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This is a simple discussion forum for LCWO users. Feel free to use it for any kind of discussion related to this website.

Thread: Bad day at the office

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Posted: 2012-04-22 19:31
84.9%, 80.7%, 79.4% . . .

Trying to keep the real wpm at 15 or more, so using 20/11 now on lesson 11 which gives me 15 wpm at the end of the '3' minute lesson.

The slight speed up from using 20/10 seems to be enough to make me completely lose track when a few shorter characters appear in a row (and the short-term speed goes up to > 20 wpm).

If you're doing badly, is it better to quit and run away (for the day) or bravely battle on until you get progress?

Posted: 2012-04-22 20:16
I'd say don't run away for the day - but by all means, take a break, listen to music and relax.

If you feel mentally refreshed later, hop back on to lcwo.net, give yourself a 1 minute lesson to warm up your cw decoding neurons :)

Don't put any pressure on yourself, then try the 3 minute lesson - if it's still not clicking after a couple of attempts, just leave it till tomorrow and relax.

Posted: 2012-04-22 21:37
Some times when performance nose-dives it's just a blip, and the next attempt ends up much better again.

Other times it's obvious concentration's gone, the ears aren't working, and it's time to call it quits, take a break, and try again later in the day.

Posted: 2012-04-23 14:13
Good advice, support group - thanks.

Got better later on, but still not quite 90%.

It seems to be better in the mornings, rather than afternoon or evening but that's when I have more time . . .

Posted: 2012-05-01 23:43
I am on 18/8. I have tried to get to 18/10 but I cannot copy any faster. I cannot think any faster. I am worried that I am hear for ever. I stay at this for 1.5 to 2 hours a day. I started at 14/8. I feel I am getting better but not much. I made the mistake of learning the code before I heard it.

Posted: 2012-05-02 09:34
I believe speed 18/8 is enough, perhaps 17 lessons in a month are too many.

Posted: 2012-05-03 17:05
Don't make the same mistake a made. A reached lesson 20 at 26/8. And then it was so difficult to balance the speeds and reach 15/15. Each character was easy and like a music. Spacing and correct weight is important too.

Posted: 2012-05-03 21:04
I have tried to bring up the 8 to 18/10 but it is just to fast. I am having a bit of trouble with p and z coming one after the other. All of this comes at you so fast. I think I am on lesson 14. I have a long way to go. I think I have been at this for about 1 month. I get so angry. How do you deal with the anger and frustration. I have never done anything that made me angry like this. I feel stupid.

Posted: 2012-05-03 21:51
This has nothing to do with stupid. You just as with learning touch typing have to get used by pure exercising, to build an immediate reaction.

Takes some more time, don't force it, just exercise 15 minutes or 2 times 15 minutes at different time of the day, with the speed you master.

Try also to copy Words, with the limited set characters you master, repeat a word till you know what it is before typing it in and obtaining the next word.

Posted: 2012-05-03 23:54
The obvious cure would be to slow down the speed.

Posted: 2012-05-04 09:02
you said you learned the wrong way the first time; this is bound to give you a bit of a wall to push through on speed, but it's important to stay calm and enjoying it.

I bet if you go back to the first few lessons, with just 3 or 4 characters, you could go much faster because your brain has stopped trying to visualise each character? Do K, M and U until your ears are connected to your hand without thinking. I have the same problem (I keep imagining the dots and dashes) but every now and then I hit 10 secs or so when it just flows along without thinking. This is what you need.

It's also important to wire your brain in exactly the way you need it to work later: if you are always cross because you're going too fast, the brain will associate morse with pain and you'll start to think about giving up. Keep on an easy lesson until it's completely automatic and your brain starts to get bored, then give it the treat of a new character to learn :-)

The overall speed is somewhere between the character and the 'effective' speed (which is really the 'spaces speed'. Your 18/8 on lesson 14 is about 11 wpm. 18/10 would be about 13 wpm. I think you've found the speed at which your brain can still just do it the 'wrong' way. I'd suggest going back a bit and looking for the character list you can do without any pain. I've found longer times in the lesson help too: I do '3' minutes, which turns out to be 2 mins at my 20/11 (= 15 wpm). The early bit of the lesson is OK, then I stumble a bit for a while and have to let characters go, then I get into the flow and it all works for a while. Your aim is to give your brain more practice time 'in the flow' than 'stumbling' or straining.

