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Learning Code

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

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  1. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Learn it. Forget Koch, Farnsworth and the other "schools" of thought. They may have existed when I learned Morse code (1958), but I never heard of them until maybe 15 years and tens of thousands of QSOs ago.
  2. KM9R

    KM9R Ham Member QRZ Page

    The "cw" button is used to change the mode of the radio to operate cw . The lsb button will allow lower side band mode , the am button am mode etc. There may be additional features on the radio that will improve the reception and or sound quality of the cw that you are listening to which will allow you to decipher better what is being sent. It appears your radio has the option to utilize two cw filters. The yk88c and yk88cn. These filters are an option for the radio so they had to be purchased and installed by you or the previous owner. These filters will pass the cw signal that you have tuned in and will filter out adjacent signals that would interfere with the cw station that you have tuned in. It is like trying to copy cw in a quiet room vs trying to copy cw in a noisy room. Both are possible, however, most find it easier to do in a quiet room.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
  3. N4QFY

    N4QFY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm almost afraid to open it up to see what is in it and I haven't been able to get into the repeaters reliably to ask the guy who gave it to me what filters he has in it. I'll probably just break down and crack it open. It sounds really good when I can find active code tuning around. I can't imagine it able to sound better. Its very clear and crisp. I have a lot of noise from the grocery store I live next to and the nest of powerlines surrounding my apartment building. A lot of signals I'm sure are lost in that noise. Its maybe 5 to 7 s units of noise no matter the mode. different sounding noise but the same strength.
  4. KM9R

    KM9R Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is no worry in taking the top off the radio to see if the filters are installed. Just ensure the rig is unplugged and there may be a speaker and associated wire connected to the top lid. You can also determine if they are installed by finding a manual for the radio and see what needs to be done to enable the filters via the front panel controls. If they are installed you will hear the difference when they are enabled. If they are not installed there will be no difference in receive. There are companies that still make filters (i.e. inrad ) for the ts 430 or you might be able to find the filters for sale here. Inrad is a well know reliable company. If they are not installed and you decide to buy some, they will simply plug into sockets inside the radio. Very simple to accomplish.
  5. N4QFY

    N4QFY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Looks like I have 2 SSB filters and a CW filter installed. Trio CW filter YK-88C, Trio SSB filter XK-88SN and Trio SSB filter XK-88S.


    Now I wonder how to turn them on?
  6. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    All the advice above except that from M0LEP -- won't go into the reasons why, maybe it worked for him, but I think he took a long time and did not yet get to QRQ? -- are good. It may be best to rely only on advice from those who can copy CW at 50WPM or more without any problem, certainly at least 40WPM. And who did not take years to learn CW. And who have experience teaching it. I gather you won't go wrong with G4FON it doesn't allow you to make silly settings (forget the advice about character to overall speed ratio by M0LEP that's just not true -- when you are starting out at say 18 WPM character speed, it's fine to have only one character being sent ever 5 seconds, thus effective speed is say 12WPM. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with Kock method, that's presumably what G4FON uses and it's surely what the Morse Machine on uses. Learning large amounts of characters all at once is not the way to enter short term memory, daily 15 minutes, but every day, rather than overload of listening to silly 5WPM tapes for hours.
  7. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Please kindly elaborate from your own experience what actually you understand the Koch method to be, and how you deduced it was bad for you, and what specifically you found worked instead? It's hard to evaluate people's CW learning experience when you don't know them, and the details of it, but it'd be helpful to forming a better understanding of people's experiences if you could elaborate on that hence those 2 questions, thanks
  8. M0LEP

    M0LEP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I found that the iterative "learn a set of N characters, then add one to N, and repeat" process (as implemented on and by numerous computer programs like "Just Learn Morse Code" and G4FON) simply didn't work for me at all. Each time I added a new character it thoroughly broke what I'd learned so far, and it took me another month or two to get them back. Then I added the next character, and crash! Back to the start again. Upshot? I decided I might as well try to learn the lot in one go from the start. And you're right, I'm nowhere close to being anything other than a QRS operator. While I'm quite capable of catching short bursts of a few characters (say a short callsign) at 40wpm plus, I can't string words together unless they're slow enough for me to write them all down.

    I've written about my whole Morse-learning experience at length, and you'll find some of the articles linked from my QRZ profile. I've also given you answers to similar questions over on a couple of months ago.
  9. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    the link doesn't work here, seems I may not have access, and I cannot remember the response, but thanks for your above reply. However, I just don't understand it. If you are saying your adding one character after having mastered the others (Koch Method) made you forget all the others and you had to start again, then I don't see how it is possible to learn all the characters in one go. It seems a highly unusual situation and I think it would be counter productive to advise against Koch Method when it clearly works for most, there appears to be some information missing about your experience or special circumstances, do you have any known learning disability or cognitive impairment? Or perhaps you just found that when adding a new character the others were broken and you gave up, though this is normal for you to make mistakes with characters previously fine, when you add a new character, but that soon goes away... so how can it be that adding them all in one go is more efficient, unless perhaps it appears that way to you as you struggle with them all and then gradually become familiar with them all, rather than piece meal? I think the end result should be that if learning well it should not take more than around 3 months to master all characters if doing 15 minutes every day up to 20WPM using modern methods such as LCWO/G4FON, and if it takes a year to reach 20WPM on all characters and prosigns, then there is something wrong with the learning method or it wasn't implemented properly, e.g. not saying this is you, but as an example, if someone becomes easily stressed, frustrated, gives up easily, lacks motivation, routine, misses days, doesn't relax, is too hard on themselves, etc, all of these factors would impede learning and not be fault of the method but the learner?
  10. M0LEP

    M0LEP Ham Member QRZ Page

    No, I'm saying that adding on unknown character to the set seemed to throw the others into confusion, and it took me however long to sort out that confusion. By learning them all at once there was just one dose of confusion sorting out to be done. It probably took a bit longer, but not much longer, than sorting out the confusion caused each time a new one was added.

