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Thread: Frustrated because 20/6 is doing me no good in the real world

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Posted: 2018-09-08 06:46
I'm on Lesson 11/40, currently (but I know more letters than that).

I am trying to understand QSO's on air, and the 20/6 spacing I'm studying at with LCWO seems to not be helpful. I'm learning letters, but I'm not able to use them because people more beginner (like me) are usually sending around 10/10 to 12/12 or so. The letters are so long they are confusing me, yet the spaces are so short, they're too fast.

I'm unable to even RX a CQ after listening to it on air, sent a half dozen times.

I am thinking to throw this all out the window and start over at 15/10, so I'm at least undestanding SOME people.


Posted: 2018-09-08 17:11
That spacing is the time you use to decode what you just heard, ( when you first start learning cw
and until it becomes a bit more "automatic", and you are reading behind )
the 10/10 people are in a certain sense going faster than you are at 20/6

If you are making good progress at 20/x then I think you might as well run quickly through all the 40 lessons
20/20 is not a bad speed for real world cw - lots of us never get above 20wpm

6:50 min

If you are proceeding slowly then you might be better changing . . .

If you are making your own QSOs then faster senders should be slowing down to match your sending.

Have you considered making up some morse mp3 files to listen to on your phone in spare 10 mins etc through the day.

You don't have to measure your speed all the time and learning more is really a process of repetition . .

Posted: 2018-09-08 20:29
Do the whole 40 lessons, and then at that point start slowing down the character speed and speeding up the spacing. That is what worked for me anyhow.

Posted: 2018-09-08 20:45
Thank you for the good comments.

Posted: 2018-09-09 16:17
Sure! Keep at it and you will make it happen. I am working on 12/10 right now and that is much closer to what you hear on the air. I have six or seven real-life QSOs now. I plan to go to 12/11, then 12/12, and once I am really good at that 13/13, 14/14, etc. I think this is the way to transition to CW on the air. If anyone else has suggestions please weigh in on this.

Posted: 2018-09-11 08:26
One should train from the very beginning at a speed which makes counting dits and dashes impossible.
I have found training from the very beginning at 20/20 has been most helpful. As soon as you have finished all 40 lessons, train in recognising the 100 most common words at 20/20 by sourcing them on the web and pasting them in a word processing document. Then copy each word 5 times in the text, paste the results into LCWO "Convert text to CW" and listen to them until you can recognise them as musical entities. Bis repetita with 1000 words. Then, get a copy of G4fon's marvellous program and train in recognising words with it. It will generate random words from the list of 100 or 1000 most common words (G4fon is much more realistic than LCWO: on can insert noise, chirping, etc).
In addition, as soon as you know all the characters, get a good keyer (I have a K44) and practice first sending text from a book and then rag-chewing by yourself.Sending and copying are mutually beneficial, although copying is orders of magnitude harder than sending.
I found training in word training on LCWO pretty useless: I reached 40 wpm after 42 trials (at 55 now), but there was no improvement of note in my capacity to use morse on the air. Word training seems to lend itself to competition for the highest rating and that isn't really what I am interested in.
The last point I would make is to have no expectations and just to keep at it every day: I started learning CW seriously in early December last year (even though I had been a member of LCWO for two years before that, I just didn't have time to put into it). In the last 10 months I have practiced daily at least 30 mns, most of the times twice daily and it does happen.

Posted: 2018-09-12 00:40
I am moving along at 20/6. The early characters are easy for me to pick out at 15 to 18wpm on real-life QSOs, so I know it's working. I am following the advice above and just concentrating on getting through all 40 lessons at 20/6, which is a challenging, yet doable speed for me. I will then go back through at 20/10 or 15/10.

Posted: 2018-09-18 05:34
I started 7/2016. I got through the Koch at 17/5 in a month with daily practice. I moved to plain text, by 7/2017 I could copy 17/10 from ear to keyboard without it ever touching my brain. I had to read what I copied to know what it was. I went back to Koch at 17/5. I listen for the sound and avoided caring how many dits or dahs. After 3 months I went back to plain text and 4 leter words only entering the word/words after I heard them. For plain text if I got the message right I didn't care if I had all of the right words, my score wasn't 100%, I didn't care, it isn't a memory test. There came a time when I heard the character and not a sequence of dits and dahs, and the characters made words. It took me two years to get to 17//17. At over 2000 QSOs logged each QSO is more like a conversation. The passage from short term memory and translation to a deep memory reflex takes time and persistence, there is no short cut. An occasional week to month break seemed to help me.

Posted: 2018-09-18 08:55
Something I am still struggling with is finding use for the ARRL CW Practice files. Same problem --- code speed at 10wpm is too slow to understand without counting dits/dahs, yet still too fast to make out more than a few characters at a time. Moving to the 15/15 speed is crazy fast, but at least closer to sounding like characters I understand.

Are any of you making use of the ARRL CQ practice files? If so -- how? Do you play a bit, stop, then go back? Or do you just let it all blur through, picking-out what you can?

Posted: 2018-09-18 14:49
Something I'm just starting to try is use the text files from the daily morse resourse quotes site, copy paste them into a cw converter where you can set different tone, wpm, farnsworth and try different settings. I've done a few at 20/5, tried a sampling at 20/8 this morning and was actually head copying briefly.

