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Thread: Next stage... how NOT to think?

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Posted: 2011-05-23 12:21
Some of you have given me great advices as I restarted with CW after 20 years last summer. In QSO's I am quite comfortable at about 16wpm. It takes a lot of efforts and energy though to copy all.

And there's what I would like to have some tips about. I train daily, head copy, with dutch practice texts using my MP3 player on the bike to work. I have made some practice texts with 20, 25 and 30 wpm. Strangely enough it seems that I copy more or less the same at all of these speeds. Short words in one go. Some longer words are ok, but quite a few words are just missed at all, meaning that you miss the entire story.

I find myself consciously thinking and combining the characters to words. This even works at 30wpm.
At first I was amazed even to hear the characters at that speed, but I seem to think fast enough to combine them to words sometimes. But this should NOT be the way to go.

Overall advice found here and there is to stop thinking and let the characters process automatically. But how does one stop thinking?

This thinking for me is not a speed plateau, but a selective word receipt plateau. I would not like to learn all words in CW as a word sound.

Undoable! (Which is such a word one would probably not learn...)

Any ideas? I'v tried consciously not listening to the sounds, but then I miss all.


Posted: 2011-05-23 18:10
You are just on the right way. Don't bother. After a while (some) words flow into you mind. Other words don't. It is just comparable with the way you were learning reading. Compare that experience multiply it by 100 or so because you are not 6 years old and and hence less adaptive you know what happens and what will happen.

Posted: 2011-05-25 09:57
Hmm, you might be right. Maybe I'm to eager to learn and want to learn too fast..

Still if there are any habits I should learn or unlearn I'd better be aware of them since it should speed up the process.

The words that don't flow in the mind keep me fuzzed missing the next words.

Posted: 2011-05-25 20:51
Best way is to listen to seperate words, decode them by mending the characters in your mind, when decoded listen another 3 to 5 times to the same already decoded word.

You will find out that when you copy the first 3 or 4 characters and recognise the tail such as "eren" "allen" etc that you decode the word, and you also find out that some even long words are immediately decoded. After experience more and more words decoded at the first method go over to the second decoding method. Thats what I find out. Look at my website
www.xs4all.nl/~pa0wv/zelfbouw.html for helpfull gadgest especially the Kujer2
Another very good method is to decode a text in plain language while driving your car, it prevents thinking, hi, and doing that day after day with exactly the same text till you know it by head. All the words in that text are then moved to catagory 2.

Posted: 2011-05-25 20:51
double post erased

Posted: 2011-07-25 12:53
It seems that I'm getting somewhere. I try not to listen to each character anymore, but just concentrate on the 'overall' sound. Sometimes a word pops up in the mind and it seems it was just sent.
Hopefully the next stage is approaching.

I think there is a disadvantage in learning complete words, as you are swept away if a sent word seems to be different. From what you mention you need to switch from word reception to loose character reception back and forth when words are not in 'the list'.

Seems that regular practice does it.

Posted: 2011-07-25 16:10
It turns out that DJ1YFK shielded result graphs of particpants. An artificial error 404 shows up.

It is a question between privacy and getting a good advice of a person with his feet on solid rock. So may be this is my last posting.

I think it is NOT a good idea, that shielding, because everybody has the opportunity by selecting an appropriate user-ID on this web site to isolate his CW results completely from the person.

About your question, I stop answering questions in the case DJ1YFK prefers privacy to be at a higher level then my advice.

PA0FOX : your experiences are according to mine.
It is impossible to recall every word in every language just by the complete sound. Possibly traditional chinese with an IQ far above average will make it, but I never met one.

When you take a text, of about 1000 characters and you play it in your case at 40 wpm, that takes 5 minutes to play. Repeat that text, in MP3 player even if you know already what is showing up. Do that each day till you copy always EVERY word. Then change the text to a completely new one.

After 10 changes or so, you copy perfectly 40 wpm in your head. BUT you have to listen to the picture, that means don't think: "Hey was this a b or a d. just listen AND interpret. It does't flow in your mind without concentration.
(At least not in my mind, but on this web site I am a declared Moron)

gd luck

Posted: 2011-07-25 16:32
FYI, nothing has changed, and the 404 error is not artificial. There are simply no graphs for Alex other than that for word training (and it shows a nice progress!). Once every few months the img directory is cleaned up, though. And keep in mind that the graphs are only generated or updated if/when the stats site is visited by the user.


Posted: 2011-07-25 18:03
OK, sri

PA0FOX change 40 wpm by 30 wpm.

I reread this thread, PA0WU gave good advice, that guy may be a HST. He knows what he is talking abt.


Posted: 2011-07-26 07:11
I changed the stats page to 'public', maybe it helps?

You will not see daily practices at it, once in a while I do word training just to measure where I am with the progress. Apart from LCWO I do daily exercises with the MP3 riding the bike to work.

@FatherAbsinthe: Your advice is similar to that of PA0WV, but is confusing. If I train and grow my word vocabulary I feel I get lost when an unkwown word is heared. At 30WPM I do copy some of the most common words current, but it is far too less to follow the story. Should the training not focus on streaming characters unconsciously instead of processing character blocks for words?
Since this week I experience that even with long unknown words they pop up as a complete word after it is finished without me following it character for character consciously. I get so surprised that I miss the next, but it does not bother. I am happy that it works sometimes.

I hope my question makes sense. I do believe I did things wrong in my training methods last year and would like to prevent more, since it takes a lot of time to correct them.

Alex - PA1FOX

Posted: 2011-07-26 11:55
Training during bike riding or driving a car is very good. It doesn't cost extra time and you do it on a regular schedule.

