Experienced CW Ops - Question on Copying CW

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by K1DNR, Sep 3, 2010.

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  1. KG4NSF

    KG4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    New to CW

    Okay...so here is "your" chance to help...

    I am just learning CW, and I was "pointed" to the "Just Learn Morse Code" application that is "free." It uses the "Koch" method and Farnsworth timing...

    I seem to learn the letters quickly, but I am stumped on the spacing. Is that normal for a beginner?

    Would you recommend something different?

  2. K5XS

    K5XS Ham Member QRZ Page


    I agree with the other comments that have been made about fists, and how they have changed over the last few years. I think that for many, there isn't quite the focus on spending the time to space both characters and words. I remember when learning CW there was discussion in the training books I used about being sure to avoid developing a "swing" to your fist, and I think that's happening to a lot of ops nowadays too.

    I don't think any amount of practice will help you with copying those with poor fists. But there are plenty of good fists to enjoy.

    Thanks for staying on CW. I love it!

  3. K3STX

    K3STX Ham Member QRZ Page

    One way to practice your sending ACCURATELY would be to download one of the W1AW code practice mp3 files. Then print out the text and SEND ALONG. That will give you experience hearing, and sending, with the proper spacing. I'm not sure doing on the air will really help, if you have poor habits all that will happen is that they will become more "natural" to you, this is not what you want.

    I learned 5 wpm code at 5 wpm and everything simply increased in speed proportionally. I think that is how all of us did it back then. But that was a LONG time ago. We had cassette tapes and records (and W1AW) to follow along with, that was it.

  4. NI7I

    NI7I Guest

    Just because a fellow has been dopimg it for a long time doesnt mean it's right. Bad code is bad code. The fellow needing practice is the fellow that sort of forgets the spaces where they are needed.

    NI7I (Retired "sparks")
  5. NI7I

    NI7I Guest

    While that is certainly true for you, it isnt for all of us. I was trained with a mill and or pencil. For the longeI st time, if someboady asked me what was said, I would have to read my copy. That, I supose, is a problem with commerical operators. I still use a pen and paper but am anle to sort of read as I go. Thing is, at any speed, I'm a line or so behind what's being sent.

  6. AB9LZ

    AB9LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Or worse... I used to listen for the TR relay to clunk between words as a way to enforce spacing, on newer rigs the relay is either very quiet (like my TS850), or not there at all (K2 and and the Ten Tecs) and have to mentally insert the "clunk".

    73 m/4
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's lucky. Training to copy on paper and not actually interpret what's being sent until you read it back is really the worst kind of training.

    It's so much nicer to just "hear" the code as if it's a language, and get it all in real time.

    At the code school at the US Army Signal Corps facilities in Ft. Monmouth, that training fully accepted copy on paper without understanding anything about what was sent. I thought that was the worst possible training, and tried to get them to change it.:)

    Obviously, that didn't go well.:p (Then, there's lots of stuff the Army did that made no sense.)

    It makes for double the work, and there's no reason to have to do that. It's a bit like painting something, then painting it again.

    Yep, they did a lot of that, too.

    But habits are hard to break.
  8. NI7I

    NI7I Guest

    Could be but, that training served me well for 30 years at sea, 4 in the navy and the rest on merchant ships. copying fox skeds amnd later, press, it was very handy and I'm not sure "head" copying would have worked. We needed perfect copy or, as you pointed out work would have to be duplicated.. If you could put a message blank in the mill and deliver it to the addee straight off the air you were much quicker than if you had to retype it from your "notes" which could very well have some critical errors.

  9. K3STX

    K3STX Ham Member QRZ Page

    C'mon, it is certainly possible to write down every letter AND understand exactly what is being said! Ask any experienced traffic op. I used to do this all the time at 3RN, and I found it useful when asking for repeats when it was clear to me that the content did not match what was sent.

    I do not see how it is possible to copy CW at 30 wpm and have no idea what you are actually copying, as if all you are writing down is letters that have no meaning until you look at them later. If that is REALLY what the military wanted, they REALLY screwed up!

    So I assume this means if the guy SENDING made a mistake, you simply copy the mistake and then transmit that same mistake along to the next guy? That doesn't seem to be very smart.

  10. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Could be but copying everything on paper works for me and helps me learn the different abbreviations and such that are not a part of "normal language" so next time I hear them they are in my vocab instead of just random letters. For some reason if I copy all on paper once, next time I can get it in my head.

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