    I carefully point out that I'm relating my own experience, and that Koch was bad for me. I'm sure Koch works just fine for some folk, but I know enough people who've found it did not work for them that I think it is only fair to point out it is not the only, or necessarily even the best, answer to the "How should I learn Morse?" question.

    The post from eHam looked like this:

    Quote from: VK5EEE on February 26, 2016, 06:38:41 PM
    E.g. how long ago did you do this, and how often are you on air and/or listening to CW since then.

    I started trying to learn Morse using Koch in 2010. I eventually abandoned Koch in mid 2012.

    Quote from: VK5EEE on February 26, 2016, 06:38:41 PM
    I may be wrong, but I wonder if the method you used, using predictable characters at 16WPM is really helpful in the long term

    One point of the predictable sequences was that I didn't need to write them down to check that I was getting them right. Because I knew which one came next I could better associate character and code, and do it all in my head, like learning the alphabet and counting at kindergarden. The other point was that it gave me all the characters in one go, to get around the problem I had with Koch where each new character broke my recognition of at least half of the already supposedly known ones. I only needed to work with the predictable sequences for a couple of months (give or take). It accomplished in a couple of months something Koch had failed to accomplish in a couple of years. Then it was on to other alternatives to try to improve things.

    Quote from: VK5EEE on February 26, 2016, 06:38:41 PM
    I have strong doubts that a fixed speed eg 16WPM and predictable characters is the way to actually LEARN and better, master the art of CW

    The point of it was to get past the first hurdle, which is knowing all the characters. Unfortunately, I didn't use a set that was quite large enough. I should also have included a few bits of punctuation and prosigns.

    Quote from: VK5EEE on February 26, 2016, 06:38:41 PM
    which perhaps you weren't actually IMPLEMENTING correctly

    As far as I know, I applied myself to the Koch method correctly, or as near correctly as all the various bits of advice offered allowed, but each new character was taking me a month or more (and sometimes quite a bit more) to learn. At that rate, if I'd stuck with Koch, I would now, six years down the track, be maybe two thirds of the way through the course.

    Quote from: VK5EEE on February 26, 2016, 06:38:41 PM
    have an expert mentor to assist on at least a once weekly basis to check method and progress and adjust accordingly.

    Since February 2013 I've been using a weekly GB2CW broadcast transmitted by Martyn G3UKV to track my progress. He uses a mixed-mode approach, and takes SSB calls after the broadcast. His advice has been invaluable.

    Quote from: VK5EEE on February 26, 2016, 06:38:41 PM
    I think that you may have moved on to further characters too soon

    The advice on when to move on varies considerably. At one extreme, I was told not to move on until I'd scored 100% several times. At the other, I was told to move on as soon as I scored more than 90%. Too many "experts", perhaps...

    Quote from: VK5EEE on February 26, 2016, 06:38:41 PM
    Each time you add a character, yes, it impacts existing characters, but not for long.

    You're describing how the theory says it should work, and how some folk claim it works for them. All I can say is that it simply doesn't describe my experience at all. Each time I added a new character it was back to square one, and another month or two (or three) of exercises...

    Quote from: VK5EEE on February 26, 2016, 06:38:41 PM
    I wonder if you were perhaps impatient

    I don't think I'd have stuck at it for two years if I was impatient. Dumb stubborn, yes; I should have been much more ruthless in recognising my lack of progress, and changed direction far sooner.

    Quote from: VK5EEE on February 26, 2016, 06:38:41 PM
    Perhaps you can read Zen and the Art of Radiotelegraphy

    I read that book a while back, but I was already embarked upon the Koch course at the time, and as the method he describes isn't much like Koch, I didn't get that much from it apart from the general philosophy. (I didn't have a computer that could run the G4FON program the early chapters rely on, either.) Most of the later parts of the book are more like reference material, which is interesting, and useful to have to hand, but not really aimed at a beginner.

    I'm now past the point at which following a character-learning method like Koch will be useful. I know most of the characters I need. Most of the difficulty I have now comes from not understanding the words (including all the abbreviations), and only work using them will improve that.
    I wish someone had been prepared to say that to me before now. In three months of using, following the available instructions and advice to the letter, and working for at least 15 minutes a day, I had managed to get to about lesson 5...

    I'd rather say the method, as implemented, is not suitable for the student, and the student should re-evaluate their choices and see what they can do differently in order to make better progress. Preferably before they waste two years down a dead end.

    73 5Z4/M0LEP
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016

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