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Thread: How much time

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Posted: 2014-05-18 18:59
I started with lesson 2. I then went to lesson 3 then 4 and 5. I have spent one week on each lesson at 20wpm sent, 8 spacing . Before the end of the week I am getting 100% at copping it down on paper most of the time. I am moving slowly but I am not frustrated at how it is going.I practice about one half hour a time, twice a day. I have tried pushing myself about a year ago. It was not productive at all. I got angry.

This may take a bit of time but I feel I may get there after all. I have hope at least. It would be nice to hear your thoughts on this. How are you doing it. ??

Posted: 2014-05-18 19:10
Practice practice and practice Lynn.
I started last year with 10wpm, and did all of the 40 lessons.
After that i started all over again, but this time on 12 wpm.
If i practise with morsemachine, i can copy now at 25 wpm.
But when i try that with the normal lessons, i get stuck at 20 wpm.
But like i said: practice is the key word.
Day after day.
And what i also do is listening on my transceiver to cw qso's.
Everey now and then i can copy a qso, and that is also a kind of victory for all of the afford i did to learn cw.
I haven't had my first cw contact, but that has to happen somewhere this year.
Finally you will be able to do so as well.
Keyword: practice.
And it is also no problem when you have a day with no lcwo at all.
Good luck!

Posted: 2014-05-20 20:09

I am still learning so take my words with a grain of salt, but I think you already realize that many answers you get to your question will come from people like me that are students and not professional morse code trainers. With that said I must also qualify my remarks by saying my experience will be different than your experience (or anyone else's experience). We are all unique with special gifts, talents and blessings. How long it takes me will be different than my identical twin (if I had one).

Some people will say that any answer to your question might put people off from learning Morse code if the see how much time it takes people to learn or that it might discourage current students who are at a different pace. I disagree. We are all adults. When I was looking into starting the journey I wanted to know how long it might take before I started. And even now I need to know how to plan my future activity and schedule based on how much longer it will take. So to you and anyone that reads this post, be honest with yourself about your CW goals, your personal circumstances and your ability to commit to this study program.

I started learning Morse code on Feb 21. I had no exposure to Morse code prior to coming to LWCO. I looked at the PC based solutions and I decided on using LWCO. I am a touch typist so I wanted something that could directly accept my copy through the keyboard and automatically score my results. LWCO does that very nicely. I study about 1 - 1.5 hours per day on LWCO. Each session is about 30 minutes. After 3 months of daily practice, I am currently working on Lesson #31 Ė the character B.

In a typical training session, I start by using Morse Machine for about 3-5 minutes. I try to work until the reported ďspeedĒ is 7 wpm. This feels like a point where I have instant recognition of characters. This might seem like a slow rate, but there is slight lag between when it recognizes your input, evaluates it, then gives you the next signal and begins waiting for your response. The total throughput will be slower than a constant stream of signals that you are copying down in a Lesson. Once I reach 7 wpm, I begin a Lesson. I set my lesson duration at 3 minutes. Thatís about the limit of my concentration. It takes me about 30 seconds to really get in the flow, so I donít want to use anything shorter than 3 minutes. Since my goal is to someday begin operating at 15 wpm, I begin learning a new character with the settings of 20 wpm character speed and 10wpm effective speed. Once I reach 90% accuracy I bump up the effective speed to 11 wpm and when I reach 90% I bump it up to 12 wpm. Once I reach 12 wpm at 90% accuracy I move on to the next character. Now this whole process of learning a new character might take me a couple of days or it might take me more than a week. It depends on the character and how many of my synapses need to be rewired to differentiate this new character from the other characters Iíve already learned.

If I find that Iím having trouble differentiating this new character from others (usually denoted when my accuracy is below 80%) I will setup a Code Group and do some 1-minute drills there. For example, I have a bad time with E, I, S, H and 5. I have setup a Code Group with just these characters and I drill and drill and drill. In fact, I still need to do this drill at least once a day to re-enforce the different sounds.

Once I feel comfortable with the ďtroubleĒ characters I will return to my 3-minute Lesson until my 30 minutes is up or I become fatigued and my results start to go down hill. If I donít have something pressing to do, I usually wind-down my lessons with a few minutes on Morse Machine just to be sure I finish the training period with a good understanding of what each character should sound like. I donít want my sub-conscious mind spending the rest of the day thinking the character 5 sounds like the character H.

I am finding that the last few Lessons (#29, #30 and #31) are taking me longer to master than my earlier Lessons. I think, as I add more characters my brain is having more trouble differentiating the sounds. I think the last 10 lessons are going to take me considerable longer than the first 10 lessons, but I am determined.

If you are interested in some stats, you can looks at my QRZ.com page and see my LWCO graph. So far, I have made 710 attempts in my Lessons (through Lesson #31) and I have entered 65,000 characters into Morse Machine. I estimate that I have spent about 150 hours of dedicated training at LWCO so far.

I also do some active listening training in my iPhone using Ham Morse and I have created a few 30 minute recordings of commonly used short words that use only the letters I learned by Lesson #20. On the recording I first say the word out loud and then the Morse code of that word is recorded at 20/10 or 20/15 speeds Ė I have 2 different recordings of the same words at different speeds. I put these recordings on my iPhone and I listen to them as I take walk for exercise or commute to work. I donít know how effective this active listening is, but I continue to do it when I can.

These are the tools and techniques that I have used so far. I am constantly evaluating my progress and always looking for smarter ways to train through my current Morse recognition difficulties, but I am dedicated to mastering the code and becoming an effective CW operator. It might take me another month or 2 before I have completed Lesson #41. Even then I still need to shrink the gap I have between 20 wpm character speed and 12 wpm effective speed to the point where Iím working at a true 15 wpm with proper 3-to-1 spacing. Only then will I begin sending training on a set of paddles I recently picked up on eBay. That's my plan. I feel it works best with me and my style of learning. Your mileage my vary.

I will finish this post with a very appropriate quotation that I found on a different CW forum:

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Posted: 2014-05-22 18:30
Lynn, let me tell you my story.
I started here in august 2013, it was my third attempt after two failures because of lack of determination. By december 2013 I made it to lesson 40 with 17/11 wpm. My objective was to have my first CW QSO on the 4th anniversary of my licence, and I did that. It has not been a solid copy QSO, it would not have been possible if the other OM hadn't gone QRS, I had to check his callsign on qrz.com to be sure I copied it correctly, etc etc. But ever since that day I try to have at least 2 QSOs a day (I'm at 500 and counting), many certainly just contest exchanges, but I feel that each QSO brings me closer to full proficiency. The best thing is, the 4 months on LCWO required discipline, and quite often I had to force myself to pursue - on the air it's just plain fun. My objectives now are 15/15 solid copy by the end of this year, 20/20 in 2015 and 25/25 in 2016. I still put in the occasional LCWO lesson, but being on the air is where the fun is. I don't care if it takes years to become really good (if I ever get there), and I probably won't have a QSO with Lea before 2018. I am now an (almost) 100% CW-operator, and that is all that counts for me. Keep going, Lynn, you'll get there, and soon it'll be plain fun.

F4GFT Andreas

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