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Thread: The random letters seem a lot tougher!

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Posted: 2018-09-03 13:51
Is it just me, or aren't the random combinations we encounter here considerably more difficult than listening for words?

Am I correct in assuming that it may not be smart to spend too much time trying to speed up the spacing too much, because later speed increases will be (mostly) due to understanding full words as they come?

I'm finding myself able to get through lessons at 20/6, but if I up it to 20/7 or 20/8, it gets a lot tougher. I seem to drop about 10% with each increase in spacing.

Is it a waste of (or a less constructive use of) time to keep banging away at the same letters, attempting to hit 20/10, if the letters are random every time and I'm not learning words?

Posted: 2018-09-03 16:23
Well, it all depends on what your goal is.

Mine is one day to be able to have a QSO on air. You won't copy full words on air, but a combination of call signs, Q codes and other abbreviations.

In my opinion it is not a complete waste of time trying to copy random combinations, at least at the beginning. But I agree at one point it becomes boring and counterproductive.

Plain text training and call sign training are good, but I'd like to see a proper realistic QSO generator, a bit like this:
or this:

but better, because Fabian is best at these things.

Posted: 2018-09-03 21:59
letters, numbers, and symbols are sent one at a time on the air. if you can't copy them, you can't.

Posted: 2018-09-04 04:49
Derek I think that when you talk about copying full words, you are referring to people who have many years of practicing code. They hear full words at one time. But that's not how beginners do it. And I don't know that it is a method of study or a conscious effort that creates this ability- I think it just comes with a lot of practice. If anyone else wants to weigh in on this with more information, please do. I hope to one day be able to copy full words. But I have noticed that some short series that I hear from other operators on the air are becoming more familiar to me- like FB for fine business.

Posted: 2018-09-04 14:05
Well, this site has word practice. Even people fairly new to CW have commented that they can pick out common phrases as they are sent (when making basic contacts). Sure, rag chews are different, but I guess I was speaking in terms of the "typical QSO."

I am a conversational English teacher, and have read published materials about how people typically learn through a method called "chunking." We increase language speed, in part, due to hearing common chunks (combinations) of word parts, followed by words, and even typical phrases used commonly.

Through experience, as you noted, we begin to hear these things and can anticipate what is next. That expectation and anticipation also helps us to keep ahead of the speech as it happens.

This site does have word practice. Even beginners can quickly learn to pick out CQ CQ on air, even at a fairly quick speed, once they've heard it a lot.

I am assuming certain words, Q-Signals, and phrases: (Name, QTH, HIHI) etc., are so common that it's not long before people pick these up.

The guys that can really rag chew at high speeds obviously gain through great experience. And those military guys who used to send news copy... wow.

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