Don't give up. Try faster speed, with just a few characters, for longer sessions. Let us know how you get on.

Posted: 2012-05-04 13:52
> Don't give up. Try faster speed

Whenever I face problems I lower the (effective) speed. It works...

Posted: 2012-05-04 19:01
I have gone back to lesson 10 and gone to 19/10. It seems to be better. I am not thinking so much. Something happens when I introduce the period to the mix. This has also brought my wpm up. I will stay hear for a bit. I guess I may need to go back further. God I hope not. I started to think to much for some reason. I do not understand this. I started to hear .-- and have to think. It has killed me. It does not want to go away. I learned the code by book first. I think I may not be able to get past this. I made the worst mistake I could have made. I want to learn this so much. I have gotten my license by myself. I am studying for my extra now. I just cannot believe that I cannot learn this. It seems impossible. I am in tears and I cannot understand. Thank you for helping me. I may not be able to do this. The first time I tried to learn this I spent 6 months everyday for 2 hours. That was 2 years ago. I am now trying to learn it a different way. I am starting to think I just cannot do this.

Posted: 2012-05-05 02:58
How long per lesson is typical? I'm sure this varies depending on what speed and how strict you are at learning each lesson before moving on. Initially I had thought maybe 1 per day, but I see now that is probably way too ambitious for someone only devoting 30min to it. I'm finding myself getting frustrated as well.

Posted: 2012-05-05 04:35
You will do fine. Don't give up! Sound silly I know but it is true. You have gotten yourself fearful. Take a deep breath and calm down. Most people have trouble in the 10 to 13 wpm range. They really do. Give yourself a comfortable time period for practice a couple times a day. I am using 1/2 hour because that is about the amount of free time I can get at a time. A possible lesson plan might include a couple of 5 min runs on morse machine to warm up; followed by a speed run or two on familiar letters/numbers.(called confidence building) Then work on new letter/number for a while. Then a nice couple of pratice runs on the Machine for a cool down. Then the most important part!!! Walk away for a few hours and do something else. I have to do this as I get frustrated because I am learning to type the letter as it is sent. The letter get stuck in my head on the way to the finger that hits the key. Ugh. LOL So you are not alone at all. You plan to sit for your extra exam? Do you have your General or Tech already? If you do, many folks here will set up a sched and you can actually use CW over the air. My call sign is AA1CM and I am more than willing.

Posted: 2012-05-05 11:28
Lynne, you will definitely be able to do it and you aren't alone - be positive!

You said you had got to the 'no thinking' state by going back to lesson 10 and doing 19/10 - that's perfect: you've made a change to what you were doing and now your brain can learn morse the way that lets it do it fast (in the end). This is all good.

You won't have to go back further: you're on the right track.

Don't beat yourself up about how long it was taking, just keep in the 'flow' stage and you'll progress.

My problem is getting time to practice: I should be practicing now rather than chatting on the forum. Sounds like you could be practicing too much and slowing down your progress.

I promise to practice hard today - you should just focus on spending as much time in the 'no thinking' state as you can and stopping just before it gets to hard work.

Tell us how it goes.

Posted: 2012-05-05 19:44
I have settled on 17/10. It is still fast but I am not pushed so much..

I have started to do the word test. I cannot copy at this speed. I cannot write this fast. It is not that I do not know the letters. I just cannot write this fast. However, It does seem to be getting better. I am on lesson 12. I think I will stay hear for a bit.

If the I and E and T come to close together I just loose my place. This is something I have heard from others. I am still putting in about 2 hours a day. I am retired so I have the time.

Yes, I am a general and I have had my license for 3 years. I am just starting to study for my extra. My radio is a Yaesu Ft-950. W a 5BTV antenna. I put in 36 radials so far.

Today is better but I do not know how anyone can do this at 25 WPM. How can you hear words. My brain is on overload. Ha! I think this is going to kill my brain.

I am going to stay at this for a bit. I do not want to quite. I want to do this. I can not think why anyone would put them selves through this. I have never tried to learn something like this. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever tried to learn.

I am also a general contractor with a concrete and landscaping license. I just cannot believe how hard this is for me. May God help us all. I think we must like punishment.

To AA1CM Hello , I looked you up on QRZ I am KI6WXM You are just in Maine. I am in Oregon.

