with people who can copy them.  I am not talking about those who try to send way faster than they can reliably control their keyers. 
73,
Chuck  NI0C


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KA0HVE on September 23, 2013, 09:37:14 AM
There is usually an alternative with CW though fellow keybangers.  That's a keyboard keyer.  While physical problems might limit the use of our hands, our minds quite often can continue to copy and enjoy using Morse code.

As for a keyboard keyer, a person can continue using CW with just one finger.  The "I can't find the keys fast enough" excuse is just that.  It might take a short learning period but it's really easy. A lot shorter than learning to use a key.

Put some fun back into your hobby both for yourself and those who you want to work.

A keyboard keyer is definitely next on my list.

I can type all day long and I've always been good at it.  Tremors cause me to double strike a key now and then but I assume I can edit my message before I hit the key (enter?) to send the message.  I know the day is coming when I have to give up the regular keys and go to a keyboard and that day may be here a lot sooner than I had hoped.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N0IU on September 23, 2013, 09:37:49 AM
KC8Y,

Since you already have a computer, you might want to look at a program like CWType.

http://www.dxsoft.com/en/products/cwtype/.

It is 100% free plus you can put in 12 macros with the ability to add 12 more using the CTRL key and of course you can type in real time. The only thing you will need is a way to key your radio. I use a "real" serial port, but I believe this can also be made to work with a USB-to-serial adapter.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KC8Y on September 23, 2013, 03:06:53 PM
Already have CWget and CWtype software.  My keyer, also accepts my keyboard (as input).  I use the CWget as machine receiving; also use FLdigi software.

Gonna try to see just what speed i can manually (hand)  receive at  CW :)

Thanks for info.





Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: LB3KB on September 23, 2013, 04:02:06 PM
I don't see the point of telling somebody that basically, they suck.

Nobody is forcing you to work a bad fist, if you don't like what you hear just move on.


A friend of mine went to JW-land and wanted to offer other hams a chance to work that prefix.  One of the hams trying to work him must have had trouble getting through, because he did get one message through: "You're the worst DX operator ever!"

I'm sure that made it real tempting for him to do spend his time and money like that again.


I have seen myself spotted on clusters with descriptions such as "loose fingers, no ears" and "have yuo RX ?".  Granted, my sending has been bad at times and it takes time to learn how to handle a pileup, but why should I restrict my practice to the computer when I am actually able to successfully make thousands of contacts ?  Doesn't it go without saying that I can't necessariy hear you just because you can hear me ?


If you don't like what you're hearing, turn that dial.  If you don't like what you're doing, do something else.


73
K4NL Sid
justlearnmorsecode.com (http://justlearnmorsecode.com)


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K7KBN on September 23, 2013, 04:10:11 PM
QSD = "your KEYING is defective".

Doesn't say anything about you, personally, and certainly doesn't say "you suck".


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N9KX on September 24, 2013, 09:56:37 AM
The one thing that bugs me the most though is when i hear an op sending dahs BARELY longer than their dits...   

i suppose the direct thing to do would simply be to send: "pse make ur dashes 3 times longer than ur dits"


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N0IU on September 24, 2013, 01:49:53 PM
The one thing that bugs me the most though is when i hear an op sending dahs BARELY longer than their dits...   

i suppose the direct thing to do would simply be to send: "pse make ur dashes 3 times longer than ur dits"

In the time it takes to do that, I could have already QSY'd and found someone else with a decent fist to talk to!


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WY4J on September 24, 2013, 02:15:01 PM
I think that sometimes people can develop bad habits such as joining letters together to make a strange new sounds and they will not even know it. Bad sending with a bug can be hell on your ears. But as many have said, a bad fist might be due to some sort of disability. Why be cruel and nasty if you can just move on or not respond.  I'm sure that when nobody responds or they cut you off really fast, you figure it out.  ;D


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WX2S on September 25, 2013, 05:24:06 AM
Oh, you HAVE worked me, then.  :-)   I've got a problem with muscle tremor, the last few years.  It makes it hard for me to send by hand unless I slow WAY down. 
i wonder if a breath key would help? I saw a reference but can't dig it up at the moment.

73, wx2s.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WX2S on September 25, 2013, 05:35:36 AM
Or do this...

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6Y-yOz0-Vv0&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D6Y-yOz0-Vv0

 ;D

Wx2s.




Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K8AXW on September 25, 2013, 09:05:40 AM
2S:  That's a great YouTube video...... K8LKC is without a doubt the most prolific and talented key maker I've ever seen!  Beautiful keys!

Worth the look.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N4UM on September 25, 2013, 10:38:35 AM
I'd never tell someone they had a bad fist.  I might say "I'm having trouble copying you" but would leave the reason unstated.  I suspect that most operators with bad fists are already well aware of their difficulties. The earlier suggestions of using a keyboard keyer or some type of CW software such as  CWType software are the same as I would have offered.  CWType is a  a freebie and does an excellent job.  It actually has 36 available slots for macros so if you're very limited  you can at least employ a diverse selection of material to send.

It's probably been more than 50 years since I've heard a CW operator with a really pronounced "banana boat swing."  I kinda miss it.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KB2FCV on September 25, 2013, 01:42:29 PM
I wouldn't. I have no idea if they have some sort of disability that is preventing them from sending good code. I would feel like a complete jerk if I made some sort of suggestion / criticism and the came back with why they might be sending the way they are. If I work someone with difficult-to-understand cw I just get through the QSO as best I can and enjoy the contact.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: AE7UT on September 25, 2013, 04:10:02 PM
I'm new to CW and only send at about 10-12 WPM.

The other night I sent CQ and got a call back.  After a couple of exchanges I had a difficult time copying the guy.  He just seemed to be struggling to send well.  He then explained he was in his 80's and was struggling after having had a stroke.  It was a great chat and I'm glad I hung in there.  I hope when part of my brain is mush some younger guy will bear with me as well.  I don't think I've met a rude CW Op yet and I doubt I'd be an active ham if all I had was SSB.

Thanks to all of those who have helped me learn this great facet of ham radio.

73
Stan AE7UT


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WX2S on September 25, 2013, 04:38:02 PM
The only rude CW ops I've run into have also been anonymous.

