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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: How long is the road?

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Posted: 2013-12-03 02:33
So, I've been using LCWO for about a week or so (daily). I'm progressing along at 13 character speed, at 5 wpm effective speed, with 2-minute tests - roughly half way through the lessons. Also, I'm up to roughly 160 practice runs on the lessons. (I LOVE the charting on the home page!)

Have any of the Admins here ever run a statistical analysis of the users here to see how long it takes someone who practices daily to get to a solid 10wpm (to be able to pass the ARRL 10wpm exam)?

While # of "days" would be nice to know, I'd also be curious how many runs at the lessons are required. I'm guessing I'm looking at 500 - 700 at 2 minutes each (16-20 hours) to get to a solid 5 wpm. Maybe 1,000 practice lessons (32 hours) to get to 10wpm?

Just curious...

Posted: 2013-12-04 22:32
Good guess, but the deviation is enormous.

Lots of starters stop prematurely. You will make it, but don neglect the time to narrow the gap 13/5 to 12/12 (must be your goal)

Posted: 2013-12-05 20:23
Could you elaborate on that? I made it through lesson 40 at 18/6, and it took me three weeks to make it from there to 18/9. A useful speed on the band seems to be 25/25 (from what I hear on 40m), which means a long journey ahead for me.

Posted: 2013-12-06 11:37
I estimate 90% of QSO's are 12 up to 20 wpm. Above that fact QTH and name are transmitted twice and slower than the QSO body. Furthermore a lot of hams are not able to divert from the standard text with that speed and slow down for rag chewing. 25/25 makes you eligible for membership of "the high speed club" HSC, exist now over 60 year I estimate, and registered less then 2000 members worldwide over that epoche, abt 60 french callsigns. Agree, more people are able to QSO with higher speeds, because they are not interested in wall paper. So based on measurements with the "Seinscope" a a hamfest, I can assure you that 15 wpm is a respectable average fist with a straight key.

Posted: 2013-12-06 14:03

this presentation by Fabian contains some statistics:



Posted: 2013-12-06 17:57
It'd be interesting to see an updated set of the LCWO statistics.

The annotated version of the slides is, perhaps, more informative:


Posted: 2013-12-07 19:06
It'd be interesting to see an updated set of the LCWO statistics.

At 1.4 million entries in the database for the Koch course alone (and counting), this is probably something I should do during my holidays over XMAS, among other things.

As you may have guessed from my inactivity, I have been terribly busy with other things over the last months (I could almost say 'years') and my priorities have shifted a little. Also, I guess the little devil on my shoulder which tells me that LCWO is my baby and I have to take care of it alone is getting weaker and weaker while the open source angle on the other shoulder doesn't get much opposition anymore.

LCWO will see some significant changes next year. I'll open the code (at the small risk that someone will commercialise it) and try to make it a team effort rather than a one-man-show. There will also be an issue-tracker for bugs and wish-list items to get a more clear picture of where the road should lead us.

I know this will produce a whole new category of problems, which are more in the area of management rather than engineering, but it's better than continued inactivity. Let's see how it goes.

There'll be an "official" announcement on the new road-map for LCWO soon. Any help and suggestions are very much welcome.

(pretty much off-topic in this thread, but I had to tell someone :-)

Posted: 2013-12-07 23:29
I had been struggling with Lesson 5 for about three weeks. I was trying for 20/8 and wasn't getting anywhere. When I read Andreas' comments I re-set my speed to 18/7 and made progress. So I'm finally on Lesson 6. This seems to be my learning speed. I'll worry about more speed later, or maybe not. My grey-matter just picked up another birthday, and that ain't helping any. But I'm still enjoying CW. Guess that's half the battle.

Posted: 2013-12-08 10:33
At 1.4 million entries in the database for the Koch course alone (and counting), this is probably something I should do during my holidays over XMAS

Fabian, I found the LCWO statistics presented in 2011 very interesting. For the update, my suggestion would be to have a closer look at the data of those that made it to lesson 40. While a certain percentage of those in lesson 40 never started at lesson 1, because they come here to improve their already impressive skills, an analysis of those who went all the way should provide valuable insights and answer the question of the original poster.


