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The Weird Lurches of Learning Morse Language

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by N7BKV, Dec 8, 2018.

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  1. K5TSK

    K5TSK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Not sure which way this thing is going now, but seeing a lot of the 'good' CW stuff versus "bad' Cw stuff, so one short comment. For those who aren't SKCC members, on November 10 (?) 2018, they started accepting applications for those who chose to make 300 unique station contacts with 100 each of straight key, bug, and sideswiper. Whether this is a good thing or not is a personal opinion, but you will now hear a lot of CW activity from ops who just recently are trying 'new to them' keys. Idea is to learn and maybe master, and for some just another piece of wallpaper. Consequently, in some places the CW band is starting to sound like the old novice band.
    Most of us at some point in time, try something that's already been done. Climb a mountain, run a marathon, learn to fly, learn chess. Most of us want to do it well. Most of us will never be Grand Champions or outrun some Kenyan. If we aren't allowed to try, then what's the point of living.
    For those of you who were novices at some point, what would have happened if a lot of ops just chose to not work 'imperfect code'?????
    I'm done now, getting tired of some of the attitudes.
  2. NG5O

    NG5O XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I suppose your diatribe is mostly directed at my comments here. Nothing I've said was intended to discourage anyone from learning CW - in the beginning, none of us were "perfect".

    The "imperfect code" at issue here is from seasoned ops who make a point of doing it intentionally, not beginners. Far as I'm concerned, the ones who are obviously doing it badly intentionally don't deserve my time - deliberately corrupting CW is something I refuse to reinforce by accepting it as the "new normal" - it's anything BUT.

    And as you point out, no one sends perfect CW during the learning process. But the "attitude" you're hearing from me is a low tolerance for the offending ops who are far beyond the learning process. These guys are the ones using bugs with the dits set way too fast for the character speed they're sending. They're also the ones who send dahs of different lengths, resulting in a grotesque mish-mash of cacaphony almost comical to hear. But the point is, these people do it intentionally. That says, "I'm going to send CW **MY WAY**, because it's all about me" .... and THAT'S "attitude".

    It's easy to identify the CW newcomers, people who are in the learning process. They're sending slowly, and erratically. And that's fine - there are days when I'm erratic. But I have a low tolerance for the CW "hotshots" with their maladjusted bugs trying to sound "cool" sending CW with what I call "swing" timing, and they're also usually running characters and words together, making copy very tenuous. There's nothing "cool" about it, and these people should know better. They don't do the hobby any favors.

    If my attitude about that bothers you, so be it - it's not going to change.
    WF7BSR, M6GYU, KG7WGX and 1 other person like this.
  3. M6GYU

    M6GYU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Surely it would be better to practice your sending skills 'off-the-air', until you have a reasonable ability to send well enough over the radio?
  4. K5TSK

    K5TSK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    No personal grudges, vendettas, everyone is entitled to an opinion. I do practice before going on air. For most of my intermittent time as a 'ham', I used a Bencher iambic, a keyer, and basically let a machine form my characters. It's a little more challenging than typing onto a keyboard, but it's not much more so. When I joined SKCC, I decided to relearn the straight key. Bought 3 bugs and play with them. Due to a personal limitation on sending long term because of cramping in the hand, learned to send left handed. Very seldom hear any negative comments. Have had many positive from ex-Navy or otherwise service ops. Not taking this personally.

    Simply cannot understand the need for anyone to take up time, bandwidth, griping about someone's elses sending. Seems to me, a person would have a far less stressful life, settling for digital. It's well formed, consistent, easy. Fair to say there are lids there also. Hence another reason to get on here and gripe.
  5. NG5O

    NG5O XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Of course. That's what forums are for. They exist for everyone to express opinions, pro AND con. And when there's something that runs contrary to generally-accepted good operating practice, it's fair game for constructive discussion here.

    A trend of ham CW ops' choosing to alter CW character spacing to suit their OWN individual ideas of what "sounds good" is BAD OPERATING PRACTICE - and you don't see the need to use forum bandwidth to discuss it? Seriously? This kind of thing is every bit as bad as splatter on the phone bands.

    In your earlier post, you appeared to imply I had criticised CW-newbies who hadn't developed good sending skills yet. I never said that. The point I'm attempting to make, and which you seem to want to misconstrue, is that there are a lot of experienced operators, many of whom are Extra class hams, who make what I'm convinced are conscious decisions to "tailor" their CW "fist" because they like the way it sounds.

    For them, it's a form of "self-expression", and it's inappropriate for sending CW. I consider it blatant arrogance and disrespect for hams who expect and deserve to hear code sent properly, to the best of the sender's ability to do it - not someone's poorly-conceived idea of what "sounds good". Deliberately sending CW dashes of varying lengths is bad form....PERIOD.

    And it's not a case where they don't know what good code should sound like - they just don't care. It's trivially easy to find examples of correct CW, the most obvious being ARRL, which not only transmits scheduled CW at various speeds, almost daily, but also downloadable MP3 CW practice files - all free.

    Despite that, what we hear now on the bands is a fair number of ops who seem determined to send their own brand of "modified" CW, which I described earlier. When I first became a Novice 58 years ago, I don't remember much of this going on. Today, it's prevalent, and in my mind, it's worth discussing, if for no other reason, to create an awareness that it's poor operating practice.

    To me, just "settling" for something means giving up what I wanted in the first place. CW has been part of my life far too long to just give it up - it's challenging, and I enjoy it. And when I notice a recurring theme of bad operating practice in the mode I choose to use, I don't mind being the one to shine a light on it. If it is stressful for you to read it, maybe a different forum would better suit you.

    I'm done with this. I've made my point, and readers can accept or reject it, but posting anything further would just be repetition. 73
    WF7BSR and M6GYU like this.

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