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Author Topic: When do I stop re-playing the sound?  (Read 7045 times)
KM3K
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Posts: 418




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« on: April 25, 2017, 03:32:02 PM »

Hello,

I am using KB2TQX's program, which makes use of G4FON's approach; characters at 25 wpm but spaced at 9 wpm.
I hear the character's sound but I realize that I mentally replay the sound, then react to what the character is.
I think that's not going to work when I start moving the 9 wpm upwards.
If someone else has had this problem, my question is, "Does the replaying the code sound ever stop or will I just have to learn to react faster?"

I have to assume it is going to have to stop for this reason; in listening to someone speak, one does not repeat mentally what they have heard.

TIA for any reply.
Jerry KM3K
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KE6EE
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2017, 05:39:42 PM »

My sense is that 25 wpm is too fast for you to hear each character clearly enough to learn it.

I would suggest slowing down the characters until you clearly can distinguish each character. That might be at 15 wpm or even at 5 wpm.

Many of us learned code in a few days by starting to learn each character very slowly.

There is a method for testing your ability to distinguish successfully between characters at various speeds. Pairs of characters are sent and the listener has only to respond that the characters are the same or not the same.

https://archive.org/details/U.S.Armed_Forces_Institute_Basic_Radio_Code_ca1942

There are several downloads on the site and you can play code test examples directly from the site.

I think the "quick and easy" methods for developing relatively high Morse Code ability do not work well for
many people, if any at all.

There are many practical problems with such methods, although they promise near-instant gratification. Many posting here
express great frustration.

Most of us in the old days learned slowly and gradually increased our speeds, enjoying the experience all the way. It was a matter of a few weeks at most, not many years.
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VK4FFAB
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2017, 06:21:37 PM »

Hello,

I am using KB2TQX's program, which makes use of G4FON's approach; characters at 25 wpm but spaced at 9 wpm.
I hear the character's sound but I realize that I mentally replay the sound, then react to what the character is.
I think that's not going to work when I start moving the 9 wpm upwards.
If someone else has had this problem, my question is, "Does the replaying the code sound ever stop or will I just have to learn to react faster?"

I have to assume it is going to have to stop for this reason; in listening to someone speak, one does not repeat mentally what they have heard.

TIA for any reply.
Jerry KM3K

There are a couple of concepts here, learning words and learning to comprehend code. At 25wpm, its all about instant recognition, you hear a word and you understand it, kids do not start reading Shakespeare they read cat sat on the mat. At 20wpm + I know a few words, VK4FFAB, 5nn, 599, Tu, 73 and that is about it its everything i need to work dx pileups and contests, at 15wpm I am fine with a more typical exchange, i will probably even get your name or some other bit of information, at 10wpm i will understand each and every letter being sent.  So to get the comprehension up, I think you have to start slower and work your way up, just like we did as kids learning to talk and reading. And you have to be getting on the radio and sending it to other people. All the g4fon in the world is nothing compared to pooping in your pants random qso.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2017, 08:54:06 PM »

Jerry:  EE and FFAB both gave you very sound advice.  The average novice brain simply can't understand a character sent at 25wpm.

I can head copy at 25-30 but when I hear 45wpm all I get is a few characters as FFAB points out. 

It really disturbs me to read of the frustrations of people trying to learn the code with the gimmick methods.  While some have success, many don't.

And one thing you also need to understand is whatever method you use, you will have to 'un-train' yourself to be able to copy code as it is normally sent!

Quote
Most of us in the old days learned slowly and gradually increased our speeds, enjoying the experience all the way. It was a matter of a few weeks at most, not many years.

This is a very profound statement Jerry, worth heeding.  Make this experience fun, even though you will no doubt get frustrated at time.  It's really worth the work to have the fun.
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N3HEE
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2017, 08:22:52 AM »

I think the reason why we only took weeks to learn the code and then rapidly improved was because as a Novice that was the only mode we had to use.  We had one year to get to 13WPM or loose it.  Today there is not the same sense of urgency to get on the air and use the code on a daily basis.  It seems more recreational today.

I have stopped advising my students to use computer based training in favor of getting on the air and making contacts on a daily basis.  This exposes them to real world code and conditions along with building what I call a Morse code vocabulary.  They quiclky understand the importance of sending good code !  They also quickly improve learning and copying code.

After time, copying code becomes a subconscious actvity.  If you are playing the code back in your head then you are thinking too much about what you are hearing.  This may be becasue the character rate is too fast for you.  Try slowing it down and see what happens.  You will find a sweet spot.  You can start to slowly increase from there over time. 