73,
Wx2s.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: AG6EB on September 27, 2013, 03:44:04 PM
i'm pretty new and spend way more time listening than talking, but the one thing that totally screws up my copying is running letters together, i guess because i've not yet internalized all the letter rhythms to the point that i can distinguish them without spacing. maybe a symptom of learning the "farnsworth" way. anyway, i am new enough that I am absolutely not going to even consider criticizing someone else's sending. i'll ask them to repeat themselves a few times and if it is clear it's not going to happen i'll excuse myself with "sri no copy" and give up. i've gotten better at dealing with odd dot-dash ratios and can even copy bug users now and then but run-together letters just completely throw me off and I get totally lost.

I've also noticed that lots of people seem to send extra dots, it seems very common. i've certainly done it too and since as a new cw op i generally still know what's meant, i assume more experienced ops don't find it a problem at all.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: W8DPC on September 27, 2013, 04:08:52 PM
Some fists are really really bad but it could be due to a disability. They could be using there foot

I know (or assume) you were serious about this comment, but I still can't help but laugh... imagine asking a non-disabled ham "Excuse me, but are you sending with your foot?"

I wouldn't personally say anything to the sender. If you can't copy them, then just don't work them. But I don't think telling them they aren't doing very well would actually help anything. Even if they don't have a very good fist, they are probably still doing the best they can. Maybe you could ask them how long they've been on CW. If it hasn't been very long, maybe that would explain the problem.

Dave
KX8N


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N4OI on September 28, 2013, 07:04:47 AM
My experience is that most people with bad fists know it all too well, and are grateful to make QSO's with people who can copy them.  I am not talking about those who try to send way faster than they can reliably control their keyers. 
73,
Chuck  NI0C

I agree with this completely!  In addition to having a conversation with another ham (who more than likely has an incredible story about their experiences in WW2 or maritime radio ops), I find these challenges an opportunity to improve my CW copy skills. 

73


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N4OI on September 28, 2013, 07:14:41 AM
i have yet to tell anyone, but will probably do so before too long.  The one thing that bugs me the most though is when i hear an op sending dahs BARELY longer than their dits...   maybe i am wrong, but it seems to be a modern problem [...]

OK -- I may get flamed for this comment.  I believe that the popularity of SKCC and its restrictions that dictate using only straight keys and bugs have contributed to the rise of poor fists on the bands.  Paddles and keyers are bonafide sending devices also -- and enable not only cleaner code, but fists that are easily copied up to 30 WPM or more. 

That said, I am a member of SKCC and even have a nice Begali straight key and an old Vibroplex bug so I can play along with the SKCC folks.  But the vast majority of bad fists seem to hang around those n.050-55 MHz SKCC band segments.   

Just sayin'

73


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WN2C on September 28, 2013, 08:42:17 AM
Heard a guy sending  -.     -.     --     .-  (nnma) ???    took me a while to figure out he was actually sending  -.-.  --.-   :-\

No I did not work him!


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K8AXW on September 28, 2013, 09:12:36 AM
OI brings up an interesting point for any QLF operators reading this threat.  The two major problems straight key operators have is improperly adjusted keys and running characters together...in other words, improper spacing between characters and words.

Of a straight key is set with the contacts too far apart the resulting code sounds "choppy", i.e., the dahs sounding too much like dits.

FWIW, the key contacts should be adjusted to the thickness of a post card.  Yea, I know, this is determined by the individual operator..... but the "norm" is one post card thickness spacing. 

But, the bottom line to all of these comments is that those with crummy fists never recognize themselves as having crummy fists. 


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N9KX on September 29, 2013, 08:09:12 AM

OK -- I may get flamed for this comment.  I believe that the popularity of SKCC and its restrictions that dictate using only straight keys and bugs have contributed to the rise of poor fists on the bands.  Paddles and keyers are bonafide sending devices also -- and enable not only cleaner code, but fists that are easily copied up to 30 WPM or more. 

That said, I am a member of SKCC and even have a nice Begali straight key and an old Vibroplex bug so I can play along with the SKCC folks.  But the vast majority of bad fists seem to hang around those n.050-55 MHz SKCC band segments.   

Just sayin'

73

I notice you said that the SKCC may contribute to the problem and that is fair as long as it isn't misconstrued as causing the problem. 
the way i see it, bad fists have 3 major causes:

1. newbie fist.  it takes practice to master any physical exercise and acquire the proper muscle memory for auto-pilot performance.
2. disability.  many disabilities can lead to trouble sending with proper timing.
3. unawareness.  one may be oblivious to how their keying sounds on the receiving end.  recording one's own fist can be of help.

since the SKCC club seeks to increase straight key use and appreciation, it would follow that it leads to an increase in newbie fists. And, the more op.s we have necessarily leads to an increase in all 3 categories (though it also leads to more good fists too).

if one encounters a fist one sees has a lot of opportunity for improvement, sending the other op. via email a recording of the conversation could help.   i think that would be informative rather than mean or unkind. (unfortunately i have not familiarity with an easy way to use my PC to record CW conversations).  Maybe someone out there can designate him or herself bad fist police and create an email account specifically to send recordings of cw QSO's to respective hams by using QRZ email addresses.  :o   it could be to both 'bad' and 'good' fists as an informational service  ;D

btw, most of the bad fists i personally have encountered have not been in the SKCC areas...

- - - - SKCC info follows - - - -

    Membership is free.

    SKCC is open to any interested licensed radio amateur.
    SKCC numbers are issued for life. Once you get it, it's yours.
    Exchange SKCC numbers using a straight key, bug, or side swiper

http://www.skccgroup.com/ (http://www.skccgroup.com/)


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: W1JKA on September 29, 2013, 09:29:19 AM
  Just two questions, who decided which one individual among those claiming top honors for the ultimate fist and perfect keying i.e. Koch, Farnsworth etc.. decided their method/spacing was best? Was it voted on by some particular group or just assumed because these individuals said so?


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N4OI on September 29, 2013, 09:41:50 AM

OK -- I may get flamed for this comment.  I believe that the popularity of SKCC and its restrictions that dictate using only straight keys and bugs have contributed to the rise of poor fists on the bands.  Paddles and keyers are bonafide sending devices also -- and enable not only cleaner code, but fists that are easily copied up to 30 WPM or more. 

