How do YOU copy CW?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by WQ4G, Feb 6, 2019.

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  1. K5TSK

    K5TSK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    OK, thanks. Not my thread, but yes I have tried HRD in the past briefly when I used Windows. On linux now, and I suppose CQRLog is the most verstaile logger on that system (not having used them all..) and I never tried maxing out the notes field on that logger. Do use SKCCLogger for my SKCC stuff and yes, it's nice having names, qth's, etc in front of you so you can call folks by name. As for loggers and cw, would be nice to have a copious text field with the option to save received and transmitted code along with notes. Now that would be neat. Would be nice to have a dedicated cw logger designed solely with a cw ops needs in mind. Maybe in the next life I'll program that up. hi 73 Jim
  2. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Maybe it seems strange to you but I copy fine in my head at high speeds (20-35 WPM) in a ragchew, only writing down logbook info (Callsign, name, QTH) BUT when I am working a new CW op at 5 WPM I find myself writing it all because it takes so long to get a word sent I will forget what the beginning of the transmission was before he reches the end !! :D
    W5ESE, WR2E, K9KXW and 2 others like this.
  3. WB2UZE

    WB2UZE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dan, I am one of the co-founders of the Long Island CW Club and we teach 11 CW classes per week all by internet video conference. All our classes stress head copy and our Monday night class in particular is only for teaching head copy. Have a visit to our website: for further information

    Regards, Howard WB2UZE
  4. NY7Q

    NY7Q Ham Member QRZ Page

    I copy in my head, using the computer between my ears. When speeds get up to 40 and over, I use a Mill(refurbished USNAVY UNDERWOOD) I BOUGHT IT IN TACOMA WASHINGTON MANY MOONS AGO at the ole military sale yard.)
    I learned to copy on the Mill at radioschool in 1953....
    K8PG and AD5HR like this.
  5. N5SMO

    N5SMO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I use the old Palm OS Palm Pilot alphabet. It is an easy to remember shorthand for the alphabet that speeds up hand writing.
  6. WB9YZU

    WB9YZU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Depends on my abilities that day and the sender's speed/spacing.
    On most days I write everything down. It also helps when I fill out the log and comments.

    Even when the planets align and I'm able to copy in head, I write down the information (Call, Name, QTH, etc) for the log.
  7. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I can copy most stations in my head. It is the rare speed demon I can't copy. I casually contest by typing with my left hand and sending with my right hand. Though if I get serious about it I'll program the function keys and use those.
    K8AI likes this.
  8. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I seem to lose the ability to copy whole words at speeds much lower than 10 WPM. I also have trouble sending cleanly at those speeds, in spite of the fact that I practice doing so fairly often. It makes it difficult for me to go down to 7050 and work with newer ops.
  9. K8BZ

    K8BZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    For slow speed rag chew QSO's just practice copying in your head. Only write down names, QTH and signal report at first. Just practice it and it will come.

    If you are a good typist, go to

    select a slow speed code practice file and practice copying in Notepad. Don't look at the keyboard. Look at the monitor while you are typing. There is no way to learn it without practicing. It's worth the effort. If you can copy high speed code on a keyboard then you can abandon search and pounce contesting and switch to running on a frequency which requires only a small fraction of the effort and energy of search and pounce.

    Good luck and 73
    WN1MB likes this.
  10. K4KYV

    K4KYV Subscriber QRZ Page

    But I wonder how much non-contesting CW skills contesters develop. It's easy to get the knack of copying down callsigns and other contest exchange data, and of course the inevitable "599" even when the signal is barely audible, but how well would that play for conversational CW in a ragchew QSO, or copying down verbatim long passages of text, such as press bulletins. I suspect "contesting CW" can be a sub-skill that one could get to be very good at, while still being poor at general CW operating.

    Kind of like being 100% fluent in a foreign language when limited to specialised work tasks like customs inspector or border patrol, but not very good at carrying on a general conversation in a café over a drink, discussing topics like philosophy, history or describing personal family or relationship issues.
    WN1MB and WD4IGX like this.

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