CW learning ability

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by VE4BLB, Nov 14, 2011.

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  1. VE4BLB

    VE4BLB Ham Member QRZ Page

    What type of person can learn the code more readily? It certainly helps to learn while young and the brain isn't cluttered with the tedium of everyday life.
    But what about a musician or dancer? Their endowed blessing with rhythm could be an asset as well.
    Unfortunately, I am in neither situation. I can recognize each letter and number individually but get mixed up with a string at 5 wpm (or even less).
  2. M0LEP

    M0LEP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Age certainly seems to play a part. So, I suspect, does linguistic ability. I'm less convinced that musical ability necessarily helps, as I know musicians who've had a hard time trying to learn morse.
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think younger is better mostly because if they're young enough, they probably never even heard of Morse code, and nobody ever told them it was difficult to learn.

    I taught my kids to ski when they were about five, and they picked it right up because they weren't afraid of anything -- especially not falling down in white, fluffy, snow...which to them was a lot of fun and they used to fall on purpose sometimes. I've tried to teach adults and gave up; they get scared, they stiffen up and before you know it they're injuring themselves in the lift line, let alone on the slopes.:p

    Everything's easier when nobody ever told you it was hard.
  4. AC0H

    AC0H Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've heard it said that those people with musical ability, be it instrumental or vocal learn it the fastest.
    My brother is a perfect example. When he got his license at about age 35 he took to CW like a fish to water.
    He's an instrumental music teacher and damn fine jazz musician (trombone).
    He kicks my butt when it comes to max speed and he picked up using a bug in about a week of practice.
    I'm still fighting with it.
  5. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    All good readings. JMHO; What's common between Musicians and Morse operators is "Creativeness". There just might be something too it tho!!, When I joined the Navy (1964) I had already been a ham for a couple of years & knew the code. On the day of our qualifying for a skill, I of course Aced the 3 letter 'code' test. When I went for classification the guy said "You have a good ear for musical notes" gonna make you a MUSICIAN! Then he found out I was a ham...! My lifes never been the same!!!
  6. K7MEM

    K7MEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Musical ability/creativity may have something to do with it. My music ability consists of turning on the stereo and operating the volume. IMHO, no one method is the key. You must find the method that works for you and you have to really really want it.

    I got my first license when I was 16 (1965). I barely made the 5 WPM test, but I made it. Times were tough and there was very little money for equipment. I got a little help from the ham community, but it wasn't soon enough and my Novice license was about to expire. At the time, you could not renew a novice license. It was either upgrade or hit the road. I quickly got my Tech license. To me, the written tests were easy. But getting my Tech license meant that I lost all of my low band privileges. I tried for years to get my code speed up so that I could qualify for my General class license. I tried every method I could think of over the years, but always hit a wall around 10 WPM.

    Then I found the method that worked for me. It was a very simple method. I used a software program that generated simulated QSOs at any speed I wanted. I would work at a speed that was a little bit beyond my comfort zone until I was copying 90 percent. Then I would increase the speed by 2 or 3 WPM. I would only listen for 15 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. In less than a month, I had the 13 WPM test down pat. I went to the testing place and passed the General written and 13 WPM code test in a flash. Continuing with that method, I went into the testing station 3 months later and passed the Advanced and Extra written tests and the 20 WPM code test (100% copy) in a single session. I walked in a General and walked out an Extra.

    But life is never fair. A few years later they did away with all the code tests. But I'm glad I found a method that worked for me.
  7. M0LEP

    M0LEP Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's rather like the position I got myself into by using a morse training program that waited for me to respond after each letter before sending the next one. Of course, real on-air morse isn't like that, and, in hind-sight (ah, isn't that always clearer) using a training program that worked like that was a bad idea, at least for me. I need to learn to read words in morse rather than spell them out character by character. It's like being in first grade all over again...

    I suspect it's much more a case of failure hurting less when you've got less far to fall, to be honest.
  8. N5RWJ

    N5RWJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think in the future Ave. code speed will drop to around 10 to 12 wpm , because of no-code testing and the lost of aged CW operators?
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I doubt it, because that's inefficient.

    Work one CW contest, right now in 2011 (or maybe in 2012 since we're close to that) and you'll hear many thousands of very good ops working 35-45 wpm and enjoying it. The CW contests still have as much participation as the phone contests do, and it's global.

    A lot of the new ops who are great are quite young. My nephew Rob learned code at age 9 and got his 20 wpm Extra at age 11 and still can do 40 wpm, and he's still young. It ain't rocket science, it's just 26 letters, 10 numbers and a few punctuations. Equivalent to learning about 50 words in a new language. I did that in a week, living in Germany and not knowing German; by the end of a week, I sure knew 50 words, otherwise I'd have starved to death.
  10. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't know about musical ability, but a sense of rhythm may be a big help. My son has a great sense of rhythm, and he picked up the code very easily when he was young. I think I have a pretty good sense of rhythm, and it probably helps me distinguish the characters based on it. I've also known people with zero sense of rhythm who struggled with the code, but the worst one I ever knew still managed to pass a 13 WPM code test on about his 8th try. He flunked the sending test a couple times, too. But stuck with it, and never forgot the code though he very rarely used it.

    I think that most people can become proficient at the code, but they have to really want to.
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