That said, I am a member of SKCC and even have a nice Begali straight key and an old Vibroplex bug so I can play along with the SKCC folks.  But the vast majority of bad fists seem to hang around those n.050-55 MHz SKCC band segments.   

Just sayin'

73

I notice you said that the SKCC may contribute to the problem and that is fair as long as it isn't misconstrued as causing the problem.  [...]     Exchange SKCC numbers using a straight key, bug, or side swiper

Certainly SKCC is not the sole cause of the problem.  In fact, That organization should get a huge shout out for putting vitality into the CW mode of the hobby.  My point is that by forbidding its members to use paddles and keyers, which I believe enable cleaner and faster sending, SKCC may be unintentionally contributing to a higher proportion of bad fists on the air.

Regardless, EVERYONE should jump in and work CW regardless of their skill, fist, speed, key, rig or any other challenge.   It's all FUN!

73


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WX2S on September 29, 2013, 09:54:56 AM
Heard a guy sending  -.     -.     --     .-  (nnma) ???    took me a while to figure out he was actually sending  -.-.  --.-   :-\

No I did not work him!
NNGT is popular too.

Wx2s.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K7KBN on September 29, 2013, 10:08:41 PM
 Just two questions, who decided which one individual among those claiming top honors for the ultimate fist and perfect keying i.e. Koch, Farnsworth etc.. decided their method/spacing was best? Was it voted on by some particular group or just assumed because these individuals said so?

Koch, Farnsworth, et al, are methods of learning code.  Once you've learned the characters, both sending them and receiving them, your fist should sound like machine-sent code.  One dah is three times as long as one dit...you know the ratios between elements in a letter, spaces between letters in a word and between words in a sentence.

It's not a question of "best fists".  Ideally, all experienced operators will sound just alike.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KH2BR on September 29, 2013, 11:08:17 PM
I have been following this thread every day with great interest and there has been a lot of outstanding advice.

I was very happy one day to receive a nice email from one contact thanking me for a great QSO.
This email was better then getting a EQSL or a paper qsl card because he included a short recording
of our QSO and I was able to tell how my signal was coming into his QTH and I was also pleased to hear my
own fist as he heard it.

If every one would take time to write a short email and thank the other op for the contact,
or even send a recording of the QSO and include a picture of the op and his shack, this would
add greatly to the hobby.

Robert KH2BR


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: W5LZ on September 30, 2013, 04:06:57 PM
In reference to the original question, my answer would be, yes, I would tell them there was a problem.  How can you correct anything if you don't know there's a problem?  I've been told that, and I really do appreciate knowing it.  I'm certainly not an 'authority' on CW but I know when it's not at least fair CW or not.
Naturally, how you are told your 'fist' stinks can make a difference!  :)  You know?
 - 'Paul


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: REMOVED_ACCOUNT_2015-01-09 on October 02, 2013, 05:38:26 PM
Some fists are really really bad but it could be due to a disability. They could be using there foot
But I would be ashamed to ask. So would you dare tell the other op that there fist sucks really bad?
What kind of excuse would you use to bail out of a bad fist qso?
Would you hang in there and help him  get his fist working better.
What's the right thing to do?

That depends on you. Would you want someone to be honest with you?
There really is no right or wrong answer. Everyone is different. It's a
crap shoot.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KC3JV on October 11, 2013, 04:58:14 PM
Although I have an Extra Class License I was never very good at CW.  My wife was a typing teacher who tells me that CW is a SKILL ( just like typing) and not everyone will be good at it.  I barely passed the 13 WPM code test and upgraded to Extra Class when they dropped the 20 WPM Test for that class.  Despite repeated attempts I could never learn to copy behind.  My wife also taught Stenography and informed me that the best stenographers always copy behind.   

There are those of you who take to CW naturally and I envy you.  I cannot play an instrument by ear or sing on tune.   This is because I found out late in life that my brain doesn't function well in those areas.  This is probably because I have minimal brain damage.  So don't get on those of us that don't do CW.  For many of us that have tried it is just something we can't really do due to a disability.  We are not bad hams we just can't master the skill needed to be decent at CW.

Mark KC3JV


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N9KX on October 11, 2013, 06:57:43 PM
Although I have an Extra Class License I was never very good at CW.  My wife was a typing teacher who tells me that CW is a SKILL ( just like typing) and not everyone will be good at it.  I barely passed the 13 WPM code test and upgraded to Extra Class when they dropped the 20 WPM Test for that class.  Despite repeated attempts I could never learn to copy behind.  My wife also taught Stenography and informed me that the best stenographers always copy behind.   


Passing the 13wpm for me was tough and I was only successful because I had been a Novice for 5 months and had many, many QSO's which developed my speed.  I now could pass the 20wpm, but only because of much experience copying real life QSO's and chasing DX...

Quote from: KC3JV
There are those of you who take to CW naturally and I envy you.  I cannot play an instrument by ear or sing on tune.   This is because I found out late in life that my brain doesn't function well in those areas.  This is probably because I have minimal brain damage.  So don't get on those of us that don't do CW.  For many of us that have tried it is just something we can't really do due to a disability.  We are not bad hams we just can't master the skill needed to be decent at CW.

Mark KC3JV

amen to the fact that not doing CW does not make one a bad ham (and nor does doing CW make one a good ham).  however, i think if you enjoyed it enough, then with repetition the skill would develop.  Not everyone is a natural at parallel parking, but if you live for a time somewhere that necessitates it -- your speed and ability will markedly improve with practice (and experience).  Obviously some have disabilities that may make it more of a challenge, but even there technology has brought some marvelous adaptive opportunity.

