New To Transmitting CW: Head to Fist

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KE8EAS, Sep 29, 2016.

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  1. M6GYU

    M6GYU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Two months is no time at all.

    I'd be pretty certain that I couldn't send from memory either. What I did was just as K8JD described, which was have some kind of written prompt or script in front of you to which can you either scribble in the info or just add it as you sent it.

    And you can always send AS (wait) during a QSO to scribble an answer down!
    KE8EAS likes this.
  2. KE8EAS

    KE8EAS Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's good advice. I have a notepad I've scribbled at the top "QTH, QRS, NAME, K, R" and a few other prosigns. Having it all spelled out would be better for now. I did take the advice of the other comment, which was practice going down the road calling out the road signs. That did help my speed, and my memory a little.

    I may have to swallow my pride and just slow down... I can copy 10 wpm but may need to send slower than that until I get more familiar.

    The other thing that helped (another comment) was quit trying to fight the urge of "this is the letter, this is what it sounds like- 4 dits" and stop trying to keep that mental block of what an H sounds like in English, and what it sounds like in Morse code (if that makes sense!). I know what it sounds like, let the subconscious take over.

    All great comments. Thank you all very much!!!
  3. K8PRG

    K8PRG Ham Member QRZ Page

    A year ago I was contemplating writing what I wanted to send first...that wasn't gonna work....just took time in the will come.
    KE8EAS likes this.
  4. KC3RN

    KC3RN Ham Member QRZ Page

    It was said earlier that learning CW is like learning to play an instrument. That's VERY true. One of my other hobbies is playing guitar. I'm actually a "weekend warrior" (that means I gig on the weekends). Working CW is a lot like performing. When it comes to live performance, one gig is worth 20 rehearsals. You can practice and practice, but you're never going to get it right until you play it live.

    The same is true with CW. No matter what practice method you use, you're never really going to get comfortable until you're actually on the air with the key in your hand. Get stuck on a few letters? So what!! You'll probably still catch the rest of the word. At the very least you'll catch enough to understand what's being said. Just get out there and do it.

    There are a number of slow speed and practice nets out there. There are also the SKCC and NAQCC sprints. These are generally slower speed events, and the ops (for the most part) are very patient. I call CQ SKCC regularly, and I'll answer at whatever speed the other station calls me at. I'm good for about 18WPM with a straight key, but if you call me at 5 WPM, that's what I'll answer at. Most straight key ops will do that. It's more difficult for a bug user, since their speed can't be adjusted quite so quickly.

    If an op does reply too fast for you, just send "PSE QRS". Not a big deal. Most avid CW ops are really interested in keeping the mode alive, and will help you stay interested. Just get on the air and make your first contact. It will be un-nerving, but that's okay. We ALL went through the same thing. By the time you make your 10th contact, you'll feel like a pro.

    --... ...--
    KE8EAS likes this.
  5. KI4ODO

    KI4ODO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great point. And I have found that later on, when you're not "new" anymore, but still get stuck on something, the same thing helps. I was recently experiencing brain freeze during rag chews. What I realized is that I wasn't on the air having qso's as much as it seemed like I was. I started making more contacts, and very quickly the brain freeze was gone.

    For a new op learning to send, I would also recommend writing out your "rubber stamp" info. Name, QTH, rig, age, been ham for however many years, that sort of thing. It makes it easier at first, and very very quickly you won't even be looking at it any more. I still keep one of my qsl cards in front of my rig for sending my SKCC number just in case I'm having one of those lack of mental coordination days :D
    KE8EAS likes this.
  6. WA7DU

    WA7DU Ham Member QRZ Page

    When your fist and concious brain disconnect, send BT (It denotes a separation, but can be used to indicate a brief pause in your sending.)

    You may not need the word IS as often as you think. For example, send "QTH PHOENIX ARIZONA" rather than "QTH IS PHOENIX ARIZONA"


    "RST 5NN"

    KE8EAS likes this.
  7. KE8EAS

    KE8EAS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good point on the IS, it just gives me that extra couple seconds to collect what I'm about to send. I suppose good for a fellow newcomer too. But I'm with you, starting to disregard that bit.

    I operated several hours this week and it has gotten better. Slowly, but I am starting to see a change! If I need to send a long or odd word, it gets screwy. But, short words, I'm getting there!
  8. KD2RON

    KD2RON Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have been transitioning to a straight key from a keyer ( at a very modest speed). I have found that practicing with a tone from my keyer with no radio output, I use a decoder app on my I pad to read what I send. I sure shows how uneven our characteres and spaces can be. The app (morsedecodr) also helps to "zero beat" a signal better than I can by my ear. As we know not too good at decoding though. It is good at showing who is using a computer though.
    KE8EAS likes this.
  9. KZ8O

    KZ8O Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    New to CW. Still working on quickening my recognition. On the BT mentioned above: as I start listening more and more on air, when BT is sent will I hear -... -- or will it be -...-- (sent as one character)?


    KE8EAS likes this.
  10. KE8EAS

    KE8EAS Ham Member QRZ Page

    It should be ran together as one letter: -...- (not -...--). It'll be the same as you sometimes hear as KN, meaning "back to ONLY you" rather than K "back to you" at the end of your transmission.

    I heard one gentleman recently who would sometimes send BT, pause for a second, then send BT again, then start with a new sentence. It's roughly the CW equivalent to "uh, um".

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