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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: The role of sending in ear training

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Posted: 2022-09-07 08:08
I don't practice sending CW -- any chance this is slowing down my ear training?

The sending of letters seemed very easy to learn and (whether my fist is polished or not) was able to bang out pretty much any message within weeks of starting Morse code. This is apparently fairly common and even some official testing practices simply assume that if you can copy code you probably don't have trouble sending it (e.g. "[...] the FCC rules provide that passing a telegraphy receiving examination is adequate proof of an examinee's ability to both send and receive telegraphy [...]").

But this is kind of funny, because some like to think of Morse code as a "language" (e.g. http://k4icy.com/cw_language.htm and https://www.kb6nu.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/LearningMorseCodeasaLanguageVersion2.6June2015.pdf). If that's true it's the only language I'm learning where I'm less likely to get tongue tied *speaking* than totally blank *listening*. But usually we don't recommend learning a language by totally neglecting half the job; we build both the "TX" and the "RX" skills together.

Is it possible that (part of) the reason it's taking months/years to learn to hear the letters is because I don't much practice sounding them myself?


Posted: 2022-09-07 10:21
natevw:
I don't practice sending CW -- any chance this is slowing down my ear training?


Probably not . . .

[quote=natevw]
The sending of letters seemed very easy to learn and (whether my fist is polished or not) was able to bang out pretty much any message within weeks of starting Morse code. This is apparently fairly common and even some official testing practices simply assume that if you can copy code you probably don't have trouble sending it (e.g. "[...] the FCC rules provide that passing a telegraphy receiving examination is adequate proof of an examinee's ability to both send and receive telegraphy [...]").
[/quote]

Yup - one set of 35 or so things to learn - you generate them inside your brain and bash them out at your own speed . . . quite easy

. . . and you already learned to send. In a month ?

natevw:

But this is kind of funny, because some like to think of Morse code as a "language" (e.g. http://k4icy.com/cw_language.htm and https://www.kb6nu.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/LearningMorseCodeasaLanguageVersion2.6June2015.pdf).


They do - but no-one has ever claimed linguists learn morse faster - mostly people claim that musicians do so . . . probably without merit as decoding letter text isn't musical.

natevw:

If that's true it's the only language I'm learning where I'm less likely to get tongue tied *speaking* than totally blank *listening*. But usually we don't recommend learning a language by totally neglecting half the job; we build both the "TX" and the "RX" skills together.

Is it possible that (part of) the reason it's taking months/years to learn to hear the letters is because I don't much practice sounding them myself?




Learning morse is not like learning a language with verb nouns etc and various complex sounds where you can build up slowly with part meanings and slowly extend your vocabulary.

It is like learning a language in that practice means you soon don't have to think much about what you are hearing - the meaning just pops into your head.

It isn't like learning a language in that you get everything in bits and have to assemble it inside your head before looking at the meaning.



The problems people have with morse are often built around too high an expectation of success,
caused by stories of Koch teaching students in a few hours and people getting to 25/25 in a week.

This means that after a few months lots of students start wondering if they should be doing something else - even if they don't start getting bored with lack of progress.

You should allow several months to achieve proficiency and if it takes you a year or more - don't be surprised.

It's not a trivial exercise for ordinary mortals.


So
You are probably aiming to be able to decode more in your head as you hear it at 15/25 wpm whilst running a HAM QSO
( of course I am guessing here, maybe you just want to type out encrypted gobbledegook - or maybe you want 30wpm )


The main factor in learning ( to decode ) morse is aptitude - built up of several factors including hearing, spelling, short term memory etc

After that the remaining factor is repeated decoding until yu have done it so often it happens without you really thinking about it.



Getting to the point where you decode morse in your head means you are learning to :-

Listening to code in headphones - possibly with background noise - possibly too loud / quiet

Distinguishing the specific code stream you are following from all that noise; working out the timing; remembering what you just heard whilst continuing to listen
Decoding the morse characters you just heard - whilst continuing listening to and remembering the next incoming characters
Remembering what you just decoded - whilst decoding the next characters and distinguishing and remembering the next morse characters
Putting what you decoded together to get it's meaning - from abbrevs, procedure codes etc - whilst decoding and remembering the next chars, whilst hearing and remembering the next morse etc
etc

This takes lots of practice and repetition - until it becomes an automatic reaction.