Thank you all so much for helping me stay with this.

Posted: 2012-05-06 03:03
Hey, I'm from Oregon too. Mcminnville actually.

Posted: 2012-05-07 20:28
Things are better. I have gone down to 16/11. I am doing morse machine Letters and word training. This has aloud me to calm down a bit. I can write better at this speed. I think now it will just take time to beat this into my brain. I am lesson 12 and I am thinking of going back to lesson 15.

Thank you all for the help. One must stick this out or one will never learn this. I have had guys tell me they learned this in 30 days. What can I say.

Posted: 2012-05-08 13:41
If I was you I'd forget all about these people who got up to 25wpm in 14 days etc etc.

Some people have a high (i.e. much higher than the rest of us) aptitude for morse (just like some people do for sprinting, swimming, long distance running, soccer etc) , and the commercial and military organizations who employed the professional telegraphists became adept at filtering these people out and designing training schemes to suit them.

This is where Farnsworth etc came from.

But you need to be able to copy down a letter (automaticaly) whilst still listening out for the next letter, to get up any sort of speed.

If you can't write that fast and listen ahead, then you won't speed up with that method, however quick you become at recognizing letters.

It doesn't matter too much tho', because you won't be doing this letter by letter copying when you become proficiant either, it's just for learning.

Some people can copy letter-by-letter easily (being a typist helps), the rest of us need to adopt a slightly different approach.

So . . .

Note what Pierpont (who also seems to have had troubles at first) says in his "The Art and Skill of Radio-Telegraphy" (http://www.qsl.net/n9bor/n0hff.htm)

If you are studying alone, start out by just listening without writing anything down . . . .
Listen to the signal and say the name of the letter or number out loud . . .
After you get familiar with all the letters . . . then practice writing them down . . .
In order to advance we need to learn to copy behind: that is, to be writing down what has been heard while listening to what is being sent . . .
"Throw Away Your Pencil" is good advice. It forces us to receive by just listening. . . .
We advance in skill after mastering letters . . . by learning to HEAR WORDS AS WORDS . . .
Our list of 100 most common words is a good place to begin . . . Practice them by listening to them . . . until when you think of the word it just seems to flow naturally. . .
We can extend this skill by practicing some of the words prefixes and suffixes, such as pro- . . . -ing, -tion . . .

People who get up to 25wpm in a few weeks still seem take quite a bit more time to read morse by just listening to it.

And if you listen to fast morse over the air, you will see that even tho' the words may be at 35wpm, the gaps they leave between words are typically much longer than for 35wpm, and they repeat their callsigns, often at a much slower speed.

People who, as Pierpont puts it "hear words as words" effectivly have an "alphabet" of several hundred words (and also common bits of word the- que- wa- plus -ere -ing -ese -ect -ack etc.) so here in this following example, where you would hear 26 letters which you then have to convert into words i.e. "just finished todays yard work" they hear 5 "morse letters" each of which pops a word into their minds.

No wonder they are quicker.

I can't say what's going to work for you, but I hope you'll try some other methods before giving up, so here's a suggestion based on Pierpont.

Use ebook2cw to create an mp3 file with his 100 words in groups of 3-5 (i.e. the the the of of of and and and) at 25wpm with spacing 15wpm.

Buy a cheap mp3 player and run through 5 mins of just listening to it several times a day (on the train, in the queue).

It won't take long before you are picking up whole words without thinking about it, and because it's all a question of how much (effective) time you have spent, you will speed up your letter recognition at the same time . . .

if you miss a new word, run the mp3 back until you have decoded it, then continue.

If you have a "problem letter" you can run through the mp3 just listening out for that letter (amid the others).

I expect a barrage of complaints about this suggestion, but if you don't KEEP making progress you will just get sick of it and give up.


Posted: 2012-05-08 18:25
This sounds to me like I can never do this. Like I should just give this up. At one time sending at 20 WPM just did not happen. I have to ask why we must send at 25 WPM or just get off the air.

I think you are right. I can not do this. Nether can most of us. This is why I walked away the last time I tried to do this. Some of us are just to stupid and I must be one of them.

Posted: 2012-05-08 19:04
No, just because some people want to show off by going very fast doesn't mean everybody has to.

If you want a QSO at 5wpm then go back to the zip merchants with "? QRS" - If they don't slow down then ignore them. I've slowly managed to have a few QSOs by going back to people at my comfort speed. It works they will slow down, anything else is considered rude.

