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Thread: What now?
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Posted: 2011-07-30 10:09
This site is just great, great folks, great software. Tnx to Fabian and friends!
Now I am asking for solid advice.
Introduction: I am 68. Passed my CW exam (12/12) in 1958. Never ever had a CW qso. I like challenges. For 30 years I did not touch a soldering iron. My first retirement project was a h/b programmable intelligent software transceiver (Picastar by G3XJP). It is my stn rig.
Two years ago I decided to brush up my CW. I chose a Koch trainer and through rather casual practice got up to 25 characters at 20/20. Now copying 12/12 with pencil is easy. I lost patience with character training, because I really recognise all letters and numbers, but only a few special characters. I want to get rid of the pencil. Listening to qsos, except exceedingly slow ones, hard to find, is a desaster. I discovered this site and started word training here as a test user. Words with 5 chars are ok at 25/25. The score is appr. 2500. 75% first time hits. On average only 2 or 3 words need more than 2 repeats. Similar with CW abbreviations. Plain text is a total desaster. I try to visualize the text on a mental screen and copy 2 or 3 new words but forget the ones before (no pencil, no keyboard). This is independent on speed. The intervals between words seem too short. I wonder if it is a good idea to practice the same text all over again, because I might fool myself by memorizing the text and not copying the code.
Having reached this point, any solid advice as to how to preceed from here will be greatly appreciated. I just would like to avoid mistakes.
I might not respond immediately, because I travel a lot (without PC and radio).
Tnx, 73, Peter
Posted: 2011-08-01 13:15
When you travel a lot without PC and radio, this website is ideal to keep in touch with Morse code.
You have to set yourself a goal.
When that goal is listening to ebooks that are translated to MP3 Morse Code or making rag chew qso's, you have to train with plain understandable text.
First words, you did that, after that you take a text, divide it in pieces that, with your desired speed, are at least 5 minutes long. Put them in
"JustLearnMorseCode" as text source files. Then at least once a day you start the same file, effective speed and speed the same.
Even when you are used to the text, proceed till you take every word in one time.
Then switch over to second textfile and do the same.
When you have done all text files (10 or so) in this manner, you will be able to copy a new text without problems the first time you hear it. Only one exception: when you are SK in the meantime.
Posted: 2011-08-01 13:32
rgr, mni tnx,
if I understand you right, you answered my main question.
IOW, you say, it does not matter if I already know the text after many repetitions. That would not ruin the learning effect.
Did I understand that right?
Posted: 2011-08-01 13:38
One more question,
given my present status, which would be a realistic intermediate goal for plain text (English or German no matter). Until end of October. At which speed setting should I begin?
Posted: 2011-08-01 14:31
I didn't expect you to answer this fast.
Yes you understand it right, that does NOT ruin your learning effect but even greatly improves it.
But don't expect when you copy file 1 finally 100% that you do that file 2.
However you will experience that when you copy file 9 100% you will copy file 10 90% first time.
Starting speed is the speed that you copy at least 50% and maximum 75% of an exercice of 25 words the first time right at this website.
Gd luck, I am very tired of hams 50+ ( http://lcwo.net/usergroups/60 ) that "commit" themselves of something nothing and failing after 30 days.
Glad to meet the exception.
BTW when somebody wants to score high in "word" exercises, choose the German language, because the score is speed times number of characters per word, and German words contain words like:
mit (ach so!)
und auch kurzer (and also shorter words like)
73 es 30
Posted: 2011-08-01 15:20
tnx a lot, all noted, very helpful, indeed.
Abt 50+ and exception: Too early to know. Took me more than a year to get where I am now. Need to be much more consistent. Fact is, my h/b txr is so good at cw, it would be a shame not to use it in cw. Fact also is, I´m not a "practice type" of person, rather a "solve problem on a one-off basis" type. One of those guys who learn swimming by being thrown into the water.
Any way, next steps:
1) determine the starting speed as outlined.
2) Start practicing. 12 text files, 200 chars each, have already been made. JustLearnMorseCode already installed.
3) Get a decent mp3 player or at least make audio cd for car radio when travelling. xyl is all in favour, not joking.
4) report on progress by end of October.
