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  1. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Actually I think it may be the opposite - they're too far apart.

    I use a contact spacing that is just about the thickness of a piece of paper.

    But don't start out too close together. I'd suggest starting out by setting the contact spacing with a postcard or several pieces of paper.

    You may need to adjust the spring tension too. If it's too tight your sending will tend to be "choppy" and if it's too loose you won't have enough control over it.

    You might want to download and read this: The Art and Skill of Radio Telegraphy particularly Chapters 8 and 9.

    Also, this might help A How-To Article by N1FN
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2009
  2. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Your Bencher key has three adjustments. The one in the back sets the tilt of the lever or basically the height of the knob above the table. The one over the spring of course tensions the spring. And the front one adjusts the contact spacing.

    What I would recommend is:

    1) First loosen all of those adjustments.

    2) Then give it just enough tension that the lever doesn't flop around.

    3) Then adjust the rear adjustment until the knob feels like it's at a good height above the table, then lock that adjustment.

    4) Then adjust the contact spacing to so that a postcard thickness or a several sheets of paper thickness slides freely in and out, and lock that adjustment.

    5) Then start tightening up the spring tension - use the mininum tension that you feel gives you control of the key.

    Other people may have different preferences for adjustment procedure but they all get you to the same end result.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2009
  3. KB3SKU

    KB3SKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is this any better?;
  4. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Only you can answer that! Try it like that for awhile - experiment with the spring tension. If your "K" doesn't sound like "T - E - T" anymore, then you're probably going the right direction, at least.

    I am not trying to be flippant - but you'll eventually find personal preferences once you get in the right ballpark with the adjustments.
  5. AI3V

    AI3V Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are wasting your time trying to learn CW by sending to a computer reader.

    Turn the computer reader OFF.

    Put the key ASIDE.

    LISTEN, Then LISTEN, and then LISTEN some more. When you get tired, take a break, Then come back and LISTEN some more.

    I will suggest learning the code sent at 15 wpm or more, slower, and your brain can count the dots and dashes. You do not want to count them, you want to hear them as sounds.

    Once you can copy code, you will find you can send it just fine.

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2009
  6. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes! I thought we settled that earlier. If you're still trying to get the computer to read your code - STOP IT!

    Yes. I assumed you could already read code and were just trying to learn how to send. It didn't occur to me that anyone would try to do it the other way around. You can't learn to send code until you know what it is supposed to sound like.

  7. KB3SKU

    KB3SKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    To be honest im trying to do both,is this a really bad idea?

    I thought while learning to send i can also learn what the letters sound like or isnt this a good way? Like hit 2 birds with 1 stone kind of thing?
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2009
  8. K3STX

    K3STX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Listen to this, then SEND this!! you will be well on your way.

    I am sure somebody here is going to say what I am recommending is wrong, but I am NOT wrong. You want to know what good code sounds like; this is it!

    You can go to the ARRL website (look under W1AW code practice) and get TONS of these files, with their associated text.

    You don't need too much tension in your spring. See what is necessary to help you send the first line of the .mp3 file "text is from December..."

    I personally would have gone with even MORE spacing than you had in the first place, but that is why it is a personal preference.

  9. K0CMH

    K0CMH Ham Member QRZ Page

    G4FON has a very good program for learning CW. It can be adjusted for words-per-minute speed, space between letters, speed between dits and dahs, etc., etc. Do a search for "g4fon" and you will find the site for the free software download (yes, it is completely free and does not mess up your computer when installed).

    It also has a great method for learning all the letters, numbers and punctuation. I highly recommend it.

    And yes, forget the computer CW reader. None of them do any good unless the CW is being sent almost perfectly. The human brain is still the best "decoder". You could be sending without the computer deconding one letter, while a person has 100%, easy copy on you.

    ALSO, THIS IS IMPORTATN: As a professional trainer, I learned in school that humans have two ways of learning; auditory and visual. The world human population is about equally divided this way. This means when learning CW, about half the people learn by hearing it while the other half learn by visualizing it. One reasonably accurate way to see which you are is to see if the letters sound like a little song to you. If you are an auditory learner, CW will sound like music. Visual learners often describe CW as "forming words in their head".

    This explains why you are getting conflicting advice here. However, the G4FON software seems to work very well for everyone.

    My last piece of advice is to make personal contact with a CW capable Ham. I think you need to have a real alive person there to see what you are doing and to give you tips to get you on your way. The ARRL web site has a listing of Ham clubs in the US. That is a very good way to find someone who will help -- go to a meeting and let it be know that you need some personal instruction.

    And last, don't rush. It takes a little time to get CW down. It is just like learning a foreign language. One cannot be fluent in 24 hours. Keep with it and seek some personal help. The rewards of the investment in time is well worth it. CW is great fun to operate. Good luck.
  10. KB3SKU

    KB3SKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    About it sounding like music;

    I could fall asleep to it,kinda seems soothing,it drives my room mate nuts though :D

    Even the sound of PSK31 sounds like music to me :)
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