User name:

Български Português brasileiro
Bosanski Català
繁體中文 Česky
Dansk Deutsch
English Español
Suomi Français
Ελληνικά Hrvatski
Magyar Italiano
日本語 한국어
Bahasa Melayu Nederlands
Norsk Polski
Português Română
Русский සිංහල
Slovenščina Srpski
Svenska ภาษาไทย
Türkçe Українська
Who is online? (7)

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: Effective speed compared: LCWO and G4FON

Back to the Forum


Posted: 2013-09-04 19:57

when having the character speed at twice the effective speed, I would expect the "breaks" in between two characters to be about the same length as the characters itself, PLUS a minimum break which only is dependent on character speed, but which is independent of the effective speed.

E.g., if I have character speed set to 20, and effective speed set to 10, and I am receiving many "K" characters, I would expect each break in between two "K" to be a little longer than a "K" itself ("K" plus the minimum break).

In the Koch trainer by G4FON, this indeed seems to be the case. Thus, setting the character speed to 35 is challenging, but having the effective speed at only 13 wpm gives me enough time to react.

In LCWO, on the other hand, this setting (35, 13) seems a LOT faster due to the fact that the breaks between two characters are not nearly as long as in the G4FON program.

A short test shows that in lesson 1, with setting (20,10), with characters "M" and "K", the breaks in between two characters are merely long enough to fit in an "E" (which is considerably shorter than both "K" and "M"). The same setting, in the G4FON program, easily allows to fit an "M" or "K" into the breaks (just as I would expect).

Now I know that there are different ways to calculate (and set) effective speed. But can this really make such a large difference? Or am I maybe having a technical problem?

73 -- Georg

Posted: 2013-09-05 14:03
Don't think so. The K is 9 dits without letterspace. The letterspace is 3 dits , in the case 20/10 it is double that amount (=6 dits)

Character speed is real PARIS speed, hence a dash is 3 dits a dot is one dit, and speed in wpm is baudrate of dits times 6/5

That is because standard word PARIS is 50 dits long and 1 wpm is hence 60/50 dits baud rate.

So K is normally including letterspace 12 dits. without letterspace 9 dits.

With a letterspace of 3 dits, and reduced denominator 20/10 you have 6 dits available for the space instead of 3.

So the number of characters K per minute at 20/20
is 83.33 (1000 dits/minute)

And in the 20/10 case the K takes 15 dits and hence 1000/15=66,66 K's per minute.

In 20/10 the 10 is only valid for the letterspaces, and the 20 for the remaining part of the message


Posted: 2013-09-05 22:57
Greg is right,

G4FON has for 20/10 the character plus the primary 3 dit letter space on speed 20 and adds an additional space equal to the length of the character plus the primary space in order to get a throughput of 10 wpm in the example 20/10

Disadvantage of G4FON method is that your permitted reaction time is dependent of the length of the character. With character e it is
in case 20/10 4 dits extra, and figure 0 (zero)
which takes 22 dits the extra added reaction time is 22 dits.

Because during learning the code it is required that you shorten in your learning proces your reaction time for each character to 3 dits (the nominal letterspace) you may be happy with the method of this website.

Posted: 2013-09-07 19:09
Dank je wel Lea, thank you Greg

Then I will continue with LCWO but set the effective speed down, maybe 35/6 instead of 35/13 at G4FON, which seems comparable in overall speed to me (I prefer character speed 35 instead of 20 right away because I find it easier to go from 35 to 20 than from 20 to 35). When I'm through with all characters I will start to increase effective speed. Hope that makes sense...

73 -- Georg

Posted: 2013-09-18 14:38
I'm glad I looked at the forum right after joining, because I think I have the same problem. I'd been using a simple program to do the Koch method before, and LCWO seemed faster with the same 20/12 speed setting, and the word boundaries seemed harder to identify. I bet that program was doing the speeds incorrectly too. I was unwittingly "cheating" on the speed. :-)

Posted: 2013-09-18 15:01
Best thing you can do is start with 20/5 in a lesson or even slower 20/4 or 20/3. Then, when you make 90% go over in that lesson to 20/somewhat little bit higher. till you reach at least 20/10

After that go over to next lesson. I suppose, but my opinion has less then void value, that the time of exercising is less frustrating and hence longer, so you get faster to your end goal which must be at least 12/12 in order to prevent parking places for the disabled on the bands.

Gd luck

Posted: 2013-09-18 16:21
I can actually copy at 20/12, at least for the letters I'd already been practicing, so there is no need to go to 20/5. Perhaps because I tended to warm up at a straight 20WPM so that 20/12 would seem leisurely. :-)

Posted: 2013-09-18 22:03
OK, most people fall back when a new character is added, creating panic and a lot of misses in the cluster starting with the panic feelings.

Posted: 2013-09-18 22:24
I have sometimes done something similar with the character frequency--backing off to 12/12 for example, then working to get back up to 20/12. That has the disadvantage of making the characters potentially countable, but the advantage that straight timing isn't completely unfamiliar.

At any rate, I may have to adopt some such scheme as you describe since the faster timing of LCOW effectively sets me back considerably; from maybe 8-10 characters to more like 4. Or, if you prefer, doesn't set me back but rather gets my numbers honest for the first time. :-)

I can't really say I know how to do it best with this tool, and certainly suggestions are quite welcome.

I notice when I fall back it's often because I only needed to recognize part of a character before but with the added letter it's ambiguous. I have to re-train the old neural net a bit on what counts as significant. :-) It's rather interesting to have some consciousness of training one's own brain like that.

Posted: 2013-10-02 01:58
It was interesting to read how the ARRL interprets Farnsworth timing:


If the information on this thread is correct, what LCWO does is different. Given that eventually I'd like to be able to copy W1AW code practice, is there any chance of having an option to use "W1AW timing" so that 18/15 here (say) is the same as the 15WPM W1AW transmissions?

I guess that's a feature request. :-)

Posted: 2013-10-03 22:35
K7QO has a free downloadable course, to be put on CDROM, I suppose he has the ARRL timing you desire. When advancing he exercises also QSO texts.