Remember, there is nothing hard about learning and becoming proficient with Morse code.  It simply requires regular use and some time.  Have fun and keep us posted on your progress.

Joe
N3HEE

 
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Joe
N3HEE
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N4RSS
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2017, 09:18:57 AM »


https://archive.org/details/U.S.Armed_Forces_Institute_Basic_Radio_Code_ca1942

There are several downloads on the site and you can play code test examples directly from the site.


See corrected link

https://archive.org/details/U.S._Armed_Forces_Institute_Basic_Radio_Code_ca1942
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KE6EE
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2017, 09:23:41 AM »


Thank you.
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W9OY
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2017, 05:51:54 PM »

My experience is you stop replaying the sound when the next letter comes sooner than the period it takes for your mind to replay the sound.  Regardless of the character speed, this is related to the actual speed.  For me it was about 18 wpm.  At that speed cw became conversant, words started to form and I had to process in a different way than a mental lookup table.  One thing that helped me was building a keyer and ditching the strait key.  This also greatly improved the conversational nature of my contacts. The other factor is simply spending enough time consistently engaged in the processs.  Malcom Gladwell says anyone who spends 10,000 hours engaged in a profession is an expert.  It doesnt take 10,000 hours to become proficient in cw but it gives some idea of how the process of becoming fluent proceeds
73 W9OY
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KM3K
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2017, 03:06:35 PM »

Thank-you for the replies, all of which I read carefully.
Someone asked for an update, so here is where I am at present.

I have no problem learning at 25-wpm; in fact, for me, it is easier there than at a lower speed because I react to the character's sound.
At any lower speed, I hear individual dahs and dits.

The program I'm using allowed me to use a keyboard to type in each character as I heard it.
Because I am what is termed to be "a visual learner", I have to see what I'm decoding (being a 'visual learner', it also means I'm no good at bridge or pinochle).

But, all of a sudden, I realized that I have to re-think how I'm going to finish learning the morse-code.
The purpose of my learning the morse-code is to be able to operate portable or else quit the hobby (recall that I'm not able to have any antennas in this retirement community).
But, when portable, I certainly would not be taking along any computer and I cannot write that fast at 25-wpm.

So, I had to back down to a speed at which I'd be able to write down with pen/paper and, for me, that's at 15-wpm.
That's where I am right now.

When starting a new character, I use a character speed of 15-wpm with an effective speed of 9-wpm and move that up incrementally till I get to 15-wpm/15-wpm; then move on to the next character.

BTW, I have a different opinion about comparing 'learning-morse-code' to 'learning-to-read'.
As I see it, two and three year old (and even younger) children easily learn to speak in complete sentences; morse-code should be no different; it is auditory.

73 Jerry KM3K
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KJ6TSX
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2017, 10:45:50 AM »

I tried several methods and the armed forces seemed to gel better in my brain, only wish there was more lessons available??
The checking of code received by audio versus looking at typed letter seemed easier to comprehend, looking for new material to get my speed up.
Made my first contact last week, Just not there yet
George
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W9OY
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2017, 04:20:16 PM »

Jerry

You might look at this keyer/decoder.  I haven't built it yet, but it's supposed to have a pretty good decoder built in so in combination with your head copy skills it might work for you. 

https://blog.radioartisan.com/arduino-cw-keyer/

Also have you considered a loop antenna as a solution to your retirement community antenna limitations?  Very easy to set up and take down

73  W9OY
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W3TTT
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2017, 09:04:27 PM »

Jerry
You and I are visual learners, and it is difficult for us to learn Morse.  However, I am up to about 18 wpm (after 30 years) so please do not give up.

Reminds me of a joke:
Guy walks up to a cop - please sir, I am lost.  How do you get to Carnigie Hall?
Cop says: Practice, practice, practice.

And that's it.  It doesn't matter how you practice (on air, tapes, computer program) or how long each day or what ever.  But if you keep at it, and do practice, it eventually will have results.  You will get to the point where you are not replaying the sound in your mind.  Trust me on this.

On the other hand, my friend Pip told me that he learned to copy at 20 wpm in three weeks.  Some people are gifted, I guess. 

Keep trying
73, Joe

Practice web streaming station in cw:  http://w3ttt.radiostream321.com/
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K1HMS
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2017, 10:07:43 PM »

Hello Jerry,

We are using the same approach except I use LCWO. You can either learn code at 5 wpm and relearn it at 15+ or learn it at 15-20 and relearn it at 5 wpm. I have never been able to easily copy verbal spelling or phone numbers, I have to see them.

I posted below on this CW thread on the issues of slow copy, most replies agreed slow is different and to many difficult. (see my post below titled Slow and Fast for many good responses..)

