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Author Topic: My Morse Learning Campaign  (Read 366552 times)
KB1WSY
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #285 on: September 08, 2014, 11:43:25 AM »

I've spent the past few days listening to QSOs, mostly of the "sample tape" variety but also some on the air. This has been done at around 15wpm. (For variety, I throw in some 20wpm drills but they're very hard.)

So my world revolves around: name Lucy age 26 I live in kitty hawk, nc. rig Icom XZ123 ant Yagi up 17 feet WX hot es muggy yr rst 479. hw cpy?

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #286 on: September 08, 2014, 01:40:16 PM »

I've spent the past few days listening to QSOs, mostly of the "sample tape" variety but also some on the air. This has been done at around 15wpm. (For variety, I throw in some 20wpm drills but they're very hard.)

So my world revolves around: name Lucy age 26 I live in kitty hawk, nc. rig Icom XZ123 ant Yagi up 17 feet WX hot es muggy yr rst 479. hw cpy?

73 de Martin, KB1WSY


26 year-old Lucy in Kitty Hawk sounds like a catch. Wink
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K8AXW
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« Reply #287 on: September 08, 2014, 07:55:37 PM »

Martin:  This very thing has been cussed and discussed here on eHam several times.  It should always be understood that many people simply can't carry on a conversation and these are the types of contacts you will get over and over.

However, on occasion, you will 'connect' with someone who can talk and actually has something to say.  As you listen to these QSOs you should also be evaluating your own conversational ability.  I think that many, once they find themselves actually working someone, loose their ability to think or their mouths become detached from their brains.   Roll Eyes

With that said and after reading the many comments you have made here on this forum; your gear construction ability, your photography ability, I'm very confident you won't have a problem.

Just pretend you're fishing and once in a while you'll snag a nice one and this is when ham radio becomes fun!  Good luck.
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A Pessimist is Never Disappointed!
PA0WV
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Posts: 418




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« Reply #288 on: September 09, 2014, 02:57:59 AM »

Al is right, allright
However the pond has a diminishing amount of fish, due to the fact that rag chewers are moving to eham.net CW.

Furthermore there is some commercial institute in the USA "Morse Academy" as far as I understood they promise that you learn the code in a short time at moderate speed, however they only learn you the kind of rubber stamp QSO's, so hams able to do them go on tilt at the moment you ask a question. FCC was promoting that method due to the  fact they tested candidates by rubber stamp QSO's

The probably non existing lady says age is 26 and she uses yr in stead of ur. As far as I know yr=year and ur=your,
so entry point for discussing that in a starting rag chew. But sometimes they want to make just a short QSO for card collection, or to spent 3 minutes, and don't have the time available like already for long retired om's have.
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KB1WSY
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« Reply #289 on: September 09, 2014, 05:34:57 AM »

As far as I know yr=year and ur=your,

That was my typo!

Actually, the 900 "canned" U.S. QSOs in G4FON software are "verbose." Instead of "ES" they use "AND" and instead of "UR" they use "YOUR." They spell out ANTENNA and WEATHER, etc., etc. This is rather odd, but I don't mind, for the moment (it gives me extra time to "catch up" mentally: when I hear "A-N-T.." I know what the next few letters will be. Eventually, I will use a search-and-replace to make them less verbose.

G4FON also includes hundreds of non-U.S. QSOs and those ones are "non-verbose."

In any case this should become moot, soon, as I get on the air and learn this stuff "for real."

For K8AXW/Al: To some extent, these "canned" QSOs are a menace because copying them is so easy. I am finding that I'm learning entire words (such as  RIG, WATT, RST, FEET, COPY....) and no longer really listening to the individual characters. This is very encouraging, until you get to "NAME IS" or "I LIVE IN" and then find you can't copy the names because they are not "expected" words! Even though I have 900 4-minute QSO files to practice with, they are so "boilerplate" that you only really end up practicing on the very few words that are non-repetitive, such as the person's name, their QTH town, or their job! The other problem with "boilerplate" QSOs is that you start anticipating what the next word will be. Which is fine, if your guess turns out to be correct, but very bad if your guess turns out to be wrong! Funny thing, the human brain.

