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Author Topic: My Morse Learning Campaign  (Read 364651 times)
KB1WSY
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #405 on: March 27, 2017, 10:57:14 AM »

So there you are: Yesterday was dreadful. I never once completed a Koch drill with anything like 90 percent accuracy. Today however, in two attemps I have managed it twice (i.e. a full 10 minutes), at the 24-character level (and "true" 15wpm i.e. no Farnsworth).

In my opinion this justifies my (recent) approach, which is not to worry too much about failing to meet the 90 percent target and to just "push on" by adding an additional character. Of course, this would be a reckless approach if my copy skills deteriorated relentlessly each time I added a new character. However that is not what is happening: in my case, things eventually get better again.

So at least in my case, "bending the rules" of the Koch method in this way seems to be beneficial (I wish I had figured this out earlier). Perhaps others will find this experience useful.

Edited to add: It also has an awful lot to do with being able to get into that "Zen" state of mind where the letters just pour out of your pencil, apparently without effort. I only manage this a minority of the time (today was one of those times) but it's magic when it happens.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 10:59:53 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
KB1WSY
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #406 on: April 02, 2017, 01:38:08 PM »

It's going nicely. On the copying side, am back up to 27 characters.

For fun, I posted on YouTube a sending practice that I did nearly three years ago, keying my transmitter into a dummy load:

https://youtu.be/n7NYdqXKkqo.

My sending sounds about the same now as it did then. Here is what it was like today, using a code-practice oscillator:

https://youtu.be/bdp8IY9xTx8.

I find my optimal sending speed is between 10wpm and 11wpm. If I try to speed up, it degenerates quickly.

I'm using an Ameco K-4, a Japanese-made J-38 clone.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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VK5EEE
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Posts: 1215




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« Reply #407 on: April 02, 2017, 02:23:05 PM »

Hi OM I get the feeling you are counting the dits and dahs, or imagining the image of the character in your head, rather than the sound of the character as a whole. I could be wrong, you know if that is the case or not. It is of course clear CW though spacing needs to be trained too, between words is a long pause But in time it will improve. Just be sure to continue more the listening aspect than the sending, sending will come quite naturally on a straight key once you have mastered reception. 73
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
KE6EE
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Posts: 2804




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« Reply #408 on: April 02, 2017, 02:38:32 PM »

My sending sounds about the same now as it did then. Here is what it was like today, using a code-practice oscillator:
https://youtu.be/bdp8IY9xTx8.

Fundamentally it sounds good. Spacings between characters are uneven in an irregular way but I did notice that the S and the Y
in your call were regularly close together.

It does sound like you are a bit overly-intent and anxious about the quality of your code. That is perfectly normal. The answer
is to get on the air. When you do you will be less focused simply on yourself. You will need also to attend to what the other op
is doing. You will discover all ops have sending flaws. After a few QSOs communicating well and enjoying yourself will be the
focus and you will relax. Relaxing will increase the quality of your sending (and of your receiving) far better than practicing.

Get on the air right now!  Grin
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K8AXW
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Posts: 7039




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« Reply #409 on: April 02, 2017, 10:03:32 PM »

Quote
Get on the air right now!

Martin:  I agree....not perfect but VERY good code!  There's no reason for you not being on the air with that fist.

As for perfection.....seldom is that achieved so don't concern yourself about that.  I listened to both of your links and would enjoy working you any day!

Keep up the good work.  Oh, count on the fact that your speed and accuracy will improve quickly with on-the-air contacts!
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A Pessimist is Never Disappointed!
N4OI
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Posts: 401




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« Reply #410 on: April 05, 2017, 04:52:24 AM »

All this CW analysis is one part of the hobby I missed out on...  And I thought I was having fun just getting on the air and making QSOs... Go figure!

Touché!

See you on the air soon.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY

Martin, please let me know when you finally put some code into the ether...  With all this build-up, I expect the ionosphere to light up from all the charged particles.  And I want to schedule a day off work to witness the historic occasion!

73   Grin
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K8AXW
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Posts: 7039




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« Reply #411 on: April 05, 2017, 09:40:49 AM »

Martin:

Quote
I find my optimal sending speed is between 10wpm and 11wpm. If I try to speed up, it degenerates quickly.

Believe this:  When you get on the air this 'problem' will be eliminated automatically.

When you consciously push yourself to increase speed it all falls apart simply because your brain isn't ready to go faster.

However, when you get on the air, the brain for some reason becomes impatient (I'm quite sure there is a more detailed and accurate medical explanation for this) and automatically speeds up the understanding process.  It's natural and not forced. I seriously doubt if you can stop this process.

Stay with your current speed and let your brain speed you up with its "impatience." 

I listened to your sending and it's VERY good!  You'll do well.

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A Pessimist is Never Disappointed!
K3STX
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Posts: 1644




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« Reply #412 on: April 05, 2017, 10:04:20 AM »

The code sounds great, just get on the air!!! That speed is perfectly fine for sending and receiving.

paul
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KB1WSY
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #413 on: April 16, 2017, 04:23:23 AM »

I'm at 33 characters (Koch) with 90 percent recognition at 15wpm, no Farnsworth. Pushing ahead.