Posted: 2013-10-04 06:59
1. I see no reason to think that K7QO is using the ARRL timing (or not, for that matter--I found no indication on his website).

2. It seems a bit bizarre to recommend a clearly non-Koch method course on the LCWO website, of all places. What did I do to deserve that? I learned 5WPM in 1979, and have no interest in repeating the experience.

3. I suspect that LCWO timing respects the proper ratio of times just as the ARRL does--the only issue is what you *call* it. I understood this thread to indicate that LCWO treats the second number as the speed of the inter-character and inter-word spaces. The ARRL computation is really just about figuring out what the overall speed is if you increase those spaces and designating it by the overall speed instead of the "space speed."

If I have that correct, it means that either way you learn precisely the same thing. I just thought it would be nice to be able to translate between the two designations so I could tell when I'm up to the speed of one of the standard ARRL practice speeds. It isn't terribly important, but it would be a useful feature for American members (or really, anyone within listening range of a station broadcasting the W1AW practice sessions).

In any event Fabian didn't respond, so I suppose he doesn't think the feature is worth the effort.

Posted: 2013-10-04 09:25
K7QO did a lot of work on CW for the ARRL. He was responsible for the ARRL CW courses AFAIK.

Don't trust too much on the quality and insight of ARRL, there may be all kind of reasons, but I conclude that that on a world wide base, the USA has hardly any competence compared to east european states in CW performance.

One of the absolute world top is the constructor of this website, so I suppose you can trust the way he thinks you learn the right way with the best hope not to meet any preventable ceiling in your development on the subject.

Posted: 2013-10-04 10:23
Ms 88 that is no answer about what he was pointing at.

When the ARRL adjusts the character and wordspace by a constant factor for a transmission of a text such that the text transmitted per minute is equal to the speed at regular morse timing for that particular text, indicated at their effective speed figure, he wants to know what the conversion factor is from LCWO effective speed to ARRL effective speed.

That is my interpretation of his text.

The answer is in my opinion that it is impossible to answer because the stretched spacing at LCWO is a constant for each character independent of the kind of character, above that it is an integer number of dit times; and at the ARRL it is a real number (a partial like 1.414), adjusted and calculated for each complete exercise separately. It is dependent on the probably density function of the characters in the message.

Easiest when you are not math minded, is to take a text, play it with 20/n with n

Posted: 2013-10-04 10:30
play it with 20/n with n

Posted: 2013-10-04 10:39
Damn, the reason of disappearing is understood now by my slow working degenerated mind.

Play is at 20/n with n smaller then 20 wpm.
Measure the time1 used with a stopwatch. Now play the same message with 20/20 measure the time again time2. Of course is time2 smaller then time 1

For this particular message is the real speed to be calculated from time2/time1 * 20wpm

So the you have n and the measured real speed.

Posted: 2013-10-04 16:13
pd0ldb: the quality and insight of the ARRL is irrelevant. So are national comparisons, which may be important to you but is not to me. The relevance is that they are responsible for the most easily accessible on-air practice in the US, which I will use when I'm through the Koch method.

Fabian's credentials aren't in question either--it was really just about making it easy to start using the W1AW broadcasts eventually. When Fabian sets up his network of code practice broadcasts, I'm sure it will be great, but I'll have to make do with what I have right now.

I thought it was a very simple question that didn't require stipulating that for all other purposes LCWO is great--I'm here because I decided it was the best tool of the several I compared. I don't see why asking for a rather minor bookkeeping option (which is all it is) would call that into question.

Posted: 2013-10-04 16:23
!deleted!: yes, exactly, I just wanted to make the conversion simple. I guess it would be easier to just look at their math more closely and compute it myself, but I thought it wouldn't be all that hard for the website to do it. Especially if it just reported the arrl equivalent without letting you enter the desired speed that way, it seems like just applying the formulas they use. Entering shouldn't really be hard either, but just knowing the equivalent would be almost as good.

I think you are wrong about what they are computing. My (admittedly cursory) reading suggests that all they are really doing is reporting the real speed according to the PARIS standard, not based on the complete message. I think it encodes precisely the same information as LCWO does, just in different units. I could be wrong, but that's what I got from glancing over how they did their math.

Posted: 2013-10-04 16:29
!deleted!: I've mostly gone to doing straight timing at different speeds, though for a different reason. I don't really practice sending, but I played with it a bit and realized that I was sending with Farnsworth timing. I thought it would be better if my ear was always hearing correctly spaced code.

However, that may not solve the issue--the point of the article was that at least some of their practice broadcasts are in Farnsworth timing, though I don't know the details.

I guess it would be easier to do the math than to explain why I wanted this feature.

Posted: 2013-10-04 22:56
Yes Ms 88 obviously didnót understand your posted problem, I suppose and I did not make a study of ARRL habits. So we are just chit chatting around, like a 'Tea Party'.

When they at ARRL use PARIS standard the wpm is fixed coupled to the dit time. So to make things easy, suppose your message is PARIS PARIS and so on.
With paris you have 4 character spaces and one word space. So 19 extended dits for the spaces and 31 standard dits for the characters.

When LCWO says speed=N/M that uses N*31+N(19*N/M) standard dit times per minute instead of 50N standard dit times per minute for M=N (which is standard Morse with speed N wpm)

So the througput of N/M LCWO notation is
[N*31+N(19*N/M)]/50N as factor slower then N.

Rest of the math is your homework for this night.

Posted: 2013-10-05 11:23
!deleted! this looks right to me, so laurence can calculate the effective speed as defined by ARRL now from LCWO speed specification. I hope so.
For him.

Dustin Laurence: My remarks concerning ARRL were made because in the QEX reference you presented, they say that for every speed in every ARRL Morse release below 18 wpm they use Farnsworth timing.

Now knowing that more then 75% (my estimate) of all the active amateurs that use CW as one of their modes have their speed limit below 18 wpm, that means that they never exercise at standard timing Morse code below 18 wpm. That is the insight of ARRL and that is what I doubt to believe should be better.

