Increasing CW speed for new op...request recommendations

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by W7MDN, Jul 18, 2021.

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  1. N1RBD

    N1RBD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Something that helped me immensely was listening to "real world" QSOs using a WebSDR app on my phone during my daily walks. This way you have to deal with QRM, QRN, QSB, different fists, etc. It's challenging because you don't know what the exchange is going to be. They could be talking about anything from the previous night's exploits to their latest Rx from the doctor. :)
    KE8OKM likes this.
  2. W4HAY

    W4HAY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    ARRL has mp3 code practice files available HERE
    If you want real world copy, W1AW makes several daily practice transmissions. SCHEDULE

    What works well for some is to try to copy a session a little faster than you're comfortable with, then drop down to your target speed.
    This has an added advantage of teaching you to ignore a missed character and simply place a dash in its place. This supposedly reduces the chances of "brain freezeup" with a missed character

    It was done during WW2 CW training. The reason originally had to do with the way an Enigma Machine operates. The encoding/decoding changes with each character and completely skipping a character messes up the sequence.

    Fascinating device, it gave MI6 code breakers at Bletchly Park some real problems during WW2 until the code was cracked.
    Enigma Machine
    Bletchley Park
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2021
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    And...that way you're not writing anything down.

    We're not decoding ciphers or handling emergency traffic, we're conversing.

    Listening to the code as if it were just a spoken language (I doubt you write anything down when chatting on the telephone or in person) makes a big difference, and then it all become easy.
  4. W4HAY

    W4HAY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Brain freeze can occur both when "hand copying" or "head copying". The goal is to prevent it as much as possible.
  5. NT4G

    NT4G Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Didn't read the others so as not to taint my small contrib.
    I just found a speed just uncomfortable and listened. And listened. Many Many qsos keep them going and as fast as you are comfortable.
    Change road signs to Morse in your head and try to hear the code there as you see the words. Try and get it before you pass the signs.
    You must make it a skill like any other. Fun, Yes, Frustrating, Yes.
    The more rhythm and musical ability you have the better and faster you'll be. Stop writing down the whole qso.
    callsign, QTH, Name, RST. But all the rest is fun rigs antennas wires power. Jobs.. Ugh!
    Hear it hear words. I now find if its not faster Its harder now. You get used to words. away from letters.
    It will come if you want it. But Time.. Time.... Make it. 5-10 qsos a day.. W1AW is your friend. Morse Ninja is your friend on youtube..

  6. W7MDN

    W7MDN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Haven't tried that yet. All CW QSOs have been on SOTA summits; don't have a home station set up. It's fun and I can get the callsign and required items, however proficiency + comprehension isn't progressing as fast. Some OMs will add a comment at the end. If it's more than a pro sign, it's probably too fast to process.

    All said, it's still a ton of fun.
  7. KE8OKM

    KE8OKM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am right there with you. (Only operate outdoors) As long as it keeps to the template I am fine. I have been picking out new stuff like names and states automatically…which means I am growing.

    Right now as a new CW operator I find a nice picnic table and try to replicate gear setup at each location. I did this on purpose so when I start using CW on SOTAs where wind. Rocks etc are variables I will be ready. The new variable this week in Ohio has been cold hands bugging up sending.

    I’ve been doing a lot of POTAs this month and some evenings everything is clicking (last night 20 QSOs in an hour) tonight lots of fading in and out/cold hands, I logged 5 QSOs*** and packed it up. I am still asking repeat a lot though, real world outdoors with QRM, QRN, wind etc add to the “excitement” as a CW operator.

    In my case listening to hours of CW stuff nothing compares to the Eustress of real live QSO-pressure is on to make the QSOs work.

    ***Having fun with my IC705 just to try out digi modes I made 17 QSOs on FT4 in 35 minutes (17 clicks of the OK button!!!!) It’s a novelty for now. Much easier than learning this CW stuff, and to ME like fishing at a Fish Market. I want to be a great CW operator!)

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2021
    WN1MB and WZ7U like this.
  8. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I immediately began to study using the Koch method at 15 WPM, and then a lot of contests and now I receive at 30 WPM, but it turned out that ordinary QSO is very rarely faster than 20-22 WPM
    W1VKE, W5BIB, KD2RDG and 1 other person like this.
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think they are. Might depend where you're listening, but I work 20m CW quite a bit and find lots of ragchew QSOs at 30 wpm.

    The faster, the more info you can exchange to find out more about the other op before the darned band fades out.:p
  10. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree Wlad... after over 60 years of CW only (U.S. Navy, Commercial Merchant Shipping, & Amateur)... I find that 20-23 wpm to be the perfect speed for lengthy, relaxing QSO's. ;)

    DSW & 77 (Long Live CW) & 73/72
    Steve / W5BIB
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2021
    KW9W, WA1GXC and US7IGN like this.

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