73


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: VK3HJ on October 11, 2013, 08:03:51 PM
An interesting question, and interesting discussion.
I passed the AOCP 10 wpm code tests in 1981, without too much difficulty (I was only 17 then), but after getting on air, decided CW was all too hard and just yapped at a microphone. It was a great sunspot cycle and the DX came freely. I just took it for granted, and didn't bother chasing.
After a long time away from the hobby, I found DXing was actually fun, as I had plenty of scope for a decent station on a rural property.
I soon realised I needed to get going again on CW to dig out the best DX, so started working to improve my skill to a useful level about 5 years ago. Now it's my main mode.
On "bad fists" it is important to distinguish poor sending from technical problems. I'm not old and grumpy enough (yet) to tell anyone their baby is ugly any more than to tell someone their sending is difficult to copy. If I REALLY want to make the contact, I'll spend time listening to pick up their sending characteristics, for several minutes sometimes. There are few truly awful fists active on air, but even the roughies can usually be decoded with patience and imagination! There is a VK who used a straight key (poorly) who is an active operator. We could recognise his sending even before he completed his call (on a number of DXpeditions). A couple of his fellow club members had a quiet word with him face to face at the club, and now he uses a paddle and sends just fine!
And there's a JA station who pops up from time to time - really rough inconsistent sending. I just put it down to a disability and now don't have to ask him ten times to repeat his call!
It's amusing when a station calls you, and you repeat his call back to him, and he returns a different call, and sometimes three times! This I put down to a nervous anxiety, and I just patiently persist till we come to an agreement. I remember for the first years of CW operating, my knees would shake, I would break out in a sweat and sometimes I had a mental block sending. Imagine not being able to send the first letter of your own name! The memory keyer buttons are great for the short perfect exchanges such as for DXpeditions.
There are so many tools available now to make it possible for almost anyone to operate CW. On DXpedition, I use some macro keyboard sending, but usually sign off with the paddle, which also gives me the possibility to greet the caller personally, if I recognise the call.
Having gained some ability and confidence with CW at last, I now can manage the more difficult fists, but I really don't go looking for them much!
And I never spot every QSO I have, congratulating them on being able to decode my sending, like a certain French bug-er!
Bottom line is, if you can't copy an operator's sending, move on and find one you can!
Have fun and keep this heritage mode alive and kicking.
Vy 73,
Luke VK3HJ


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KE6EE on October 11, 2013, 09:10:07 PM
"Bottom line is, if you can't copy an operator's sending, move on and find one you can!"

That's what I do. Sometimes I will hear someone calling CQ and I think to myself "I'd like to make a QSO but I don't think I want to work so hard trying to decipher that fist!"

Most ops are surprisingly good given that most of us are self-taught. And there are those ops with just wonderful fists that both have an individual personality and are perfectly clear.

I have never forgotten being complimented on my fist by a Russian op when I was a new General Class over 50 years ago. I think positive reinforcement is the way to go, such as "it really seems like you could have a beautiful fist in a year or two!"



Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N9KX on October 11, 2013, 09:46:13 PM
Despite repeated attempts I could never learn to copy behind.  My wife also taught Stenography and informed me that the best stenographers always copy behind. 

sorry if this is a dumb question, but what do you mean by 'copy behind'  ???


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N0IU on October 12, 2013, 04:42:03 AM
Copying behind...

When you first learn CW, the natural tendency is to copy in "real time" where you write down each letter as you hear it. For instance, when you hear a DAH, you would write down a "T". Then when you hear DIT DIT DIT DIT you would write down an "H". Then when you hear a single DIT, you would write down an "E". But as you get better, you would hear "DAH    DIT DIT DIT DIT    DIT" and instead of writing down each letter as you hear it, you would write down the word "THE" after you have heard all the characters. So you see, it is called "copying behind" because as the code is still being sent, you are writing down something you have heard (past tense) instead of writing down something as you hear it (present tense).

Clear as mud, eh?

As the speed increases, it gets harder to write down each letter as it is being sent so the more efficient thing to do is to just let the sound flow and write down whole words after they have been sent. This is also the beginning stage of "head copy" where you don't write anything at all down on paper.

It just takes practice!


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N9KX on October 12, 2013, 02:26:20 PM
Copying behind...

When you first learn CW, the natural tendency is to copy in "real time" where you write down each letter as you hear it. For instance, when you hear a DAH, you would write down a "T". Then when you hear DIT DIT DIT DIT you would write down an "H". Then when you hear a single DIT, you would write down an "E". But as you get better, you would hear "DAH    DIT DIT DIT DIT    DIT" and instead of writing down each letter as you hear it, you would write down the word "THE" after you have heard all the characters. So you see, it is called "copying behind" because as the code is still being sent, you are writing down something you have heard (past tense) instead of writing down something as you hear it (present tense).

Clear as mud, eh?

As the speed increases, it gets harder to write down each letter as it is being sent so the more efficient thing to do is to just let the sound flow and write down whole words after they have been sent. This is also the beginning stage of "head copy" where you don't write anything at all down on paper.

It just takes practice!

thanks for the good explanation.  I pretty much went from copying behind to head copy.  once i began to copy from behind, writing down what was already head copied seemed superfluous. 

nerves and exam anxiety made me copy real time at the FCC office as a 15 year old in 1977 as I did not want to have make the trip again 30 days later and knew the copy had to be perfect.  copying behind seems to require a certain amount of relaxation.  come to think of it, when one is somewhat loose both the body and mind seem to work better...


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WA8IUR on October 28, 2013, 01:20:07 PM
As usual, a lot of good thoughts. Getting through a QSO with a bad fist is good practice for other QSO'S . Bad spelling and foreign stations who may use the wrong word or send them out of order can be a challenge too. Sticking with it for one can aid in accomplishing the other. 
  Fun have es vay with it.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: IZ2UUF on November 01, 2013, 10:37:36 AM
I use QSD to indicate a faulty transmission such a slow switching where the beginning of the transmission is lost. I have heard people calling FQ FQ.

I also have a problem with bad fists: I heard some operators that put no dash space between letters. They seem to concatenate letters using the same space they use to separate dashes and dots.
Even if their speed is well below my maximum copying speed, I can't understand anything of what they transmit. This is frustrating when they are answering my own CQ. I heard other operators facing the same conditions, and the QSO was a sequence of "??? AGN AGN".
The problem is that the "packed-letters" operators do repeat, but again without any space. They don't seem aware of the reason why they aren't being copied.
Do you think that sending QSD in this case could give them an hint? Or what should I send instead to ask them to increase space between letters? I don't need QRS, I just need at least the standard "dash" space between letters to understand where each one begins and ends.