So you better go ASAP over to n/n and not to one of both numbers fixed at 18 in the case the other is below 18.

Posted: 2013-10-06 04:54
pd0ldb: Yes, I should be able to work out the conversion factor now, I just have to sit down with a pencil. I was at drill today and couldn't think about it.

As for the ARRL, I don't think they're to blame unless you want to blame them for having a hand in the old incentive licensing structure (I read once they did, I don't know if it is true). I was first licensed as a novice in 1979, which required the ability to read straight 5/5 WPM code. What the ARRL does is, I think, actually better than what was then customary practice, which usually was to learn straight 5/5 code because that's how you had to read it on the FCC-written and -administered exam. (The VE system wouldn't happen for another five years, and likewise the option to take the test with Farnsworth timing didn't exist yet.) So aside from the very unlikely case of someone training to 13WPM or so and getting their general license immediately, the government actually mandated that you learn code "wrong." Something like the Koch method was more or less forbidden for practical purposes by the licensing authority. So nobody had ever heard of such a method (and it wasn't practical in the days before personal computers anyway, unless you knew a good telegrapher willing to spend a lot of time with you). In fact, Farnsworth timing was pretty bleeding-edge at the time (I think I learned straight 5 WPM, but I think a couple of years later my dad got ahold of some Farnsworth-timed material in studying for his general.

My speculation is that the incentive licensing structure might have actually created a dysfunctional CW learning tradition in the US. In any event, what the ARRL is doing is much better than what I remember, and probably as good as one can do without adopting the Koch method outright: send the letters fast enough that you have a chance of learning the sound by reflex. My (dimly-remembered, it must be admitted) recollection is that this is basically impossible at 5WPM. That's so slow that it feels like a completely different skill to me.

Even now, doing the Koch method exclusively, I find it easier to read letters at 15 WPM than at 12 WPM because the overall sound is clearer. So the most that I imagine the ARRL can be blamed for is not telling people how to learn code, but I don't think they ever wanted to do that. Their practice sessions aren't tied to a pedagogical method, they are just sending natural English text. And they have to start slowly, because they have to cater to people at any speed, and some will learn at 5 WPM. Given that, I'd say it's a lot better to at least send it with Farnsworth timing than at 5/5. If you've never tried to copy straight 5/5, do it and then work up some sympathy for the people whose license required them to learn it slow. It is excruciating, and actually doesn't work unless you learn some kind of mental lookup table.

In fact, I always hated code. Why I'm here studying it now is a whole 'nuther story.

As for straight timing, I do 80-90% straight timing, because as I said I tried a bit of sending and realized I was sending with Farnsworth timing, and that I actually had a trouble copying straight timing because I wasn't good at recognizing the character and word spaces. I had been mostly doing the Koch method with Farnsworth timing, so I decided that I needed better ear training by listening predominantly straight timing with normal spaces. I had to re-learn the spaces to do it, too. However, other than that I don't think there is a problem with Farnsworth--I found I could read 12/12 if I could read 15/12 or 20/12, say.

Anyway, I think the basic issue is that the ARRL doesn't take a position on how you should learn, except that for people learning at 5WPM Farnsworth was so much of an improvement that they didn't think there was any point to ever reading at 5/5. I agree with them--I don't think there is ever a good reason for that, and I did it once.

Posted: 2013-10-06 05:03
!deleted!: Thanks much. Knowing LCWO's precise notation, I can work out the conversion factor. I'm kind of curious now just for the sake of knowing.

Posted: 2013-10-06 10:24
Laurence, thanks for the explanation, a collection of snippets knowledge gathered here and there over time, is now composed a more structured composition in my mind.

Posted: 2013-10-06 13:16
I woke up and didn't feel sleepy, so I decided to work this out instead of counting sheep (does anyone actually do that?). :-) Unless I'm too tired to do math, the conversion is as follows. If you want to copy W1AW at speed W/C (W is overall speed, C is character speed), the LCWO equivalent speed is C/L where

19/L = 50/W - 31/C

I assume anyone who wants to do this can solve for whatever quantity they wish. This also proves my assertion that automating the translation would be extremely easy.

The main effect of this is that the LCWO speed is slower, often much slower, as already discussed on this thread. If you want to copy a W1AW run at 10/18, you want to practice here at 18/6.

BTW, a little more reading suggests that using the overall speed instead of the "space speed" is standard US practice. How much do you want to bet this is because the FCC code requirements were stated in terms of overall speed, so that became the de jure quantity of interest to US amateurs?

Anyway, the code requirement has only been gone for six and a half years, and before that for seven years the old 5WPM entry speed had become the *only* speed an amateur would ever be tested at. So it is only to be expected that the way American amateurs think about CW is dominated by the effects of having to pass a 5 WPM test by law.

I wonder what would have happened if 13 WPM had been the slowest test?

Posted: 2013-10-07 14:27
Your homework assignment by night is grade A Laurence. Perfect.

I propose we call this formula "Laurence formula"

In case LCWO specifies C/L the overall speed is

50C/[31+19C/L) which follows immediately from the used time for PARIS at C and the used time for the 19 dits extended spaces like !deleted! explained.

So when you finish the course at speed 20/10 as adviced you have to exercise for normal timed Morse code at 14 wpm in order to reduce the spaces to standard with the same overall speed.

So first boundary passed. Up to conversation speed @ 50 wpm which is the next glass ceiling to penetrate!

But remember I am a school drop out, when you have more intellectual capabilities than I , you better spent your time in the field of your capabilities then in Morse code, I suppose.

Yes you never know, but as I said, the USA has low representation in the world top speed championships, so may be the 5 wpm, forced by law was of influence. Hard to prove.

You will now also understand that W1AW has to adjust character and word spaces to a real, instead of an integer number of dits like LCWO does, in order to get their overall speed at the published value W.

When you know what a Pythagoreische Wolfsquinte is you may understand that it upsets your feeling about the rithm of the code extraordinarily.

gd luck

Posted: 2013-10-07 16:42
Calculation is correct.

