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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: A Few Questions from a Beginner

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Posted: 2022-01-15 21:54
Hi Folks, I just found this website yesterday having decided to have another go at learning morse code. I have a few questions if anyone feels like helping.

I'm currently only on level 6, set at 20/10 at 2 mins since level 3 with a few attempts at 20/8 just playing with settings. I started off typing the letters into the dialogue box but couldn't type fast enough (I'll be 58 soon, reaction speed isn't what it used to be) and was finding that I was associating the 'sound' with the keyboard rather than the letters so decided to try writing it down. I managed reasonably well, 90% + generally so changed the settings to 25/10 which I seem to prefer as the dots/dashes are less noticable.

Question 1. Is 25/10 an effective speed to learn? If I start to find it difficult later what's the best option to slow things down to give me time to think?


2. Re writing, I'm right handed, clearly I'll want to key with my right in due course, should I try to write with my left hand or do people normally write then key with their dominant hand?

3. Since starting to write it down I've been typing my results into the dialogue box to get a result, however, if I miss a letter/group how do I compensate when typing it into the dialogue box? I tried using the 'space bar' but that didn't seem to work. The work-around for now is to type a letter I'm not actually being sent, in my case Q. Is there another way?

4. Is there anything in general that I'm doing presently that it would be advisable to change?

Thanks in Advance


Posted: 2022-01-16 06:05
First off, congratulations on starting CW again. I was brand new at this about 4 months ago and have learned a lot using this site. So, onto question 1.

If you are able to handle 25/10 that's fine. If you need more time I suggest slowing down on the 10 to maybe 6-8 this keeps you hearing the right sounds but gives your mind a moment to get your pencil moving before the next character comes in.

I don't see the problem of keying and writing with the same hand but the goal, I think, should be to not have to write at all but to "head copy" whole words and sentences. I can't do it yet but I know I will.

I type directly into the box. When I miss a letter I just leave it blank. So a group may have only 4 letters or less. The system knows which ones were missed and shows you at the end when you press the button. Transcribing into the box would be the same if you miss anything leave it blank.

Nothing you said sounded like you are on the wrong track to me.

73's and good luck.


Posted: 2022-01-16 06:22
Another beginner here. I'm finding that when the results come out the sent line does not match with the received line. My correct receved line is lower than the sent line. When I miss a letter do I put a space? For each group can I hit return? or just a space so it is one long line with each group separated with a space?


Posted: 2022-01-16 13:03
Stephen, Frank, thanks for the replies.

Stephen, regarding 'writing/thinking' time, sounds right keeping the character speed the same and increasing the spacing. That was my take on it, thanks for confirming.

Regarding head reading, again I guess that'll come with time, especially with commonly used words/phrases, at this stage though if I don't write it down I can't check my results for errors. I'll use my dominant hand for keying/writing in any case as I guess I'd never key and write at the same time :-)

Stephen and Frank, for some reason if I miss a letter/letters and fail to add blank spaces the sent/received sequences are 'out of line' which as you mention Frank, gives a result that counts everything after the missed letters as incorrect due to them being 'out of line'

I'll try again but using the space bar to fill in the gaps when typing the received code that I'd hand written into the dialogue box didn't seem to work, putting an unused character into the space keeps the sent/received spacing correct for the program to score the result.

e.g. code sent = umnnk, I miss the last 3 letters so I type umQQQ (Q isn't included in the letters I'm being sent) when filling in the dialogue box, this keeps the correct spacing and the program records it as 3 errors without affecting the rest of the sequence. The problem with that is that at some point Ill be using all the characters and won't have a 'dummy' character available. There must be a character somewhere on the keyboard that isn't used in Morse, if so that would be the one to use when you need something to replace a missed letter.Maybe this character } would work?

Frank, the other solution is when you hand write the code, instead of then typing it into the dialogue box simply hit 'enter' twice and the program will enter the 'sent' code into the box, you can then check what was sent against what you received, of course that doesn't allow the program to record your actual score but save having to type out everything you've just written by hand. I like a record of my performance within the 'program' to track my progress, perhaps you like to do the same.

