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. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page


    In the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, up 'til maybe 2000 and after, 20 wpm was considered the mark of a highly-experienced Amateur CW operator and very few contacts were conducted above approx 23-25 wpm.
    If you knew (as an experienced opr. can tell) the fellow or gal you were working was sharp, you might both kick it up a notch...very slightly. But here's the big secret (secret to you) fellas and gals---A lot of us know (as experienced oprs.) when we're being buffaloed by someone who's trying to impress and doing a really bad job of it. When you're sending poorly-spaced code, every 3rd or 4th character an error, because you've set your keyer to 28wpm--that
    just tells the world you're not up to the bluff.
    The really sad and unfortunate thing is that those who really want to learn and embrace CW are made to feel insecure and unworthy because they hear non-competent practitioners sending far above their competency
    (and far above their receiving abilities as well--the #1 cardinal sin of being a telegrapher). They are made to believe "This is how it's done!" This is not how it's done. The culture here has been perverted by a new wave of
    folks having been misled by the prior wave of misled folks.
    Sit at a radio (not a computer screen). Listen to a code practice run of W1AW on HF. Copy a minute without error. That is your Morse competency. Not, "I can work contests at 29wpm and I can rag-chew at 22 wpm". Uh-uh.
    You're fully competent at 22wpm, put a pencil mark on that fancy keyer or microscopic plastic knob on your transceiver for "SPEED" and don't go above it. Not until you've earned the right for yourself.
    You'll actually be doing yourself a favor, making yourself a better operator, and making Amateur radio better. Want to send faster? Practice copy and sending off-the-air, where it belongs.
    Slow, clean code is good code. Fast, bad code is bad code sent fast. Bad code makes you look foolish and even worse.

    W5BIB, DD5RK, KD1JT and 7 others like this.
  2. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    From following your posts, your desire, effort, and drive are admirable. I'm convinced you will be a great CW operator - an probably much sooner than you ever imagined. GL!
    KE8OKM, US7IGN, WZ7U and 2 others like this.
  3. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

  4. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    KD1JT, US7IGN, WN1MB and 3 others like this.
  5. KD2RDG

    KD2RDG Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's good to know because I've been experimenting in that 20-22 wpm range with the paddle. Have to strike that balance between pushing the limits and being a good operator. Straight key is slower and sometimes more fun.
    W5BIB and US7IGN like this.
  6. KD1JT

    KD1JT Ham Member QRZ Page

    @K1LKP ... the exact reason I value the time I spent on CW NTS traffic nets, where comprehension beat speed all the time. While it was silly routine traffic, in an emergency situation accuracy of sending and receiving would be top priority and could make a difference between getting help to where it's needed or not. "How many cots do you need?" ... "We got enough cats, send beds"
    WN1MB, KE8OKM and K1LKP like this.
  7. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Crawl, walk, run. Pretty basic.

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