Davide


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K7KBN on November 01, 2013, 02:42:06 PM
I would use QSD.  if the other station doesn't know what it means, he needs to expand his knowledge a bit.  The ARRL Log Book has a list of commonly-used Q-signals on either the front or back inside cover - depending on the age of the logbook.  But since most new hams don't use a paper log, maybe he'll just have to Google it.  It works.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: IZ2UUF on November 01, 2013, 03:58:50 PM
I would use QSD.  if the other station doesn't know what it means, he needs to expand his knowledge a bit.  The ARRL Log Book has a list of commonly-used Q-signals on either the front or back inside cover - depending on the age of the logbook.  But since most new hams don't use a paper log, maybe he'll just have to Google it.  It works.

Thanks. Next time I'll try with QSD, though I'm not very confident it will work! :)

Davide


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N4KZ on November 06, 2013, 12:42:23 PM
Fascinating topic. It's one all of us who operate CW have or will run into and how we handle it calls for delicacy. I admit to having told white lies to operators to end the QSO early when I found their fist too difficult to copy. Years ago, I called CQ on 30 meters and was answered by an Old Timer who added extra dits -- lots of extra dits -- to every letter or number ending with a dit. It was tough to copy his CW which didn't really even sound like CW the way he sent it. I held in there for 15 minutes and then told him I had to QRT for bedtime.

I know many operators take great pride in the skill shown by their sending. And if they send good CW, I don't blame them. But if their CW is sloppy with poor spacing, letters run together and so on, I only hope they eventually take pity on the poor victims who have to copy their poorly sent Morse Code. For those few, I enthusiastically recommend sending with a CW keyboard. I have used a keyboard keyer for more than 30 years and it produces the sweetest CW music around. My fist is actually pretty good with a straight key or an electronic keyer but my arm begins to tire after 20 minutes or so and mistakes creep into my sending. I'm too much of a perfectionist to tolerate even a few mistakes in my sending. Plus, I was already a good touch typist when I bought my first CW keyboard in the early 1980s.

I've never looked back and never felt embarrassed or considered that I was "cheating" because I send with a keyboard. The way I look at it -- I'm doing the other guy I'm working a huge favor by sending him nearly perfect CW which is easy to copy.

Can everyone else say that?

73, N4KZ


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K1DA on November 07, 2013, 06:59:46 AM
   There are those who can't send very fast or well with a staight key and try to compensate with a bug....the net result is a "D" is a long dash with a bunch of dots, a "B" is a few more dots, and a 6 is a lot more dots.  At lease with a keyer, the dot to dash ratio is fixed. 


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: REMOVED_ACCOUNT_2015-01-09 on November 09, 2013, 08:01:05 AM
Be honest. This way they can improve.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K7RNO on November 09, 2013, 11:08:22 AM
Be honest. This way they can improve.

That's what I feel too. It is what I appreciate for myself also.

I think QSD alone doesn't cut it. The other party will be most helped with specifics. That way, they learn what the problem is and where they may want to improve.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: IZ2UUF on November 09, 2013, 03:30:40 PM
I think QSD alone doesn't cut it. The other party will be most helped with specifics. That way, they learn what the problem is and where they may want to improve.

I think you are right. Probably I should attempt with "PSE SPACE LETTERS". Also, I should win my natural repulsion to admit to myself that I'm not good enough to understand their embroiled emissions and ask them to repeat more clearly. I know that many people, more experienced than me at CW, would have understood easily and this is not good news for my ego!  :)

Davide


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WY4J on November 10, 2013, 05:35:37 PM
Sometimes I will spend a few minutes trying to decipher the call. I been caught off-guard and will then make a notation on the log such as horrible fist or run all letters together so when they call me again so I know what I'm store for. Another observation, most of these operators are real nice guys and rag chewers that I would love to spend an hour chatting with if they were just a bit easier to understand.

There seem to be more and more operators who do not allow any space between letters or words such as:

cqcqcqdew4zyxw4xzyw4xzyrrrtnxferthecallbturrstis599599btnameisjoejoebtqthnewtownflnewtownflhwcpydew 2absw2xzykn

Although the most humane approach would be to let them know so they don't spend days, weeks or years calling cq without ever receiving a response. I just feel bad telling someone that they have a horrible fist. So I either not respond and leave the frequency or if they are the ones calling me I will not respond. The bad thing is when you are the one calling and they follow you all over the band. Then, turn off the radio and go watch a little TV.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: ZENKI on November 11, 2013, 01:43:41 AM
Bad straight key fist is decipherable. Bad bug fist is really bad. Most of the time I encounter a really bad first it comes from a bug operator.  While some bug operators refer it as
a keying styling, I just simply call it a bad fist. I know what good  bug CW is, and what I hear from these bad bug fists is truly horrendous. I personally wont tolerate such a  bad fist.
While personalized style bug fists do exist they can be copied and you can tell who  the OP is by the first. The bad bug fists just send garbage because they have not mastered how to use a bug properly. People learning CW with a straight key I can accommodate because  their sending skill is 1000% better than someone with a retarded bug fist


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K7RNO on November 11, 2013, 09:37:22 AM

Bad straight key fist is decipherable. Bad bug fist is really bad. Most of the time I encounter a really bad first it comes from a bug operator.  While some bug operators refer it as
a keying styling, I just simply call it a bad fist. I know what good  bug CW is, and what I hear from these bad bug fists is truly horrendous. I personally wont tolerate such a  bad fist.
While personalized style bug fists do exist they can be copied and you can tell who  the OP is by the first. The bad bug fists just send garbage because they have not mastered how to use a bug properly. People learning CW with a straight key I can accommodate because  their sending skill is 1000% better than someone with a retarded bug fist


The question was, would you tell them they have a bad fist.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: ZENKI on November 12, 2013, 02:41:36 AM
Well I always do because I use the RST table the way its meant to be used, true honesty. I do give RST199 and some hams repeatedly ask for their report because they dont understand RST199. I even get hate emails for being honest. Has political correctness and the nanny state  flowed into ham radio as well. Everyone is 599 even when you cant copy what they sending?  Just like its an offense to tell someone that their signal is splattering.

