Trouble differentiating "H", "S", and "5"

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KC3HUM, May 12, 2019.

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  1. KI7RS

    KI7RS Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is an elite group of CW operators that struggled with H vs S vs 5. We call ourselves "all of us", and we meet weekly at Arby's!!!

    Keep practicing, and eventually you well pick the sound out based on the context of the word. I've only been at it less than a year, and I still struggle with this combo more than any other characters. I also strongly recommend not writing things down, practice head copy. Keep your speed close to 20, and keep pushing the farnsworth speed up when you start to get comfortable. You're not going to grow if you don't push yourself. If you spend 30 minutes a day practicing I recommend 5 of that be practicing head copy at a higher speed. Just relax and listen, and don't worry about getting every character right. Once you start hearing the characters faster it's more relaxing at your normal speed.
  2. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    You may enjoy this little gem, from a 60s 73 Magazine:

    "Letter to t5e Editor:

    Dear hirh,

    I find tsat I am not alone 5aving trouble
    copying tse letter "h". Many ot5er samh heem
    to 5ave tse hame trouble, si, 5i.

    Hometime5 I t5ink "h" is "5", hometimeh I t5ink "h"
    is "s", and ho on.

    Do you t5ink Mr Hamuel Morhe would mind if we
    c5anged 5ih c5aracter for "h" from didididit to homet5ing lehh 5ard to copy?

    Sow abt dididasdas or homet5ing like
    tsat? I t5ink 5e muht 5ave been dit-hy or homet5ing,
    5i, si.

    Ho leth give 5amh a selping sand and csange t5at sorrible csaracter.


    K0GOV, N7BKV, N5OTH and 8 others like this.
  3. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    This letter shows very clearly how Morse Code works. You also learn to identify characters by context.

    Thus you can get away with confusing s, h, 5 and [error] for a lot of operating.

    It's also very helpful, as mentioned above, because there are plenty of ops out there who
    don't distinguish between lengths of dit sequences when they are sending. In those cases the
    context clues you have may be the only ones. :D
    WB5YUZ and M6GYU like this.
  4. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Except when the operating consists of receiving 5 letter or figure groups.

    A lot of my training in Army signals school was aimed to make the recognition and writing down of received characters a reflexive and almost subconscious operation.

    N7BKV and M6GYU like this.
  5. W5WTH

    W5WTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    First off; I'm a newbie so if someone else tells you what I said is wrong then believe them. :)

    I really agree with what @WD0BCT and @KE6EE said. I have only been at this CW thing for a year, but when I first started MOST of the stuff I read said 'learn letters at 22WPM (or 20WPM) and no matter what DO NOT SLOW DOWN. It took me only a few days to see that I was getting nowhere. I slowed the character speed to 15-18WPM and I started to 'understand' things. Withing a few weeks I have able to have sloppy, but rewarding QSOs due to the helpful nature of most CW OPs. If I would have stuck to the +20WPM guideline I would have delayed my on-the-air fun and motivation and maybe just given up hope.

    I would like to get to 20WPM; I have 'gusts' up to 18WPM at times. That said, I find any QSO enjoyable and I am really thankful I broke from some of the advise I had and throttled my speed down.

    IMHO, learn the characters at a reasonable WPM speed and get on the air. The spirit of most every CW OP I have QSO'd with has been pleasant at any speed. Plus, making the QSOs will help keep your interest to do more and improve at your own pace.

    Another thought.... Join SKCC and use their sked page. It is the quickest way to friendly QSOs.
    If you see me on the SKCC sked page PM me and I will slow to 1WPM if you want.

  6. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    & most often copying 3, 4, or 5 digits and/or letters behind ! - As a Morse shipping operator, I found 'Plain Language' the most difficult to copy (I always wanted to read it & anticipate the words) - For Plain Language, I found myself looking-away from the text & thinking about something / anything else & just letting my brain subconsciously instruct my fingers which keys to hit on the keyboard.
    N7BKV and WB5YUZ like this.
  7. W6MK

    W6MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Absolutely. That's what copying Morse Code inevitably comes to, if you simply keep doing it.

    That is how we learn most things. First by observing carefully and noting all details. This challenging process becomes
    automatic so that we instantly, subconsciously, recognize complex patterns without having to be careful and note all details.

    We all go through this when we learn how to ride a bicycle or drive a car. At first it's complicated and a challenge. Then you
    are traveling along at speed with hands off your handlebars singing some pop tune. Or cruising along the highway busily texting...just kidding about the texting. I see texting drivers every day on the freeways here. Going really slow in a fast lane. Weaving.

    Military or commercial operators work to a much higher standard than hams. Virtually all of our conversations via CW are quite predictable. With encrypted or other unpredictable text, you need to be working at the automatic subconscious level.
    W5BIB and KA0HCP like this.
  8. N2OTG

    N2OTG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don’t feel bad. I’ve been mostly on CW for almost 28 years and still confuse those letters sometimes. However, it’s not usually a big problem. Even in speech or on ‘phone, you may misunderstand a consonant or two but your brain will correct or fill in the blanks after a few more sounds establish a context. Pretty soon, the same sort of thing will happen as you read Morse; you just need to practice.

    Everybody has a different opinion about learning code, but I can tell you that I started slowly and gradually built up speed. I took the the old 5, 13, and 20 wpm tests to qualify as a ham. I think those speeds were well chosen. A different mental process is necessary as you speed up and, in my opinion, you can’t skip any steps. At first you count dots and dashes, but that’s very slow; then letters pop into your head visually and that’s a little faster. To get to 20 or 30wpm, I think whole words have to pop into your head, like when you’re listening to speech. I’m not sure what happens after that, since I’ve never progressed much beyond 25 or 30!

    It all comes down to number of hours of practice. One thing that I’ve found useful for increasing speed is the Bravo app for iPhone (and maybe other OSs) that teaches you to recognize words.
  9. N5CM

    N5CM Ham Member QRZ Page

    KC3HUM, take a look at the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) group, and look on the SKCC Sked Page. For SKCC, code is mechanically generated, i.e. no electronic keyers or computers, and the code speed is generally slower. There are frequencies that SKCC members frequent, and you can go to those frequencies and "copy the mail" to get some code practice.

    I started as a 5 wpm Novice and had no choice but to learn the code if I wanted to operate. After about a buzillion QSOs as a Novice, I passed the 13 wpm test for General. As others have said, hang in there and practice, and it will come to you. Don't worry about slowing down. I learned at a blazing 5 wpm;). When you get brave enough to get on the air on CW, think about joining SKCC, it's free. They're a very friendly, accommodating, and welcoming bunch. You can work a lot of QSOs, make a lot of new friends, and get a LOT of practice.

    Good luck!

    Vy 73 es DX

    John N5CM
  10. JQ2UOZ

    JQ2UOZ Ham Member QRZ Page

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