I think once you plateau where you can copy word groups, and common words fairly reliably but find keeping up with real on air QSOs is difficult due to the "replaying the sound" issue  or simply losing sync and it all sounds like mush, it  is time to give up the computer and pick up a key.  After my first 10 QSOs I found it easier and even at 17 wpm much slower paced than the PC.

Slower paced??
First there is a person in the loop on the other end that is trying to communicate, they pick up on your difficulties and tailor their sending with repeats, sending a missed characters slowly, etc. They know a misspelling when they see it, if you miskey a character just resend it and keep sending with no pause or 8 dits. You're not sending tomorrow's headlines or a critical message and the person knows you are learning.

Second It might sound blocky but there are chunks; a call sign, a name, QTH, Wx, and so on. Each a mountain to chip away at and get past. After even just a dozen QSOs it quickly gets easier. You relax, you discover you can miss copying fair number of characters and still get it. Get past trying to think back and capture a missed character. Things like de, AS, BK, QTH, 5nn, the, all become sounds in short order since you expect them and you hear them over and over.

Third. Your brain knows the word after QTH is a place and isn't Yoston MA. It doesn't take long before you anticipate the next letters as a word is being sent. My dog is bar...   You just know "king" is coming before it is sent. This has nothing to do with CW, it is just conversation that you are already good at. Once "conversation mode" kicks in you won't be "replaying it".

The PC doesn't do any of these things.

I call "CQ CW practice" typically on 40m north of 7,100 mid day and get OMs glad to find a contact to work. Late at night is also good. Out of 100+ I'm up to 3-4 that were down right rude and a handful that simply went quiet.  Many will suffer through just a RST exchange but like many on SSB it is likely they do that with everyone. You will work a bunch with worst code than yours, much worst. It is your turn to be patient, it can be difficult, especially the ones with no sense of spacing.

(Use Get CW or CW Skimmer to decode your sending. DON'T watch it while sending or to receive, it will imped your progress. Review it to see what your fist looks like only after you send. If you have spacing issues you will see it. It is great for practice)

Many would go an hour if you and the band let them. We all owe these guys a debt of gratitude. OTOH respond to a QRZ from a loud station and with 2, maybe 3 AGN?s "you're out", as they call QRZed without so much as a 73. Your hurting their QSOs per minute score.

Once you gain a vocabulary over a month or two of just a couple of QSOs a day you won't need a keyboard. A pad and pencil to capture the call sign, name, and some key words here and there will be enough. Also sending "again?" here and there isn't a sin.

A large print sheet with scripts for calling cq, qth, Wx, radio & antenna, profession, hobbies, where you moved from, travel, the turn over, and the exit plus a list of prosigns is a big help. Sending with written cues is handy for the visual minded.

Bottom line, pick up a key sooner than later, I wish I had. It is a lot more fun and a quicker path to proficiency than the PC once you know the code.

Hamilton
K1HMS
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N0YXB
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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2017, 10:38:21 PM »


Thank you for sharing this.
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KM3K
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Posts: 418




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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2017, 07:59:16 PM »

Once you gain a vocabulary over a month or two of just a couple of QSOs a day you won't need a keyboard.
A pad and pencil to capture the call sign, name, and some key words here and there will be enough.
Also sending "again?" here and there isn't a sin.

A large print sheet with scripts for calling cq, qth, Wx, radio & antenna, profession, hobbies, where you moved from, travel, the turn over, and the exit plus a list of prosigns is a big help.
Sending with written cues is handy for the visual minded.

Bottom line, pick up a key sooner than later, I wish I had.
It is a lot more fun and a quicker path to proficiency than the PC once you know the code.

Hamilton K1HMS

Hamilton K1HMS,

Thank-you for the encouraging post.
Although the parts quoted above are very significant to me, I'm going to print-out your entire post, just so I can refer to it frequently as a way to keep me going.

By experiment, I would prefer to use a character-speed of 25wpm because I hear sounds rather than dits/dahs; but I never could write that fast while operating portable.

The process I've settled on is to learn all the letters/numbers/punctuation at a character-speed of 15wpm and word-speed of 9wpm.
Only then will I increment the word-speed gradually to 15wpm.
Prior to that, I learned a new letter and then increment the word-speed gradually to 15wpm for those letters I learned so far; too frustrating; I was losing interest.
At least with my new method, I feel progress every day now and look forward to doing this several times a day.

Thanks again for the helpful hints, especially about the key.

BTW. We have W3HMS in our club...."her majesty's ship"; he's a retired Navy captain; his call-sign came from the FCC in the normal way, not as a vanity one.   
73 Jerry KM3K
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