Posted: 2013-10-08 00:03
pd0ldb: It's good to verify that my basic algebra is still functional--my differential geometry and other more advanced mathematics probably isn't. I was too tired to do what any competent applied mathematician should do and verify the formula, though some eyeballing suggested it had the right behavior.

Representation in top speed championships probably is not a good proxy to measure quality of code education (or much of anything else except the scaled talent pool). Someone with the talent to be a leading, hmm, let's say "Morse Athlete" is going to get past the 10WPM barrier no matter how they get there, just as happens in other fields. It is actually the lackluster normally-talented (or untalented) students (as I no doubt am in regards to learning code) that depend on the quality of the instruction. In fact, teaching methods for the average student are often terrible methods for the gifted student, and vice versa.

Sports in general are notoriously difficult to interpret anyway. For example, the US is ranked back with the hopeless cases in Olympic weightlifting. Why? Bad training? Well, as it happens even the most knowledgeable person I know on the subject, who in fact thinks US weightlifting is terribly coached, says the reason is very different. Athletes choose among the sports they are talented for based on utility (though people really seem to hate to believe it), and in the US salaries and prestige are based on popularity. The combination of strength and athleticism required by Olympic lifting is precisely what is required for football, the most popular sport in the country, while nobody watches Olympic lifting (I believe I saw it on regular TV *once* growing up, and that was during the Olympics). The end result is that a professional football player could probably fund the entire US Olympic lifting program with his pocket money and not notice. So very, very few Americans with world-class talent choose Olympic lifting. Contrast China, where utility has much to do with the choice of the state, and the state rewards Olympic lifting enough that top talent *does* choose weightlifting often enough (the enormous talent pool is of course important, but the point is that the US scores far, far below what it would do based on its population if athlete choice were average).

I suspect, but of course cannot prove, there is something similar in "Morse sports" that would overwhelm other effects. There is a very tiny constituency for it in the US. I did not even know such competitions existed until I found myself wanting to learn Morse again after 34-ish years and wondered who it was that wrote this website. My guess is that this must not be as true elsewhere, since I see that people do put more time and effort into such competitions. However, my point isn't that I know this is the reason, as I obviously don't, but rather just that you usually can't conclude much from top-level sports results beyond the size of the talent pool times the the percentage of top talent which chooses that sport instead of something else.

It's also worth noting that at one time many of the best Morse operators in the US actually used Morse's code, not the German-developed (IIRC) version which became International Morse. I do wonder if there is some lasting effect from that fact. Rationally speaking probably not, but it's amusing to consider.

Posted: 2013-10-08 10:24
Yes, makes sense. Yhank you for dealing your insight.
Railway Morse code, as it is mentioned, left still its traces in international Morse code as used by ham radio, The ampersand with linguistic (not Boolean) meaning 'and' is still es
The telegraph laughter hi, transmitted as hee, which was the railway representation of ho

Posted: 2013-10-08 11:42
I didn't know the origin of 'hi hi', thanks for that. I was thinking, though, of the fact that the two different codes split the talent reservoir. I actually guess that didn't really mean much, it's just an interesting speculation. I'm reading "200 Meters And Down" right now and that makes me think about what things were like in the 20's.

I once wanted to hear the rhythmic effects of having multiple space lengths, but the tiny group of people interested in American Morse are also interested in the original tools and only put out recordings using sounders. I wanted to hear it with a keyer as it would be used over the air, but couldn't find a recording.

I wouldn't mind hearing international morse with a sounder either, but I suppose I'm funny that way.

Posted: 2013-10-08 15:44
N1EA published some records in sounder sound. Railway Morse code, available at Internet,

It wouldn't be a problem for you, I estimate, to write a program in some general purpose language like C, or what have you, to switch in a tone when a click happens, and to switch is off with a clack sound. There are some editor clicks introduced in those records, so sometimes you have to reverse sound to silence. ho ho.

Furthermore a railway Morse decoder or translator to international code, makes it possible to listen to those guys(/gals) that are now mostly below ground zero. Is that the right description of bur(n)||(ri)ed?

Posted: 2013-10-08 19:07
"Below ground zero" would imply that they were vaporized in a nuclear explosion. Definitely dead, but maybe not quite appropriate for the old telegraphers. :-)

I thought about just writing a text-to-morse program that could do either international or american morse (which I privately call "Old Morse" because it amuses me enormously). That's easier than writing a sounder-to-tone translator and might be sufficient to satisfy my curiosity. Mostly I was interested because Old Morse supposedly sounds syncopated, and I wanted to hear what that sounded like.

If I went to that much trouble though, I'd probably succumb to the temptation to create more efficient human-readable digital encodings. Morse uses very little of the tremendous signal processing capability of the brain, but nobody cares because (1) nobody cares about human-readable digital modes anyway, and (2) interoperability is so important to CW users that it trumps all other considerations.

Still, at least the idea of using modern knowledge and hardware to make highly efficient modes that can be read by machine or by ear seems like a really fun, if somewhat pointless, game.

Posted: 2013-10-08 20:51
That is right. Morse code is surely not suitable for high efficiency machine decoding. It is born in an era of less knowledge as a good guess, and worked as such.

Even remark the character O, dah dah dah, which takes more time then expected by the probability of occurence,

So the invention of mental decoding combined with higher efficiency could be a form of natural progress, but I think that just like the pyramids of Egypt we, as hams, are the right people to conserve the sound as a step in the progress of humanity, not changing it because it can be done better by new insight and modern technology.

My english must be bad because I learned it from songs ,never educated as such. Can be dangerous, because you might understand something completely different from what I meant,

Remember I have a novice license , the Netherlands, also known as Holland, has the prefix range PA to PIZZ, and the amateur licenses were in the past prefixed PA0 because the A stands for amateur and the Zero for zero value in the eyes of government, a really valuation of a ham. Now, when you are not able to perform the exam for a full license you can get an eternal novice license (technician in the USA) with prefix PD. The D stands for Dumbo. I suppose so. and the zero of PD0 may be clear.

Posted: 2013-10-09 01:28
What I mean was that morse isn't suitable for high efficiency human decoding. :-) It is very efficient for printing on paper tape (Morse's original plan) and transmitting with extremely simple equipment.

