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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: Unclear on what speed I should be shooting for before next lesson.

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Posted: 2020-04-02 23:42
Hi all,

So I'm just starting learning Morse code. The default 20/10 is too fast for me, so I added some space between letters and words. 20/8 extra word spacing = 1. I'm writing stuff down by hand on paper.

Should I go through the whole alphabet at 20/8/1 or should I be increasing speed before adding the next letter? Will I be crippling myself learning the whole alphabet at the slower WPM or will I be alright since the CPM is still at 20? I don't want to sink a bunch of time and then find out I've just trained a bad habit.

I'm hoping that after I learn the whole alphabet I can start shortening the gaps between letters and words because writing down nonsense gets tedious fast and I'm hoping that I can get to copying real(ish) communications sooner rather than later.


Posted: 2020-04-04 11:04
slick8086:
Hi all,

So I'm just starting learning Morse code. The default 20/10 is too fast for me, so I added some space between letters and words. 20/8 extra word spacing = 1. I'm writing stuff down by hand on paper.

Should I go through the whole alphabet at 20/8/1 or should I be increasing speed before adding the next letter? Will I be crippling myself learning the whole alphabet at the slower WPM or will I be alright since the CPM is still at 20? I don't want to sink a bunch of time and then find out I've just trained a bad habit.

I'm hoping that after I learn the whole alphabet I can start shortening the gaps between letters and words because writing down nonsense gets tedious fast and I'm hoping that I can get to copying real(ish) communications sooner rather than later.


IMNSHO

It depends how good you are - or rather how much aptitude you have.

We can't tell. Only you can work this out.


If you have high aptidude then slow is a waste of time.

If you have lower aptitude then fast can well be the road to giving up.



You tell us that 20/10 is too fast. OK Time to slow down.



I advise you that you need to see some sort of progress,
else you will do a few months then get sick of it. YMMV



For learning the characters, 20/2 or 10/2 will do if that's what it takes.



If you aren't wizzing straight through the lessons at 90% then
forget learning in a fortnight and now do one thing at a time.

1/ learn to recognise the characters

2/ then try to become world speed champion



The main "bad habits" to avoid are:-

a/ typing in when you can't touch type
- risks setting up a link between morse and keyboard rather than morse and meaning


b/ starting with a slow character speed
- risks you hearing dits and dahs instead of the whole di-di-di-daa at once


c/ having too high an expectation - it might take you some time.


d/ giving up



I also advise choosing an audio frequency which suits your hearing.

Your hearing may well be perfect,
but
I guess hearing is a significant factor in students having difficulties
as opposed to
lazyness, weakness of character, lack of concentration etc.
which are the alternative explanations

Other people, disagree with me, but they seem to be up in the 40wpm category
so
I'm not sure how much they have in common with the normal Radio HAM/Scout Leader etc

good luck
stick with it
don't compete - just learn morse
let us know how you get on


cb



Posted: 2020-04-04 11:54
I can't improve on Chris's advice - its all gold. All I can do is offer you encouragement, which most of us need at some time 'cos it ain't easy.

Let us know if you get stuck, and let us know when you get to Lesson 40.

BTW I finished Lesson 40 at 18/4.


Posted: 2020-04-05 00:49
slick8086:
Hi all,

I'm writing stuff down by hand on paper.


Good habit, it should be too bad when you can't copy morse code when you don't have a keyboard at hand.

Do 10 exercises, copy the last one on the screen in order to obtain a score.

20/8 is OK, when you arrive at lesson 40, go slowly over to 10/10.

From lesson 9 upwards you may exercise also words on this website. It is even possible to exercise words at lower lesson numbers, by generating them with the program of wa2nfn and copy them in text to cw chapter on this website.




Posted: 2020-04-12 23:20
I have a similar problem. Rather than slowing down though, I have used the replay button. Is this advised or not? Or should I slow down a little and see if I can get it all in one take?


Posted: 2020-04-13 10:31
Geoghegany:
I have a similar problem. Rather than slowing down though, I have used the replay button. Is this advised or not? Or should I slow down a little and see if I can get it all in one take?



On lesson 4 it is possibly a little early for you to say what your aptitude is.

We can say however . .