Posted: 2011-08-03 13:52
Statistics updated and public as per today. Next update in abt 2 weeks time, after daily plain text training.
I am writing this primarily as a record for my own benefit.
Posted: 2011-08-12 10:12
Definite progress by plain text training (head copy), English and German. Pitch 600Hz. Starting 20/12, repeating same text 20/15, 20/18, 20/20. I feel it is time to also start keying (Iambic A keyers, one is part of txr, pitch adjustable, another one is a 25 year old standalone keyer with Curtis chip, built by my the teenage dauighter, pitch too high, 800Hz).
Next statistics not likely before October.
Comments always welcome.
Posted: 2011-08-22 08:12
Above all else, consistency and perserverance is paramount.
One day without practicing sets me back a week.
Progress: I moved from plain text head copy at 20/10 to 25/15. Now the next goal is 25/20.
Posted: 2011-08-22 12:02
Very well!. Although you're still far ahead of me, I do recognise the variance (lack of consistency) - fatigue and concentration are significant factors. Also koch-training at 20/10 is substaintial more difficult after fast exercises like word training...
What about your progress on keying? (and any experience with a straight key in the past?)
Posted: 2011-08-22 12:20
rgr and tnx.
I found that it takes some time to find out what advances my practice and what not. I am speaking of quite subtle trends buried in the noise of day to day variations, such as we all experience.
Those trends, subtle as they are, need to be taken seriously, because they offer guidance as to the next goal.
It is almost like a meditative process, what little I have understood about meditation. There seem to be many parallels, not just in terms of concentration and silencing out interfering thoughts.
Remember: I am only brushing up my cw, after 50 years of disregard, not learning from scratch.
And, I have no idea, what experienced practicioners would say to the above. Just personal observations, maybe quite naive, maybe even wrong.
On keying: I need to become more fluent. Intervals between chars are too long. Though I am better with my squeezer than I was at the time of my cw exam (1959, 12 wpm, straigtht key).
Posted: 2011-09-14 20:34
Hi Peter, it cheers me up immensely to read about your progress. A am 63 now, got my Novice licence in June at Hamradio and started learning CW in spring this year. I am now at the verge of the last lesson (letter x) at 20/12. I exprecienced the same setbacks as you. Being relaxed before starting helps a lot. I do my mental relaxation before my Koch lessions by using the cw machine at speeds of 30 to 35 wpm. single letter by single letter at that speed opens my mind for cw. When I after 5-10 Minutes switch to the lessons at 20/12, im a more ore less relaxed and achieve usually between 80-90% on first or second try.
Keep going I'm looking forward to hearing about your progress.
Posted: 2011-09-15 07:44
tnx for your note. Great! Keep going!
I found that the single most important step was changing from pencil to head copy. Now I have reached a plateau: plain text copy at 20/15 (long unknown text).
In your case that might mean to go from Characters to single words, head copy.
I also found that for me a structured mix of daily practicing (30 to 60 minutes) works best:
1 plain text: this site, DE and EN proverbs
2 word copy: this site, EN and DE words (variable speed, starting at 20/20. ALso using G4FON Koch software and home brew word lists)
3 Call signs: this site (variable speed as above)
4 CW abbreviations (variable speed, as above)
5 plain text: Unknown text (stories etc., 20 min, audio files (*.wav) made with JustLearnMorse software at suitable speed combinations).
Also I found, prpgress depends on going through the whole sequence, as soon as I neglect one part of the mix, I regress.
For me, the real test is long unknown coherent plain text. Much more difficult than small snippets (single words, call signs or CW abbreviations): Because I jump to conclusions when I have copied the beginning of a word. In this respect, DE is much harder than EN, because there are many more ending varieties in DE words than in EN. (I am a native German speaker, but completely fluent in EN).
Right know my barrier is mixing up certain chars, eg i with s or s with h etc.
On the other hand, on good days, I noticed that I occasionally copy a word correctly without even remembering havin heard the sounds. I think that is a good omen.
Remember: This applies to me, I think everyone must find his own practice pattern.
Remember: I am writing this not to brag or act as a schoolmaster, but as a record for my own benefit.
