Learning CW

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by WL7COL, Jan 19, 2011.

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  1. KG6IRW

    KG6IRW Ham Member QRZ Page

    In the time that this thread has been running, I have gone from barely able to copy 5 wpm back in January to having just achieved copying 10 wpm last night without missing a letter. I have made a handful of QSOs with some very tolerant and supportive operators along the way but have focused on quality of code sent - well, that plus getting the standard RST/QTH/name stuff straight and well articulated without slowing down or with big time gaps. Have even carried on some real back-and-forth rag chewing, too. I find that I can send faster than I can write so I'll slow down on sending so the other station doesn't mistake me for a better sender than I actually am!

    It is a very satisfying thing to step away from the station after a QSO knowing you've done something you've always wanted to since you were a kid listening to those mysterious dots and dashes.

    John/W5BIB's technique, plus a number of the other posters' practice methods, have all been put to good use to get me to this place. Unexpectedly, I've discovered that my copy ability seems to jump a bit after I have been actually on the air in QSO. Even though folks here predicted this, I hadn't internalized it.

    The other thing that I've been doing is to push myself to copy code at the next level higher than I can actually copy. For instance, now that I can copy 10 wpm ok, I started right in with 13 wpm copy. If history repeats itself, I will have lots of dropped letters at first and that it will become less and less of a problem as I get used to the new speed.

    Thanks to the supporters here for your help and encouragement getting this far!

    Cheers and 73s,

  2. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    "I think can, I think I can" (said the little engine), Way to go David!! Another little tid-bit, when in QSO, after the preliminaries, i.e.; rst, qth, name, wx, age, rig, etc.,... Don't be afraid to pause every now & then with a "BT" or two, or three or four (spaced out). The other op will know that you are pausing to organize your thoughts on what to send next. (It also can give him a little "break" from copying). Personally, there's nothing worse than someone that uses a "keyboard" and never seems to take a moment to "relax" and organize the thought process. CW will be "more funner" when you're able to "relax" & just enjoy. BT b t ,... BT, you don't always have to be in a hurry! (except in contests!) Bt... so back to you. Also, don't be shy about using "AS" or "AS 1" for a little more time to get "mentally organized" BT..... "AS" ._ ... OK, hw cpy nw ? KG6IRW de W5BIB "KN"
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  3. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    P.S., I posted a "thread" called "WHAT IS A LID?" that shows "me" having a "relaxed" QSO. It is on the "OPINIONS & EDITORIALS" forum it anyone is interested. (sorry, I'm NOT very "photogenic")
  4. NO2A

    NO2A Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree that copying off the air is probably the best,and I like Steve`s advice to practice sending/receiving with a friend. My FT-857D will actually send practice letters/numbers or both as programmed to via menu selection. I don`t know how many other modern day transceivers can do this. Being familiar with how actual qso`s are sent would help quite a bit,knowing a typical qso format as well as random words.
  5. VK2FAK

    VK2FAK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi all...

    What is a realistic speed to aim for with a straight style telegraph key......is 20wpm being way to optimistic . Am I right in saying that maybe the top speed for an experienced CW operator and a new person probably wont get close...

  6. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    John, I think 20wpm is very realistic for a "straight" key. At that point you might want to "discover" the "bug", or "keyer". When I was 24 years old I was able to send 30wpm on a straight key. (NATO communications training competition in Amsterdam 1969) I can't do it now (need a bug). BTW that 30wpm average for five(5), 30min tests only garnered me a 4th place finish out of 10 NATO countries!!! There are some fantastic CW ops (out there). As far as experienced CW op. and a "new" CW op. You may not get close for a while... But it's like anything else, practice practice practice & you'll be "blowin' 'em outta the water" B4 u know it.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  7. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Actually I didn't "post" this. My old friend NT9L / John, slipped it in there. If I had know he was taking video, I would have put down the paper & stopped reading while QSO'ing!!! lol
  8. VK2FAK

    VK2FAK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi all...

    Sorry....but thats just plain rubbing my face in it....you show-off...I may eventually be able to send and read the paper at the same time...but no way will my leg be moving in time with the code while doing it.....Hi Hi

  9. K4PP

    K4PP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I always wondered if hams really smiled or laughed when sending "hi".:)

    I am just glad I finally can copy most of that, even though I still enjoy much slower QSO's. It's been a long time of practice and learning to this point.

  10. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    VK2FAK & K4PP...

    I have always had the "leg thingy",... don't know why ?!, guess it has something to do with rhythm (it used to drive my ex-wifey crazy.) Don't forget, I've been CW only for over 50 years. (I used to be better) Practice makes perfect! As we get older, I guess it's like, "I used to be able to send all night. Now, it takes all night to send".. hi hi cul de W5BIB AR
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