Copying of on-air QSOs is patchy (which is only to be expected) but improving noticeably.

I will be on the air on 40m extremely soon. It's a bit like cooking a meal, everything has to be reasonably ready at the same time. Code proficiency is now "good enough." I am completing construction of the transmit-receive switch. Deploying a "compromise longwire antenna" (instead of the originally planned dipole) is the final item on the menu. That's a long story, but a proper dipole cannot currently be erected without permission of my neighbors in the building next door, and this is too complex to finalize soon -- it is a multi-occupancy building.

When this saga is over I will summarize how it went over the years, so that no-one ever has to wade through this entire thread!

There is an awful lot of advice being given in various threads on this forum right now, a lot of it good. About the only thing I will add here is this. If, like me, you have made several attempts to learn the code over a period of years: don't give up. It actually gets a bit easier each time!

Edited to add: Thank you very much for the encouragement given by various posters here. It is much appreciated.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 04:34:59 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
VK5EEE
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Posts: 1215




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« Reply #414 on: April 16, 2017, 05:22:30 AM »

Great news Martin and CONGRATS!
With the LW maybe better keep secret from neighbours that you're a ham in case they have cheap Chinese junk such as touch lamps that may blink...
73 & 77 enjoy many great CW QSO on air into the future!
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Long Live Real Human CW and wishing you many happy CW QSO - 77 - CW Forever

Support CW and join CW clubs. QTT: FIST#1124, HSC#1437, UFT#728, RCWC#982, SKCC#15007, CWOPS#1714, 30CW#1,
K8AXW
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Posts: 7039




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« Reply #415 on: April 16, 2017, 06:50:58 AM »

Martin, the main point not mentioned here....specifically, is PRACTICE, PRACTICE AND MORE PRACTICE! 

Whatever way you do it, Koch, Farnsworth, old fashioned way....whatever, it is still going to require the PRACTICE! 
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KB1WSY
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #416 on: April 16, 2017, 07:02:31 AM »

Whatever way you do it, Koch, Farnsworth, old fashioned way....whatever, it is still going to require the PRACTICE! 

Practice is necessary but not sufficient. I don't think you can fault me on the practice front. Again, I will summarize my "campaign" later when I am finally on the air but in my case the obstacles had much more to do with life in general. Even with at least a half-hour of practice every day over a multi-month period, it is hard to learn CW if you are exhausted by work/family commitments or simply anxious about something that has nothing to do with CW or ham radio.

So here's another piece of advice to any young people (I'm 59) who might be reading this thread and wondering whether to learn Morse code. Do it now! It will be much harder later.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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KE6EE
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Posts: 2804




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« Reply #417 on: April 17, 2017, 09:25:14 AM »

It is hard to learn CW if you are exhausted by work/family commitments or simply anxious about something that has nothing to do with CW or ham radio.

Do it now! It will be much harder later.

Absolutely right concerning exhaustion or anxiety in general making learning virtually anything new very difficult for many people.

Morse code will be much easier during periods in your life when you have ample time and energy to focus on learning. This
will be true whatever your age.

In addition, seeking a class (not on-line if at all possible) will be much better than going at the learning in isolation.

When most of us oldsters learned code at young ages, we had ample time and energy and we did our learning with others. The
social aspects of learning are often overlooked in these days of computer obsession. Computers, no matter how smart, are not
people.
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OZ8AGB
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Posts: 577




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« Reply #418 on: April 18, 2017, 05:53:38 AM »

KE6EE

Yup. These things has also been my problem: not too much time and being on my own. Could really use on air training buddies at the same skill level.
The usual advice is "Do many QSOs on air". Started that and ran into: DCWers rattling al kinds of things off and fast ragchewers ending up being overwhelmed copying close to nothing and thinking "he ended with ? and it was definately not HW? or OK?". This kind of "training" does absolutely nothing good for me and I considered unplugging and selling the paddle.
Also, I don't know if it is just me but rust seems to pick up fast. Did RufzXP training fairly regularly and beat my own #1 over and over. Then a month or 2 without training and my score went 26 places down. Arrrgh...
 Embarrassed
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K3STX
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Posts: 1644




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« Reply #419 on: April 18, 2017, 06:41:19 AM »

Martin,

TOO MUCH THINKING!!!!! Just get on the air with what you know. If you miss a letter here or there, who cares. I "knew" the code well enough to pass my novice exam but I still had my "dots and dashes cheatsheet" there by my key just in case. And yes, I counted dots and dashes.

Guess what?

I somehow, miraculously, was able to master Morse by counting dots and dashes.

Enough of practice. I don't want to hear about learning anymore. You KNOW Morse code, use it on the air!! After 2 weeks of at least ONE short QSO every day you will wonder why you spent so much time "practicing".

C'mon!!!!!

paul
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