Learning CW, it just doesnt stick!

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by SA7CNG, May 21, 2020.

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  1. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have to be blunt here, but trying to learn Morse by counting "dots and dashes" is a complete dead-end.

    This is exactly why the Koch method was devised soon 90 years ago, to avoid the slow and painful transition between "dots and dashes" and "sounds".

    According to my Morse instructor in Army signals school, not stopping to count dot and dashes was the primary reason for failing in training. If my recollection is correct, those that had not "stopped counting" within two or three weeks were demoted to foot-soldiers, which was a quite powerful incentive.
    Also, "copying in your head" was frowned about, as it made you interested in the message, which is a big "no-no" in professional Morse.

    The reason why the Koch method was not more widely used was primarily that it requires a large degree of individual adaption to be successful. This was clearly impractical in the "B.C." (="Before Computers") era.

    I may be out on a limb here, but it appears that by properly applying the Koch method, anyone sufficiently interested is able to learn Morse at an usable speed (12-15 WPM upwards, accurately writing down the received message).

    Morse is "character building" (pun intended), but in return it demands some character from the user.

    WN1MB likes this.
  2. 2E0OZI

    2E0OZI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes the Morse Crusade website, and nearly everyone else I know says that any idea pictorially of dots and dashes and counting is a bad idea. When people send a series of Vs on a frequency not in use, I don't count anything, I hear Beethovens 5th!

    When I came back to radio a few weeks ago I didn't trust myself, and inadvertantly started counting. But I knew that was wrong and trusted my brain to decode like it had 5 years ago.

    And remember - its not life and death anymore. If I don't get a call the first time, I wait until they send again. Whats the rush? Everyone makes a mistake here and there. The last contact I made today had a real bannana boat swing.....

    Anyone else miss the Russian stations with thier Star Wars blaster sound - pew pew pew peeeeew.....
    WN1MB likes this.
  3. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, URD, UGK, UNM and the Polish SPH and SPE could sometimes emit quite strange sounds on 500 kHz.

    The SDJ 500 kHz remote watchkeeping receivers at Gotland
    and in southernmost Sweden were in convenient ground-wave ranges from those stations. Pity the poor operator that had advanced the watchkeep audio level when listening for weak calls in a silence period, and forgot to turn it down afterwards.

  4. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Karl; Please fill us all in about that crest you have above your call sign here on QRZ forum pages...
  5. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The medal in the avatar is the Armed Forces Morse Gold Medal.

    It could be earned by scoring 25 WPM plain text and 5-character cypher groups both in sending and receiving.

    In Army signals school, there were monthly Morse tests for monitoring progress, and if you aimed for an assignment as fixed station or Brigade Staff radio operator, 25 WPM was a requirement.

    I combined the Morse test with the written exam for the First Class Radiotelegraph certificate, which was not formally required for Army radiomen, but more was seen as a "bonus".

    A successful exam also carried some "perks"; two weeks extra pay and four days extra leave.

    M0KBO, W5BIB, WN1MB and 1 other person like this.
  6. K8PG

    K8PG QRZ Lifetime Member #333 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Practice practice practice practice
    practice practice

    W1AW is your friend.
    Every day.... 15/30 minutes.
    And More Practice.
    WN1MB likes this.
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Lost tourist in New York City, asking a cab driver for directions: "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?"

    Cabby: "Practice, practice, practice..."
    AJ4GQ and WN1MB like this.
  8. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Very good advice and the first step to success. 73 Rich
    WN1MB likes this.
  9. K8PG

    K8PG QRZ Lifetime Member #333 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I learned Morse when I was about 6
    years old. 1st from my cousin Elgin
    Macullim we would play a game as what
    is that foods name ... in morse or what
    is thats cats name in morse .... etc , then I
    was ahead of all in Cub Scouts .code badge.
    Ell was a WW1 message handler and
    morse operator . He delivered via a
    Harley, written messages when the lines were broke.ELL was a cool old dude I stayed summers with Girtie YL and Ell
    in Flint .Mi. I have his WW1helmet and bayonet,trench lighter , he could copy
    LL / RRC/ Morse at 71 wpm he told me.
    He was a great fellow. He died at 93.

    Practice .... Practice ..... Practice.
    No Machine will copy 100%.
    Your Brain can Copy 100%.

    Practice Practice Practice...
    try to make it fun....not a chore.
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
    KD4ZFS and WN1MB like this.
  10. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    RIP, Ell.

    Sounds like he was a great guy and mentor!

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