Posted: 2012-05-08 19:08
This is the most difficult thing I have ever heard of anyone learning. I do not understand how anyone can learn this. It is no wonder that they dropped the code in order to get a license. Ham radio was disappearing. It had not grown for years and was in danger of just going away. I can say that I am getting a bit better at copying but not much. I find I must write it down. It is going to fast to stay up with it in your head. I just do not know what to say. I am back in tears again. I do not need to put myself through this. I just want to learn this. I want to be part of preserving the code for the future. I do not want this to disappear like so many things of our time.

I have been at this about 1 month this time. It is better than the last time I tried. It is going better but not as much as I think it should. I know there are some people that cannot learn this. I am also bad at math. However. I play the guitar, the keyboard, the drums. I love music. I can read it and write it. I do not understand this at all. If I cannot learn to hear the letter A how can I hear a whole word at one time. I am afraid to slow down. I am at 16/11 If I slow it down much more I might as well just give up.

You make it sound like this is just what I should do now.

Posted: 2012-05-08 19:35
This sounds to me like I can never do this. Like I should just give this up. At one time sending at 20 WPM just did not happen. I have to ask why we must send at 25 WPM or just get off the air.

I think you are right. I can not do this. Nether can most of us. This is why I walked away the last time I tried to do this. Some of us are just to stupid and I must be one of them.

Lynn ,

The requirement for a USA Novice amateur license was 5 wpm / General 13 wpm / Extra 20 wpm/ USCG or US Coast Guard 22 wpm / Maritime Service 25 wpm / Other USA government agency 25 wpm typed .

With that said I ,> the only reason I got into ham radio was to be a Morse Code operator.

Posted: 2012-05-08 19:50

Don't try to go too fast. Speed comes later. The only important thing when first learning is not to have the character speed too low.

I've got my speed set to 20/7. The 20 cpm means I'm learning the correct rhythm of the characters. and setting the word speed really slow gives me time to think and type.

I will be happy to use my CW on the air at any speed, I can already manage about 10 wpm on the air and expect to go faster once I've got to lesson 40 and can start increasing the word speed.

Keep at it - don't give up. Do 5 mins 3 times a day. If you have really hit a brick wall then give it a rest for a few days.

Colin (a Ham for more than 30 years and still learning)

Posted: 2012-05-09 01:56
Ya, I have to say that that 20/7 is a good place to be to learn and practice letters. No one here is stupid. Takes time to learn that is all. One learns at one's own rate and CW is sort of like learning to play an instrument. Big thing is to relax and enjoy yourself. You seem to be stuck on the idea the you need to learn it within a particular time frame. Why? I learned CW when I was in the Navy. My Job for a short time was to bring Dink Radiomen up to speed so that they pass the Radioman A school within a set time frame. Most of the guys that got behind got so worried and nervous that they couldn't study. So, have a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and run a few morse machine warm ups. Run a few speed rounds with the letters you know. Then, when you feel like it; add the next lesson. The fun part is trying to play b's and 6's lol always a boogar for me. As to learning words: you will pick them up as you go so don't worry about it. I think the first word I learned was THE. But just relax as you are on no schedule. I am taking forever learning to copy cw on this darn laptop. The crows are laughing at me I think. (they visit me when I am outside sitting on my rock)

Posted: 2012-05-09 13:49
I learned it fast,

Not because I am retired, but because I have nothing else to do, and because there is here crack and other stuff around for sale.

I am an expert in advising what kind of stuff is excellent for making progress in Morse code, believe me. I demonstrated it right here on this site.

Posted: 2012-05-09 15:33
I hooked up a good external speaker to my computer and plugged into it a very good set of headphone . My ability to copy Morse Code off the computer was greatly improved.

I use headphones to copy code in cw pile ups and can hear down as far as 3 layers of stations or more. I can hear weak stations I other wise would not be able to copy.

Head phones to copy Morse code for me is a must use !

Posted: 2012-05-09 18:44
OK, but before people are going to buy expensive speakers:

The quality of a speaker doesn't matter when you use it for a single tone, I think

May be the loudspeaker is so bad that he distorts the single tone and produces harmonics. Hurrah, because the HST experts do prefer ramp instead of sinusoid signals; and above that lzlep indicated he is a candidate for tinnitus when listening to a single sinusoid on-off keyed tone.

