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Author Topic: Took the plunge  (Read 11630 times)

madball13

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Took the plunge
« 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?

cockpitbob

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #1 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.

madball13

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #2 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.

cockpitbob

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2014, 10:34:03 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!

gil

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2014, 11:45:56 AM »
Congratulations! It's not easy but the rewards are great!

Quote
I 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.

KK0G

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #5 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.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2014, 12:54:11 PM by KK0G »
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

madball13

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #6 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.

underhill

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #7 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
« Last Edit: February 04, 2014, 01:49:45 PM by underhill »

Archangel320420

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #8 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

underhill

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2014, 02:18:41 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

madball13

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #10 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.

Lamewolf

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #11 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.

madball13

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2014, 07:33:52 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/

cockpitbob

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #13 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 shows 8"-10" but the local news says 12".

KK0G

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2014, 10:42:56 AM »
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.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

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Re: Took the plunge
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2014, 10:42:56 AM »