. . that you are not just "learning" morse, but trying to build an automatic response,

such that

when you hear the morse, the corresponding character pops into your head automatically.


After a period, you might even find that you don't hear the morse anymore - just the text.

This is "learned" by repetition - lots of it . . . .

so

IMNSHO

you are better not fiddling with replay etc

but instead

listening to the lessons at a speed which allows you to spend ALL your time

hearing morse characters -> decoding them manually -> getting used to the association; that sound = that letter

repeat repeat repeat.



If you have high aptitude then almost no advise from this forum will be needed.

If you have normal or lower aptitude ( almost everyone ),

then you may well find that

tricks to speed things up and avoid the work needed will be counter productive.



If you go too slowly - you waste a bit of time.

If you go too quickly - it doesn't sink in properly as you may suddenly find out
and
you will need to start again, or more likey just give up, like about 90%+ of starters.



For my money - The Three Big Tips
( number three is the least popular in this forum - but probably only among Hams with no hearing issues )

1/ keep the character speed high enough that a character becomes ONE entity not a mix of separate dits and dahs

2/ Repeat repeat repeat listening, don't test test test
- don't type in your answers unless you can touch type already,
else you may find you can't "head copy" without starting again.

3/ If you can't hear it easily you can't learn to decode it.
Headphones are good.
Make sure you are somewhere quiet so you don't need loud morse hitting your ear drums.
If you don't have high aptitude then your hearing might not have a flat response,
so try a few audio frequencies to see if any are clearer than others.



If you have to go at 15/2 to get through lesson 40 then that's fine.

You will then speed up not give up.

YMMV

Let us know how you get on.

Don't give up.

Good luck with it anyway .

cb







Posted: 2020-04-14 22:31
Thank you for the response Chris - after reading around the forum I think I found that my problem is the effective speed. I can already touch type (though finding hand writing easier), but I wasn't able to write or type certain letters (like M) fast enough. So far I've not struggled with 'translating' the sounds into letters (though as you said, I'm only on L4) - I think that being bilingual seems to help with this as my head is able to distinguish sounds quickly. I've decided to trial 20/7 tonight and work up from there.

Thanks for your help


Posted: 2020-04-15 04:25
This advice helped me tremendously. At 20/10 I was getting crushed and discouraged. At 20/7 success and now hopeful again. 3 friggin years at this and have quit each time on multiple different platforms after about a month. I’m honestly am a patient man and bilingual and a musician and in technology. This truly hurts my brain but i do want to learn so bad.


Posted: 2020-04-26 16:08
nn1q:
This advice helped me tremendously. At 20/10 I was getting crushed and discouraged. At 20/7 success and now hopeful again. 3 friggin years at this and have quit each time on multiple different platforms after about a month. I’m honestly am a patient man and bilingual and a musician and in technology. This truly hurts my brain but i do want to learn so bad.


Thanks for your honesty, it struck a chord in my addled brain and dogged pursuit.

Best. Jez



Posted: 2020-04-27 11:14
cb:


For my money - The Three Big Tips
( number three is the least popular in this forum - but probably only among Hams with no hearing issues )

1/ keep the character speed high enough that a character becomes ONE entity not a mix of separate dits and dahs

2/ Repeat repeat repeat listening, don't test test test
- don't type in your answers unless you can touch type already,
else you may find you can't "head copy" without starting again.

3/ If you can't hear it easily you can't learn to decode it.
Headphones are good.
Make sure you are somewhere quiet so you don't need loud morse hitting your ear drums.
If you don't have high aptitude then your hearing might not have a flat response,
so try a few audio frequencies to see if any are clearer than others.



CB's advice is excellent!

The most important is actually to finish the 40 lessons, however you get there. If you don't, you will have wasted your time!

Comparing oneself with others is the beginning of endless problems, instead, don't think about the result (A did it at 20/10, B did at 20/7 C did it at 20/15, etc, because we are all very different), just view putting in 30mn -1hr a day as a pleasant hobby to train your mind and your sense of hearing.

It will gel, all of a sudden, after whatever time it takes and then you can steadily increase speed.

The critical point for the code to gel is listening to a lot of code and there testing on LCWO is insufficient. You must actually listen to Ebooks, real life QSOs on the air or whatever for 30mns-1hr/ day or longer to get code in your ears.