Humans are capable of extremely subtle auditory distinctions, especially if the relationships are related to evenly-spaced harmonics. So I don't think a single on/off tone is at all optimal (except for bandwidth). Just two tones would let you shorten the dahs to unit length and substantially compress ordinary morse (I believe there are in fact digital modes that do precisely that), but I bet you can do at least five separate tones with no loss of mental efficiency. The human ear is extraordinarily good at musical distinctions, and I think the five tones of the major pentatonic scale could be used for a highly compressed encoding. That would, for example, give you thirty separate characters no longer than the Morse 'i', for example, whereas in morse there are only three such characters. In fact I think one can do better than that, but just that simple example convinces me it would be interesting to investigate. That increases the data rate substantially without increasing the baud rate, just as is done with purely machine-readable formats. What I just said is just as machine readable as any other format too.

I suppose one would then have to convince the FCC, or your local equivalent regulatory body, that it is data and not music (which amateurs can't transmit, at least in the US, except for the special case of NASA certain feeds that have background music in them).

Anyway, that's what I mean about Morse not taking much advantage of the extremely good signal processing of the brain. And of course in addition you are correct that three dahs is insane for a vowel, certainly in English and I'd think in many languages. But we didn't care about digital until after we quit caring about human-readable. So this idea is just science-fiction speculation in the realm of "the road not taken."

Posted: 2013-10-09 10:42
Processing of the brain is certainly mainly unused, realise that we proces speech at 200 wpm even before we are able to read and write on paper.

You can code for minimum bits information, kind of compression, and add bits for redundancy in a noisy channel.

One tone on off is 6 dB worse then phase reversal.
Two or more different tones is distingushable for human decoding,

Shannons formula shows the relationship between bandwidth signal to noise ratio and channel capacity.

There are multitone modulation schemes in use for ham radio in the CW parts of the bands.

Posted: 2013-10-09 12:11
Not sleeping again, so I can try to catch up on the thread. I'm probably not sharp enough to make much progress on the code.

I know nothing of the Dutch license structure. A bit of Googling suggests that your amateur radio regulations are surprisingly restrictive, but I only skimmed a bit. OTOH you have a LF allocation which we don't have. I don't have any gear capable of LF and couldn't put up an LF antenna anyway, but it would be interesting to try because that was the start of the hobby. As I said, I'm reading "200 Meters And Down," a history of the amateur hobby in the US written in 1936(!), and he tells the whole story of amateurs getting banished to the "useless" shorter wavelengths, discovering skywave, and so on.

Don't feel bad about your English, especially if you taught yourself. We're having a conversation, so it is working just fine. It must be very difficult to learn a language from song lyrics (it's a form of poetry and gets to break many rules, plus certain lyricists appear to be illiterate anyway).

Posted: 2013-10-09 19:15
OK, counting sheeps help, I never ever passed 8 sheeps.

You will be interested in The Art & Skill of Radio-Telegraphy
William G. Pierpont N0HFF, free to download. Best things in life are for free.

Everything he says, I experience as being true.
Like climbing the Himalaya and the guide saying: now you are going to experience this or that.

OK you are not sharp enough learning the code in no time. I tell you, sharpness is contra productive; when I loss attention the code is flowing in my mind as if it were Gods word flowing in a Pennsylvania Shaker. Some Italian HST fellow, calls it Zen. Zen is just like counting sheeps when you want to fall asleep, empty your mind and experience the code as if someone is talking to you.

Yes that book "200 meter (not feet, inch, yard, seamile or landmile) and below "is still for sale at amazon.com

We are diverting from the thread subject, sri fr that.

Posted: 2013-10-09 20:25
Nothing to apologize for, Lea!

I'm enjoying the thread, every post, and I'm learning a lot from you and everybody here. Please keep it going! :-)

Posted: 2013-10-09 22:23
I haven't read all of Pierpont's book by any means, but most of what I know about Old Morse and how differently many of the old telegraphers learned from how we learn is from that book. I admit I haven't had the patience to read the rest of it since I'd already decided I would use the Koch method alone. It just wasn't a burning issue, but I should read it. Everything I did read was very good.

While it's true I'm not sharp enough to learn it in no time, I really meant I wasn't sharp enough to make much progress at the time I wrote it in the middle of the night. :-) I find if I'm tired I can't hold the proper focus for a minute of quality practice at the limit of my current ability. I set most of my new personal records in the early morning.

To some degree I decided to learn code again after all these years precisely to force myself into a different learning mode. To some degree, it is an exercise in mental discipline that I want to be able to apply to other things. (And there are other reasons, some of which probably make sense only to me, like the fact that I "Extra" meant 20WPM back when I first got licensed and I found that getting my "no code" extra felt funny. I may be a slave to the rather silly bragging-rights pecking order that prevailed when I was 12, even though I thought then and think now that the incentive licensing structure had enormous problems in terms of the good of Amateur Radio as a whole.)

Yes, I think I just ordered it from Amazon. Capsule review, in case anyone is thinking of buying it (this is off-the-cuff, and will probably be a bit repetitious as things occur to me):

The bottom line is I highly recommend it--writing in '36, the heroic age of Amateur Radio was fresh in living memory. I'm at the point right now where the US is virtually alone against the world in trying to get significant amateur allocations by international agreement. Quite a lot of the book is about dramatic, pivotal moments like that, for apparently in the early days they came thick and fast. If you care about amateur radio, it makes a gripping story because the Sword of Damocles seems to have hung above the entire enterprise, and there are multiple points where it could have been made unusable or outlawed entirely. There were strong efforts to do that right at the beginning in the US at multiple points by multiple players, for example: the government, the Navy, and then the broadcasters (the ARRL's first lobbying action was to help defeat a bill that would have put all bandwidth in the hands of the Navy and made any amateur radio at all illegal). I'm now reading at the point where, having largely won that difficult struggle in the US and established a place for the amateurs, the US treaty delegation is almost alone in supporting the continued existence of amateur radio. This recurring dramatic, David-against-Goliath theme makes what could be a rather dry narrative gripping.