However, I will be thrilled just to be able to get on the air and just have those "boilerplate" exchanges, to start with.

26 year-old Lucy in Kitty Hawk sounds like a catch. Wink

Getting on the air will be a bit of a shock. In the practice QSOs, most people are young (under 70 anyway), half of them are females called something like LUCY, ELIZABETH or BECKY, and they all send perfect code with no QSB or QRM! Grin

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: September 09, 2014, 06:05:01 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
W1JKA
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« Reply #290 on: September 09, 2014, 06:06:34 AM »

  I must be missing something, never heard an YL or XYL on or off air with no QRM and a least a little QRN.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #291 on: September 09, 2014, 09:11:39 AM »

  I must be missing something, never heard an YL or XYL on or off air with no QRM and a least a little QRN.

Yeah, and that's without a radio.

Add a radio and it gets slightly worse.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #292 on: September 09, 2014, 08:43:53 PM »

Martin, you make a very good point!  Boilerplate QSOs are a detriment to learning good code copy.  I never considered that angle but it's easy to understand.

Go ahead and have your boilerplate QSOs, but initiate a rag chew whenever you can.  If that fails then listen more than transmit.....turn the dial and listen for a conversation type QSO.  This is when and where you'll actually learn code. When this happens and someone sends you something that is unexpected, you'll be able to copy it.

I can't count the number of QSOs I've had where I deviate from the boilerplate format, the other guys asks for a repeat.  He simply wasn't expecting anything else bu t the usual nonsense.  Very sad.
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KB1WSY
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« Reply #293 on: September 10, 2014, 01:59:35 AM »

Martin, you make a very good point!  Boilerplate QSOs are a detriment to learning good code copy.  I never considered that angle but it's easy to understand.

I'll be initiating QSOs as soon as I can get the antenna up, this is getting dragged out ridiculously. I've been asking my landlord almost daily for a meeting about the antenna possibilities, but it's proving surprisingly difficult for us to get together. Surely it can't be long now.

I now understand a bit better why people say it's much easier if you "just get on the air," especially with the boilerplate QSOs. In a way that's reassuring. Since I've been making things really hard for myself by essentially doing random-character drills for nine months (not even real words!), it should eventually be much easier to break out of the "boilerplate QSO" mode.

What is useful about the boilerplate is that it gives you a kind of "breathing space" when the obvious phrases pop out of the ether. OTOH, it is also dangerous because you get lulled into a false sense of security and you then get zapped by an "unexpected" word!

Another thing that must be very useful about boilerplate is for DXing with hams whose native language isn't English. The Q-codes and other abbreviations must be really useful for that, too. (The "international" canned QSOs provided by G4FON are much more terse than the American ones, and much more reliant on codes and abbreviations.)

In my monitoring, I've heard many different flavors of QSO. In theory, the real rag-chewing ones ought to be the hardest to copy, because they are more likely to have "unexpected" content. OTOH it's often the accomplished rag-chewers often have great fists, and if I manage to copy them it's often the most interesting of all.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 02:07:16 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
AC2EU
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« Reply #294 on: September 10, 2014, 07:00:14 AM »


I'll be initiating QSOs as soon as I can get the antenna up, this is getting dragged out ridiculously. I've been asking my landlord almost daily for a meeting about the antenna possibilities, but it's proving surprisingly difficult for us to get together. Surely it can't be long now.
73 de Martin, KB1WSY


If you do a non-destructive antenna installation, ie; ropes over tree limbs holding a wire dipole, perhaps it will be better to act and ask forgiveness later...  As long as it's unobtrusive and safe, why would your landlord object?
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K8AXW
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« Reply #295 on: September 10, 2014, 08:36:20 AM »