Another point I would like to make is: don't go too far below 18-20 wpm in the lessons, 20/? is better than 18/?, because around 18wpm one is still able to count to a degree and that prevents recognising the character as a sound or a musical entity. If you are able to listen and recognise code at higher speeds, i.e. 23/10 or 25/10 that is even better.


Posted: 2020-05-01 00:43
I was learning at 20/10 and my progress was ok up till lesson 30 and then i hit the wall. Its been 4 days that i stumble over '2,3,s,h,5' I think i unintentionally made a pictorial link to number 2 and 3 and it has ruined my progress.Strange thing is that it keep getting worse and worse at the same level:) I decided to increase character speed to 25 so it will not be possible to count dits and dashes and began the whole learning from lesson 2 once again. I don't know if its gonna help. About two years ago same thing happened and i quit practicing till recently. Any advice will be appreciated.


Posted: 2020-05-01 11:23
Luray:
I was learning at 20/10 and my progress was ok up till lesson 30 and then i hit the wall. Its been 4 days that i stumble over '2,3,s,h,5' I think i unintentionally made a pictorial link to number 2 and 3 and it has ruined my progress.Strange thing is that it keep getting worse and worse at the same level:) I decided to increase character speed to 25 so it will not be possible to count dits and dashes and began the whole learning from lesson 2 once again. I don't know if its gonna help. About two years ago same thing happened and i quit practicing till recently. Any advice will be appreciated.




If I was you I wouldn't start again.

You'll be there for ever if you start that.


You should expect some problems with some combinations, and some regression at some point.


s h 5 is the worst because its all dits.


Try 20 / 5 on the same lesson and try to get right through to 40 at 90%.

Then worry about speeding up.

Four days isn't much of a holdup. Do you have a cold or fatigue or something ? You might.


IMNSHO

cb



Posted: 2020-05-15 00:23
inally got 8.8 % errors on lesson 40 after the 68th attempt at 20/6. Now it's time to speed up. This is my 4th attempt at learning CW. I was proficient enough to pass my CW test years ago, but let it lapse. So once you learn it, keep at it or you will lose it.


Posted: 2020-05-15 14:37
Luray:
I was learning at 20/10 and my progress was ok up till lesson 30 and then i hit the wall.


Hi WE5SKI

I also hit the wall about the 30th lesson at a speed of 20/5. I made about 300 attempts, but then also went from the beginning at a speed of 20/8. I came again to lesson 30-32 and hit the wall again .
Now I train all 40 lessons at a speed of 20/5 or 20/6, three characters in a group. Already about 400 attempts and 5 days with 10-20% errors. I am gradually improving. So slow . But, everything will be fine.


Posted: 2020-05-19 16:14
slick8086:
Hi all,

So I'm just starting learning Morse code. The default 20/10 is too fast for me, so I added some space between letters and words. 20/8 extra word spacing = 1. I'm writing stuff down by hand on paper.

Should I go through the whole alphabet at 20/8/1 or should I be increasing speed before adding the next letter? Will I be crippling myself learning the whole alphabet at the slower WPM or will I be alright since the CPM is still at 20? I don't want to sink a bunch of time and then find out I've just trained a bad habit.

I'm hoping that after I learn the whole alphabet I can start shortening the gaps between letters and words because writing down nonsense gets tedious fast and I'm hoping that I can get to copying real(ish) communications sooner rather than later.


I too just started the lessons about the beginning of April and wondered about whether to go thru all the lessons at a slow speed or increase the speed at each lesson. I read advice somewhere that you should start each lesson slower and work up to your target speed before moving to the next lesson. I decided to take that advice and for the first four lesson I worked up from 20/10 to 20/15. Now on lesson 5, I thought I could jump right in at 20/15, but it was too fast, so I went back to 20/10 and thought it gave me too much time to think between letters and wasn't reflexive. I decided for the time being I have decided to start lessons at 20/12 and finish them at 20/15 which seems to keep them reflexive and still get a high percentage of correct copy. I copy with pencil and paper even though I type between 60-100 WPM. This may seem like a high speed for a rank beginner, but I spent about a month before I started the lessons following text at 20/20, so 20/10 and 20/15 sound pretty slow to me.


