Issues learning CW

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KI7QVR, Jun 11, 2019.

ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-rl
ad: Subscribe
ad: Left-2
ad: K5AB-Elect-1
ad: MessiPaoloni-1
ad: Left-3
ad: L-MFJ
  1. KI7QVR

    KI7QVR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, the website I use, I completely random based on the Koch characters I have mastered. ( No way to memorize anything. I agree completely.
  2. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    Unfortunately, as one ages, things like osteoarthritis start coming into play and it does become harder, and harder, to use a manual key, even a "bug", or even to use a keyer with manually operated paddles, etc. There does reach a point where, to be able to operate CW for very long, one does have to start using a keyboard. However, for sending only!

    Computer programs, code readers, etc., generally fail, and fail miserably, on anything except machine sent, or excellent keyer operation (yes, there are a few who can send code, using a "bug", that is that good) code. That is definitely one area in which the cerebral method works best.

    For decades (almost 6-decades), I have used manual type keys be them straight keys, "bugs", or manually operated keyers. However, for the past 2, or 3, years, osteoarthritis has overtaken me and I just cannot use those types of keys for very long. But, I still have no problems typing and, as such, can use a keyboard. However, I still use the cerebral receiving method that I learned before even thinking of taking my Novice Class examinations over 60-years ago. My code speed has also dropped somewhat from what it was in high school (I could put over 70 wpm on paper back then). But, I can still handle a fairly good "clip".

    One thing about actually learning the code is that, even if you do not use it on a regular basis, you will not forget the code. Your code speed might get miserable, but you will still know the characters.

    In high school, for a while, my youngest daughter dated the son of another amateur radio operator (I did not know the operator, he lived in another suburb) and they decided to get their Novice Class licenses. So, I taught her the code. However, before either one of them took their Novice Class examinations, they "broke up" and my daughter lost interest (she was the only 1 of my 3-daughters who ever even expressed an interest in getting a license). But, today, 25-years later, she still knows the code! Her code speed is miserable, but she can still recall what the character is.

    Occasionally, she hints that maybe she, and her son, might get licensed. However, she lives in the Atlanta, Georgia, area and that is a "pretty fur piece" from the Dallas, Texas, area. As such, I am not around all that much to keep encouraging her. I did give my grandson a Hallicrafters S-107 receiver to help encourage him. So far, "so so". However, he is only 12-years old and finds other technical things to do. Hopefully, he will gain more interest in amateur radio.

    Glen, K9STH
  3. W9RAC

    W9RAC Subscriber QRZ Page

    Brian all I do is rag chew. Never done a contest, nothing against them just something I ever wanted to do. You will find, if you have not already that rag chew is a completely different animal than "being on script" as in RST,Name,QTH, and the like. You will be confronted with a huge variety of subjects and OP skills. For me head copy and rag chew is more of a challenge since many of the words you may be hearing for the first time or very seldom. Those words, to me to do not register instantly in my brain like the ones I hear and instantly recognize. I have to build the word in my head and jot it down on a pad. Most times after I hear a few characters I know the word, sometimes not. I can then put it all together then in my head. 20 wpm is my top head copy speed and even then it has to be very good CW. Being on script is easy comparatively since you already know the format.

    Work on the head copy while your in this stage of learning Brian. Its will stop you from being tempted to count and it will free you up from being tethered to a notepad and pen the rest your life which will become a real drag before its over....and it will be one more thing you will not have to deal with later...... Just saying........ 73 Rich
  4. KD8DEY

    KD8DEY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've got one of those MFJ code trainers shoved in a box or drawer somewhere. Haven't played around with it in a loooong time.
    I wasn't doing toooo bad, BUT
    always seemed to have problems with F & L....
  5. WF4W

    WF4W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    it all comes down to USING it - sending it is just as important as copying it. Both reinforce it in your head.
  6. WA9UAA

    WA9UAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Brian,
    At this speed, get on the air and have some QSOs. It's more fun than copying a recording and your speed will increase.
    AD5HR likes this.
  7. WE6C

    WE6C Ham Member QRZ Page

    Recognition. For example, I've heard many times that guys that know absolutely no code at all can copy the repeaters they listen to when they ID in CW, and be able to identify them. Recognition. I've told them, "you can copy code at 20 words per minute, you just have a limited vocabulary right now. Keep listening and your vocabulary will increase."

    Also important while learning, use headphones.
  8. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Two things built my code skills - traffic handling and contesting.

    CW traffic handling is all but gone now. If you can get involved with what's left, it's great experience.

    Contesting is alive and well, and will greatly improve your skills.
    N2SR likes this.
  9. N4GKS

    N4GKS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Go on air and listen to real hams. That’s how I learned.
  10. W5LZ

    W5LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It doesn't really matter what you listen to in code, the important part is in doing that listening. That's the only way you can learn it. Once you get to where you can copy code, -then- start practice sending it. Sending it always easier than learning it to start with. Why? 'Cuz you ought'a know what good code sounds like by then, and you just make yours sound like theirs. Listening to code is the biggy...

Share This Page