CW Academy pre-questions

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by WC3T, Jun 27, 2019.

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  1. WC3T

    WC3T Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    So I'm signed up for CW Academy L1 - in the queue, probably with a January start but might be a September start.

    I'm brimming with lots of unanswered questions. Mostly regarding basic "how-do-you-do-this" uncertainties.

    Will I be able to "attend" CWA without making the rest of the family nuts with the Skype recording? I know that I can do that with a Plantronics headet on the work PC, but not sure what expectations are for the classes.

    I assume that there will be audio input of voice and of code. I expect to be using my KX3 at zero watts and somehow get the sidetone into the computer.

    Is there a primer on how the class works and what the technical expectations are (besides the "no straight key" limitations and the vague advisory about Skype or Zoom?

    If this is off-topic for this group, I will be happy to discuss via email.
     
  2. WC3T

    WC3T Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    After a brief search, I was able to find the "student handbook" and believe that all of my questions are going to be answered there. Odd that I wasn't able to find it on the CWOps web site.
     
  3. G0KAY

    G0KAY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Rich,

    It looks like you sorted yourself out there. The idea of CWOps is a great one, but I'm not sure what level of proficiency it's aimed at. I'm at the rusty end of proficiency.

    All the best when you get signed up.

    73
    Trystan
    G0KAY
     
  4. K5UNX

    K5UNX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good luck with the Class. I took the L1 class a couple years ago. Signed up for L2 this fall.
     
  5. W2OZB

    W2OZB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    CW Academy is currently redesigning its curriculum and including a Level 2 prep for those who are rusty and can not meet the 10wpm requirement of Level 2 whether you graduated from level 1 or are what is commonly known as a "retread" (someone who knows the characters but are "rusty" and need a "tune up" before entering level 2. :)

    I've graduated all three (now four) classes and am and a CWA advisor. Generally speaking CWAcademy offers four classes:

    Level one is for those knowing no code or so few characters that essentially in without any code knowledge.

    Level 2 Prep: class for making the big jump from knowing code (at roughly 20/3 or 20/5 Farnsworth) to 20/10 Farnsworth (head copy. Some students are not able to make that large jump to 10wpm, some people are "retreads", that is, they know the characters and have had prior experience in code but rusty and can not meet the 10wpm requirement of level 2 or have been writing the copy down instead of using head copy technique.. This class focuses on instant character recognition.

    Level 2 takes the student from 20/10 to 20/15, works with heady copy not just single words but but word groups and phrases. Introduction to contesting and Dx is included along with software to help in call sign capture.

    Level 3 will bring the student up from 20/15 to 20/20 (No Farnsworth spacing )or even up to 25/25. Sending is often stressed more in this class as focus on level two tends to favor intense head copy and sending tends to "take a back seat"

    The Academy is currently adding (if not already done) a "self assessment" section where you can listen to some mp3 recordings to copy so one is better to determine just where one's current capabilities are. I hope this helps in putting things in better perspective.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
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  6. WC3T

    WC3T Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That stuff is all on the web site, which I've gone over and over. What got me is the sheer mechanics of how to make the connections.

    I'm going to be using a KX3 at zero watts with sidetone in the phones. Output from that into... the mic on the computer? But I then need a wye because I have to be able to talk to the instructor/class? Headphones from the computer are okay, because I am not decoding Morse, so I don't need to go in the other direction.

    Is it as simple as that? That's what I did for MARS; my M110 output from my SignaLink and my mic went into a wye that then went into the radio. Do I just plug that into the puter, load the conferencing software and I'm good to go?

    I do not want to be scrambling after my "welcome" email to figure this out in the event I have to buy/build something.
     
  7. W2OZB

    W2OZB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are several approaches to what you describe, from easy to quite difficult and the range of results will imitate the obvious.

    The easiest:

    Plug headset into computer to hear ZOOM session. Key with Break-in off (or zero output) to speaker that will be picked up by boom mike on head set. Issue here is volume of your outgoing code, not easily picked up by headset mike. So, your always adjusting the headphone mike when sending (very cumbersome).

    Next:

    Plug headphone is computer and have separate mike (often attached to video camera). You get slightly better cw transfer but voice audio suffers somewhat. Another is to have a moveable mike (one lapel when speaking, next to keyer speaker when sending. The best "down and dirty" approach most seem to take.

    Now we get difficult:

    You install a software mixer(Voicemeeter Banana) and a software keyer (EHOCW)into the computer and run the keyer, your mike, and anything else you wish (cw software tools, etc) into the mixer and control volumes separately. I do not recommend this unless you are very knowledgeable with computers, concepts on interrupts and a good understanding on how Windows changes settings when installing updates (infuriating!). Some after messing with this complex Rube Goldberg operation simply hardwire their mixer and have an external keyer into that mixer along with various mikes etc.... (I still threaten this when my software fails me and I spend time trying to get it to work again!)

    Remember that Windows only likes one mike at a time and if it is "captured" by one piece of software, it won't "give it up". So there is a bit of learning curve there.

    Try the first method, Zoom with someone, adjust as needed. You will get a one-on-one with your advisor and one thing that you both will check is your audio set up before class.

    More important that all of the above: You need bandwidth!!!!! please don't attempt zoom with some satellite system, it wont work. Also, please hard wire, no wifi!!! Even if you have 5G. Keep other family members off of system. I can't tell you the number of times a student simply "goes away" when someone in the house is downloading a video while they are on wifi!


    Hope this helps.
     
  8. WC3T

    WC3T Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The keyer speaker is a non-starter. I'm not subjecting my family to Morse Code. That's one of the reasons I'm off of SSB and pretty much taken apart my shack in the house.

    WiFi - good to know. I will have to see if this will work. Thanks for the insights.
     
  9. W2OZB

    W2OZB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    ok, given that, then dowload:

    EHOCW software keyer (another one is called Dahdidah), Voicemeeter Bananna ( both freeware). You will also need Asio drivers for latency (always an issue). Nothing goes outside your computer/headset and disturb no one. Remember, the learning curve is steep! BTW, go ahead and contribute when asked for, you will be given two extra virtual cables for free (comes in very handy indeed later when you see the use for them)

    The other method is buy from Amazon, an audio mixer. Then you plug computer audio output (zoom session) and keyer output into mixer and output will go to your headset and other output will go back into computer mike input.

    One other thing. Don't use blue tooth anything! The latency issues are impossible to deal with when sending.

    PM me when you get overwhelmed. I can send you to someone far better than I to deal with the software end of things if need be. Please keep us posted as to your progress. Welcome to the wonderful world of CW!

    73
     
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  10. W2OZB

    W2OZB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    This set up will also allow you to use iCW and other internet CW sites.
     

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