In any case thanks to both of you for your help/advice, 73's


Posted: 2022-01-16 16:12
Be wise, in case of erarlier stopping, and preventing that again, exercise with 20/5. Go on up to and including lesson 40.

Why?

Because you will fail and end up with a partial course, missing 2/3 of the characters, and hence wasting your time again.

It has no sense to learn 15 lessons with 20/10 and stopping, So do 20/5 and when compleded thru lesson 40. go on with lesson 40 lowering the 20 and increasing the 5, till 9/9 just like some guy here adviced in the past, with forumname BrushupCW.


Posted: 2022-01-16 20:08
As to the missed letters in a group. Do not add a space. The program interprets a space as a new group and will count everything after wrong. So as example the site sends you ahtip and you miss the t for example. Just type in ahip (no spaces) the results will show the missing t in the middle of the string and give you credit for everything that comes after.

I think that lowering the character speed below 20 is a mistake. It is important to keep the sound of the letter intact. At 10 wpm character speed you lose the rhythm of the character it just becomes dits and dahs. Just keep lowering the word speed and you will always be able to increase speed as your skill increases. For example, if you set your practice session for 20/3 you keep the integrity of the letter sound and have plenty of time between letters to write/type/head copy. Now, once you're good with that increasing to 20/4 or 20/5 does not change the sound of the letters at all. Increasing the word speed incrementally does not ever change the sound. As a beginner myself, I know that my comprehension and speed have and will continue to increase this way. I would be very happy getting to 20/20 or 25/25.

73's


Posted: 2022-01-16 21:38
Stay at 25/10 as long as you can, and then gradually lower effective speed. I had to gradually lower my speed, and got to lesson 40 at speed 20/4.

From there, do as nonagenarian says, lower character speed, and increase effective speed gradually, until they meet at the same speed, 9/9, or maybe 10/10, and then continue by increasing both at the same time, 11/11 then 12/12 and so on.
It is a long journey, but do your daily training, on both good and bad days, and you will succeed, no worries.



Posted: 2022-01-17 01:16
Hi all, many thanks for the advice.

Current state of affairs. Started lesson 7 today which added the letter A, been running at 25/8 @2 mins. Having some difficulty with N _. and A ._ but getting better. Seem to lose it a bit at around 1 minute/8th, 9th group but can get it together for the final groups. Had 2 short sessions, total 11 tests, 8 at + 90%, 2 @+ 85% and one that I didn't get a score for thanks to mistyping my received groups into the dialogue box. Highest score was 98.8%/ one error (sent M, received N)

Nonagenarian, this is my 1st attempt using the Koch method, last time was using a different program (can't remember what it was called) but in all honesty I didn't dedicate myself to it, will this time be different, honest answer is I don't know. I'm old enough to not expect miracles and have a bit more time to practice but I'll try at 20/5 and if my accuracy/score improves dramatically I'll stay at that speed. I'm quite happy to increase the spacing if I need to, which I'm sure I will as I'm only working with 8 characters at present, a long way to go but I'm not in a hurry.

Stephen, thanks, will try that. I'm having a bit of trouble getting my head around the difference between "Character Speed" "Word Speed" and "Effective Speed", I'm assuming "Character Speed is the speed of the Dits/Dahs, which is the 1st figure in e.g 25/10.

Whats the correct term for
a. the space between letters within a group
b. the space between the groups

and what is meant by effective speed, is that the speed of transmission of e.g. a sentence? reducing the speed from e.g. 25/10 to 20/5 means the character is is keyed slower and the spacing between characters (and group/words?) is increased so a sentence keyed at 25/10 takes less time than the same keyed at 20/5?

Sebastian, can you explain the reason for changing from 20/4 after level 40 to 9/9 and working up 10/10, 11/11 etc rather than working up from e.g 20/4 to 20/5, 20/6 etc?

