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Thread: Two modes of Head Copying?

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Posted: 2020-05-01 09:59
I'm working on my head copying by listening to mp3's generated by LCWO's "Convert text to CW" feature. I change the content every few days so I'm hearing fresh stuff because I've noticed that I have two modes of head copying:

When I know what word is coming, I anticipate the code sound in my head and merely confirm it as I hear it. I call this "THINKING FORWARD". This is the same mode as my sending, when I form the code sound in my head first and then make it happen with my fist.

When I don't know what word is coming, I have to react to the sound of the code, converting it into letters and then a word. I call this "THINKING BACKWARDS". This is much harder to do but is real decoding.

No practice time is wasted but I can't help feeling that I should be working on the more-difficult "Thinking Backwards". And so I change the content of my mp3 often so it is always fresh.

There has been a lot of talk on here about listening to code over and over again until you get it right. But I can't help feeling that's "cheating".

Would anyone care to express an opinion?
Does anyone have the same experience?
Is this just a temporary stage of learning?

Posted: 2020-05-01 22:04
I'm just relearning, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I only like repeating if its immediate, like

she she it it ran ran

or if the words are longer, I'll do three:

morse morse morse telephone telephone telephone

Some times doing the first word in my head, and the second written.

What you might find interesting is repeating the word at increasing speed. You might be amazed if you start at what you think is your norm and the increase significantly that you still follow it.

For example say you are doing 10/10, do

10/10 word 13/13 word 16/16 word 10/10 next 13/13 next 16/16 next.

You can test this easily in "convert cw to text"
cut and paste this:

|w10 word |w13 word |w16 word |w10 next |w13 next etc.

If either is a help, LMK. cwpt2 can generate either of these with words or codeGroups in just seconds.

Always change your practice material (at least the order if not the actual words)


73 Bill

Posted: 2020-05-02 14:27
Thanks, Bill.

I've tried repeated listening using LCWO's Word Training and my fastest speed is 42 wpm! But I can only "head copy" single-pass continuous morse at 12 - 13 wpm. Repetitions flatter, because you learn the word rather than de-coding it. The problem is, there are an awful lot of words out there to learn...

Posted: 2020-05-02 17:48

Head copy - as it's come to be called, develops such that two or three processes happen simultaneously

1/ hearing the code and storing the sound in short term memory in an involuntary manner

2/ processing the code in the last characters to a word whilst storing the next word's sounds.

3/ comprehending what you just decoded

After more time you might find that you only notice part three
and the first two become a learned response, like so called "muscle memory".

In fact, this is what you are aiming for.

This is achieved by lots of repetition, the amount necessary varying depending upon your aptitude.

Guessing what the word is so that you are filling in blanks isn't much of a help,
unless you didn't get the word just a moment ago
in which case it can count as decoding and therefore practise.

Listening to the same words in random order also counts as practise,
though you are better with more words than fewer.

I guess call signs are a good source of random txt with / and numbers.

Add in some q codes.

Pipe the text of Tom Sawyer or Biggles Flies East or whatever into ebook2cw
and listen to the mps on your phone.

As your speed gets faster, the code seems to get slower.

You can also learn the length/time of each char, not just the sounds.

A possible tip when you are starting is to concentrate on the first character of a sequence
which gives you the pitch and the speed to follow.

If you mess or miss one - just go on to the next.



Posted: 2020-05-03 00:31
Copy a word in your mind. A single word gives you the opportunity to play it back in your mind and decode it that way. Works also for call signs.

A sequence of words regular spaced does not give you the opportunity to play back. You have to decode it immediately.

That makes the difference.

Posted: 2020-05-03 13:31
nonagenarian: I'm also using Word Training to head copy single words. I don't do repetitions. If I don't get the word on the first pass, I go to the next word.

Yes, because I have plenty of time after the word has sounded, I can play them back in my head to decode them but I'm trying not to - I'm trying to decode the letters as each one sounds and hopefully my short-term memory is good enough to assemble them into a word. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. When practising like that, I float around 20 wpm. Any slower, and it requires longer short-term memory. As it is, the letters fade after 2 or 3 seconds. If I haven't got the word by then, its gone.

As cb says, sometimes the word will just pop into my head. That's a good feeling - I know I'm on the right track then.

Posted: 2020-05-04 03:14
That's why I added a "wordCount=X" option to cwpt2.exe IF you are also sing the repeat option.

So you can generate random word practice text, where you pick a number of words between 2-5 (that was arbitrary I can increase it), you pick the min and max length of words, and finally the repeat count (probably you'd only pick 2 or 3).

so the text that you would upload into "convert text to cw"

could be like (using nonsense words here):
one day two night one day two night

the space I left above can be done with a 1 sec delay character (or a morse char or both)

you can do this manually to test it if you like, just put (with the quotes) the following in between the phrases " |S1000 " thats a 1000 ms delay (or silence). My tool would do all this automatically and you would not see the input ahead of time and be preconditioned.

LMK if you want to know more.


Posted: 2020-05-04 14:38
Clarification to above post.
The browser swallowed up my spaces).

Firstly, you would NOT get a short group of words sent twice and that's it; that repeats for as many words as you choose.

Secondly, in between groups of repeated words, you can get a time and/or characters (you choose them) as a separator. In addition you can inter-word time increased by LCWO if you like.

So let w1 be a word, w2 another, etc. Normal text below shows where you could get extra silence (I'll show a plus * for 1 sec silence)

w1 w2 w3 * w1 w2 w3 * w3 w4 w5 * w3 w4 w5 etc. etc.

Also the delimiter showing can be fixed, random from a list, even randomly occurring.

Hopefully that's clearer - sometimes just trying is easier than giving a detailed written explanation.

Posted: 2020-05-05 08:59
Good job, Foggybottom!

Broadly speaking, I find that what you call "thinking forwards" is pretty much useless.

When I started listening to ebooks converted by ebook2cw , practised a form of "thinking forwards": I would have a copy of the book on my screen as I listened to the code version and would check if I didn't get a word. It gives a huge ego-boost but leads to little real progress.

The moment I decided to stop having a copy of the text on the screen and to just listen to totally new material (what you call "thinking backwards"), I started to improve dramatically, as I had to focus on sound alone.

Cb's analysis of the process is dead-on.

Eventually, there are blessed moments during which you are in the zone and actual words appear to the mind, one after the other.

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