30 was a rough estimate looking at your word graph progress. Put the speed not too high, Too high you learn nothing. When you copy by head 20 to 50% it is a usable starting speed for a repeating message file.

Everything said by me, is according to my opinion. What you write remembers me that people are different.

When you are at your limit speed, you copy the first charactergroup by glueing characters and hear the end group. such as
SOL....[ION] and your mind pops op SOLUTION. Sometimes wrong, hi.

What did you experience as wrong training method?

I suppose you are known with

The guy passed away but he knows obviously very well where he is talking about.

Posted: 2011-07-26 13:05
Currently I do 20 to 50% at 25wpm, some 50 to 70% at 22wpm. At these speeds words 'pop up' by themselves which is a good feeling and gives confidence. At 30 wpm I can hear the words which are presently in my vocabulary and sometimes hookup into a longer word. All the rest is spaghetti.

What you mention about the speed limit with the SOLUTION example sounds very familiar. Exactly what happens very often know.

I have indeed read that famous document, some four times by now I think. Important parts are read a few times over the months to keep me focussed.

What I did wrong? Training on the keyboard for too long. I did the full KOCH exercise at about 20/18 and managed to get to lesson 40. I have then trained for a few months typing in code groups. No use, wasted time, don't do it. I managed to train the ears-to-fingers reflex quite well, even when thinking of other things at the same time. But there is no use for it. (maybe RufzXP, but that's not my goal)

It kept me from starting QSO's on the air, creating nerves, because that was real text and the ears-to-fingers reflex got interrupted by the brain asking: "Hey, what am I missing?". Real text, and more with real QSO's, are hardly done while typing it on a keyboard (which I can do with a speed of over 260wpm). So I started this new year with just listening to MP3's, real QSO's, ARRL training texts and anything which had the right speed without writing or typing it.

It is from may this year that I started really making QSO's more often and enjoying them.

At the end I realize that I had better started with real text-listening straight after finishing lesson 40.

Children also learn languages for real use not by writing it all down, but just listen and understand.

CW is to understand the message. So skip all unnecessary things, like writing or typing.

After all, even in holland it is not practical to have a laptop on the bike steer to key in the MP3 practice texts.

Posted: 2011-08-02 20:07
I feel sorry that the Father has gone. He gave some good advice.

Posted: 2011-08-03 19:52

What I did wrong? Training on the keyboard for too long. I did the full KOCH exercise at about 20/18 and managed to get to lesson 40. I have then trained for a few months typing in code groups. No use, wasted time, don't do it. I managed to train the ears-to-fingers reflex quite well, even when thinking of other things at the same time. But there is no use for it.

In my first serious attempt to learn morse, I'm halfway the Koch training (at 20/10) and progress is steady (although slowing down a bit). But as you mention, it is mainly ear-to-keyboard reflex.
I created some sound-files with real words from the first 20 lessons only and listen to them while driving to work, trying to recognise letters and ultimately words. Is this a good way to improve my receiving skills or are there pittfalls I should be aware of?


Posted: 2011-08-03 21:43
Hmmm... In my first go at the Koch course I tried typing directly, but I'd only got as far as lesson 4 when I realised I didn't actually know any letters, only which finger went with each sound. I re-started the Koch course writing the letters down. At least that way I have to know what letter I'm going to write...

Posted: 2011-08-04 06:13

I think you made the right choice. Apart from learning the characters, the process of hearing characters and combining them into words, while hearing new characters, is a skill of it's own.

It think it is good to start doing this early. I did not write any characters, my writing is just too slow.

Currently I am training head copy most of the time. In order to do this I download small stories (for children sleep time) from the internet and convert them to my training speed with ebook2cw. These stories do not have very difficult and long words and often the same words are often repeated in the text. This helps me quite good.

Rick, you discovered now where I needed a few months. Finger reflex does not feed characters into trhe brain.

Keep up the good work!

Posted: 2011-08-05 19:53
Oh, it took me a few months to figure out, too. I just don't progress as fast as some...

Posted: 2011-10-04 09:51
Hi Alex,

It has been a while since you about your progress. How are you doing?


Posted: 2011-10-04 14:53
Hi Joep,

I an currently suffering back problems ( ischias) but it gives me time to practice. I do not feel I am makng progress though. Maximum is about 22 wpm, but with conscious head copy. It is very tyring and energy is lost after half an hour. The automatic unconscious subroutine is above a platau I am currently facing, I'm afraid. How are you doing?


Posted: 2011-10-04 16:05
Ischias... I hope the pain will fade away shortly!

A plateau like you describe seems quite frustrating. How do you handle that?

I'm currently working on lesson 34 at speed of 20/10 and progress is okay. B.t.w. what helps me a lot is practicing each new character with a few recent and similar ones in 'code groups'

In my car I play mp3 with collections of words (with chars up to lesson 34) at 20/12. Most of the time just at the background, but every now and then I try to head-copy. I recognize the 'sound tokens' but need to think about the characters they represent. After 4 or 5 sound tokens, the first ones get lost. As a result, parts of longer words are decodes and sometimes a full word up to 6 or 7 (easy) characters. And it always takes too much time to copy the first sound tokens of the next word...
So with the end of the Koch lessons in sight, I wonder how to develop automatic token-to-character translation.


Posted: 2011-10-04 17:19
How do I handle the plateau? Good question, at the moment I have no answer but just keep practising. I hope it will pass by itself.

But it is rather decourageing at the moment and hard to keep the spirit up and see it as fun....

What was also a diffcult time for me, was when I reduced the character spacing. I hope you will be better at it when you have reached lesson 40 and want to go to 20/20.

Just keep the spirit up and keep going!


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