The author is open about his viewpoint, and that allows him to portray it in a way that is quite dramatic (again, if you are interested in the subject matter). The fact that he's writing in 1936 gives the writing a somewhat archaic flavor that I actually find suits a subject from that era and helps feel the enormous difference from today. I don't think I can appreciate the importance of creating an effective nationwide message-passing system without being able to imagine having no internet, no phones, no radios except (in the earliest decade or two) ones hand-built out of makeshift parts.

It is unapologetically American in viewpoint, which could limit it's audience on an international forum such as this, however so much of the early history of amateur radio takes place in the US that I think it is still of interest. It is also of relevance to even our current band allocations, regulations, and so on; I continually find myself thinking "oh, so *that's* why this-or-that is the way it is."

This is a book about the men who actually made it possible for there to be amateur radio anywhere, written by someone who met with them and even worked with them later on at the ARRL. The very fact that the author has a viewpoint and wishes to tell what he clearly regards as a great story with no pretense to the academic historian's impartial (at least on the surface) style is precisely what makes it a fun read. Again, recommended.

Posted: 2013-10-10 15:48
A couple of interesting things PD0LDB posted earlier that I missed:

> When you know what a Pythagoreische Wolfsquinte
> is you may understand that it upsets your
> feeling about the rithm of the code
> extraordinarily.

I'm certainly not sure what those German or Dutch words are, and a quick google wasn't very helpful. However, I'm going to guess that those terms may be related to what are called in English the Pythagorean Comma and/or Wolf Tones, both musical terms. Or perhaps not--enlighten me?

As for speeds being real numbers, *all* speeds are real numbers. It just happens by pure chance that some of those real numbers happen to be integers when PARIS is chosen as the word length and the minute is chosen as the measure of time. However, the only significance of those speeds that happen to be integers is that people like them because our notation for them is convenient, and perhaps because it helps them avoid thinking about the fact that they are inherently real numbers. That makes some people's head hurt, so they take the blue pill (reference to the movie The Matrix) and pretend otherwise. :-)

Posted: 2013-10-10 16:38
OK, I believe Google translate actually came through for me: Pythagoreische Wolfsquinte is not the comma, but a related Pythagorean tuning error of one of the fifths.

Most people don't know about the dragons that lay buried in the innocent subject of tuning, but clearly PD0LDB does. If anyone wants to follow along, the issue she brings up is a tuning issue, and she's quite correct to do so. I suggested scale tones, and she's pointing out that there is simply no unique correct tuning system, only tuning systems that make different tradeoffs.

I've thought a bit about this, though I think it's orthogonal to the technical side; the little bit I described would work in any tuning system. However, it would matter in terms of finding the most efficient tuning for the ear to recognize. My thought on this is that a just tuning would probably be the best choice, not Pythagorean tuning. These days most people's ears are trained to hear equal tempered tuning, but the major virtue of that system is ease of key changes. I didn't envision any such thing--this is data, not music. I suspect the best method is to establish a strong tonality and keep it unvarying, so that there would be little use for the strengths of equal temperament. That sounds like an excellent application of just tuning to me.

Posted: 2013-10-10 17:17

When I mentioned integer I mean the timing of code is marks or spaces 1,3,7. Integers. Not 1, 1.1, 3.1 and 7.2 (reals)

So when you listen to music the timing is, 1,2,4,8,16

What about 1,3,7? How can that sound like rithm of music?

N4OSS pointed out that the start of each mark is in the musical range 1,2,4,8 and the stops also.

So you can imagine that correct sent code sounds like music, and the way ARRL promotes below 18 wpm with prolonged real (explict not integer) character and word spaces NOT.

Posted: 2013-10-10 18:25
Call sign was N0SSS , Adam pointed out that

he does play music on his straight key with the integer quotients 1,3,7.

He explains:
While sending, I break apart the code into two groups: the down strokes and the up strokes. The time between down strokes is 2/4/6/8/10. Likewise for the upstrokes. Thus, the code is actually a linked-polyrhthym, due to the physical linkage between up and down. While sending, I consciously play the down beat, and subconsiously play the up beat. In this manner, two songs are weaved together to produce information.

Posted: 2013-10-10 20:33
This is just as interesting as my idea, but for the record--I was absolutely not talking about sending Morse code at all. I was talking about creating a code using musical scale notes (and consonant intervals, I just didn't talk about using chords though I think it's feasible). So the timing would have nothing to do with Morse timing--it would be defined by the code.

That said, thinking of the rhythm of Morse code musically is itself interesting. The few left who can read Old Morse often say it feels syncopated, which means it's pretty natural for them to use musical terms to describe the difference they see between Old Morse and International Morse. They had a very similar idea. Why *shouldn't* people use musical ideas to describe rhythms?

Posted: 2013-10-10 21:10
Just like there is a duality between frequency spectrum and time functions, also between mass and energy, and the known dualities in quantum mechanics. Just like music requires fixed integer ratios between tones in order to suit you hearing,
when not tempered, which is a compromise, you get your wolfs quint, which is unpleasant to listen to, and prevented in compositions.

So there are fixed integer relations in timing of Morse code.
1,3,7 and when ARRL uses not integer pauses, that means the division between character- and word space divided by the dit mark is not an integer, it sounds unpleasant. LCWO uses always by the definition of the effective and character speed an integer. That was the point I tried to explain and that was the reason why I said the timing of ARRL for all their Morse below 18 wpm is not only deliberately wrong, but unpleasant to listen to due to the non integer duration of their character and word spaces, they have to use anyway in order to end op with a published integer number of words per minute effective speed.

This is independent of your idea you presented later on that the brain is able to decode dits of multi tones. I do not deny that, I tried to explain why, possibly, the ARRL made a wrong decision by making code below 18 wpm with not integer time intervals expressed in the dit duration. Especiaally because the bulk of amateurs never exercise above 18 wpm.

Non integer spacing is just as annoying as non integer relation between different tone frequencies.

Posted: 2013-10-11 21:18
Ms 88 this is complete nonsense that you are promoting here.

