Farnsworth Spacing on QSO

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KN4ICU, Mar 20, 2018.

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  1. KN4ICU

    KN4ICU Ham Member QRZ Page

    When learning morse, I started doing 20wpm with 10wpm Farnsworth spacing. I've gotten to the point with that that I could copy words fairly easily. When I started making my first CW contacts this week, I decided to try going down to around 10wpm with no spacing..... Oh boy.... That sure messed my head up. Copying was difficult. I ended up hearing things a lot different and started counting dits and dahs a couple times. I went back to the original 20wpm with Farnsworth spacing, and everything was much easier again (as a musician, I can say playing slower is a A LOT more difficult that playing faster on an instrument).

    I was initially thinking maybe I shouldn't be doing the Farnsworth spacing while doing live QSO's. I'm starting to think otherwise now. Would it be a good idea to just keep transmitting the higher rate with Farnsworth spacing since this is how I've been learning (and gradually just lose the spacing over time)?
  2. KQ4MM

    KQ4MM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    GM Jeff,

    Thats how I learned ( LCWO website) 21WPM characters with wide spaces in the beginning ... For a while it did throw me listening to slower characters more closely spaced ( still does sometimes) but what I did was weighted my copy practice time more towards copying the mail vs online copy of perfect code. There are so many different fists out there its one of the next steps I think in improving copy ability... Im on head copy now, trying to only jot down the details vs every word in a QSO ... Im finding that somewhat challenging no matter the speed, but making a little progress ... Good luck OM ... 73
    WB5YUZ likes this.
  3. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Jeff; I'm a bit unclear on your statements; "No Spacing" and "Lose The Spacing".. Proper Spacing is ultra important.
    My advice for you is to listen to W1AW Code Practice Sessions at least once daily.
    If you will mimic how they are sending you can't go wrong.
    WB5YUZ and K3XR like this.
  4. KQ4MM

    KQ4MM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Lane , I think he is talking about character spacing not not element spacing which is critical I agree ... i.e.: characters at 20WPM element speed with longer gap between letters i.e.: 10WPM.. Least thats how I take it ( and do it) ..
    AE8W likes this.
  5. VE7PJR

    VE7PJR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Given that a lot of folks learn Farnsworth, you'll be playing to the audience if you do it on the air. You'll automatically do it if you're using a bug and can't (or won't) lower your speed. I find that if someone tends to work around 15 wpm that I can just add a little space and they generally have solid copy. If they're 10 wpm or below I switch to the ol' pump handle instead. Still send faster character speed, only not quite as fast.

    So yeah, you'll have a pretty easy lift getting your cumulative code speed up to the speed you send individual characters. Then you'll plateau at whatever that speed is for a while before moving on. Just part of the process; enjoy it.


    Chuck VE7PJR
  6. M6GYU

    M6GYU Ham Member QRZ Page

    When sending a proper noticeable space is really important. If you don't then you'll risk running words together and that'll mean many folk won't be able to copy you properly. Whatever speed!!
    K3XR likes this.
  7. KN4ICU

    KN4ICU Ham Member QRZ Page

  8. HB9FXW

    HB9FXW Ham Member QRZ Page

    The problem I have with Farnsworth is that you don't learn the words, only the characters. I've noticed that a lot of hams use it unconsciously when sending their name / QTH (or to correct an error), as a kind of emphasis and that's great, but I think common words should be learned at their correct speed. Why not increase the space between words?

    Anyway, I try to answer people at their speed. If they use Farnsworth, I do too (until I forget and my muscle memory takes over) and I've heard others do the same.
  9. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    What is "their correct speed" anyway? I assume you mean if the characters are sent at 20 wpm then the character spacing should be as well and the space between words can be lengthened. That would sound weird at best, though it should be workable. I think it'd be a lot harder to learn, say, 10 wpm that way than just 20 wpm characters sent at 10 wpm character spacing.

    It's true that north of 20-25 wpm you have to start hearing whole words and if that is your goal you might get there quicker overall, but with a lot more frustration along the way, by just hearing all words at that speed. But that isn't really a realistic plan for most people, I think.

    OP, keep doing Farnsworth. It took over because it's far superior, and the sound of the characters doesn't change as you speed up (until you get to a speed equal to the Farnsworth character speed.)

    That's one reason I never got to more than somewhere between 20 and 25 wpm - I didn't care to put in the extra effort to learn a lot of whole words. At the time that was fast anyway. It seems now that everybody on CW is a speed demon, probably because those who don't like it no longer have to even learn it (and that's not a dig, just true.)

    I'll be happy to get back to that speed again.
  10. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I guess I'm just not too worried about sending one way or the other since I will go from one to the other.
    Hasn't seemed to make one bit of diff to those I QSO with anyway. Send what you know to send, do it as good as you can.
    Record it and play it back, see if you can decipher what is on the recording. It can be an eye opener.
    M6HGN, HB9FXW and WD4IGX like this.

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