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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: Pen or Keys?

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AuthorText


Posted: 2013-03-19 22:17
Hi all,

I've done a morse code course before, and just as I wanted to apply for the exam the regulations changed and there was no need to do that anymore, and my license was automatically upgraded to include all bands.

I dropped it for a while and just shortly regained interest for no special reason.

My question: I used to take morse (12 wpm at that time, Koch method lessons) by writing with a pen on a piece of paper.

Now I am trying to learn morse at 20wpm and started with typing the letters because the site has an excellent checking mechanism.

I notice that typing feels a lot different (maybe less "authentic") than using a pen.

How do you guys feel, should I go modern-age and do the whole course on a keyboard, or is it generally considered better to learn with a pen and paper, old school style?

Looking forward to your thoughts on this.

vy 73's,
Rolf


Posted: 2013-03-20 00:56
I am doing it both ways. Parallel to my training in touch typing. First I am practicing with keyboard, after achieving constantly over 90%, I switch to pen and going to to same goal.


Posted: 2013-03-21 21:00
I'm at lesson 5 (KMURES) and haven't used a pen yet. Still feels funny, in the beginning it felt like a "press button when hear sound", but now that I train more letters it starts to feel more like typing. Maybe this will work.

The big win for typing and this awesome site is the immediate feedback on your errors and progress. This makes that I can easily spend 1 minute somewhere quiet, which gives me more training moments during the day.

I do notice that a stressed mind occupied with thoughts does not help. Quiet evening sessions give the best scores.


Posted: 2013-03-25 18:31
Hi Rolf,
if I would be you I would go with the modern age. While a pen is quite comfortable on slow speed, is it quite difficult to recognize your own writing at higher speeds. For example U and N, B and 6 and so on. Have fun and good luck on CW!
Vy73 Fritz


Posted: 2013-03-29 22:35
Thanks Fritz, I'm at lesson 12 and still using keys. My accuracy went down, and I think it's because my mind is now switching from "this sound is this key" to "this sound is letter A, remember and type later".
It's hard but awesome at the same time to see my mind making that switch. It seems there's only one trick to learning morse, and that is to practice every day, as much as you can.
Still having fun! 73 73


Posted: 2013-04-01 10:27
Ciao Rolf
I'm learning CW with LCWO from more than one year.
I used "Morse Machine" for many time at 20/10 speed then MP3 files.
Some momths at 20/15, from a few days 20/20.
I prefer to write with a pencil and paper like old school style.
I get the best marks in the morning.

73's Sandro


Posted: 2013-04-01 13:41
Hi Sandro, thanks, I haven't used the Morse Machine much, because the lessons force me to "race". That means the sounds will be in my reflexive memory, which is where they should be.
I'm getting more and more confident that I will be able to use pen too, after the course, but I'll stick to keys for now.
My best scores are early in the evening or afternoon. I'm not a morning person I guess :-)

73s


Posted: 2014-09-02 02:32
When in the Navy Radio 'A' School (1960!) we learned on a typewriter. They started at 5wpm and you moved up - I plateaued at 18wpm and dropped to 4wpm - and was kicked out! I did get to be an Radioman - and got better with the code. Now coming back many years later, I started with the pencil - but find the keyboard to be much more practical. Eventually I hope to 'read in my head' but for now the keyboard does the job. CW itself is 'old-school' and 'tech-artistry' enough without laboring with a pencil.


Posted: 2014-09-02 09:45
Harzack, you kicked an old thread upwards,
Rolfje is now, one and a half year later, at lesson 37.

As a matter of fact what I am missing in this thread:

When attending primary school you start learning to write with handwriting. There is no discussion wheter you should start with machine writing.

Much later you may learn to touch type (10 fingers blind). Most people however type pretty fast on their keyboards looking at it with hunt and peg, using less then all their fingers on an antique QWERTY layout. A key lay out (qwerty) not suited and not designed for real fast typing.

In real life handwriting keeps being of importance to make fast short notes, nobody, I suppose, should not regret not to be able to write by hand. Normally you listen to a spoken message and write on a note the essential things to remember.

That is the final stage you try to reach also with Morse decoding.