I do I do I Do!



Bad straight key fist is decipherable. Bad bug fist is really bad. Most of the time I encounter a really bad first it comes from a bug operator.  While some bug operators refer it as
a keying styling, I just simply call it a bad fist. I know what good  bug CW is, and what I hear from these bad bug fists is truly horrendous. I personally wont tolerate such a  bad fist.
While personalized style bug fists do exist they can be copied and you can tell who  the OP is by the first. The bad bug fists just send garbage because they have not mastered how to use a bug properly. People learning CW with a straight key I can accommodate because  their sending skill is 1000% better than someone with a retarded bug fist


The question was, would you tell them they have a bad fist.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: STAYVERTICAL on November 13, 2013, 12:50:46 PM
This is more of a psychological question than a technical one.

In my experience the old Chinese saying " Why do you you hate me?  I have never helped you"  comes to mind.

Most humans live in a world of their own reality, where they never make a mistake, and their signal and fist is always perfect.
To attack this worldview will simply invoke the defense reflex and you will be the victim of choice.

Just like the crazy freeway driver - let them pass and go on their way - their fate is in their own hands.
If they don't get many replies due to a bad fist, or they argue with other guys who are trying to be helpful - it is not your concern.

I know this sounds apathetic, but remember, we are not dealing with computers here, but human emotions - primitive and irrational.

As someone who does a lot of PSK31 operating, I can attest that if someone gives "accurate" rst/rsq reports,
they are not greeted with "why gosh, thanks for the heads up podner".
Normally it is a "OK thanks CUL 73 dit dit".  (SUBTITLE - how dare that lid give me a bad report).

So, how much you "correct" the mistakes of myriad hams around you depends on how much of the masochism gene you have inherited.
Some people like being whipped for some strange reason, but personally I like my ham sandwich with mild dressing.

73
- Rob


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K7RNO on November 13, 2013, 09:35:38 PM
This is more of a psychological question than a technical one.

In my experience the old Chinese saying " Why do you you hate me?  I have never helped you"  comes to mind.

Most humans live in a world of their own reality, where they never make a mistake, and their signal and fist is always perfect.
To attack this worldview will simply invoke the defense reflex and you will be the victim of choice.

Just like the crazy freeway driver - let them pass and go on their way - their fate is in their own hands.
If they don't get many replies due to a bad fist, or they argue with other guys who are trying to be helpful - it is not your concern.

I know this sounds apathetic, but remember, we are not dealing with computers here, but human emotions - primitive and irrational.

As someone who does a lot of PSK31 operating, I can attest that if someone gives "accurate" rst/rsq reports,
they are not greeted with "why gosh, thanks for the heads up podner".
Normally it is a "OK thanks CUL 73 dit dit".  (SUBTITLE - how dare that lid give me a bad report).

So, how much you "correct" the mistakes of myriad hams around you depends on how much of the masochism gene you have inherited.
Some people like being whipped for some strange reason, but personally I like my ham sandwich with mild dressing.

73
- Rob


Without the freedom to criticize, there is no true praise. -Pierre Beaumarchais


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: STAYVERTICAL on November 14, 2013, 09:08:28 PM
Quoting obscure dead men is the surest path to having no opinions of your own - Stayvertical


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K7RNO on November 14, 2013, 09:33:29 PM
Quoting obscure dead men is the surest path to having no opinions of your own - Stayvertical


Almost touché. What if obscure dead men express exactly my own opinion, just a lot better than I could myself? But we were getting off topic.

Back on topic, I think we are doing a person a dis-service if we don't tell them about objective deficiencies. If they explode, it is their problem. America is infected with the "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything" syndrome. Not sure if you fall into that geographical area, Rob. I could not find your call sign. What is it?


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N3PDT on November 15, 2013, 10:59:07 AM
...

There seem to be more and more operators who do not allow any space between letters or words such as:

cqcqcqdew4zyxw4xzyw4xzyrrrtnxferthecallbturrstis599599btnameisjoejoebtqthnewtownflnewtownflhwcpydew 2absw2xzykn

Although the most humane approach would be to let them know so they don't spend days, weeks or years calling cq without ever receiving a response. I just feel bad telling someone that they have a horrible fist....

When I run into one of those runitalltogether fists, I simply indicate I'm having (unspecified) copy problems and ask for a little more space between words.  Sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesn't.

I have a friend locally that is barely a year and a half into his CW career. He was pretty ragged, but I never said generally "you have a bad fist". Over time, I just mentioned specific instances where cleaning up his sending could help my copy. I try to phrase the suggestions in a way that say my copy is bad, help me out by doing "x", please. It goes over pretty well most of the time.

In direct answer to the original question: No, I would not tell someone directly they have a bad fist. If asked my opinion, I would be diplomatic about it and use tactics similar to those I've already mentioned.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: STAYVERTICAL on November 15, 2013, 12:50:38 PM
Quoting obscure dead men is the surest path to having no opinions of your own - Stayvertical


Almost touché. What if obscure dead men express exactly my own opinion, just a lot better than I could myself? But we were getting off topic.

Back on topic, I think we are doing a person a dis-service if we don't tell them about objective deficiencies. If they explode, it is their problem. America is infected with the "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything" syndrome. Not sure if you fall into that geographical area, Rob. I could not find your call sign. What is it?

Good point! - Many great wits have preceded us, and mercifully they mostly did not care about political correctness.
This is one of the reasons I enjoy reading books from the 19th century, as they had the same problems without the layer of thought control.

If you have read "The crowd" by Gustave Le Bon it provides a great insight into the human mind when in company with others.
It is available ( as are most of the great books in history), at the gutenberg.org site for free, as they are out of copyright.

One of the problems today with telling someone they are wrong or their signal is full of weevils, is the current concept of moral relativism.
Since there is a great push to make everyone right, and not classify any idea or ideology as morally superior to another, the concept of being wrong is becoming taboo.

This is being force fed into our societies and the old courtesies are sacrificed as a result.
The results are societies full of emotionally volatile people with the inevitable instances of irrational rage directed at those who would help.