Posted: 2020-05-19 17:45
GeoFlo:
I too just started the lessons about the beginning of April and wondered about whether to go thru all the lessons at a slow speed or increase the speed at each lesson. I read advice somewhere that you should start each lesson slower and work up to your target speed before moving to the next lesson.


Interesting - where did you read thet ??


There's no reason to proceed slower than you need.

There's no reason to go through all 40 lessons at the same speed.

There's definitely no reason to start too fast.


Only you can decide which is best.

If you go too slow you ( only ) waste ( some ) time.

If you go too fast it might not sink in and you might have trouble later when the older characters ( that you thought you knew ) are arriving much less fequently.

For most people the best default is to make steady progress and get through all 40 before you get bored with it all - which probably means some progress made at first - then it all seems to vanish ( because it didn't sink in actually )


GeoFlo:

I decided to take that advice and for the first four lesson I worked up from 20/10 to 20/15. Now on lesson 5, I thought I could jump right in at 20/15, but it was too fast, so I went back to 20/10 and thought it gave me too much time to think between letters and wasn't reflexive. I decided for the time being I have decided to start lessons at 20/12 and finish them at 20/15 which seems to keep them reflexive and still get a high percentage of correct copy. I copy with pencil and paper even though I type between 60-100 WPM. This may seem like a high speed for a rank beginner, but I spent about a month before I started the lessons following text at 20/20, so 20/10 and 20/15 sound pretty slow to me.



Good luck with it. Let us know how you get on . . .

cb



Posted: 2020-05-20 14:34
cb:

Good luck with it. Let us know how you get on . . .

cb


I had no idea where I had read that, but I searched and found it here:
http://www.mechanicalpuzzles.org/codepractice/learning.html
The pertinent paragraph is the following:
"The Koch Method provides one proven method for learning the character set with a minimum amount of frustration. With this method you start with an initial set of two characters. Practice listening to random code containing only these two characters. Listen to the characters at your target speed. You can start with a lower word rate and slowly build it to the target speed (i.e., Farnsworth method). When you can copy this code at your target speed with 90 percent accuracy, then add a third character to the set. After this new character is added your overall accuracy will go down at first and will then build back up. When you can copy code containing these three characters with 90 percent accuracy, then add a fourth character. Continue in this manner, adding an additional character each time your accuracy reaches 90 percent. In this way you learn the characters at full speed from the start, and you only have to learn one new character at a time. The characters become reflex with a minimum amount of effort."

I am going for that reflex from the beginning. It seems to be going rather slowly at about a lesson a week, but I feel that it will speed up. It is strange how the fingers seem to get all twisted up with the addition of a new letter. I'll let you know how it goes.
Later, George


Posted: 2020-05-21 02:38
Tonyd:
Hi WE5SKI

I also hit the wall about the 30th lesson at a speed of 20/5. I made about 300 attempts, but then also went from the beginning at a speed of 20/8. I came again to lesson 30-32 and hit the wall again .
Now I train all 40 lessons at a speed of 20/5 or 20/6, three characters in a group. Already about 400 attempts and 5 days with 10-20% errors. I am gradually improving. So slow . But, everything will be fine.


Unfortunately i just read replies to my original question about 'evil barrier'lesson 30.
Initially I increased character speed to 25wmp and jumped back to lesson 15. It was ok till lesson 32 where i hit another wall. I decided to increase character speed to 28 and decrease effective speed to 5 and it worked. Now i am beating level 37 and soon will face final boss n40:)
I had to give up alcohol for this.


Posted: 2020-05-21 10:40
IMHO altering character speed does not make much difference to copying that character. But altering the Farnsworth spacing (the effective speed) does - in the early days, your brain needs that extra time to process what it has just heard.

Some people (and when I was in the middle of the 40 lessons, I was one of those) get hung up on having a short spacing. Myself, I wanted to be able to copy morse that had a good pace. But, realistically, that can only come later. Once I dropped the idea of copying "fast" morse, I finished lesson 40 at 18/4.

So it doesn't surprise me that you've broken through your "evil barrier" by decreasing your effective speed. IMO you did the right thing.

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