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Author Topic: Getting started learning CW  (Read 4669 times)

KC3AOL

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Getting started learning CW
« on: August 19, 2014, 09:51:16 AM »
So my local club started an on-air CW class last night.  I think they progressed to new letters too quickly.  I think we went through 10 letters in under an hour and I'm definitely struggling.  The problem I'm having at the moment is that I hear the dits and dahs, then in my mind I have to translate it into a letter and by the time I've done that, then next letter is past and I'm completely lost on where one ends and the next one begins.  I can usually pick it up after a few letters, but then the cycle begins again.

I know it will get better, but I just need to spend time each night listening to code until I get the patterns down and the translation is instantaneous.  I have an app for my phone, so I'll probably spend 30 minutes or so each night with the headphones in and running the training app.

Any other suggestions?

Five more classes to go...

KK0G

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Re: Getting started learning CW
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 10:51:04 AM »
What you're going through sounds pretty much like it was when I started learning code and no doubt most of us were the same way. It's perfectly normal to get confused and fall behind. When it happens just skip the characters you missed and move on. Don't worry, it'll start clicking in your head as you progress over time.


An on air CW class is a great tool but definitely isn't the only thing you should be doing to learn code. The class is a good motivator and a fun way to learn but the bulk of your initial studying should be via software, online sites, MP3 files, ARRL code practice, on air monitoring, practice oscillator, etc, etc. In other words, total immersion through repetition over and over and over again and again.............. you get the point.


Keep at it and 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

gil

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Re: Getting started learning CW
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 05:49:17 PM »
Ten letters in an hour is excessive. I would suggest two letters per hour...

Congratulations on learning the code! It takes time but the rewards make it all worth it!
It took me a year to become proficient, so don't despair!

Gil.

KC3AOL

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Re: Getting started learning CW
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2014, 09:32:57 AM »
We had our second class last night.  It seems that a lot of people dropped out because there were only 3 or 4 of us.  Pretty sad really that people gave up that quickly.  I am getting better and have a couple letters memorized, but I do need to do some more training on my own.

Here's a question though.  We are learning at 5 wpm which makes it easier to hear the individual dits and dahs.  But would a faster rate make it easier to hear the patterns as groups/letters?  I have a feeling that it would (up to a point).  The Koch method app on my phone suggests running at 20 wpm.  Of course, at a faster rate, I'd probably have trouble keeping up with writing it down so that I can check it against what it was supposed to be.  Maybe I shouldn't even bother trying to write it down yet?

KK0G

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Re: Getting started learning CW
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2014, 10:21:38 AM »
Yes, in my opinion you should definitely be learning at a higher speed. It's actually easier believe it or not. Now when I say higher speed I mean  only the speed at which each character is sent should be higher, the spacing between characters should be slower to allow your brain time to process what was sent, AKA the Koch method. I'd suggest around 12-15 WPM character speed with a 5 WPM spacing.


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"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

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gil

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Re: Getting started learning CW
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2014, 11:12:24 AM »
Learning at 5wpm in my book is a no-no. 15wpm would be the strict minimum, with 17 or 20 much better. The teacher should reduce the number of letters you learn per lesson and increase the speed. At 5wpm you will visualize dots and dashes, which is bad. You will have to re-learn the code by sound later... My suggestion unfortunately is to drop out before you get bad habits. Show this thread to your teacher maybe... I started learning at 7wpm and it took me mre than a year to learn, I had to re-learn listening by sound and wasted months struggling at about 12wpm... Now I am at 20wpm head copy, but because of the way I learned, slow, I am still missing too much...

Gil.

KC3AOL

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Re: Getting started learning CW
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2014, 04:28:11 PM »
Thanks guys.  Starting at a slow rate sounds good on paper, but I had a feeling that a faster rate would actually be better for hearing a pattern instead of individual dits and dahs.

I like KK0G's suggestion of a fast character speed with a slower spacing speed.  I'll have to see if I can adjust those separately in my app or see if I can find another where that is an option.  If not, maybe I'll make the suggestion to the app developers.

Our local club has a meeting on Thursday, so I'll talk to the teacher about it then.

RadioRay

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Re: Getting started learning CW
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2014, 06:26:37 PM »
That is exactly correct: faster (NORMAL SPEED) letters with spacing between so that you learn the sound of the letters, not 'dots and dashes'.  Let me be frank and say that - from only what I've read here - that instructor is failing the students; not the other way round. 

>>>>====>  The Koch Method is the normal speed chars at 15-20 WPM with long spacing between, teaching the student to hear how the Morse ACTUALLY SOUNDS, much like learning any other language.  The ssssslllllllooooooooowwwwwwww    ddddddoooooottttttsssss   aaaaaannnnnnnndddd      ddddddaaaaassssshhhhhheeeeesssss damage a students' ability to learn , because they are learning a distorted version of Morse code and will be forced oto RElearn it atleast on more time before they are proficient, with much weeping, wailing and knashing of teeth each time. 

FREEware programs such as the wonderful G4FON and others will teach using this method on your own time. Some of the other fellows like KK0G and Gil learned more recently, and probably know interactive websites and etc.  My favorite would have Morse beginners copy on the keyboard and receive chocolate for each correct char, but send a 'mild electric shock' for each missed char, and increase the voltage as errors increase. 




That would cause 'maximum progress' in my book.  Moo-ha-ha!



>RadioRay ..._  ._



« Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 08:12:04 AM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

gil

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Re: Getting started learning CW
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2014, 06:42:41 PM »
I suggest lcwo.net.

Gil


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KC3AOL

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Re: Getting started learning CW
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2014, 07:30:52 PM »
The Koch Method is the My favorite would have Morse beginners copy on the keyboard and receive chocolate for each correct char, but send a 'mild electric shock' for each missed char, and increase the voltage as errors increase. 




That would cause 'maximum progress' in my book.  Moo-ha-ha!

Engage the oscillation overthruster!

I checked my app and it does allow different spacing for characters and words. I set the overall speed at 20 wpm and the spacing at 4x (which should be 5 wpm). It was actually pretty easy to copy that way. So now I just need to learn all the letters and then I can start dropping the spacing down to normal.

KK0G

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Re: Getting started learning CW
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2014, 08:52:22 AM »
I checked my app and it does allow different spacing for characters and words. I set the overall speed at 20 wpm and the spacing at 4x (which should be 5 wpm). It was actually pretty easy to copy that way. So now I just need to learn all the letters and then I can start dropping the spacing down to normal.
Now you're cooking with gas. Morse code is so much easier to learn when the characters are sent at normal speeds, they then make a distinctive pattern or note that is easily recognized. It's actually far more difficult for me to copy 5 WPM code than it is to copy 20 WPM, I can do it but at that slow of a speed I have to sort of disengage the normal code reading part of my brain and really concentrate on what's being sent. It sounds counter intuitive but it's true.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G