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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: Taking a break

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Posted: 2022-09-20 21:22
When one "hits the wall" and has reached a frustrating plateau (I'm sure this has happened to many here), is it a good idea to take a break, let's say a week or two? Or am I going to regret it?

Posted: 2022-09-21 00:02
Yes, but not too long, 7 till 10 days.

Posted: 2022-09-21 03:04
My progress became very slow a couple months ago. Then I read a post on another forum saying that practicing sending with a straight key was tied to learning to receive. It can't be a paddle to get this effect the post said. So, I dug out my straight key I had bought several months ago and practiced sending on it every day (along with my usual amount of receiving practice). Since then, I have made my first 4 cw QSO's and I can decode words with 6-8 characters easier (using my phone app). Something else I also did differently to improve my receiving was practicing receiving the top 100 QSO words on https://morsecode.world/international/trainer/words.html.

I still have a lot to learn. But for me, trying some new things got me over the plateau.
Good luck to you whatever you do.

Posted: 2022-09-21 12:44

I read a post on another forum saying that practicing sending with a straight key was tied to learning to receive.

Any chance you have a link that forum?

I dug out my straight key I had bought several months ago and practiced sending on it every day

How did you practice? What method did you use? I'd like like training on sending but there are no methods out there. I really need a method that spoonfeeds me and tells me whar to do, a bit like LCWO but on the sending side.

Plus, I need a way to connect a straight key to a Linux PC and check the accuracy of my keying. I could possibly do that with fldigi but I haven't tried.

Posted: 2022-09-21 13:17

go to www.morsecode.nl and download under pdf files
iambic.pdf it instructs you how to learn iambic keying (with dual paddles)

A very good way IMHO to learn keying with a straight (up and down) key is: record a sentence, like "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog 1234567890" via text to cw on this website, record it as mp3. Play it repeatedly and try to key with your straight key as synchronous as you can, with the sound of the MP3

Do it with 12 wpm, normal spaced (12/12 on this website)

Posted: 2022-09-21 18:45
Go to qrz.com and open the forum titled Straight Keys, Bugs, Keyers - CW Enthusiasts. Look for the topic “First cw QSO advice” (you will have to go back a page or two as it was originally posted in June). Then look for the post from N0ZB.

Posted: 2022-09-21 20:01
It must be a subforum readable only for members because I can't find it.

Posted: 2022-09-21 20:34


Posted: 2022-09-21 20:55
I get an error because I am not on qrz.com and don't want to.

Posted: 2022-09-22 00:14
here is the post of N0ZB

M0MZB said: ↑

The advice elsewhere in this thread about starting with a straight key is probably aimed at the idea that using a straight key is "good for you". But frankly, if you just want to be able to send clear morse, as soon as possible in the learning process, a paddle would seem the logical choice

It seems like the paddle is a logical choice, but it is not. I traveled the same path as you and the old timers would tell me I needed to use a straight key when I was learning the code. I disregarded this advice using the same logic you provided. The problem is that the old timers were unable to articulate WHY the straight key is the way to begin. And it is not because "that's the way we used to do it" or "real hams use a straight key."

When learning the code with a straight key you take advantage of the kinesthetic aspect of involving muscle movement with the process of memory. You really do not get this to anywhere near the same extent as with a paddle. I only figured this out after going through a few years of university training as an elementary school teacher and then actually seeing it in the classroom as a teacher. When you combine some type of physical movement along with learning the brain is able to imprint the learning focus at a much more rapid rate.

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.

Your desired endstate should be an ability to receive and send automatically, without thinking. It should be like recalling a multiplication fact from the times tables. In education it is called automaticity - both the ability to recognize or send a character becomes reflexive... without thought.

Once you have mastered sending and receiving at an adequate speed (you can be the judge of that), switch to a paddle if you'd like.

I really wish one of the old timers had been able to explain this to be me years back because it would have saved a lot of frustration and heartache.

N0ZB, Jun 6, 2022
VE6CLG, N3NEI, KI4ESK and 14 others like this.

Posted: 2022-09-23 02:26
I just joined this group so I'm looking around. I was a radio operator in the US Navy in 1957, in the Philippines. Western Pacific Net. Then got my Ham license WB6MCM. Then got a First Class FCC license. Them build some radios and played on 30 meters.

I still have my mechanical Vibroplex speed key. We weren't supposed to use them in the navy, but Net Control (Japan) didn't care if we sent below 30 WPM.

Anyway, I thought I try my hand at the old code and was surprised how it stuck with me all these years. The fingers automatically hit the typewriter keys withing thinking. I tried a test and I'm about 15 WPM solid.

I'll come back tomorrow and try picking up speed.

Posted: 2022-10-03 07:33
Thanks for telling us about your experience Jerry. Also, thank you for your military service.

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