New learners then silence?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by W9RAC, Dec 11, 2019.

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  1. W2OZB

    W2OZB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Became a Tech in early 2017 decided to be 100% CW. Went to CWAcademy to learn code. Now, an Extra, a CWOps member and an advisor in CWAcademy teaching basic class. Active in CWOps and SKCC (working on Tx2) and learning to use a bug well. I ragchew , limit is at 32wpm, Now my limitation is not head copy but sending. I've hit a wall at 35wpm but am stubborn and I wont give up! Most, I've been told, simply go to a keyboard at 35, but I'm not giving in that easily!

    Heh, I even got my youngest brother to become a HAM and he's learning code (somewhere around 25/20 Farnsworth now)!

    The last qso on my bug, I got the best compliment ever , my pride swelled up like a ripe carcass in the noon day sun!

    He sent: "nice fist"
    WN1MB, W9RAC, N3FZ and 1 other person like this.
  2. K5UNX

    K5UNX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am probably one of those describe by the OP. I have taken CW Ops Level 1 and just completed Level 2 a few weeks ago. My biggest problem is that I don't yet have "instant character recognition" down 100% yet. Sometimes my brain takes a second to decide what character that was, then I miss a few characters, then I try to figure out what I heard but missed, then miss some more. By the time I decide to not worry about it and start again, I ended up having missed a whole bunch of characters . . . . . You guys know that drill I am sure. For me, it is just going to take more practice. While I was going through Level 2, I was getting measurably better. I was able to quantify my progress with tools like Morse Runner & RufzXP. I have made some CW QSO's, mostly state QSO parties along with VP6R, and even a couple short QSO's where I answered someone's CQ. The later ones, I kept to signal report, name then said 73. I just need to keep working on the Level 2 materials and get on the air more. It's like mic-fright except it's paddle-fright, being afraid that I will not get a lot of what's sent.

    Asking questions on here leads to more answers than one knows what to do with which provides a sort of paralysis. So it's easier to keep using the tools I have and keep going without asking questions. I figure if the tools are good enough to be used by CW Ops in their courses, then they should work for me. I am making progress but it's slower than I would like.
    WN1MB likes this.
  3. DL4QB

    DL4QB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I returned to CW in Feb last year.
    I had only learned it back then (in the year of 2000) for the upgrade of the license. Unfortunately I never did CW again after 19 years I have learned it "new" again and now I am on the road every day on CW.
    Meanwhile with about 22 WPM. SSB almost went against zero.
    For all, which are not yet 100% with the hearing tip and note: always remain thereby and also setbacks simply ignore...simply continue and keep going!

    I have still a long learning curve with "clear text " CW. But standard QSO text is already fine!

    73 Andre
    WN1MB likes this.
  4. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have spent a lot of time around 7.117. I have had many first time QSO's from the area. Its always great and I make certain to send a QSL immediately with a congratulatory line or two. Great work on your code and hope to hear you someday. 73 Rich
    W5WTH and WN1MB like this.
  5. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I get the comment about lots of suggestions if you ask. Guys just trying to help out, sounds like your doing great. 73 Rich
  6. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good on ya for sticking with it. It gets easier but sometimes it feels like it will take forever.

    It can be tough to do this at first, but I strongly recommend that when you miss some characters just let them go. I'd take it further and let the next few words go, don't try to copy them and don't try to catch up just realize that it's ok not to copy with 100% accuracy and the English language has lots of redundancy so a lot of times you won't really miss the meaning even if you miss several words. There's no need for 100% copy and you can hold a good conversation even after missing parts so when you miss a letter or a few letters don't stress, just let it go regroup mentally and pick up a few words later or perhaps after the next BT. If you really missed something you wanted to know like the ops name or QTH then just ask for a repeat on that item, it's really OK.

    A CW operator with well developed skills can still miss pieces of the conversation due to QRM or QSB so don't worry about it, it happens all the time and it isn't a problem to ask for repeats on information you really want to copy.

    That can be tough to do for someone striving for perfect copy but if you give yourself the freedom to drop occasional words without stressing about it you'll generally end up copying more information as you won't get hopelessly behind which is far more stressful and frustrating than missing half a sentence and picking back up with the next sentence.

    Good luck and stick with it,
    N7BKV likes this.
  7. K5UNX

    K5UNX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I use several tools to practice. CW Ops Level 2 materials, K7QO code course (mp3's on my phone to play in the car), exercises and listening to live QSO's.

    When I started Level 2, I couldn't pick much other than a few characters of a live QSO on the radio. As the class went on, I found I could get more and more characters over time. Towards the end of the course, there were a few words I could pick out like "RST".

    I do have to say, that the few live QSO's (non-QSO party) I have had, the other party has been very good and helpful with repeats and putting up with my mistakes. So it seems that most CW ops seem to be very nice. I would like to get to the point where I can actually carry on a conversation using CW without stressing myself out LOL . . . Someday!
  8. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You'll get it. We all went through that phase where it seemed really difficult and stumbled on the same letters or words again and again. And I definitely remember the stress of trying it out live on the air and worrying about losing track and not being able to copy anything. It really will get easier with practice, especially on the air practice.

    Another tip that I've personally used a lot and shared with others (heck I might have already posted it in this thread) is to mentally sound out code as you go through your day. When you find a few minutes where you're not otherwise occupied just sound out things you see around the room like various objects or book titles or shop signs, license plates and street signs as you walk down the street. You don't need to actually vocalize any dit or dah sounds, just think it as you mentally 'send' various words, numbers and the like and you'll get better at figuring out where you have trouble and moving through those trouble characters.

    I find this really helps in terms of identifying trouble characters and really drilling them into your brain and creates a whole lot of practice opportunities that don't require a structured study session. I've done it for years and have worked with others that have had success with this approach that doesn't require any equipment other than the most important piece, your brain :)
    KD7ICW and N7BKV like this.
  9. KD7ICW

    KD7ICW Ham Member QRZ Page

    New Morse learner here. I received my Technicians license April 29 2019. I am 99.9% CW only, mostly on 40 and 80 meters.

    I jumped in both feet first and started trying QSOs as soon as my call showed up on the database. The very beginning of my quest for QSOs was very, very rough for the other guys, I'm quite certain.

    Many. many thanks to the wonderful CW community out there and the patience of all the Ops that have worked me over the past 7 or 8 months and thanks also for the help from SKCC members and for anyone who QRS.

    I am slowly getting better at copying. I'm at around 15 wpm head copy sentences for short bursts if I am copying from an audio book (KY8D.NET) or 20 wpm if just random characters.

    Where I really struggle copying is during real band conditions, QSB, QRN and especially some "accents" or timing from certain bug or straight keys.

    I regularly listen to Kurt Zogelman YouTube videos which help tremendously.

    I am really enjoying QRP using a Mt Topper and a wire,, also I am a part time SOTA activator.

    Bottom line is I am really loving Morse, CW and I appreciate all of the help and information here from the old timers, thank you and look forward to seeing you on the air.

    73 72

    Brad KD7ICW
    AD0WE, WA1GXC, W5WTH and 1 other person like this.
  10. AD0WE

    AD0WE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's awesome, Brad! You have accomplished a lot in such a short amount of time!

    If you haven't already discovered the index page on my Morse Code Ninja website, you can easily jump to all of my practice content from here .

    I wish you all the best on your continued Morse code journey! And if there is any content that I don't already have, let me know, and I will see what I can do!

    73 de AD0WE
    AF6GA, KD7ICW and W5WTH like this.

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