So - there are no short-cuts here if you don't have very high aptitude.

It can take ages.


There are a few gotchas to avoid - the main one seems to be becoming tied to a keyboard i.e hear morse->press-a-key instead of hear morse->character-pops-into-your-head


So probably you are doing OK. Keep decoding.


YMMV as ever

CB










Posted: 2022-09-16 18:39
"The problems people have with morse are often built around too high an expectation of success,
caused by stories of Koch teaching students in a few hours and people getting to 25/25 in a week."----cb - Chris

Thanks CB for mentioning that.


Posted: 2022-09-17 16:26
Morse code is NOT a language , it is a monoalphabetic character substitution, that means that every latin character is substituted by a sound pattern or light pattern consisted of dots and dashes as defined in internatonal Morse code.

People have a too high expectation of success, because they are used to buy everything they want and be proud of it, paid by money earned by some stupid job, or obtained by heritage, but dumbed down evolutionary: when you don't use it you loose it principle.

So, what was around 1930 a job of 3 weeks to learn Morse code at 15 wpm plain English text in your spare time, when you could afford to pay for a set of gramophone records, it is now a question of years, obviously.

No miracle as explanation, when wondering why civilisations come and go.


Posted: 2022-09-18 13:28
...and so Natevw, when it comes to studying a new language, your concern about the sending as well as copying CW has some merit.
Here is the singular issue which may guide your further thoughts on the matter.
It is a proverbialism (a common rule in other words) that CW be studied at first, by hearing only and copying. This is because historically, it has been shown that students who practice sending fall into the experience of disappointment, because they may send well with a fine rhythm, but cannot keep apace with a copying speed that is even close.
Lots of beginners in the last century, fell into this disappointing state, because they overlooked the one message that had perhaps, too brief a mention in the instructions. That one message was to learn by copying first / receiving first, and then practice the sending.

"Sending" can be regarded as the antithesis or opposite of ear training. It is more of a matter of body/hand coordination in the context of desired "rhythm". Totally different from the copy function, mind you.

Okay, that stated, let us consider the more advanced learner. This may be your condition or mine. We may have learned about all of the characters at a certain speed.

My thoughts are this on the subject. If you know all of the characters at a copying speed that you are satisfied with, then there is absolutely nothing harmful that is associated with mixing some Sending Practice in with your Copy Practice.

Of course, we may wish to have a receiver to work with or some method that records what we send .
Also, many members in forums like this do suggest various places and methods in which people can practice both sending and receiving with others. Therefore, you can proceed with confidence in regards to mixing some sending with your copying practice of CW.

The point being that it is only a hard and fast rule that beginners "begin" with copying CW. There is no hard and fast rule that proposes that the person with knowledge of the characters should never practice sending.

So Natevw, good luck with your exploration of the methods, ways, and means of developing your skill set.


Posted: 2022-09-24 07:44
Interestingly, there's another recent reposting here that seems relevant. In https://lcwo.net/forum/2538/to-hell-with-straight-key-for-beginners-advice#post15120, KT0K quotes M0MZB as saying:

> So I stuck with my paddle and was consistently frustrated with my progress to learn Morse. My code sounded great, but I struggled in receiving. What I did not understand is that these two skills are absolutely connected. When I finally switched to a straight key, my progress was much more rapid. I used a few programs, but one called Skilman was the most effective because it combined sending with receiving practice. You should be listening to perfect code, then using a straight key and oscillator, immediately mirror that perfect code. Forming the Morse characters with the motion of a straight key helps lock the formation of the character in your head and allows you to better recognize the character when you are receiving. The important learning boost you get with a straight key you will not get with a paddle.

I do sometimes feel it useful to review the groups where I've errored and at least sound them out in my head. I haven't set back up a practice oscillator and key but perhaps I should, and physically do a little sending more often.

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