Yes some times I hesitate to do a session as I hate the thought that it'll be worse than the previous session, of course I do it anyway, the 1st test in a session seems fast, then it seems to slow down once I get tuned in :-)

Again, thanks everyone who has offered advice, much appreciated


Posted: 2022-01-17 02:40
Mora, here is my understanding of Character Speed and Effective Speed.
Characters can be sent really fast.
R could be sent at a faster Character Speed like DIT-DAH-DIT. But at a slower Character Speed, R could be sent at DIT------DAH------DIT.
Effective Speed is the overall number of characters that are sent in the time period of 1 minute.
So even if characters might be sent at 20 WPM, a fewer number of characters sent, would result in a lower effective speed.
Last summer my Characters were sent at 9 WPM but my Effective Speed was 5 WPM, so the summer speed for copy was 9/5.
Now, several months later, my character speed is 16 and my Effective Speed is 5 so it is written 16/5.
Of course, one thing that moderates all of this is the Extra Space feature. with more extra space, the Effective Speed actually might show a slower ability, because without the Extra Spacing, all the strings of characters come much faster and we might not copy as fast. I few weeks ago, I removed my "1" extra space.
At any rate, although I started at 3/3 because I could not learn at all at higher, there is progress. [Also, I am a fast typer. When I wish to type what I am thinking, I am going at a rate over 40 WPM, but I could never do a CW exercise with a Typing requirement. I write all that I copy and at least at 16/5, there is no difficulty writing at that pace. But then, I am using lessons that I have put into LCWO.net's CONVERT TEXT TO CW. I cannot do Head Copy though. I have no clue at all what is coming next because my texts are a few lines that look like this:

725-- // ?? ,, == ++
n0ssoswmgh6o .
9pdlr1bzpku7 .
ekzhtyh3h1e8 .
h5iy36i3cb/zc3 .

So there is no way that I can "recall" or "know" what I am copying. If anyone can make progress any way at all that they do it, it is all good, you betcha.


Posted: 2022-01-17 03:28
Hi Bruce, thanks for the detailed reply. I had a few tests at 20/8 down from 25/8 but found it didn't help me much if at all but of course as I add more characters that will likely change and perhaps I'd be best to get used to the character speed at 20 now, before I need it.

I did experiment a few days ago with slowing the character speed way down, after having been used running at 20 to 25 I was completely lost as the rhythm that I'd become used to had gone and all I could hear were dots and dashes.

I started of typing into the dialogue box but from level 6 or 7 I started writing it down as I couldn't type fast enough and was starting to associate the sent code with the keyboard rather than the actual letter. I seem to associate the rhythm rather than the dots/dashes. For example I've just started level 8 tonight, at the moment if you sent me P, I'd recognise it from the rhythm/duration but couldn't spell it out in code i.e. dots/dashes

If 'Head Copy' means building the word in your head from the code, while decoding it in your head without writing it down then I couldn't say given the level I'm at. I find that I can listen to the sent code and say what it is with the same or similar degree of success that I can write it but I possibly couldn't recognise the code and 'hold' it while I spelt out the word, I'm not sure about that though as at level 7 I'm not getting a 'word' as such, just random letters. If for example I was sent F-O-X I'd possibly recognise it as FOX, I think it's just practice and time, if someone spelt out the letters S H I P W R E C K you'd recognise it as shipwreck.

The only difference is when you hear the code you need to think the letter, for example if I hear didi dit I need to be thinking S rather than thinking Dot Dot Dot = S. Just my current thinking but as I'm only on level 7 what do I really know? not much to be perfectly honest :-)


Posted: 2022-01-17 08:15
Oh..., you have overlooked a small word in my sentence..., "decrease"...
You cannot go from 20/4 to 9/9, it will be nearly impossible i would say. You have to decrease character speed gradually, at increase effective speed gradually. So from 20/4 go to 19/5, then 18/6, and finally real CW when the two meet at same number.


Posted: 2022-01-17 11:52
"I need to be thinking S rather than thinking Dot Dot Dot = S."---Mora46
Yes, exactly. We want that automatic recognition. Somehow, in all of this, progress is made. I think that whatever we work on, and whether we experiment or follow instructions to the letter, we find our way by hanging in there and encouraging our fellows.
I read something interesting the other day, and it was a bit of a suggestion that school children might learn CW at an early age and there seemed to me a bit of practicality in that. Imagine children learning this. I think we would have enjoyed it if we had the chance. After all, we are all "schooling" ourselves in this.