EU:  Agreed!  It's easier for a landlord to say "No" than it is for him to say, "Take it down!"
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A Pessimist is Never Disappointed!
KB1WSY
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« Reply #296 on: September 10, 2014, 10:01:21 AM »


I'll be initiating QSOs as soon as I can get the antenna up, this is getting dragged out ridiculously. I've been asking my landlord almost daily for a meeting about the antenna possibilities, but it's proving surprisingly difficult for us to get together. Surely it can't be long now.
73 de Martin, KB1WSY


If you do a non-destructive antenna installation, ie; ropes over tree limbs holding a wire dipole, perhaps it will be better to act and ask forgiveness later...  As long as it's unobtrusive and safe, why would your landlord object?

EU:  Agreed!  It's easier for a landlord to say "No" than it is for him to say, "Take it down!"

He lives in the apartment above mine, so I cannot "act" without him seeing me do it! The house is large but the yard is small, and the only anchor point for the antenna is a tree right in front of his 2nd-floor deck. The landlord, who is really nice, is a former ham himself and initially gave approval for a simple homebrewed wire dipole, using 18ga PolyStealth insulated wire, configured as an inverted-V. But later he said, reasonably, that his wife also needs to approve these plans.

The good news, fresh off the press (20 minutes ago) is that he has just agreed to have a formal "antenna meeting" on Friday. I will describe my plans to him and his wife and we will go from there. I'm optimistic, because until now it was just getting dragged out....

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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NI0C
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« Reply #297 on: September 10, 2014, 02:23:29 PM »

Quote
The landlord, who is really nice, is a former ham himself

What a stroke of luck!  I had similar luck some years ago, when I lived in a townhouse, and began deploying mobile antennas on my patio.  After doing this for a year or two, I escalated things by installing a 23 ft. vertical (Cushcraft R-3) next to the patio.  One day, the apartment manager asked me about it, and I though I would have to take it down.  However, he went on to say said he had a good friend who was a ham, and that he knew how important it was to have an antenna.  I never heard any more about it.

Hope your meeting goes well, Martin.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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W2MR
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« Reply #298 on: September 13, 2014, 03:19:43 AM »

I taught myself CW at age 13 from a vinyl record (33 1/3 rpm).

What sort of fossil does that make me?

It's nice to have a shortwave radio to give you actual conversations after you've memorized the record.

Good luck and most of all - have fun.

Mark/W2MR
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KB1WSY
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« Reply #299 on: September 13, 2014, 03:52:12 AM »

I taught myself CW at age 13 from a vinyl record (33 1/3 rpm).

What sort of fossil does that make me?

My first attempt to learn the code was at age 12 in the late 1960s. My parents bought me a Heathkit "become a ham" bundle, which included a code oscillator kit, three ARRL books and a multiple-LP Morse course entitled the "Revolutionary Word Method" with the narrator being, I believe, the eponymous Farnsworth himself.

IIRC this jumped in at 13wpm rather than the 5wpm required for the Novice license, but I may be wrong about that. I got about halfway through the course then I must have become bored, because I never finished, even though I had learned (I think) all of the characters and was pretty well set. Passed the UK ham test (regulations and theory, not Morse), but never applied for a license and never got on the air. In those days you could get a Morse-less phone license with a G8 prefix that was usable on VHF and (I think) also 160m, but not on any of the other HF bands (UK hams please correct me if I got those details wrong). But I never even bothered to do that, and dropped out of ham radio without ever getting on the air.

The "Revolutionary Word Method" LPs are still frequently available on eBay, for the nostalgia buffs....

When I got back into the radio hobby two years ago I purchased another vintage Morse method (the Ameco course, which was originally on LPs or maybe even 78s, and is now available on a CD) but found that it was dreadful ... however plenty of people successfully used it, half a century ago, so it can't be that bad!

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: September 13, 2014, 03:56:39 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
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