Radio Preppers

General Category => Morse Code => Topic started by: madball13 on February 04, 2014, 07:53:32 am

Title: Took the plunge
Post by: madball13 on February 04, 2014, 07:53:32 am
Started working in learning CW last night. I now have it set in my calendar to go in the shack fire up the laptop and work on the LCWO lessons. At the beginning of the lesson 1, K-M, i almost gave up, the letters were coming out faster that i could write. I was tempted to quit or slow the speed down but i remember Gil saying his biggest mistake was slowing down. I stuck it out and after doing lesson 1- 8 times my copy rate was at 80%.

Anyone got any tips? Should i just plug through all 40 lessons and see where i'm at?
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: cockpitbob on February 04, 2014, 08:23:15 am
The most important thing is to NOT learn the code visually like you did the alphabet.  Learn it like learning music without the sheet music.  Ideally if someone asks you what "Q" is you would have to whistle it to figure out the dits and dahs. 

I did it the other way, memorizing the letters from a card.  It took a long, long time to re-train my head to not use a look-up table to convert dits and dahs into letters when receiving.  For some reason your head doesn't have that problem (as bad?) while sending and most beginners can send faster than they can receive.

For LCWO.net, set the speed of the dits and dahs to 20wpm but the character speed as slow as you need.  You want to train your head so that each letter is a sylable or sound, not a combination of individual dits and dahs.  I love the sinister way LCWO keeps adjusting the speed so you are always struggling.  Like a good coach.

Getting proficient at the code is a significant challenge, but I think you'll find it very satisfying.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: madball13 on February 04, 2014, 08:48:35 am
Thanks Bob. The only thing i use to train is my computer, headphones, pen and paper. Before last night i had no idea what K or M looked like but by the end of 20 minutes i knew what they sounded like.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: cockpitbob on February 04, 2014, 10:34:03 am
Quote from: madball13 on February 04, 2014, 08:48:35 am
Thanks Bob. The only thing i use to train is my computer, headphones, pen and paper. Before last night i had no idea what K or M looked like but by the end of 20 minutes i knew what they sounded like.
Excellent.  That's the way to do it!
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: gil on February 04, 2014, 11:45:56 am
Congratulations! It's not easy but the rewards are great!

QuoteI was tempted to quit or slow the speed down but i remember Gil saying his biggest mistake was slowing down.


I am starting to wonder if writing anything at all is the right way to go... In the alphabet learning phase maybe. If I was doing it again, I would try to switch to head-copy as soon as possible.

I did everything wrong when I started, slowed down to 7wpm, visualized dots and dashes, etc. It's been a year and a half and I am still at 20wpm with missed words here and there, pretty dismal! I do hear some simple words at up to 35wpm, but I can't have a QSO at 20 without missing words.

Don't quit Madball, just keep doing it. Don't care too much about your progress or lack thereof.. If you keep doing it it will sink in soon or later. On LCWO, I used Morse Machine, I didn't do the lessons.. The best app I used was Ham Morse for iOS.

Gil.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: KK0G on February 04, 2014, 12:51:00 pm
Awesome! Keep at it and don't give up, especially when you get discouraged - and you probably will get discouraged. At some point - probably much sooner than you'd expect - it will just "click" and you'll realize "Hey, I know code!".


Just as soon as you know all the characters, get on the air! There is no better way to increase your proficiency than real live QSO's.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: madball13 on February 04, 2014, 01:12:46 pm
Thanks all if it wasn't for this board i would have never have considered Morse. The benefit of CW in a prepper situation is to hard to ignore.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: underhill on February 04, 2014, 01:30:10 pm
All I can suggest is just stick with it, if yu drop something just move on, and don't worry about progress, it will come on it's own, probably faster if not worried over, takes a while for the brain to learn new pathsways in it, at least for me it does  - and seems longer and longer as the years pile up,. ;)

I haven't been on too much for a while, bit of kid drama (again -son #2 this time... sigh!) over much of this last year, but I do browse and try to keep recent.  Anyway, aside from dealing again with some family drama, I've been using CW study -trying to relearn my code, partly as a mental escape, partly as a medatative type of exersize, partly cause I do believe it's a survival skill, and it's gone slower than maybe if I had just gone at it without distractions, but what's life if not a  series of distractions when yu've got something else planned, lol.

Anyway, the last 3 months have seen me working thru my old morse study curruculum.  No computer, just an mp3 player, a pen and a pad. 

