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Thread: Can't get above the 3rd letter

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Posted: 2019-10-18 10:35
I know this might seem ridicolous, but I just can't parse more than 3 three different letters in a given test.

If I make custom word groups of no more than 3 letters I can copy without issues (under 5% error with random word length (2-7) at 20/10 wpm). But as soon as I try adding one more letter my brain just halts after the first few letters. It just get's overwhelmed, "stops" and then refuses to recognize seperate letters and it's just a mess of beeps until I can recoop and try to get back into it, just to be stopped after a few letters.
And as soon as I go back to 3 letters it works again.

Frankly, it's really frustrating :/
I'm new to morse, so I don't have any bad habits that need to be broken (I hope, at least). I'm trying for 2 weeks at this point, wich - I assume - should be long enough to get over that hurdle.

Has anyone some tips to share, that could help me?

Posted: 2019-10-18 15:57
20/10 may be too fast. Try different speeds till you find one that is difficult but you still succeed (90%) after a few days. Keep the character speed high (say, 20) so that the characters make a sound-pattern, but reduce the character spacing (try 4 or 5) so you have time to think between characters. Don't worry about what the wpm speed is - use whatever works for you.

With each new character, it feels as if you've forgotten all the previous characters. This happens at the beginning of every lesson! It's normal.

Expect to hit a wall occasionally. I usually go well for a few characters and then it catches up with me and I get stuck for days (my longest was two weeks, after which I reduced speed again so that I could progress - there's no benefit in getting stuck and frustrated).

You are going to find difficulties like this throughout your training. You need to find a way round these problems otherwise your frustration will cause you to give up. And that is the challenge - staying in the game.

Finally, there are two pieces of general advice I would like to give you (and I got them here on LCWO):

1. Practice, practice, practice. Repetition is the only way to get your brain to respond instinctively to the sound patterns.

2.Keep going. You will get it. I have this written in large letters in my practice book. You need to persevere, to give time for the pathways to be formed in your mind.

Posted: 2019-10-19 04:58
Those first 3 characters are the worst to overcome for most people, at least I would think so and here is why...

When working on your first 3 characters you are starting to listen to Morse Code. Not only are you trying to accustom your mind to the patterns (sounds) of the characters you are also conditioning your mind to listen to unfamiliar dit and dah sounds.

As time moves along your mind will become used to the dits and dahs and you will subconsciously start listening for the combined sound of the character only.

If you had titled your post Is it normal to have trouble with the first 3 characters? I am pretty certain you would see many telling you the same thing you have told us.

Give yourself 3 or four times what you think it should take to get past those 3 characters. Don't let your difficulty discourage you, this will pass. You can reduce your effective speed if needed. Soon you will suddenly find yourself improving and moving to the next character.

Of all the things people will advise you to do The greatest aid to learning Morse Code is PATIENTS AND PERSEVERANCE Hang those two words above your computer monitor to remind you this is most important above all else.

Posted: 2019-10-19 09:22
Thanks so much to both of you for giving such extensive answers.

It seems it's a question of motivation and managing frustration more than anything. So I guess, that's what I'm going to do.

I'm very hesitant to lower the effective speed below 10. I tried it a few times and immediatly started subvocalizing, wich I want to avoid.

Again, thanks for taking the time to help me out :)

Posted: 2019-10-19 12:57
"It seems it's a question of motivation and managing frustration more than anything."


Posted: 2019-10-19 15:09
Go temporarily over to Morse Machine. It starts the next character after sufficiently mastering the previous set characters fully automatically, and gives you ample time to think (which is not a vy gd idea)

Posted: 2019-10-22 00:34

You did 26 exercises in 12 days, so you exercised 2 minutes a day.

Your average effective speed was 7.3 wpm.

1. Do at least 10 one minute exercises each day
2. Do not go to next lesson unless your score is once 90% or over
3. When you go to next lesson lower your effective speed to 20/5 or 20/lower than 5
4. When you obtain 90% with 20 /lower than 5 increase to at least 20/5 AND+ 90% before going to next lesson.

Posted: 2019-10-22 08:46
grufti offered an excellent suggestion :-). I also have a couple more that may help and lower the boredom while raising the commitment to continue.

1. Go read my post on "Learning faster - Lessening Boredom". Nothing is worse than getting stuck in the boredom of repetition.

2. In the "Change CW settings" select the letters you are having the most difficulty with. After that go to the LCWO "Code Groups" are and select "Custom" so you can practice those letters in a different way. This will give you a chance to listen to 2 characters instead of 3 or more and it will help you distinguish between those 2. After that go back to the lesson and try it again. You may find the weakest spot in your learning suddenly fixed itself.

73 de N9ZN - Tampa, Fl. U.S.A.

Posted: 2019-11-14 02:52
This is for Imalayan. Personally, at the age of 71 and with a new Technician license, I have little regard for speed. I'm learning at about 6 wpm, having graduated from 5 wpm a few weeks ago. I am more concerned with learning, and less about living up to someone else's standard.
At any rate, here is what works for me.
#1 I use Just Learn Code to send me as letters as I know plus 1 to 3 new letters/numbers that I am learning. After I am given the JLC lessen, I take what I have copied from JLC and write them in an e-mail to myself as Group #1 then Group #2 and Group #3 This allows me to choose the characters that I am learning, plus the ones I already know. I copy those characters in one group from my e-mail folder and copy and paste those characters into LCWO.net in its
CONVERT- TO- Text feature, and then it plays the characters. (I have to keep randomizing the sequence so that I am not memorizing the sequence that is sent.) This is what the groups look like that I paste into LCWO.net for sending to me and I write down the characters as they are sent, and then give my self a successful copy rating as an estimate, like 85% or 94% and give myself a "Good Job!" for practicing.
Here is my Group #1 for receiving practice:
Group #1
c l f q / g j ?
If you notice, I have by this time skipped the very easy stuff like e t a n s and I. Those are so easy I do not need to work on them at this point.
My current lesson is numbered up in the 20's + number of characters, and looks like this after a summer of practice:
e q m v p / c s o f se 3 .
b c ? u h l q f 7 c a J .
r h 3 q 9 u y / m 0 q b .
, j b c v q 7 p c 4 a z .

I have LCWO.net send the characters at my chosen speed, which was at first 5 WPM.

I am 71 years old, and frankly, I find all the admonitions about learning fast to be counterproductive. I know how to keep myself motivated to learn.

Learning CW is like learning a language. If a person does not repeatedly practice listening to and saying the same words over and over like a drill, they are not going to learn or remember very much. I have not used the actual LCWO.net lessons beyond the first couple, because I want to be able to control what I learn and how I learn it. At first, all I did was send what I knew with a straight key and oscillator. I make these lessons by copying texts from the Internet to make my own lesson, and then mixing up the letters, eliminating most of the simple one and adding in between the characters I need to work on like F, Y, P, 9, 3, ?, , B or J or / ----I am very satisfied with the progress I have made.

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