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LCWO Discussion Forum [Atom LCWO Forum Feed]

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

Thread: Witch speed to start as a newbie?

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Posted: 2017-04-11 16:53
I read that 20 wpm is a bit slow in order to evolve quicker to go to 40 or 60 wpm. I read 30 wpm should be better. What do you think ? Please give arguments/experience.

Posted: 2017-04-12 08:47
A high speed CW guy in our local radio club taught us CW.

He started at 6 wpm for the first few lessons, then used 12 wpm for most of the course, ending at 17 wpm.

All of us learned CW within 9 months, 1 training session per week. Usually we were too lazy to train in between weekly sessions.

This was 1979.

Not sure why to start at 30 wpm. The argument seems to be that high speeds prevent counting dots. I can count dots at 50 wpm and yet I don´t do it..

Why not try and pick a speed that you can handle, and that you are comfortable with, no matter what others say?



Posted: 2017-04-14 15:38
Thanks. I will try lower speed because I stump already on 3rd letter! And of course my problem is certainly I try to count dots and dits while decoding. At least I want to understand cw at slow speed, otherwise I will abandon quickly.

Posted: 2017-04-15 00:03
I don´t think counting dots is a problem in the beginning.

Posted: 2017-05-09 18:05
From all that I have read, counting dots (or dashes) is the worst habit to develop. Many suggest starting at 15WPM or faster because 13WPM is the approximate threshold of being able to count.

You want to learn the rhythm/cadence of a letter, not the individual dit and dash members of a letter. Later, you'll want to develop a recognition of whole words as opposed to the individual letters making up the word - e.g. you learn to recognize a word like your call sign as a whole unit of sound so you don't have to decipher each and every letter of a QSO call to know whether the transmitter is calling you or someone else.

I, myself, am still experimenting with finding the perfect (for me) settings - too fast to build a mental lookup table but slow enough to not entice me into panic mode!

Good luck!

Posted: 2017-05-10 20:53

I can count dots at 50 wpm anytime if I need to (QRM, uncertainty on a call to log, ..).

Don't think there is a 13 wpm threshold that prevents counting.

Point is I count only when needed, and don't see anything evil in it. In the contrary: What else can I do to be sure about a character if in doubt..

The more fluent one will be in CW the better his or her ability to count dots at higher speeds.

Running away by always using higher speeds to try to avoid counting is no solution, but leads to many CW beginners constantly (trying to) train way beyond their capabilities.

Sufficient training and ease in CW will automatically make one transition to "character as a sound" recognition, in my experience. Some characters come more easily, others not. It just may take a tad longer than one would like it to take. Fabian has a nice slide set ("Morsen lebt") on his web site where he did some analysis on what characters are presenting more difficulties to beginners.

I would advocate that counting dots is a non-issue.

Giving one's brain a chance to move new CW decoding skills into the subconscious, by sufficient training per day, is the way. Try to do an hour per day, in intervals if needed for concentration in the beginning.

We all learned reading by reading (a lot of) books, not by discussing about reading.



Posted: 2017-05-29 11:11
I agree with Gerd, counting dots and dashes does not harm, and sometimes necessary - under noisy reception conditions on the HF bands I often find myself doing so, specially when copying callsigns (was that a S or H?, D or B?).

Many decades ago, when I first learned CW, all I had was a paper sheet with the letters + dash and dots, and a SW radio (no computers, never heard before of the Koch method, no hams nearby to help). I remember making the transition to 'recognition by sound' rather quickly and automatically, it just 'happened'.

What I believe is a bad learning practice is to teach CW at 5wpm or so 'to make it easy' (like many clubs apparently did back then) then trying to crank up the speed. Hear-wise, copying at 5wpm is not the same as copying at 25wpm, and many people could never pass the barrier. With only a SW radio, I was 'forced' to learn at the average CW speed on the HF bands, which I believe was 15..25wpm. Since at the time most code was sent with a straight key, it was interesting too to hear the many 'fist' styles.

The Koch method in my opinion is not without its drawbacks. One being starting with only two (rather similar) letters, which you should be able to copy with +90% accuracy for nearly 5 minutes before you proceed to the next lesson... too boring and monotonous for the brain (CW is supposed to be fun!). By the time you are done with the first 2 letters you start wondering if you will ever be able to master the remaining 24. And then the numbers, then the punctuation marks. Too slow process, despite the claims. One common complain is that the introduction of each new letter messes with the recognition with the ones you already know, especially in the early learning stages, and that can be discouraging as well.

I think MorseMachine is much better in that respect, as it becomes a "guessing" game, with new letters progressively introduced. If you are not quick responding, the 'trouble' letter will be sent again. That's much like the way parents teach things to their children, BTW... Once you get good at it, you can switch to the Koch method - but starting with the last lesson :)


Posted: 2017-06-01 00:08
From your question i cant see if you are aware that in the settings menu you can change the character and effective speed individually.

This means that you can have a character speed of 20 or 30 to get the feeling for the sound of the letters rather than counting dit's and dashes but you can reduce the effective speed to i.e. 5 or 6 to avoid getting lost behind in decoding the sound and typing the letter

Good luck

Posted: 2017-06-06 19:47
Please read this thoroughly if you didn't already
will help you understand what is morse about and also decide how to approach it.
I would suggest from the very beginning to try listening to the rhythm of characters. At any speed you start, (I mean above 15 or so) you will only be able to instantly recognize characters after some training. Do not loose your patience, this will pay off

Posted: 2017-06-15 00:29

If you intend to learn to "head copy" at a reasonable speed
your copying needs to be developed into a subconscious reflex action like walking , talking, driving etc
none of which you can do by thinking through the actions as you do them.

For this automatic morse/words response to develop you have to practice at a speed where you aren't reliant on counting dots
which you CANNOT do as a subconscious response,
just hear the letter / or word even as a whole entity.

Some of thes information is contained in the length of time the number of dots take
- i.e. the rhythm not the counting of dots
other factors like the surrounding letters hinting at spelling.

Counting dots at speed is tiring and not a long term solution.

The best advise it to learn at the fastest speed you can minus about 50 % to reduce fatigue issues.

But who cares how you learn - except you will if you slow yourself down.

It's better not to slow down people with a good aptitude
making them learn at a slow speed - and this benefit to people with aptitude is what general advice ( 10 - 15 wpm minimum ) supports.

It would be good if we didn't scare off other people though by pushing them beyond the power of their hearing / learning abilities.

But don't choose to learn at 5wpm unless you have to.




Posted: 2017-06-15 22:29

You wrote:
"The best advise it to learn at the fastest speed you can minus about 50 % to reduce fatigue issues. "

May I humbly ask you your personal proficiency?
The records listed under high scores on this website may be in error.

That is because your advice is pure in contradiction with all guys that I know && are registered in the VHSC thru EHSC clubs (above 40, 50 and 60 wpm sending with a keyer and receiving by head copy of plain conversational text)and my own experience.

When those clubs and others like 'chickens fat operators' are unknown to you, as I suppose by the fact that you suggested that somebody on this forum able to copy 40 wpm conveniently, will have no QSO partners, please look at the membership lists that you can download from morsecode.nl with all registered tested and approved members of the vhsc shsc and ehsc clubs

There it is common sense to train ABOVE your max ability, instead of 50% because it is a well known principle to increase your convenient copy speed.

Talk to an athlete and tell him to train on 50 % in order to prevent fatique. Would he believe you UNLESS it is a newbie and absolute beginner, like most of the people training. here?

Posted: 2017-06-21 05:57
Suggest you get on your bicycle and pedal 50% faster than you actually can.

Hope you see the self contradiction.

Good luck ;-)

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