If you read "The crowd" it gives as an example that a crowd/mob will not embrace a rational well thought out argument.
But it will readily endorse and take up a catchy short slogan and chant it.
Also, a crowd will essentially take up the IQ of its stupidest members and not float towards its most intelligent.

As societies equate to a crowd in a sense, it is not surprising that well intentioned rational people are railed against.

So, while I totally agree that to help someone with their signal quality is a noble goal, it is important to choose the context.
If you approach the subject in certain ways, you can help the person without invoking the defense reflex.
I have certainly done this numerous times, but you have to pick your battles and terrain carefully.

Many times I have also seen and heard "helpful" people intimidate and abuse a person with a poor signal quality.
In their own minds they are being helpful, but to an objective observer, they are simply being abusive.

Diplomacy, the art of achieving an objective where everyone thinks they have won, does not have to be a lost art.

While we are on old philosopher quotes, lets remember the too often quoted Sun Tzu:
"The best war is one where you win without having to fight".

73
-Rob






Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KE6EE on November 15, 2013, 01:22:40 PM

One of the problems today with telling someone they are wrong or their signal is full of weevils...diplomacy, the art of achieving an objective where everyone thinks they have won, does not have to be a lost art.

73
-Rob

Excellent observations from Rob. Thus I propose a new, utterly diplomatic Q signal:

QWS--Your sending has been infested by weevils.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K7KBN on November 15, 2013, 10:49:49 PM
Almost forgot about the operating signal ZAB (Your speed key is improperly adjusted).  This would probably not make sense to anyone under age 50 who didn't have the advantage of military communications experience, but it's a bit more specific than QSD.

And it's still a valid opsig, since AFAIK, ACP-131 hasn't been cancelled.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WA2DTW on November 17, 2013, 05:27:14 AM
I have NEVER told anyone that they had a bad fist. 
Some of the worst CW I have heard is from folks using semiautomatic bugs, or even CW keyboards who have the speed set very fast but use excessive and irregular spacing between the letters and/or words.  That is very fatiguing to listen to and very difficult to copy.   These are the ones that I wish 73 very soon after the start of the QSO.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K7KBN on November 17, 2013, 03:31:07 PM
And if you don't tell them, they will continue their merry way, spewing undecipherable junk and making very few QSOs because (a): They don't know about their sending problem, and/or (b): you don't want to hurt their feelings.

I'll tell that station right away if I perceive something seriously wrong with their sending, and I hope they would tell me of such problems on MY signal.



Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WB4TJH on January 07, 2014, 08:09:44 PM
I usually just tell a guy with a totally unreadable fist that I have a phone call or some other excuse, and quickly sign off with him. It could be an older gentleman, with a palsy, or something, trying to do his best at his beloved hobby. I'm not here on this earth to put someone down like that. I have struggled thru a qso many times with someone with a very poor fist that turned out to be a very elderly or physically handicapped fellow, just trying to do his best. If you live long enough, we ALL will be in that situation one day. A little compassion on  my or your part can go a long way in putting a smile on a ham who is struggling with his cw qso. After all, guys, it's a HOBBY, remember?


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KB1WSY on January 08, 2014, 04:52:57 AM
Speaking as someone approaching his first CW QSO (which will also be my first QSO, period), and after reading this interesting thread, it seems like it would be a good idea for beginners like me to (a) tell the other op that I'm a novice CWer and (b) ASK for a friendly critique of my sending. Now there's no Q-code for that, so it will have to be spelled out, in painful detail. But how else are we supposed to learn? I hate to say this as a total newbie, but: there are an awful lot of bad fists on the air. For a beginner, they are awfully hard to copy. I have no idea whether the "bad fist" issue has become worse (haven't been monitoring the ham bands for long enough).

I am also flabbergasted by the (apparently fairly longstanding) practice of sending "flattering" RST reports.

If the signal from my two-tube, homebrew TX had deficiencies (for instance, clicks, chirps, or drift) I would be the first person who would want to know about it! As for "readability," it doesn't just have to refer to someone's fist, it could be QRM, QRN, QSB. I would hope that a good op should be able to send: "SRI OM HVY QRM RST 379 RST 379 RST 379" and that would provide valuable information without offense.

As for the "S" how could a low "S" reflect badly on the other op's station in any way? On my little receiver, a lot of the CW DX that I monitor is barely above the noise level and with a little QSB, it's often dipping in and out of hearing. That's the point of CW, isn't it? To use your ears? But in what way would it make sense to send that op a "9" report for strength??

Finally, some of us -- such as myself -- have very basic homebrewed receivers. A "mediocre" signal report could simply reflect the deficiencies of my low-tech RX and have nothing to do with the other op's multi-thousand dollar, state-of the art, gazillion-tower installation. If the receiver is as broad as a barn door, there is going to be more QRM, and that doesn't have anything to do with the other op's transmission quality.

However, I get the message, it seems like nowadays you have to send 599 if you want to have a quiet life; so do I, or don't I? That is the question.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: W1JKA on January 08, 2014, 05:04:25 AM
Re: KB1SWY reply #74

Suggested answer: Send what you think is an honest RST according to your hearing and experience, the other operator will either continue the QSO or tell you he has to let the dog out and 73 with you, quite cut and dry.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: W7WQ on January 08, 2014, 05:43:38 AM
I probably would "suggest" better character formation or spacing, but probably wouldn't tell someone they have a S*** fist.  I use a keyer for qrq cw such as working dx pileups, but like my bug for rag chews.  A guy (using a bug) once told me he wanted to get on and send some "buggy" CW.  I think maybe he was Mr. Lake Erie Swing, but his keying was S***.  Take a breath, relax, think about your doing and slow down.  Sending 35 wpm means nothing if one can't copy it.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: M0LEP on January 08, 2014, 10:36:03 AM
I am also flabbergasted by the (apparently fairly longstanding) practice of sending "flattering" RST reports.

There are situations (typically DXpeditions and contests) where the operator's likely to send "perfect" RST reports every time, simply to get through the QSOs with least effort, but there are also situations where helpful RST reports are valued. There are also plenty of arguments about the subjective nature of RST reports...


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KB1WSY on January 08, 2014, 12:39:38 PM
There are also plenty of arguments about the subjective nature of RST reports...