So with Morse code. Primary requirement is to be able to jot it down, secundary to type it out, when a machine is available and you want to record it better readable at higher speeds.

At yearly organised hamfests, such as DVDRA in this country, often there are proficiency runs organized, You have to decode by _handwriting_, and you obtain a (free) proficiency certificate with the max speed you decoded error free in WRITING.

Learning to touch type during and with this Koch course is not a good idea, because your finger setting is not instructed, you are hardly using the shift keys and the learning sequence of characters is different from the touch typing sequence.

My opinion: best thing is write the code from the lessons on horizontal and vertical lined paper (squares preprinted) and one out of 10 exercises type them out in order to check your progress.


Posted: 2014-09-02 14:29
Lea - I understand that taking code 'with a stick' is the traditional way for HAMS to copy code.

However, in Navy environment, a more formal approach is needed, as the messages that were received (before the days of teletype) had to be routed to the various officers who may need the info. Handwriting just wouldn't cut it.

In all fairness, I have a bit of a lead in learning the code again, as I have known it - some 40 years ago, and DID hold an Advanced Class license which I let lapse. So for me - the keyboard is a far better approach. Plus my 71-year old hands just can't write that fast. LOL! I'm loving the Koch method as presented on this site - but I don't agree with your suggestions of the NEED of hand-coping code.

The REAL objective is to get the code 'in your head' so you can COPY IN YOUR head - no writing needed. I suspect most CW QSO's aren't that long and detailed that would only need to grab a few words on paper - and 'understand' the rest of what is being said. Also - at the higher WPM, you have to learn to 'copy ahead' as one simply cannot write single characters that quickly.

Another plus for the keyboard is that many people are using computers these days, and are very comfortable on a keyboard - as am I.

I didn't notice the post I was responding to was so old - glad to here Rolfje has made such great progress!

Best Regards

=Alan R.


Posted: 2014-09-02 15:10
[quote=Harrzack]
However, in Navy environment, a more formal approach is needed, as the messages that were received (before the days of teletype) had to be routed to the various officers who may need the info. Handwriting just wouldn't cut it.
[...]

The REAL objective is to get the code 'in your head' so you can COPY IN YOUR head - no writing needed.

=Alan R.[/quote]

Alan, first of all I found on 'you tube' that the signal corps in the USA used a special way to write capital characters in order to make sure they are readable when handwritten.

Concerning copy in your head, no writing needed:

When somebody transmits to me" " The phonenumber of the greengrocer you are looking for in London City is 012-3141592

I copy the sentence in my head but I NEED and are able to jot down with a stick 012-3141592

Furthermore I read recently on eham.net forum in a discussion overthere from the hand of K8AXW - a former US-army intercept Morse code copier - the words:

"WV isn't familiar with the British intercept operators! They never used a mill and all of their copy was box letters/numbers at speeds up to 35wpm with a pencil and they did it all day!"

Added to the fact that those messages were encrypted, it is clear that a shift in position had severe repercussion on the decoding possibilities. so accuracy was extremely important

May be the navy, your former employer, had another policy due to the fact that ships could be rolling pitching and yawing severely in stormy weather, which makes readable writing not always possible.





Posted: 2014-09-02 20:22
Horses for courses...
[deleted]

Posted: 2014-09-04 16:51
hb9csa:
Hi Rolf,
if I would be you I would go with the modern age. While a pen is quite comfortable on slow speed, is it quite difficult to recognize your own writing at higher speeds. For example U and N, B and 6 and so on. Have fun and good luck on CW!
Vy73 Fritz


I agree, but hamfest proficiency runs require in general writing up to 40 wpm. and a pen(cil is often readily available then a mill.


Posted: 2014-09-13 17:53
Depending on what you are doing, you may need to do any of the above. For general rag chewing, nothing beats head copy but for serious contesting, computer skills really make things easier. Handwriting, I believe, is an essential skill for any cw op. Years ago, I learned to touch type and copy code at the same time on a computer program and hand copy was never a problem. Even today, I touch type and my fingers know where the keys are but in my mind, I only know where a few of the letters are located on the keyboard. This looks like a fun forum, glad I ran into itl

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