There are two kinds of logic: formal logic and female logic. You are trying to "proof" your point with female logic.

You try to sell, that the number of spaces has to be an integer measured in dit time.

However when you adjust the speed here at LCWO to 18/5 and 5 is not a divisor of 18 you don't get spaces that are a multiple of the 18 wpm dit speed.

The rest of my remarks is omitted in order to prevent moderation, however you can imagine due to the fact that I make this remark, what they were. I hope so. (for you)

Posted: 2013-10-12 02:07
Was it really necessary to be insulting and obnoxious in your reply?

Posted: 2013-10-12 14:00
Don't mind Dustin, on Okt 4 Chairfone wrote in this thread from out of his fixed jail location:

[quote=ldeletedl]Ms 88 [..]

The answer is in my opinion that it is impossible to answer because the stretched spacing at LCWO is a constant for each character independent of the kind of character, above that it is an integer number of dit times; and at the ARRL it is a real number (a partial like 1.414), adjusted and calculated for each complete exercise separately. It is dependent on the probably density function of the characters in the message.


So he changes his mind obviously in the last week, and blames me for promoting his insights of only one week ago.
I excuse him for being rough mouthed because the Dutch proverb is "Als je met pek omgaat word je ermee besmet"

Posted: 2013-10-12 17:18
Google translate is good enough to follow the sense. :-) A similar English proverb (with many variations and attributions) goes something like "Never wrestle with a pig—you both get dirty, but the pig likes it."

Posted: 2013-10-13 07:17
To get back to PD0LDB's post, I say again that the ARRL didn't really choose how they measure Farnsworth timing. The FCC effectively chose for everyone when they allowed CW exams to be taken in Farnsworth provided that the overall speed remained at the same speed. With that policy, knowing what overall speed you could copy became the parameter that mattered.

That much seems inarguable, but your real point is an aesthetic one. To that point, one can only say "de gustibus non est disputandum." I don't find that it has any difference in sound at all. I think the reason is that CW doesn't actually maintain a musical meter--there is no notion of measures with accented beats, for example, and certainly no chord changes to guide the choice of downbeat.

However, if it is unlovely to you, it is unlovely to you, for whatever reason. I'd be surprised if the reason is what you think, however. It is true that in straight timing the beginnings of the beeps (the attack in musical terms) come in simple ratios. But they won't be simple enough in Farnsworth timing even using LCWO's method. I think few people have an ear trained well enough rhythmically to hear a steady musical rhythm if the space speed were, say, relatively prime to the character speed (e.g. an LCWO speed of 13/7 or 12/5). Arguably there is a polyrhythm in there, but I think very few people will hear it particularly since Morse has no real meter at any speed and especially not when the timing is not straight.

You also imply a third point--that Farnsworth timing is a bad idea. "Bad" implies some notion of utility, though, and Farnsworth timing clearly has utility. Most amateurs, who are the ARRL's only constituency, learned CW only because it was a legal requirement of their license. (Now that it isn't a requirement, that has been proven because now they don't learn code at all.) Their notion of utility is satisfying the FCC requirement, and given the standard non-Koch training method (also inevitable starting the day the FCC created a 5WPM starter license) Farnsworth is an *enormous* improvement. I say again--if you have not copied 5WPM code straight, do so before you criticize Farnsworth. I defy you to copy 5WPM for any length of time and then tell me you'd rather someone learn that than 5/13 (ARRL measure, == 13/2.5 LCWO). Go do it right now now--set LCWO to 5WPM straight and copy it for five minutes (the length of the novice exam). Then set it to 13/2 (round down to make it as bad as possible) and copy for 5 minutes. Then come back and tell me you prefer five minutes of straight 5 WPM. I'll be impressed if you can say that with a straight face.

The whole notion of Farnsworth was invented as a training tool, and it's vital if you're going to use a non-Koch method (as some will, and some even should--no pedagogy is correct for everyone). And if the goal is to pass an exam with an overall speed mandate, the ARRL measure is the only one that makes sense. And now that it isn't a requirement, it won't change because their way is just as good as the LCWO measure for most purposes so they have no incentive to attempt to change the expectation of everyone in their audience. Possibly there exists a CW learner in the US who feels it is unaesthetic as you do, but there can't be many at all. You can't please everyone, but changing their system now would displease nearly everyone in their audience.

If you really must blame someone, though, you may certainly hurl invective at the FCC. They won't mind, their shoulders are broad. :-)

Posted: 2013-10-13 11:05
I am used to exercise text in Dutch at 45 wpm standard spaced on a daily basis for 5 minutes every day. Just daily habit, like listening to news bulletin, and drinking coffee.

When I try 5/5 on your request, it is really QRSS and the decoding mechanism feels different, I have to glue the characters to words and the words to a sentence. But no problem to copy by head.

When I play 45/45 I just hear the text mostly. I suppose by the usual way characters are coupled in the language, and the build in word thesaurus in your mind. For long words it is usually known what the word will be before it is completed, or it got a correction in the end for another final syllabus as expected. Sentences from book text can often already be completed based on a few received words.

When I play 45/5 it is a rampage to decode.
This could be an indication that Farnsworth timing has severe disadvantage. You exercise at the target speed n with wide spacings in order to train your thinking time, but when you reach your goal n/n it turns out that the wide spacings are not easy but very difficult to copy

Posted: 2013-10-13 15:45
I'm not sure quite what "a rampage" means there, but maybe that you prefer 5/5 to 45/5. If so, I find that incomprehensible, but if you do, you do.

However, you have also observed exactly why people use Farnsworth. You say it seems like a different decoding mechanism. For better or worse, we have a vast experience with people learning 5 WPM first, because the US entry-level license required it for at least some thirty years. Nearly everyone who learns at 5 WPM first learns that other mechanism, and then gets stuck at 10 WPM. Some eventually stick with it and re-learn to copy code in a different way and get past the barrier, some never do. This was all observed by Koch as well, obviously.