A bit like when the doctor asks you to rate your pain on a scale from 1 to 10....


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: M0LEP on January 08, 2014, 06:46:11 PM
A bit like when the doctor asks you to rate your pain on a scale from 1 to 10....

...on one side, with the folk who trust their S-meter to 7 decimal places on another. ;)


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: N4OI on January 08, 2014, 07:24:52 PM
No, I would not.

How many hams would tell an op on phone that he has a bad accent and ask that he use better diction on the next transmission.  (Of course, being from NC, I am referring to those accents from the NE!  ;D)

The same is true for someone with a "less than perfect" bug fist, or challenging timing between words...

73


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: NO2A on January 08, 2014, 07:38:32 PM
No I wouldn`t for this reason:they were nice enough to answer my cq. This would be like being invited to your neighbor`s house for dinner,and telling them their cooking sucked. I do believe though,that certain hams should listen more to their own sending. Sending perfectly is a skill for sure.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K8QV on January 10, 2014, 12:48:25 PM
I have said to other ops that it was hard to copy that fist (your dots and dashes are almost the same duration, no word spacing, etc.). When a problem is made known, a good ham will work on improving. What's the big deal? Afraid to offend some disabled ham who can't send decipherable CW? Sorry, he should try another mode he can handle. If you don't have any teeth you should probably stay away from the mic as well. CLEAR communications is the goal, yes?


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: K7KBN on January 10, 2014, 06:21:51 PM
I have said to other ops that it was hard to copy that fist (your dots and dashes are almost the same duration, no word spacing, etc.). When a problem is made known, a good ham will work on improving. What's the big deal? Afraid to offend some disabled ham who can't send decipherable CW? Sorry, he should try another mode he can handle. If you don't have any teeth you should probably stay away from the mic as well. CLEAR communications is the goal, yes?


Exactly.  What's the use of learning the code if you don't learn how to send it so others can copy it?  I've been called by guys who have sent their "calls" three times, each time different from the others.  If they can't send their own call correctly three times in a row, they don't know the code well enough to be on the air.


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KD0ACY on February 04, 2014, 06:37:34 PM
Why dosen't someone offer a playback service so enyone woh wanted to check there sending could do so and also offer hel in  correcting any short ccomings.
Mike


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: KD0ACY on February 04, 2014, 06:50:51 PM
Hope you will forgive my first post with all the typos, my light fell off the top of work station in the mid point of the  message.
I am 75 years old and learning code at this point and would value a report on my sending ability and in that I am not a member of a club or even know anyone that is a ham, I think it would be almost manditory that be checked befor operating.
Mike


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: PA0WV on February 05, 2014, 01:56:00 AM
Hope you will forgive my first post with all the typos, my light fell off the top of work station in the mid point of the  message.
I am 75 years old and learning code at this point and would value a report on my sending ability and in that I am not a member of a club or even know anyone that is a ham, I think it would be almost manditory that be checked befor operating.
Mike

Mike,

There are different methods.

I designed the Synchroseiner. That device  is transmitting a pangram ; that is for example "The quick brown fox..."
You have to key in the same pace. When your key is up en his virtual key is down or opposite, the sidetone pitch differs, and the difference time is counted in milliseconds. So at the end of the pangram it shows the accumulated difference. You can put that amount  in a spreadsheet in order to watch your progress over time.

Then there is the Seinscope. You just key in with a straight key or a bug the code you want at the speed you want.

He decodes the received text. When your wordspace is over 10 dits he doubles the wordspace in the decoded text. He calculates your fist according to a published formula, and displays your speed, and most important: He displays a probability density function of all the dots dashes and spaces. He dumps the data on a RS232 sub-D connector, the PC receives it and prints on a preprinted award the data just mentioned.

I am not going to publish whatever CW big guns produced on a hamfest, I suppose some of them  do not display their award on the wall of their shack, but the xyl here encourages me to provide you with the example of her efforts

(http://pa0wv.home.xs4all.nl/CW/85151.jpg)


Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: V73NS on February 22, 2014, 11:23:00 PM
I would, have, will and will again.

Aside from the sloppy Bugs, the worst offenders are the guys who crank up the weight to where it is total mush ...then remove all the spaces. (I'm not a mind reader) Try to copy that when it's coming with polar flutter and has an RST of 229.

While it may sound good (somehow) to them ...I'll ignore them until they go away.



Title: RE: Would you tell someone they have a bad fist?
Post by: WB5JWI on March 05, 2014, 12:17:29 PM
OK, I work a lot of new CW ops with the SKCC. I like it even though it is work. Folks that I KNOW are trying to get better at sending, I do my best to critique accurately and politely. Guys who mistake speed for good CW always get a 'pse QRS'. If it sounds like their problem is that the speed is adding extra dits or dahs, they get a pse qrs.  I HATE mode B keying. I CAN't do it without extra elements and based on experience, neither can a lot of other keyer users.

As to the SKCC, if you have a medical reason for not using a manual keying device, notify the board. We have several members who use keyers or keyboards. You might consider a cootie (side swiper) key as it uses the same rolling motion as the bug/keyer. I have a Vibrokeyer wired to be a cootie that I use some.

If I simply can not get the code and they won't help then I send something like 'LCL QRM 73' and go. I try to send private emails if I have an address. Circumstances dictate the response. Someone sending at 30 WPM with a ton of extra elements is going to get a pse QRS and if that does not work QSD. I suspect they won't know what QSD means either but …..

All of us can get sloppy and careless. If you hear me sending that poorly, PLEASE say so. I'm not offended if you tell me I have a brake light out, why would telling me my code has gone sour offend? I told one ham that his signal was very poor, tone varying, lots of clicks and static and he just vanished. I figured I'd angered him but a few hours later, I received a very nice email thanking me for pointing out the problem. He had an intermittent short in his antenna connection. He caught it because of my report and prevented damage to a rare and valuable boat anchor rig.

My thought is that any CW, regardless of how generated is better than no CW. Accurate CW is ALWAYS preferable to fast CW. So far, I can still use straight keys as well as bugs and cooties. One day it may be a keyer or a keyboard. Regardless, I like CW and I hope I help others to gain skill they want to have even if that means pointing out that they are sending faster than their ability allows.