Posted: 2022-01-17 15:27
In my experience it may well take some 'investigation' until you work out what is best for you - it can vary quite a lot!

mora46:

I'm old enough to not expect miracles and have a bit more time to practice...


This is possibly more important than anything else!

Best of luck.


Posted: 2022-01-17 20:36
BrucerDucer1:

I read something interesting the other day, and it was a bit of a suggestion that school children might learn CW at an early age and there seemed to me a bit of practicality in that. Imagine children learning this. I think we would have enjoyed it if we had the chance. After all, we are all "schooling" ourselves in this.


The difference is we're choosing to try to learn it with a goal in mind. I'm not sure how successful it would be trying to teach morse to children who have no reason to think it's something they'll ever need. Yes it would, in theory be the best age to learn but I think techers have enough problems getting childeren to learn the 3 R's :-)


Posted: 2022-01-18 12:51
Right Mora, and I am all in favor of Readin, Ritin, and Rithmetic. There are other things that are immediately applicable and which contribute to education, such as chess, which offers "hands on" application of the 3 R's also. Children take to technology like Bees to Honey. I have seen children of about 9 immediately fascinated watching CW transmission. The practice has been very beneficial for me. It is about as neat as throwing a baseball discovering that you can be accurate.


Posted: 2022-01-18 17:24
Something that's always mentioned is to "have fun". Well, for me what I had to realize was fun was when I was getting it near 100%. I know the training program suggests that you've got near 90%, so maybe move on. Well, for whipper snappers that's fine. I only got frustrated when I tried to progress too fast. I AM enjoying it when I can hear 3 characters (at 20/8) in my head, say them in my head, then type them and hit a space. When I've really drilled a lesson in, THEN I move on. It's no fun practicing if I'm getting behind and feel like I'm screwing it up. Just my opinion since everyone is different.


Posted: 2022-01-18 19:40
Update: while my previous response still applies, what I might have been doing wrong is associating a sound with a finger response -- NOT good. Hear the sound/letter, store them up "in my head", now quickly type the sequence and a space. This gives me the least errors.


Posted: 2022-01-19 16:48
Update: The goal is to 'hear the CW in your head'. Few argue with that. But, I can touch type, so I noticed that I'm 'connecting' 3 character recognition directly to my fingers. I think most will agree that's BAD in the long run. So I've inserted an extra delay (1) after each group of 3. Result: training submits 3 character groups at 22/8, I 'hear it in my head' AND the training pauses so I then have time to type it in. I'm trying really hard to avoid bad habits from the beginning. This works for me, as well as practicing as much as I can every day.


Posted: 2022-01-20 03:16
I've just started level 10 at 25/8 x 2 mins which is the rate I've been at since level 7. I'm starting to find it more difficult depending on what 5 characters are sent, lowest score 78.7, highest 97.4 Average 88.7 after 14 attempts and a few listening only attempts.

Still have a tendency to mix up A/N (DiDah/DahDit) although A was introduced back in L8. Also R/L (DiDah Dit/DiDah DiDIt) Strangely I'm tending to hear L when it's actually sending R, if I get sent L I normally get it. Strange as I've been having R since the beginning. Trying to avoid thinking too long when I hear the code, just trying to react quickly and if it's wrong it's wrong, if I try to think what it is I tend to think in terms of dots/dashes rather than the sound/rhythm and the sound/rhythm is what I want to recognise so for now I'm keeping the speed at 25/8. If I slow things down I'll only start listening for dot's/dashes.


Posted: 2022-01-20 04:35
Just from my experience I sometimes lower the wpm rate while keeping the sound of the characters the same. You said you practice at 25/8 what if you try 25/7 or even 25/6. You won't lose your character sounds but you shore up your recognition by a lot. Then when you've done that for awhile you can go back to 25/8 with greater success. As you get more letters, punctuation, symbols, etc. you find this helps a lot. I am usually able to jump up a level in speed by spending some time at slower wpm counts.