Might be able to do something similar with the ARRL files.

The thing I like about it is you can still get the char speed at 20wpm, but Farnsworth can be different.

Posted: 2019-01-12 20:00
Something I am still struggling with is finding use for the ARRL CW Practice files. Same problem --- snip

We both appear to be in about the same positions in our journey's to learn CW. So, I'll share with you my experience and thoughts of what may or may not be working.

I began my quest about six or seven weeks ago.

I got though the first hand full of lessons fairly quickly. About by about the time I was introduced to lesson 7 or 8, I had to slow down. I was convinced that I couldn't type that fast. So, I tried to hand copy, and I see that I can type faster than I write. So, I stayed slow and happy until I got to lesson 29. I was doing 20/3 with good accuracy. Then, I figured I was only fooling myself at that speed so after playing around a little, I settled on 20/6. I could not clear my 3 minute runs at 20/6, and I got really tired of being introduced to all these numbers before I finished knowing the letters. Of course, I see that CW tend to involve a lot of numbers.... So, finally, I just opened the thing up and went to lesson 40. And, I switched to Morse Machine. It takes me about an hour to clear all the green bars in the morse machine. I have done that maybe 3 or 4 times this week. I don't trust the speed scores in that program, and sometimes, there is a big delay between hitting the right key, and hearing the next prompt. But, by now, I'm just tending to think that any exposure is good exposure. Sometimes Morse Machine reports my speed as low as .1 wpm, and other times I have seen 4.6 wpm. Always with a character speed of 20. Up until a few days ago, I would not allow myself to listen to a character speed of less than 20.

A few days ago, I discovered the ARRL code practice files that you speak of. Yes, I like them. At 5 wpm, I find that I can sit at the keyboard and copy without even thinking about it. There is so much time between letters that I actually caught myself daydreaming. At 7.5 wpm, I can still do it fairly accurately. At 10 wpm, I fail every time.
Those files are a real stroke to my ego. But, the speed at which the characters come at you, are not what I'm used to hearing. My goal is to hear everything at 20. So, I grabbed the text of one of those files, and I converted it here in LCWO to be 20/6 It produced at 6 and a half minute file that consisted of 64 words. So, Looks like 10 wpm. If I do not try to copy, I can get pretty much every letter. If I try to copy, at this point, I think my accuracy is about 40%. I have trouble concentrating, and forcing myself to continue. Seems like my mind really wants to pause and congratulate itself after every correct word. I'm working on now allowing myself to do that. It is hard to do. But, every time I hear a character, I have to force myself to type something even if only to take up space. Sometimes, I actually type the right thing. Usually, my A's come out as N's and my N's come out as A's
At 7.5 wpm, I believe that I can be at 10 wpm by the end of this weekend..... That is, if I can force myself to keep doing this. After I complete this 20/6 file with some degree of accuracy, I am going to go back to the ARRL files and see if I can do their version of 10 wpm. If so, I will attempt the 13 wpm file.

Additionally, I have one of those MFJ code generators. And, I have it set to words. I adjust the speed between 20/10 and 20/20 and I try to sleep with it in my ears. Although, I have yet to wake up with the ear buds in my ears. But, I have noticed in doing this a lot of patterns. Often after words that begin with the letter C, you will have an O or an M or even both following it. F's and R's like to go hand in hand. Often L's are followed by other L's

I am a senior. I have been told that my age is working against me in this, as in with all other things. It is my self challenge to get to 20 wpm as quickly as possible in spite of the odds against it ever happening.

I will add that I am a new ham. I do not yet own a radio. And, I only just recently discovered that much of a CW conversation is taken up by procedural talk and abbreviations that I am totally unfamiliar with. When I started this, I was thinking that a CW ragchew was something more or less like sending text messages to my telephone contacts. But, since I have been trying to learn this, I see that much conversation is devoted to exchanging call signs and talk about radios and antenna. This is a rude awakening. I hope when I meet you guys on the radio, we have better things to discuss than the weather.

73 de steve km6vov di-dah-dit-di-dah-dit

Posted: 2019-12-04 20:31
I am what you might consider a semi-high speed operator (22 wpm). I started out just where you are 3 years ago, Lessons twice, then went on to code groups and word training, but was not gaining much speed. I got above all of this by setting the speed at 5 Wpm above what I could comfortably copy, and just listening to the words. At first it was rough, but eventually it got easier. Very few worry about where they are in the high score list, and you shouldn't either. It is not competition it is learning. Hope this will help, Good luck

Posted: 2019-12-04 20:44
I am what you might consider a semi-high speed operator (22 wpm). I started out just where you are 3 years ago, Lessons twice, then went on to code groups and word training, but was not gaining much speed. I got above all of this by setting the speed at 5 Wpm above what I could comfortably copy, and just listening to the words. At first it was rough, but eventually it got easier. Very few worry about where they are in the high score list, and you shouldn't either. It is not competition it is learning. Hope this will help, Good luck Post awaiting moderator approval.

ps: MM will help you if you keep pushing the speed up say above 25 and do it everyday.

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