An aside, when I get home at night, the dog gets all excited, and barks me in,  (2yr old - he still goes hyper/bonkers, and I get home it means 'alpha's home, and he's out going on his walk')  Daughter reports  that his bark has changed now somewhat, sometimes seems somewhat staccato at times, long and short, he's a husky/golden mix, we think he's imitating morse to me, ;)  (he  rarely barks except when members of his 'pack' return home).  But enough of that chuckle.  (dog does morse code, lol).

A bit of background on this, the F.I.S.T.S. cw club has a CW cd available, at cost, that was developed and donated to them by Chuck Adams, K7QO.  I've heard it was based on WW2 navy training techniques, but never bothered to confirm.  You study, writing a character when you hear it.   Then when done, Chuck suggests to go back thru and start head copy, or use a typewriter, whichever you prefer to learn.  I think the intent is to 'imprint' the sound, to an impulse, try to just write, don't mentally translate then write.  I do find that occasionally I've written the right letter subconsiously, but then I realize i did it, and it screws me up, as I become consious of it, lol.

The CD uses about 15-18 wpm character speed, with slower spacing (initially) to let you comprehend it, like Farnsworth.  Don't worry over it, just jot down what yu can and it really does pick up :)

The whole CD, which consisted of some 514 mp3 files, plus answers in pdf, and several pdf's on how to study, is available for a download, along with the original and updated curruculum that Nc6Q developed from it, if any are interested, at my personal webpage: http://www.lauchlan.com/cw   Feel free to download if interested!  The MP3 files from #300 or so on are HG Wells "War of the Worlds" audio book in CW, so there's a bit for everyone here.

I think the CD is now at version 4 from Fists, however, as morse doesn't really change, Version 3 should still be good.  If you follow thru the curruculum, it's about 13 weeks, and you will be doing 15-30 minutes a day split into a couple sessions.

I took a CW class with my local radio club, back in 2010, that was based on this cd, and the instructor of the class, Bob Grubec Nc6Q, developed a study curruculum based it on Chucks CD, at version 3.  They also did a slow speed net for a while, for on-air practice. Unfortunately for me right at the same week as the class graduation, life happened, and my oldest Son had a crisis in his marriage, and moved back home for a while, with all the drama you'd expect.  Things are fine now, we helped him find where he wanted/needed to be, and he and his wife are doing great, he's even developing a career that he seems to love, but I lost well over a couple years, and all the momentium I had.  I'd do the tradeoff again for them tho.

Anyway, I saw a rumor in the clubs newsletter last fall, that they MIGHT offer some kind of cw class spring of '14, this goaded me to dig out my old curruculum and the CD (all mp3 files, and go back thru it.

I just completed the course curruculum last week. There were a few problems at week 8 in the original curruculum, something about NC6Q switching accidentially to an earlier cd version, but I corrected it, based on my current needs (numbers were giving me problems).  I've started listening on air some, need to get myself on the air now!  Still running maintenance studying, so I won't backtrack again!  Guess I need to develop a codebuddy eh?

This is only offered as a resource to consider adding to your set of cw study tools, not suggesting you replace anything that is working for you! It's working for me, but YMMV!!! Or if you want a copy of a book on (CW)audio of War of the Worlds, ;)

For you consideration

Allan
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: Archangel320420 on February 04, 2014, 02:09:32 pm
The Navy used a cruel harsh form of brainwashing. They had a large screen in front of the class room which displayed a letter when in the student's earphones the morse was sent and the student then typed this letter. This happened 5 days a week for 4 hours per day. haaaa
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: underhill on February 04, 2014, 02:18:41 pm
Quote from: Archangel320420 on February 04, 2014, 02:09:32 pm
The Navy used a cruel harsh form of brainwashing. They had a large screen in front of the class room which displayed a letter when in the student's earphones the morse was sent and the student then typed this letter. This happened 5 days a week for 4 hours per day. haaaa


