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This is a simple discussion forum for LCWO users. Feel free to use it for any kind of discussion related to this website.

Thread: A better way to learn CW?

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Posted: 2015-05-20 16:53
First, thanks to Fabian for a great site and wonderful tools to learn CW.

I've been wondering about the mechanism we use to learn CW and if there is a smarter way to go about this.

We want to be able to have instant recognition of a sound sequence into the mental representation of a sound or letter....but we use many intervening symbols to get there, from visual representations of code (-.-. .--) to written representations of a aural sound (dah-dit-dah-dit, dit-dah-dah), to repeating the sound in our heads and using an internal "look-up" table to figure out what the letter is....or hearing the code and then pushing the appropriate button on a keyboard, which prints a visual letter that we then speak in our heads....and each of these need to be discarded on the way to instant recognition.

I've been wondering if a smarter way might be to discard all of these approaches and go straight to direct recognition of the sound by using speech. You hear the code, you speak the letter. Done. No visual symbols, no typing, no writing, just hear the sound, speak the letter. Hear the sound, speak the word. Hear the call, speak the call.

The trick is how to get the computer to recognize your speech and compare it to the correct value for the Morse Code character or word.

For instance, in MorseMachine, how easy it would be to hear the letter, and simply speak the character, and do it faster and faster as you get more proficient. No hunting for the right keys on the keyboard.

For call sign training, just say the call. The process still supports building the internal memory buffer needed to hold whole words or call signs in your head, but there is no need to struggle with correct typing or writing...just hear it and say it back to the computer.

Can it be done? I think it would be very, very cool if a browser-based application like LCWO could handle this independent of OS, browser type, or computer type.

What do you think?


Marshall, KA1CFP

Posted: 2015-05-23 16:14
Hi Marshall,
I understand where you're coming from with this but there are some hurdles and considerations for doing it the old way:
1. The technology to recognize spoken letters is challenging, largely because of things like "d" and "t" sounding the same, or "p" and "b" sounding the same. For everyday computer microphones that you don't hold next to your mouth & throat, it's a real problem compared to regular speech where the computer makes a guess on consonants.
2. As soon as your training speed gets faster, you don't have the time to pronounce the letter sent before the next one comes along. I just tried it at 25/6 wpm (about 10wpm avg) and you end up talking at the same time as listening, which is very difficult for the brain to do.
3. In the end, developing the skill to write or type at the same time as listening to CW is essential: you'll need it to write any exam to get CW certification, or to copy those contest QSO's or even some rag chews (before you forget what the other station sent you minutes before), etc.

This is why I would suggest you develop the skill to write (pencil & paper) or type while training. It'll be worth it. I hope this helps.
Cheers! 73 de VE3RDE

Posted: 2015-05-25 03:06
I have to agree with Roger on this. Only being a relative newcomer to the world of CW, it has been my intention straight from the start to make the act of hearing CW and responding to it as instinctive as possible. Yes I do listen to recordings in the car to and from work, and those I do repeat verbally when I hear them, but that is pure repetition.
When using LCWO, I simply listen and strike the corresponding key on the keyboard and that is it. Being a proficient keyboard user sure helps in this regard as my brain is already wired to know which keys are where and which hand and fingers to use. I do not take extra steps such as looking at the screen and then visually converting a keystroke into something seen. That can wait until the END of the text being received.
Already having the ability to touch type over 50WPM, all I am really trying to do, is program an audio look-up table in my brain that links to my touch-typing look-up table, so I can strike the correct corresponding key. It seems to be working fine so far, and I have not hit any of the normal "walls' that some people seem to come across. I guess time alone will tell!

73 de VK4GJW

Posted: 2015-05-28 19:12
Thanks, Roger and Greg, for the kind and well thought out replies. Roger, I agree that as character spacing gets short, it's almost impossible to speak before the next character comes in. And Greg, I too have trained myself to type the character as it comes across without even realizing what the character was; the problem with this is that I must wait until the end to read back what I have written to get the message.

For those of you who are reading this thread and have good code proficiency, what do you see/hear in your mind as the code is heard? Do you hear the characters and words, see them in your "mind's eye", or just get the meaning of the word or phrase without really hearing or seeing it?

I am one of those unfortunate few who cannot hold an image in my mind, or imagine letters forming into words in my mind, so the visual approach does not work for me...by the time I've got the first two letters, the next one in erases the previous two...and I lose the whole thing. I guess I am looking for a workable solution for copying in my head that does not require visual construction or memory. I suppose it will come with practice, practice, practice...

73 de KA1CFP

Posted: 2015-06-05 22:06
I also found saying letters at 15WPM doesn't work. My brain CPU is running 100% at that rate and I found that I have no brain power left to understand what I'm writing... yet. This is why I've done better with random code groups than sentences. With sentences if I use any brain power to read what I'm writing I start missing letters and then I'm lost. This just tells me I'll need to do more sentences to learn how to work past that. Fortunately my typing speed is >70WPM and at these speeds I wouldn't keep up with handwriting anymore. Letters are getting very reflexive now so I sometimes don't understand why I reacted with the keystroke I did. If I try to second guess myself, I'll lose my place so I just have to ride on my reflexes more and more.

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