Posted: 2012-05-10 01:13
We are all diferent in many ways. Try, just having a few days off. Look for a new radio, watever. Sometimes, we all need a break..

Posted: 2012-05-14 19:40
Things are getting better. I am thinking of speeding things up just a bit. I just started out all wrong. I wish I had started out just hearing the code. I started out with a book seeing the code. It was such a huge mistake.

I think this can be done but not in a week. It is going to take time for me. I am not going to give this up.

I also find it is easer to copy words than to copy random letters. I cannot say I understand this but I find it true none the less.

I always use headphones. I am starting to hear the whole letter rather the dit and da so much. Since I started out seeing the dit and da I find my mind still wants to hear this. To hear the individual dit and da. I am hoping that I can change this. I wish I had started out just listening to the code and not reading it. It is to late for than now.

Let this be a lesson to others like myself. Get rid of that book or paper. Start listening to the code. For Gods sake do not learn it by looking at it.

Posted: 2012-05-14 20:14
No lady.

You were just too much in a hurry .

You can't learn touch typing in a weekend and also you can't learn Morse code in a weekend.

The key word is perseverance, nothing else. Not 5 hours today and then 20 days nothing but EVERY day 15 minutes or less.

Way of looking up first the code in a book, is not too bad, before research was done by Koch and some other guy Farnsbourg something like that, whole generations learned the code the way you did with eish5 tmo. They are still present as old timers on the ham bands with QRQ, so don't bother.

Posted: 2012-05-15 03:10
Zactly! What he said. Enjoy yourself, I love the time to myself I get when I study. I have such a hard time finding quiet time so that I can clear my mind and run drills. Oh yes, it is much easier to copy text because your mind will sort of anticipate what is coming next. I am having a real good time learning to copy on this laptop. My fingers get so spastic when I try a speed run. LOL Windows pop up everywhere. Well, I have some birds to attend to. They are sort of snoozing so I can clean the cage bottom. Then I will get my practice run in. 73 all

Posted: 2012-05-21 17:57

Congrats, you are proceeding fast!

Posted: 2012-05-21 21:46
Hi all. I've been studying code here slowly for two years. I finally got the nerve up to get on the air, even though i was miserable at code. I went to the slow code areas around 7.110 to 7.120 and 7.040 to 7.060 (that's 40meters)...I listened for slow CQ's and sent a real slow CQ. I actually made some slow QSO's right away. There are lots of people out there that will slow down to 3 words per minute if you need to.....just send "pse qrs" and then send at the rate you are comfortable receiving. Don't worry about how slow it is.....I get home from work and make about two QSO's a night....IT IS SO MUCH FUN!.

I look the person up in QRZ when I first hear their call. Then I already know their name and QTH, so all I really need to receive is the RST. Then, even if I can't understand anything else I can send TNX FER QSO JOHN, 73, IT WAS FUN CUL XX7XXX DE K6GIG

Pretty soon you get faster and faster. I am still doing lessons here on this site at 22/11 (averages out to 16wpm) but I'm only on lesson 20. But you don't need to be a speed demon to have a lot of fun.....JUST GET ON THE AIR AND HAVE FUN!

Posted: 2012-05-21 23:52
One other thing. At first I did not know how to end a QSO. I have found a lot of variation, but the most common way I hear people END a QSO, and the way I do it now is, after sending the call signs, I add : SK dihdit (and the other person comes back to me with a "dihdit")



Posted: 2012-05-22 01:55
Nice to see some other YL's learning CW. I am still working my way through the lessons, now on lesson 30, with speeds 19/12. I have had the speed up to 22 but had to slow down to make progress with the error rate. It is still a struggle, with mixing up letters and making too many mistakes, a lot just mis-typing. But I do not spend enough time, and now I have reached this far, I am not going to give up.

Posted: 2012-05-22 16:37
One other thing. At first I did not know how to end a QSO. I have found a lot of variation, but the most common way I hear people END a QSO, and the way I do it now is, after sending the call signs, I add : SK dihdit (and the other person comes back to me with a "dihdit")



Posted: 2012-05-22 18:04

Ending a QSO is quite easy.

You sent : My mother in law ia arriving right now. so tks 73 SK es CL . .

Posted: 2012-05-23 17:15

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