AAAAH!  Well, that ain't what I've got, so that disproves that theory, lol

Allan
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: madball13 on February 04, 2014, 09:34:48 pm
I just hit 90% on K and M. Next lesson adds U and i tried it a few times and got overwhelmed. I'll pick it back up tomorrow.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: Lamewolf on February 05, 2014, 07:20:23 am
Download a copy of the Koch method CW traner software at www.g4fon.com  It allows you to learn the code one letter/number at a time and that way you keep building what you can copy.  Once you can copy the one character, you simply add a character and then you listen to 2 characters.  Once you can copy them ok you add another and then keep adding until you can copy all of them.  If done right, you can learn CW in 26 one half hour sessions for a total of 13 hours training.  I use it just to stay in practice with.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: madball13 on February 05, 2014, 07:33:52 am
Quote from: Lamewolf on February 05, 2014, 07:20:23 am
Download a copy of the Koch method CW traner software at www.g4fon.com  It allows you to learn the code one letter/number at a time and that way you keep building what you can copy.  Once you can copy the one character, you simply add a character and then you listen to 2 characters.  Once you can copy them ok you add another and then keep adding until you can copy all of them.  If done right, you can learn CW in 26 one half hour sessions for a total of 13 hours training.  I use it just to stay in practice with.


You link doesn't work but it seems the same as http://lcwo.net/
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: cockpitbob on February 05, 2014, 08:29:27 am
So madball13, you staying home and grinding on the code trainer between stints with the snow blower and hot chocolate?  The Taunton, MA NWS chart  (http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/StormTotalSnow/)shows 8"-10" but the local news says 12".
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: KK0G on February 05, 2014, 10:42:56 am
Quote from: madball13 on February 04, 2014, 09:34:48 pm
I just hit 90% on K and M. Next lesson adds U and i tried it a few times and got overwhelmed. I'll pick it back up tomorrow.

When you start getting frustrated and feeling overwhelmed it's time for a break, good call on trying again the next day. You'll get there, good luck.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: madball13 on February 05, 2014, 12:48:40 pm
Quote from: cockpitbob on February 05, 2014, 08:29:27 am
So madball13, you staying home and grinding on the code trainer between stints with the snow blower and hot chocolate?  The Taunton, MA NWS chart  (http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/StormTotalSnow/)shows 8"-10" but the local news says 12".


I got up at 5:30 and say clean roads so i decided to go in, got out of the shower and got dressed and they roads were covered. only 9 of the 120 showed up today at the office. Currently got some punk rock turned up load and jamming out some emails.

Thanks KK0G. I felt the same way when i started K and m and stuck it out and look what happened.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: cockpitbob on February 05, 2014, 01:22:45 pm
Thanks KK0G. I felt the same way when i started K and m and stuck it out and look what happened.
Over the year+ of half-hearted studying I hit several plateaus.  They passed.  And there are plenty of people willing to QSO at under 10wpm.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: KC9TNH on February 07, 2014, 08:43:32 am
Head-copy is a good thing to have, especially conversationally. Don't discount the need at some point (that most hope never happens) to be able to "no-bs 100%" transcribe what you've copied in a situation where it really matters.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: cockpitbob on March 10, 2014, 02:12:27 pm
Sending Practice:
The club I belong to gives Morse classes every winter.  I finally passed the 20wpm copy test.  There's one last thing to do.  If I can send at 20wpm for 5 minutes and the instructor finds 1 minute of perfect sending in the 5 I get the coveted Master Operator hat.  I'm not into wall paper or show-off stuff and won't wear the hat much, but I do like having "a mission".

To practice sending I got the Morse Code Reader  (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.jfedor.morsecode)app, set my phone by the keyer's speaker and start sending.  The reader is almost useless copying from a radio with anything but a strong clean signal, but it does very well reading off my keyer.  The next test is in 3 weeks.  I've got a lot of ground to cover, but I think this is a useful goal.  Like everyone else, I want to have an easy to copy fist.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: KK0G on March 10, 2014, 03:20:37 pm
Quote from: cockpitbob on March 10, 2014, 02:12:27 pm
Sending Practice:
The club I belong to gives Morse classes every winter.  I finally passed the 20wpm copy test.  There's one last thing to do.  If I can send at 20wpm for 5 minutes and the instructor finds 1 minute of perfect sending in the 5 I get the coveted Master Operator hat.  I'm not into wall paper or show-off stuff and won't wear the hat much, but I do like having "a mission".

To practice sending I got the Morse Code Reader  (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.jfedor.morsecode)app, set my phone by the keyer's speaker and start sending.  The reader is almost useless copying from a radio with anything but a strong clean signal, but it does very well reading off my keyer.  The next test is in 3 weeks.  I've got a lot of ground to cover, but I think this is a useful goal.  Like everyone else, I want to have an easy to copy fist.



