Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by KF4ZEQ, Jul 3, 2011.
keep on keepin' on. IMO u are doing everything correctly & now it's starting to "click"... ;-)
Using a computer to send or receive CW sure sounds like cheating to me, I don't mean to be argumentative and I'm in a similar situation in that I can't do CW myself (never have, might do one day if I get the time). It just feels like cheating, CW was intended as a manual mode - if you're looking for automation use RTTY, PSK31 or one of the other data modes. I know that if I went to all the trouble to learn CW and found out all I had to talk to was computers I'd be pretty fed up, it'd be like going on phone but only talking to a recorded soundboard (although some contesters on 20m really do sound like that).
I say if you can't do CW - don't do CW, I can't bake cakes but I don't go and buy them from the grocery store and try and pass them off as 'home made'. I know that might be controversial but you did ask!
Sorry..I just can't agree with some saying give it a go......CW is hand and ear....not computer...as I said in an earlier post....there are way better Digital modes that work better under poor conditions than CW does......If you want to go the Computer route...try those modes....I would hate to see hand sent CW vanish because all the new hams put learning it in the to hard basket.....How about we just preserve CW the way it was intended....
OP, not really answering your question but I also could not learn CW in the "traditional" manner (memorization and practice tapes) and virtually gave up on CW. I later saw an ad for Code Quick in QST, ordered it, and it made sense! It uses soundalikes for CW characters e.g. the soundalike for "a" is say ah ( . - ). I can now copy somewhere between 10 and 15 WPM with ease and sometimes closer to 20 WPM if I have been using CW regularly. Sending speed using a straight key is pretty much limited by my hand and not my "ear" (send speed with left or right hand are about the same thanks to guitar!), so somewhere just over 20 WPM is my guess (but not suggesting you send faster than you can copy).
Some say soundalike methods like Code Quick limit you to a max of about 15 WPM and it is possible they are correct, no way to know if it isn't just my brain that is slow. What is also correct is my current copy speed of 15 WPM is a heck of a lot faster than what I could copy using the traditional learning method: zero WPM.
Don't give up....
I am not against anyone using computer-aided code, but I'd much rather do the hands on and ears on of working CW manually. I already do plenty with my keyboard. Between PSK-31, Olivia, the other digital modes, Yahoo IM, typing up all my college papers, and posting on various message boards, I spend enough time at a keyboard. I am in the process of learning MC (this is my third and most determined attempt) and decided early on that computer/keyboard based sending and copying just wasn't the route I wanted to take. I have a long way to go before I learn enough to get on the air, but I really like that, in a sense, I am doing this the old fashioned way. I think it will be fun to pound out QSOs while making the hour long trip to the college. I can't wait!
With that said, my best suggestion is to do what works for you. If you find a program you are happy with then go for it and piss on what anyone else thinks about it. Nothing says you can't give a straight key or a paddle a try once you learn the code via the computerized approach (and you will eventually learn it that way). The main thing is to just have some good ole radio fun!!
I still say.what is the point doing CW by computer...use instead one of the other digital modes and leave CW to the guys that love and very much enjoy the hand ear mode...
There are plenty of things in Radio I can't do......I will never have a 100' tower with a 7 ele beam on top...I will never have a dish or a multi ele array to do EME.... Does that stop me enjoying radio....no way ....you just enjoy the things you are able to do and there are plenty of those...
There is a strong feeling of friendship, or social binding, or you mention it, between guys and gals that did the job of perseverance to learn the code and are able to use it in a sufficient fast way, copy by head and pounding a straight key or using the paddles.
It is about the difference between a handpainted picture by an artist after a long atudy and a photograph taken by an instant camera and enlarged in a dedicated shop.
For that reason I developed the "CWkettemepper" which means that when you switch it between your keyer and transmitter, it is nearly perfectly code for copy by head, but CW-get only produces TETTETRETTEKETET and that kind of carbage.
So the guys trying to improve their copy ability are not frustrated in doing that by qso partners using a decoding program as counterpart because those are too lazy and unmotivated and have lack of character especially will power and dedication, to perform that task.
Thanks for what I think was a very balanced treatment. I cruised this thread only out of curiosity since (licensed 6 mos) I love CW, did K7QO's work and am steadily moving - session by session - to up copy capability. Don't even have a computer at home anymore, since I'm in/out of one all day at work, but have encountered what I think was computer code for lack of better term, with full spectrum of results you discuss above. It seems understanding limitations is one of the keys. At best running 12wpm right now, I still have no problem getting someone's call and basic QSO info at twice that IF there's good spacing. (Still learning so I try not to listen to poor code; like art & porn, you know it when you 'see' it.)
I don't know how quickly people can downshift software, but the human in the Seychelles who throttled down to talk to me was much more pleasant than the Polish version of an MG-42 at max cyclic rate of fire who would not (or software couldn't) budge off warp-speed. Sometimes I wonder if people take too much advantage of the machine's capability and I blow by such things, not because the rate is faster but because - well, frankly - if you want me to return your call, I need to be able to at least copy your call. Not making a judgment, it just is the way it is. I suppose software for such things is pretty sophisticated.
As to the original poster's topic (and apologize if this is a hijack), if someone has a limitation that lends itself to something that helps, so be it. I don't pass judgment anymore than I would on a hearing impaired person using a TTY device. (Although as most tinitis is a much higher pitch than most sidetones - and I have it in spades courtesy of Uncle Sam - I find 400-450Hz is still a very pleasant range for me, and by zero-beat I make the other guy the same.)
K0RGR, thanks again for the 'live' comparison - you are across river from me, have friends in the area - in fact one of them is probably in their squad right now driving by to make sure your antenna farm is safe in SW - hihi.
In a contest situation having the computer key the rig is a competitive advantage.
Notice I said key the rig....NOT copy the incoming code.
My computer sending CW for 48 hrs straight is WAAAAAY more reliable than someone else's glass arm.
Can you imagine a computer trying to copy code in a contest pile-up? It would be absolutely hopeless. At least using your human ears you can pull callsigns out the QRM. If you were using CWGet or something you'd end up with all sorts of rubbish!