From 30 marginal to 50 wpm??

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by K5TSK, May 7, 2019.

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  1. K5TSK

    K5TSK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Other than using chicken fat for under arm, what's a good way to increase speed to that level???
    Just a personal goal, that I probably will not reach, but would like to try.
    Any help on ideas??

    jim tsk
  2. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why? Where would 50 wpm be useful?

    Competence at 30 wpm would be quite an achievement for most CW ops.

    Work on that.
    M6GYU likes this.
  3. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

  4. K5TSK

    K5TSK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you. Although I've been in ham radio in and out for a very long time, I know there are countless resources out there in print and more importantly, in other ham's minds. That's why I asked.
    I don't think I have time to learn Morse, but I do remember my CW elmer from Jr. high, who spoke often of 'putting it down' on a mill. Jake was bent over and I never knew why until I read his bio on Findagrave. It read he had served in three different services as op and his 'bentness' came from a wartime injury. And he continually warned about trying to copy at present or ahead of time. Anticipating, he called it. AND I had completely forgotten about that.

    Funny how things work sometime. Yesterday I ordered a K1EL K44 which allows a keyboard to be plugged in. Maybe when I get set up properly, I'll set out to 'put it down' at 20, then 25, then 30, who knows.
    Maybe get as good as my elmer thought I could be. Who knows.
    I'm indebted to you sir. Thank you.
    And I've saved that web page to my hard drive for a continual reference.
  5. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    We seldom see the advice today, but when I was an aspiring Novice, the old timers reinforced
    "Copy behind, copy behind!". Caveat: My goal was verbatim copy for traffic handling.

    The other thing drilled into me was "Peak the Grid, Dip the Plate, Peak the Load and a little more."
    K5TSK likes this.
  6. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's confusion afoot here.

    Zack's article in part was relevant to ham CW operations in referring to filling in possible copy errors based
    on context. Translation: many ham CW ops, and most ham CW operation, is according to format(s) in which text can easily be anticipated with errors easily handled by a combination of understanding context and noting some characters heard clearly in order to identify what was
    sent without having heard it perfectly accurately.

    Jake was a military op. Often, perhaps nearly always, military messages were a series of numbers and/or letters which had to be noted precisely. Military speed, like commercial radiotelegraph speeds, were not really high, something around 20 to 25 wpm which speeds most ops can master very well. 20 to 25 wpm is an efficient speed, no doubt less error-inducing than higher speeds and it is a speed at which characters can easily be identified under adverse receiving conditions. Translation: receiving encrypted military messages in the form of groups of characters does not allow for errors, so anticipating is not an appropriate technique. Precision is aided by the rapid
    response of typewriting which almost anyone can perform accurately at 50 wpm or higher.

    There is confusion also when we speak of 20 or 25 or 30 wpm. What exactly do we mean? The ability to copy nonsense text very precisely
    with a keyer or bug appropriately calibrated? Or do we mean the ability to operate CW in the real world of routine ham ragchewing, contesting or DX chasing? In the latter case, in the real ham world, only a rather moderate achievement of speed is required because the critical information (e.g. call letters) is repeated, is short and it has predictable elements.

    Using a keyboard to record QSOs while anticipating and predicting words is perfectly appropriate to ham CW operating. Although I
    have no problem writing (printing or cursive) at 25 wpm, using a keyboard or typewriter makes keeping a record significantly easier.
    I rely on head copy, predicting what is coming next, context and evidence from characters heard correctly. As HN, the subject of
    Zack's article, recommended.

    It's a great article Zack. Thanks for the reference.
    K8AI likes this.
  7. NE1U

    NE1U Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am using the Begali CW Machine. Great device to dial in your sending for good cadence. It is really a lot of fun to dial in 35 for decode, then dial in 40. Suddenly you feel like you have never sent code ... for 2 minutes. It really helps you get the rythm.

    As far as who to talk to ... probably Eastern European which is fine for me. Last I heard, they also put their pants on one leg at a time. And, you/we might encourage our US ham friends to up it a bit. There are several US hams that are high speed.
    K5TSK likes this.
  8. K5TSK

    K5TSK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I 'm a bit confused why it's a problem???
    It's a personal goal as was stated. Last night I was looking and listening for higher speed CW, solely in the interest of getting some practice at head copying. I found a QSO around 7.029 or so. One op was clearly sending on a paddle at I would guess 25-30. I copied most but not all. The other ham was sending on a keyboard and was varying his speed from (guessing) 35-45, maybe more. What's the problem in my aspiring to copy those speeds?
    When I used Windows two years or more ago, I was aspiring to be of some use as traffic relay (before the big split). I routinely listened to RN5, then CAN and could follow a piece of traffic from 7290 to TEX to RN5(CW), then CAN(CW). Was good enough to catch mistakes in transmission of that traffic. As part of that I downloaded software that would generate random letters and numbers in a 5 character group (or whatever you wanted). 98% at 22 wpm on paper was about the best I could do in that context. Not that bad since I don't touch type.
    Jake said they did 5 letter random groups at about 25 wpm. What's wrong with aspiring to that? I will always remember a story he told about being in the room copying with his fellows, when a guy next ot him went berserk and threw his typewritter across the room. Don't plan on getting quite that involved.
    I still listen to W1AW. Some nights I can head copy most of the 35. Some nights I do good to copy 30. I don't think personally that my aspiring to higher speed should be much of a problem for anyone. Maybe I'm missing something.
    K8AI likes this.
  9. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't recall saying anything about a "problem." I was asking you why you "aspire to higher speed."
    In the sense of wanting to know how you would use a higher speed capability. You don't seem to be
    able to identify that, except that higher speed is some sort of personal goal.

    That's just fine. It's certainly not a problem for me. You seem to have quite gotten to an ability to copy
    competently at 22 wpm. That's a practical and useful speed. Many ops have a challenge to get there. It's
    not something to be ashamed of, certainly.

    You can do some head copy at higher speeds. Nothing wrong with that. On the other hand real competence
    with unpredictable text at 30 or 35 wpm is a considerable challenge for most ops. W1AW text is predictable
    so the conditions mentioned I've mentioned above and in Zack's article apply.

    You seem to have a challenge at 30 wpm and higher. The old adage about learning applies here: "go slow to go fast." This
    means it is useful to learn something very well at a speed you can successfully handle and higher speeds will come
  10. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Operate the beginning of CW contests. Strong stations will start out fast to thin down the number of stations calling. It makes a difference for long exchanges in the ARRL CW Sweepstakes. Some stations pick out faster stations for a better rate.
    WB5YUZ likes this.

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