Congratulations on passing the 20 WPM test, no doubt you'll ace the sending test also. I can quite easily send at 20 WPM but about all I can copy at that speed is basic info like callsign, signal report, etc and only if I have an idea of what's coming next. It works out fine for DXing in a pile up but I'd be lost in a ragchew at that speed.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: cockpitbob on March 10, 2014, 04:40:16 pm
Quote from: KK0G on March 10, 2014, 03:20:37 pm
Congratulations on passing the 20 WPM test, no doubt you'll ace the sending test also. I can quite easily send at 20 WPM but about all I can copy at that speed is basic info like callsign, signal report, etc and only if I have an idea of what's coming next. It works out fine for DXing in a pile up but I'd be lost in a ragchew at that speed.
Thanks, but I'll have to say that passing the 20wpm wasn't a very realistic situation and I couldn't sit down at a rig and do that well.  We had just spent an hour copying off a Morse Machine so I was all warmed up and focused. And of courst the test tape was a perfec fist.

As far as the sending test, I'm not so sure it will be that easy for me.  I'm definetly going to have to find just the right balance between too little and too much coffee :)
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: Luigi on April 15, 2014, 02:14:40 am
Hi there. This web site got me interested in CW. I am enrolled in cw ops this fall 2014. I have learned all the letters and numbers. I can send pretty well. I cannot copy very well. I guess I learned the wrong way. I am listening to code as much as possible. I prefer learning with someone else. Any advice?

One other thing. I have a great deal of difficulty sending at slower speeds. I find that upping the speed a few words per minute really helps. I am using an iambic keyer with contacts set so that a very slight touch keys the transmitter. A thin sheet of paper will barely fit between the contacts.

I have chatted with a few people in cw mode (using cwget software to me read the cw) but most people were only interested in contesting. That is a wierd way to operate and I feel it is a waste of time. I would rather carry om a few shot messages without all the software.

Is there anyone interested in communicating via cw or practicing with me? I am on the west coast.

Luigi
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: gil on April 15, 2014, 02:32:11 am
QuoteI am enrolled in cw ops this fall 2014


Hello Luigi,

That class helped me quite a bit to switch from writing to head-copy. Let me know who your instructor is?

Gil.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: Luigi on April 15, 2014, 01:28:47 pm
Thanks. I will let you know. It will be this fall.
Luigi
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: mdmc on April 18, 2014, 05:03:21 pm
Quote from: Luigi on April 15, 2014, 02:14:40 am
Hi there. This web site got me interested in CW. I am enrolled in cw ops this fall 2014. I have learned all the letters and numbers. I can send pretty well. I cannot copy very well. I guess I learned the wrong way. I am listening to code as much as possible. I prefer learning with someone else. Any advice?


Luigi, in my CWOpps class, we are using the G4FON software. If you don't have it I would suggest getting it. It is free, all over the net. Start working the word files asap both copying and sending. Apparently different instructors run their classes a bit differently. I am taking the lowest level class. The class is taught at 20wpm. Only time will tell how successful it will be for me. I understand now, the importance of learning at a higher speed, like 20wmp. Though at first, it seemed a bit daunting .


QuoteI have chatted with a few people in cw mode (using cwget software to me read the cw) but most people were only interested in contesting. That is a wierd way to operate and I feel it is a waste of time. I would rather carry om a few shot messages without all the software.

Is there anyone interested in communicating via cw or practicing with me? I am on the west coast.

Luigi


Contesting is not for everyone, including me. There is room for everyone, though.
I am sure they have advanced the technology for all of us.
(Almost everyone.There are some real sickos on the air unfortunately.)

I have some useful and interesting PDF files my instructor sent. He has put a lot into teaching the code. If you are interested, send me a private message through the group with your email address and I will send some of them to you. I'm not sure I am up to working on the air yet, but will be soon. I would be glad to work with you on the air as soon as I am able.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: Luigi on April 19, 2014, 11:16:53 pm
Mike,
Thank you. I have the software and I use it daily. I started with 17 wpm and now I key in at 20. 20 seems to feel better to me. Listening is another issue. I have a while until fall. By then the class might be review. I have installed the web cam chat software and read their manuals ahead of time.
I will send a PM.
Thanks. On air I would just jump into it. Most folks are pretty nice about being new to it on the air.
Luigi.
Title: Re: Took the plunge
Post by: KK0G on April 19, 2014, 11:29:53 pm
Jump right in there Luigi, you won't find a more helpful and patient group of hams than CW operators. keep at it, you'll get there ;) .