Farnsworth was devised for the same reason the Koch method was--to deal with the 10 WPM barrier and force the student to learn the letters by overall sound as you must at higher speeds. The difference is that Koch had no use for the skill to copy at 5 WPM at all, because he was training professionals and there is no real use for that skill. Farnsworth became universal because it does some good and still gets you to your 5 WPM Novice license ASAP.

Anyway, Farnsworth isn't a training method as Koch is, it is a technique you apply along with some other method. As this website shows, it can be applied to the Koch method as well. I still find it useful; as stated I mostly practice at straight timing because I want to train the sound of the spaces as well as the letters, and Farnsworth obviously doesn't do that. But I did find I still needed to do the occasional run at, in my case, 20/12 (~16 WPM overall) because at 12 WPM I can still catch myself once in a while doing too much thinking about new letters. Doing a run at 20/12 is more effective at curtailing that habit than a run at 15 WPM, so I have not entirely quit working the technique. When I do, I copy better when I come back to 12 WPM (the goal I chose). I'm working on lesson 30, and that pattern hasn't varied throughout the training process. When I'm a bit stuck at 12 WPM it's probably because I don't have the newest letters as well as I'd like. Then I go back and work on higher speeds, both straight and Farnsworth, to cement them, and when I return I find myself able to add a bunch of new letters at 12 WPM. On two occasions, I added six letters in one day when I came back.

That is a different subjective experience, however I'm precisely the person Farnsworth was intended for--the beginner who for whatever reason must pass a 5 WPM test. It is absolutely not in any way intended for someone who can copy at 45 WPM. And if there is no 5 WPM test, I think Koch should be better for nearly everyone (I say nearly only because I have seen actual reviews by people who tried Koch, hated it, and switched to the traditional method), and if you do Koch you don't really need Farnsworth. If you learn at 5 WPM, I think you really do. That's why the ARRL broadcasts the letters at 18 WPM--because the experience of teaching everyone for 30+ years to copy 5 WPM was that it's better Farnsworth than straight. Still better I think is to quit teaching people code at 5 WPM at all, and maybe that will slowly happen now that there is no legal requirement to copy at 5 WPM, but we've only been no-code for half a decade so we don't know what people are going to do. They probably won't quit using Farnsworth, though, because it's compatible with Koch even if it is no longer the huge advantage it is if you are learning via the traditional method.

You're welcome to disagree, and I'll certainly listen respectfully as your morse skills are admirable, but the experience of teaching many thousands of people says otherwise. It isn't my experience (though recall that I learned the old way 34-ish years ago and have now gotten nearly 3/4 of the way through the Koch method at 12 WPM), it is everyone's here. Second-best (traditional + Farnsworth) is not as good as best (Koch with or without Farnsworth, IMO), but it is better than the rest (traditional without Farnsworth).

I don't know what there is to say beyond the fact that the teaching experience is unanimous about the value of Farnsworth for beginners who must learn 5 WPM code.

Posted: 2013-10-13 15:50
Huh. Too early in the morning--I obviously *don't* have to pass any 5 WPM test and have no desire to ever hear letters at 5 WPM ever again. I meant simply "the beginner."

I guess I'd better drink more coffee. Then I suppose I might as well do CW in the early morning since I'm home sick anyway. :-)

Posted: 2013-10-13 17:36
sri, rampage, a home constructed word I suppose, must be about "disaster"

You wrote:
" Go do it right now now--set LCWO to 5WPM straight and copy it for five minutes (the length of the novice exam)."

That is what I did, in order to suit you, and I explained my experience with that experiment, above that also with 45/5 and 45/45, which demonstrated that 45/5 was very difficult compared with 45/45 and Farnsworth predicts implicit the opposite.

Posted: 2013-10-13 19:37
Yes, but it predicts it *for beginners*. You are very far from a beginner. I'm surprised you would rather listen to 5/5 than a faster character speed, but if you do you do. It was an experiment, and I got a different result than I expected so I guess I learned something, no?

My only point is that teaching 5/5 WPM is a disaster and Farnsworth is better. I still think teaching 5 WPM at all is misguided, but if you must you're well adviced to do Farnsworth. The difference is so great that I'm not sure you could even find someone teaching straight 5/5 anymore. It's that bad for beginners.

Once you can actually read at speed, which you certainly can, I don't think anyone suggests reading slow code at any timing unless you're teaching beginners by the old method or something and have to do it in a coach's role.

"Rampage" is certainly a fine English word, but it means something very different than disaster. Someone on a rampage could very well cause a disaster, however. :-)

Posted: 2014-06-13 16:11

Humans are capable of extremely subtle auditory distinctions, especially if the relationships are related to evenly-spaced harmonics. So I don't think a single on/off tone is at all optimal (except for bandwidth). Just two tones would let you shorten the dahs to unit length and substantially compress ordinary morse (I believe there are in fact digital modes that do precisely that), but I bet you can do at least five separate tones with no loss of mental efficiency.

True maybe, but the moment the noise level grows on your signal, the distinction between your five tones will get harder and harder to decode.
On bandwidth and fairly clear signals this may indeed work, but having to pick out very weak or QSB prone signals will become difficult.
On noise crashes you would also lose too much information in one go as opposed to the single tone CW code IMHO.
Interesting experiment though and something I may be interested in to help you construct as well
73 PA9D

Posted: 2014-06-13 16:23
I am used to exercise text in Dutch at 45 wpm standard spaced on a daily basis for 5 minutes every day. Just daily habit, like listening to news bulletin, and drinking coffee.
When I play 45/5 it is a rampage to decode.
This could be an indication that Farnsworth timing has severe disadvantage. You exercise at the target speed n with wide spacings in order to train your thinking time, but when you reach your goal n/n it turns out that the wide spacings are not easy but very difficult to copy

Precisely. The "Art and Skill of Radio Telegraphy" book suggested earlier in this threat does suggest larger "word"spaces to help the training in the beginning.
But to reach your goal you have to reduce them to standard before you can call yourself proficient.
Probably also the reason why Fabian has the defaults set to WPM 20 and effective 10 as well.
Most stuff arises from the fact we are not accustomed to hearing text actually spelled like it is in CW.

Back to the Forum

You must be logged in to post a message.