I recently noticed that someone recommended, after learning all the letters and numbers, to gradually reduce the cpm while increasing the wpm until the eventually meet in the middle which makes it real Morse code. I originally thought that was a mistake and would have terrible results. However, upon reflection and experimentation it seems like a great strategy for getting where we are all trying to go which is real Morse code.

Good luck, 73's


Posted: 2022-01-20 04:54
Hi Stephen, had a few more attempts just now, currently 22 attempts, average up to 90%. It took well over twice that number of attempts on the earlier levels to reach mid 90% so I'll give it another day or two and see how it goes. There's no doubt I'll have to slow things at some point but I think it's too early yet as I'm not halfway through the letters yet. I'm no longer mixing up R/L, instead I'm now mixing L up with P. I know what the difference is in the characters but not getting the sound clearly yet, A/N is getting better though. Tomorrow is another day :-)


Posted: 2022-01-20 11:19
mora46:
I've just started level 10 at 25/8 x 2 mins which is the rate I've been at since level 7. I'm starting to find it more difficult depending on what 5 characters are sent, lowest score 78.7, highest 97.4 Average 88.7 after 14 attempts and a few listening only attempts.

Still have a tendency to mix up A/N (DiDah/DahDit) although A was introduced back in L8. Also R/L (DiDah Dit/DiDah DiDIt) Strangely I'm tending to hear L when it's actually sending R, if I get sent L I normally get it. Strange as I've been having R since the beginning. Trying to avoid thinking too long when I hear the code, just trying to react quickly and if it's wrong it's wrong, if I try to think what it is I tend to think in terms of dots/dashes rather than the sound/rhythm and the sound/rhythm is what I want to recognise so for now I'm keeping the speed at 25/8. If I slow things down I'll only start listening for dot's/dashes.


Hi mora


You have been going for a week ( not necessarily a long time unless you have high aptitude for morse ) and have hit the stall ( often reported about at around this point ) at lesson 10 with mixing up characters.

This may well be caused by adhering exactly to the 90% and move on, but actually moving on without having the characters fixed in your mind properly
i.e. you can get a 90% by including mistakes.


You learn morse by repeatedly decoding ( correctly ) until it becomes an automatic response; some people reach a point where they just hear letters - no morse at all . . .

You probably want to aim for decoding to be fully "automatic" . . .


For this to work, you need to actually be decoding correctly - so the wrong letter isn't reinforcing your learning, and even if you get 90% a few times.


It's important to deal with mixed up letters separately straight away - else you will follow a number of other students and get lost in the mess further along.


There is maybe a 90% drop out rate . . .


NOTE :- We can't actually diagnose issues - we don't know anything about you - especially your aptitude for morse
but
we can point out recurring themes which we see reported again and again in this forum over the years . .


One of these is people going too fast so decoding didn't become an automatic reaction:-

hear morse - > ( correct) letter appears in your mind as if from nowhere

If you go too slow you waste a bit of time.
If you go too fast you are working from short term memory which will change and fade with time.

If you have high aptitude the few lessons and move at 90% works fine.
If you don't ( i.e. nearly everyone ) then you hit the wall lessons 10-15 ish . . due to it not having sunk in.


So - you may want to be a little careful with that 90% and move on.

And mixing needs fixing.

90% accuracy during 1 min at 20/5 is not the same as 90% accuracy during 5 mins at 20/20


Yours is in between - but maybe you see my point about 90%

YMMV
good luck
enjoy


cb


Posted: 2022-01-20 13:00
Hi Chris, I agree about moving on too quickly, 90% is just a number and dependant on what letters are in each string and in which order. I don't move as soon as I manage a 90% score, I prefer to be consistently above or around 95%.

More important than the actual score is feel. I feel that I'm ready to move on when after the 2min run I'm confidant that I have scored well before checking. For me a good run is relaxed, one where I haven't felt as if I had strings where I was playing catch-up which happens if my response to the sent code isn't automatic. What I may do is try a few tests where I only try to identify the characters I'm having trouble with, ignoring the others. Doing it that way rather than simply listening to the troublesome characters in isolation means I'm having to identify them from all the rest. That's my theory anyway, not saying it's correct :-)

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