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Copying CW...write it down or just 'hear' it?

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by KB3TGX, Nov 26, 2010.

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  1. KG6IRW

    KG6IRW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Many thanks, AB2T, for the advise. I am in the process of learning the code and have been wondering about the techniques for moving away from thinking letters and into words. Your description was very helpful in making the connections. Essentially it helps me understand how much further I have to go.

    Ok, back to learning the letters and prosigns.....

    Cheers and 73s,

    A no-code Extra who doesn't want to be!
  2. KB4GTR

    KB4GTR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Due to recently receiving a 20m CW QRP rig, (but no code key yet,) I have been doing some listening/copying and am quite pleased that I am still able to copy "real time" QSO's quite easily. Most of the people I have heard so far have been sending in the 12-18wpm range. I have yet to hear anything really fast and that makes me feel great. Sounded like there was some contesting going on this past weekend.

    I was a little nervous about starting out on 20m because I thought I might not be able to keep up very well after so many years away from amateur radio. I'm glad CW is becoming so popular again.

    I also notice that after listening for about an hour that I was able to begin to copy words again. I can't wait to get that code key and get to operatin'!! :D
  3. KB4GTR

    KB4GTR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    WOW! Fired up the rig after work last night and all of the code I heard was 18wpm+ That was quite a challenge and I see there is a good mix of speeds out there on 20m. I have a hard time copying faster than 15wpm with a pen because I learned to do faster speeds on a typewriter. Will try again this afternoon using my PC keyboard, unless I can find some slower senders. ;)

    Still can't wait to get that Key and get on the air on HF again!
  4. W4RLR

    W4RLR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just HEAR it, and drill yourself daily for at least an hour. I use the Gordon West CDs.

    Morse is just another language. You didn't learn your mother tongue by writing things down, did you?
  5. K3ROJ

    K3ROJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    50 WPM

    Talking to a friend in England on 20 meters one day, the subject got around to becoming proficient in Morse code. Come to find out that in England they are teaching the visually impaired morse code (they are not hams) and in just a few weeks they are able to read books and articles which are transposed into 50 WPM Morse Code on CDs in MP3 format. In fact there are now volunteers who copy books in code and on YouTube it shows someone using a Begali Graciali key to do so. It makes sense since learning Braile has to be difficult.
  6. N2MIR

    N2MIR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Like the others have said. Get on the radio and make a contact. Tell the other end you are still learning. You will be amazed how much more speed you can work up to just playing DX. Thats how I learned. And its great fun. This might sound strange but code begins to sound like music. And you will begin to see words and follow without writing anything down. Just like remembering a familiar tune. I learned code on a straight key. I never got the hang of a paddle key. What ever works for you. Enjoy.
  7. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I do remember a little reading, writing, and arithmetic in the distant past growing up!

  8. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    W1AW is your friend. They send both slow and fast code practice, as well as bulletins at 18 WPM.

    Since I operate mobile much of the time, copying in my head is essential. I do write down the call and name of the guy I'm working, in case I forget in mid QSO.

    There are times, though when I wish I could write it down. Thereare af ewg uyswh ohaven oidea how to put spaces between characters or words. I sometimes wonder if they know how hard it is to copy them.

    Another fast way to boost your speed: contests. I think the NA QSO Party is coming up soon, and it's nice and short.
  9. AB3MV

    AB3MV Ham Member QRZ Page

    There must be something to this movement because all of the badge readers at work produce Morse code for the letter "D" when one's badge is accepted.
  10. KC9TNH

    KC9TNH Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is an intriguing topic, involving as it does, how people learn & am currently neck deep in this also. What has helped me slog through keeping up with listening & copying are some of the very things suggested here.

    - Practice is 'bout 30 minutes, then I do something else. Otherwise I can run into a mental abyss of my own making. :)
    - Headphones
    - Cursive lower-case characters (and a gel pen or roller ball); comfortable posture.
    - Also, my lovely bride of many moons doesn't mind if I ask her not to bother for 1/2 hour or so, she gets it.

    +1 to what was said about spacing (and speed too). I try to focus on majority hearing/copying (but not striving for perfection), and less on keying. Rationale is that i's real easy to find myself keying at a speed that - should someone answer - I'd be unable to copy and, of course, they just answered "at the speed of the call."

    I recall seeing in an old Navy pub the specific mention that even the best motivated sailor striking for the Radioman rating would hit a "wall" at some point in terms of wpm. Take a breath, exhale, and just keep working through it. It's kind of like practicing to put a shot-group together, focusing time after time after time after time. People training for many things (running, shooting, foreign language...) bump into a wall at times.

    Have often heard that most people would rather listen to code slower, but better paced & accurate the first time, than someone rattling off like a Thompson sub-gun who has to repeat themselves. And, given the experience level around here, I'm gonna believe 'em. The moment my call appears in the ULS (exams next week) I'm gonna get on the air, rather than wait for some day that may never come. It may not be fast, but at some point ya gotta get dirty.
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