Sending code without paper in front of you

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KW1L, Jan 9, 2021.

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  1. KW1L

    KW1L Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am 75 years old and send code about 15 to 18 wpm with a straight key.
    When I send the normal boiler plate QSO I make very little errors in my sending. When I extend away from the normal QSO and start talking about my life or other things that are not on paper, my sending error count increases.
    I notice I can send almost anything that is on paper in front of me with few errors. If I send from my mind, sending errors count increase.
    Any ideas why? Related to age, etc. Thanks Paul
     
    N7BKV, N2SUB and K0UO like this.
  2. VE4AJM

    VE4AJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't worry about it and enjoy the qso's. Perhaps you could put on paper some of your more elaborate sentences that stray off the usual short exchange, and group them by topic?
     
    K1NKY and K0UO like this.
  3. W1TRY

    W1TRY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think it's just a habit and the paper helps you keep your thoughts sorted. If I'm doing anything, I have a pad and pencil around to make notes. Sounds perfectly normal and actually I think it's healthy. You're fine in my book, better than me!
     
  4. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Traditionally (commercial and military use of Morse Code) almost all sending was sending from prescribed text.

    The development and practical use of Morse Code for conversational purposes seems to me to be the sole invention of
    the amateur operator.

    Reflect on how many people are capable of speaking in public, of giving an unrehearsed speech, of being relaxed and
    paying attention to the response of the audience. How many of us could perform standup comedy or improvisational
    theater?

    Thus I see the ability to converse via Morse Code in an unrehearsed, improvised way to require a much much higher skill
    level than simply sending prescribed text. Some of us are good at small talk at a business gathering or cocktail party. Others
    have great difficulty with such a task.

    I hope this is useful for your understanding. I don't think the cliche notions about age and mental inadequacy have any
    necessary relation. Some older folks are excellent storytellers.

    My guess is that most hams have difficulty conversing spontaneously via Code. If you have difficulty a workaround is
    developing interesting conversations to be used again. Of course not with the same other operators.

    There's one old-timer in my state who launches into the same story about all his entirely-homebrew gear. His station is
    indeed a remarkable achievement. But if you've heard his story once or twice, that's plenty.
     
    KD8WU and KD1JT like this.
  5. KD1JT

    KD1JT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I’m a kid at 66. I’m also a gregarious person (so I’ve been told) and I talk and think faster than 18wpm ... but 18-20 is a good ragchew speed on a straight key (I love my J-38). So I guess my fingers are lagging behind my thoughts? I do some higher speed CW, too, with a keyer. Enjoy every QSO, and when the fingers need to catch up send “BT BT” 73
     
  6. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Seems to me there is a back-and-forth between the fingers and the brain in a spontaneous CW ragchew.

    First you come up with the amusing or otherwise interesting idea or question.

    Second you set about sending this, all the while reformulating each phrase or sentence to incorporate appropriate
    abbreviations, Q signals, etc.

    Third, as in any creative endeavor, once you have launched you will be re-conceiving the whole story so as your fingers
    try to keep up with your mind, your mind is thinking hard and fast how to modify the story to make it both easier for
    your fingers to send and completely (as possible) comprehensible to the other op.

    Easy peasy.
     
  7. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sending code without paper in front of you



    PAUL,

    YOU OLE CW RASCAL.........

    THREE CHEERS FOR GOOD FRIENDS & CW.jpg

    PAUL, THE QRZ TROOPS HAVE PROVIDED YOU WITH EXCELLENT
    FEEDBACK.

    W1TRY DID MENTION...........I have a pad and pencil around to make notes.

    YES, I DO THE SAME THING WITH KEEPING NOTES AS I CHAT WITH
    THE OTHER OPERATOR.

    I DONT COPY THEIR XMISSION WORD FOR WORD BUT JUST THE

    HIGHLIGHTS OF THE XMISSION AND PUT AN * NEAR ANY
    COMMENTS THAT I SHOULD RESPOND TO.

    PAUL, AS FOR BEING AN OLE CW RASCAL...........

    I TURN 77 NEXT APRIL......

    THREE CHEERS FOR HAPPI BDAYS AND POWER NAPS.

    73 ES
    HNY

    likes with CW FOREVER HANDS.jpg


     
    KJ4KPW likes this.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm 69 y.o. and never look at anything when I'm sending (or copying, for that matter).

    I've become accustomed to pretty much operating in the dark, and about 90% of the time when using CW, my eyes are closed. I'll look at the rig to check the frequency, might even look at the antenna switch to assure I remembered to change it when changing bands; but otherwise, the lights are usually off.

    To me, code is just another language and I don't write anything down when speaking to someone face to face, so no need to do it on the radio. I don't read from a written script when having a face to face conversation, so ditto.

    I think it's just a matter of what you get used to doing. "Age" may enter into it a little bit, but I believe it's more "habit." If you change the habit because you want to, it will probably change in the direction you desire.
     
    PU2OZT likes this.
  9. KF5LJW

    KF5LJW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unfortunately age. If paper helps keeps the mind on track, use it. When you start addressing friends and wife with; what's your name, or seeing strangers in your home, time to tap out. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021
    PU2OZT likes this.
  10. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sounds like a really humanistic long-distance psychiatric terrorist. With a wonderful sense of humor.
     

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