Gl, 73, Cheers, Peter
Posted: 2011-09-15 19:11
Thanks Peter, I am completeing the last LCWO lesson these days and then will probably go on in exactly the direction you have outlined. Especially your comments on GE and EN are helpful, because I am also a German and therefore will experience the same differences between the two languages
Posted: 2011-09-20 20:48
Hello Peter, Wolf,
I recognize the additional problems with copying in two languages. I am a native dutch speaker and therefore train plain texts in both EN and dutch, mostly at 22/22. Like Peter I sometimes discover that a long word sometimes pops up in my mind, which I have not consciously decoded character by character. Head copying at 22 wpm is reasonable now, but it is all done with conscious copying, which causes my brain to use 100% process capacity. It is very heavy and causes overheating after sme 15 minutes of copying. My plateau is that if speeds get higher, I just lack processing power. This indicates that decoding must be done within the unconsciousl part of the brain. I hope to get it there with training plain texts, but am not sure if and when I will succeed. I am interested if you guys have similar thoughts / experiences?
My biggest problem, nervousness, has gone as soon as I started making regular contacts on air. Just below 100 qso's now.
Posted: 2011-09-21 07:58
rgr, tnx, understood.
Congrats to 100 qsos! I am still too nervous to try, and a perfectionist.
What you say sounds quite familiar and typical for any learning process. I can´t offer much of value from experience, because I am still facing the barrier myself. I noted that short words in either language meanwhile come quite naturally: if, there, is, und, and, etc. These are, of course, the most frequent words. So, I just keep going. Never relent. I discover that I mix up certain chars, at present i, e, s, h, r, k, etc, at the beginning of a word (I call them brain typos). This puts me on a wrong track, and I get lost. In this situation I found it helpful to go back to single word training with G4FON software. So I can concentrate on words and get them right, rather than trying to link them into the coherent story of a long text. After that, long texts again. The speed does not increase, the percentage of correct copy with unknown text does. I just slog away, trial and error helping me to find out what works and what not. I guess it is highly individual.
Posted: 2011-09-21 09:58
Sure Peter, this sounds very familiar. What I should recommend though is not focus too much on the single word training. I did find myself in the situation where I recognize a lot of common words easily, for example the ones you mention, but as soon as real text is involved the mind switches to another level where meaning of the text is involved. This is what takes a lot of time for me. I follow the text and the more it gets interesting the more risk of complete blackout there is. It normally takes a few words before I am 'in sync' again with copying. In normal text there are so much of these common words that they occur often. I felt no use in training these extra. Strangely enough I now simply miss very easy words like 'his' but easily copy longer words like 'middagtemperatuur'. I don't know why, but I think you are right in stating that it is highly individual. I did find that my nervousness was killing my copying skills. There were times that I wanted to run away from the shack rather than coming back to the person answering my CQ. Say Peter, if you would like to do some testing ´on air´ with me, feel free. I can be extremely patient!
What also helped me in the beginning is having an internet chat channel standby for emergency messages. This kept my nerves quite down a bit.
And even, after these qso´s I am still sweating behind the key. It just takes times.
What someone said... Exposure is the best remedy to fear.
Take care, 73
Posted: 2011-11-07 08:36
Just for the record:
Stuck at 20/20 plain text head copy.
(Sceptics despair! I did not give up!)
ear to pencil reflex, read word
ear to keyboard reflex, read word
ear to visualized screen reflex, read word.
Reflexes are ok, what causes the problem is the reading step. It takes most of the time and must be eliminated.
Now: ear to mind (50% success with en words, 20% with ge words). Success rate increases *very* slowly. en is easier than ge.
Criterion for success: Copy without paying attention to individual chars.
because all those seem workarounds. They inv
Posted: 2013-03-18 17:31
To all sceptics: I am a little pleased:
passed my 1st cw qso,
passed my 70th birthday,
stopped feeding the statistics of this site,
know my progress, my good and not so good days.
On good days: 30wpm head copy of plain German or English words, on bad days only 20wpm.
More and more syllables, even words copied as wholes, not char by char or on a virual screen.
Qso rate drops to 15-17 wpm.
Calls signs rapidly improving.
Sending is bottleneck (nervousness).
Just don´t ever give up!
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