Learning Code

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by N4QFY, Apr 11, 2016.

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  1. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    When skiing, I always improved if I pushed myself. The concept applies to many things, including Morse. :)
  2. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd suggest setting the Farnsworth spacing up so that the letters are at around 20 wpm minimum, because when they're slower, you'll be tempted to count dits and dahs, which will hinder progress. If you want to set it up so the space between letters is slower, try that, but don't slow down much below 14 wpm or so.

    There's a lot of code on the air at around 15-25 wpm. If you can go 15-18, you won't have much trouble finding QSOs.

    Finally, vary your speed. It's good to do some copy that's easy, mixed with some that is very hard, but lots of learning happens in the middle.
    VK5EEE likes this.
  3. N4QFY

    N4QFY Ham Member QRZ Page

    On the program I'm using it has effective speed either per word or per letter. I want to make sure I understand you. Its Farnsworth when its set to every letter? when I put my pointer over either choice it says Sehorne method.
  4. N4QFY

    N4QFY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I got it I turned the character speed up to 25 and lowered the effective speed to 15. the characters are faster but still understandable and there is a bit of space between each character which makes it easier to hear the start and stop of each one.
    VK5EEE and WA7PRC like this.
  5. M0LEP

    M0LEP Ham Member QRZ Page

    If the method you're using requires you to record what you hear for subsequent checking, then don't push the overall speed faster than your comfortable typing or writing speed. Be a little wary of running characters too much faster than the overall speed. A 20% difference is probably reasonable. A 50% difference is probably not.

    Whichever method you're using, evaluate your progress critically. If it's clearly improving, keep at it. If it's not clearly improving, try to figure out why, and take a different path, preferably before you've wasted two years (as I did) bashing a brick wall (Koch, for me) and going nowhere...
  6. N4QFY

    N4QFY Ham Member QRZ Page

    It seems to be going pretty well. I'm getting the first 2 letters just fine after 2 days and I'm about to add a new one.
    WA7PRC likes this.
  7. N4QFY

    N4QFY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Those are the slowest 2 selectable speeds it offers. I've been on computer's since my dad brought home an IBM with the green text on a black screen. I started learning typing back then on an old manual typewriter and have continued for the last 25 years typing quite a bit every day. I'm hoping it I can learn it with slightly faster speeds then I'll be able to turn up the overall speed to match after I have the letter sounds down and then progress again through the system to end with about a 25wpm proficiency. At the slower letter speed I still wanted to count dits. I don't find myself wanting to count dahs. I don't understand why.
  8. M0LEP

    M0LEP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Mistakes I made:

    1) Trying to run before I could walk. 18/12 might have been a sane starting point. 30/15 was not.
    2) Not believing that starting a bit slower might actually be better.
    3) Believing the hype that said "Koch is the one true way".
    4) Not believing the evidence that said "Koch is not working".
    5) Believing the "you must start with a straight key" hype.
    6) Not realising how much better real on-air listening is than anything a computer can produce.
    7) Believing that the computer programs would be as good as a real live experienced teacher.

    Things that made a real positive difference:

    1) Making the effort to catch a regular (weekly) practice broadcast sent mixed-mode by a real live experienced tutor who could also give relevant focused advice.
    2) Getting away from computer-generated code and listening to real code on air. There's something about code sent by a real live person that often helps its readability.
    3) Finding the right pitch and volume levels. For me, low pitch and just loud enough works best.
    4) Not worrying about counting. It happens. When you get to know characters by their sound it'll stop happening.

    Things worth remembering:

    1) Different folk often learn best in different ways. What works for you may not work for me.
    2) This is particularly true when comparing adults and kids....
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
  9. M6GYU

    M6GYU Ham Member QRZ Page

    There isn't a 'best way' to learn CW. I was lucky. I was taught by the RN. If they'd been a best method they'd probably have used it.
    There's no substitute for practice. Not once a week, but at least once a day. Don't strive for perfection at a given speed. Once you feel reasonably comfortable at one speed simply go up a word or two a minute. You need at least twenty to forty minutes practice at listening to CW to make reasonable progress.
    WA7PRC likes this.
  10. M0LEP

    M0LEP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yep practice daily, most days, for not too long at a time, but also take a day off from time to time too.

    My limits were not more than about half an hour a day, and better in two or three shorter chunks than all at once. A day or two off every couple of weeks also makes a positive difference for me, especially if I'm getting stuck on something.

    If you can also get a regular weekly session with a real live tutor who can offer useful relevant advice, take it! Doing this made more difference to my Morse ability than anything else by a long way.
    WA7PRC likes this.

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