CB Thanks for the reply. Do you have any tips for assessing aptitude at the beginning of training?
I wish . . .
What a lot of angst that would save.
What speed would you like to be able to decode? Try that first and see how you go.
15wpm - HAM OK on the air. The correct speed for any distress signals.
20wpm - HAM probably a good on the air standard with QRM QRN fading etc
25wpm - Standard for professional operators. Hams mostly want to manage this . .
35wpm - Standard most professional operators could do. No so many HAMS do this, but lots can do.
40wpm - QRQ clubs. Great if you can do it - but probably 20wpm becomes a bit annoying for you if you spend your time exercising at this speed.
So choose and start the lessons.
Make sure you get a few 90%s before moving on to the next exercise, so you know it's not just short-term memory.
If it hasn't sunk in you will likely get stuck just after lesson 10 with problems with characters you thought you already knew.
Try 2 x 15 min sessions a DAY - but DON'T do 15 mins in one go.
As soon as you get fatigue you stop learning.
Contrary to some popular belief you are not muscle building.
However if you are trying to speed up after finishing all 40 exercises then things are a bit different.
Do 15 seconds runs at first, with a 10 second break, so you will be there some time for your whole 15 mins.
Don't try too hard. It's a repeat-repeat exercise not a strain. Don't let your mind wander else you are missing repeats.
Write it down - don't type it straight in. You don't want to need a keyboard all the time.
You must decode to characters in your mind - not straight to key presses.
Get your headphones sorted out. If buds - make sure the rubber is the right size.
Choose an audio frequency at which you can easily distinguish dits and dahs.
This might not be such an issue, but I think it s often overlooked. if you can't hear it you wont decode it.
You will be able to tell if you can hear dits and dahs properly.
Try just repeating the dits and dahs as they come back and see if you get lost doing this simple exercise.
If you don't make progress then you need to adjust something - which might be the speed or might be the spacings between groups or might be the audio frequency.
In essence - IF you can distinguish dits and dahs easily AND so the sequences of dits and dahs sound like separate entities, by recognising such entities then thinking of the character they represent you will form a link between the two and an automatic response hear code -> letter pops into your mind.
Soon you will be able to tell what your likely overall aptitude is. Whatever it is accept it as fine.
Try to make steady progress - else you might get fed up and give up.
Try to get through all 40 lessons at a steady rate.
Don't give up. You can do it, it's just you will have some maximum speed at which you can decode.
Don't worry so much about too slow - you can soon speed up a bit. Too fast and you may stall.
Don't worry about how fast anyone else is going. Just sort yourself out. Ignore "I learned it all in 2 weeks" etc
Let us know how you get on.
Good luck. Try to enjoy it - positive is good.