Posted: 2013-12-08 13:41

congrats to your decision. Hope there will always be a "stable" branch on top of the dev branches...

It will finally be possible to put LCWO locally on the PC and work off-line on business trips.. tnx!

To the statistics: I am always wondering how effective the high wpm / low effective wpm for beginners really is. The statistics may indicate the most effective / least drop off effective speed - maybe?
This could also give good guidance to beginners.

At least for me training speed in the morning and in the evening differs a lot ;-)



Posted: 2013-12-20 10:41
+1 regarding a "stable" branch. LCWO as it is now works well for what it does. There are probably many things that can be improved, but I like the relative simplicity.

(I've been thinking about options such as simulated background noise, fading, and simulated other CW transmissions in the background... this of course complicates things but may make the training more realistic. Also adding randomized "qso-like sentence training", not just qso-like words would be cool.)

Posted: 2013-12-22 07:51
Yes, options for QRN, QRM, QSB and QRH would make the signal more interesting. ;)

Posted: 2013-12-22 10:21

for simulated background noise I use Morserunner:
1) start Morserunner WPX Contest, don't input anything
2) start LCWO



Posted: 2013-12-23 03:16
I always have my radio on in the background, and I have no idea what music is playing when I'm listening to a lesson.

Posted: 2013-12-24 04:50
John: You don't need statistics for everybody -- you need statistics for people who are progressing about the same as you are. You're running along at 13/5 after a week, while I can just get by with great effort at 5/1 after 3 weeks. Comparing your progress to mine is not useful for you to estimate your future performance. Consequently, before designing any statistics, it would be good to decide what sort of grouping makes sense for predicting progress. Sort of a "here is how it worked out for people with this kind of initial progress".

Posted: 2013-12-26 13:18
I hope LCWO.net stays as it is until I am able to get to lesson 40, I would hate to see the simple layout of the site being butchered by "GUI wizards" or Advertisers. LCWO.net is perfect as it is, keep that server running Fabian!

Many thanks from a lesson 33 quitter trying hard to regroup and get to lesson 40. I want to cross the "Make a real CW QSO on 10mtrs" item off my bucket list :-)

Posted: 2013-12-28 11:58
Rolfje, don't worry: Opening up the development process won't mean that any drastic changes are going to happen. I absolutely want to keep the site structure as it is and focus on adding functions rather than wasting energy on "improving" the layout.

There will probably be a public "development" version (there's an internal one already, for the translators and me) which will always have the beelding edge features, and the stable site where changes will be integrated once tested and found useful.


Posted: 2013-12-28 13:29
Thanks Fabian! I'm not all that proficient in php, but I'll keep an eye out for the open source.


Posted: 2013-12-28 17:26
The title of this thread is: "How long is the road?"

The answer is: Infinite or your lifetime when that is less, and it will. hopefully for you, be.

Every time you meet a goal haphazardly once, not reproducable, you may decide to put a higher limit, hoping the previous limit will not be incidental but a feeling convenient speed in the future.

Some USA guy tells here: I just want to copy flawless each speed I hear on the bands. Good objective, but increasing learning time for decreasing number of signals. So the boundary is in practice somewhere between 40 and 50 wpm. Everything above that speed are freaks in my (humble) opinion.

When DJ1YFK started this website, I was reluctantly thinking: Why via the web? The web you have to pay for, and it is not always easy available? Tried on a vacation to pay for WiFi an amount equal or more then the amount the transfer carrier charges you? If you did so, the speed offered is at least 1 bit per day. Guaranteed by the provider at the desk of the hotel.

JustLearnMorseCode, G4FON and Morse Machine and the free downlaod of K7QO Morse course on CD were just perfect. The additional offered graphs of this website don't have much, if any, value as DL1YZ Georg admitted, cuz he repeated and repeated words, and compared results with guys and gals that just play a word one time. He said so, so who am I not to believe him at his honest words.

Furthermore you can play words the regular way with varying speed, that will probably result in a lower result compared with the fixed speed I believe to be the best to learn.

I wish you all guys and gals all the best. DJ1YFK will have a lot more subscribers the first week of January when people may try to realize their "good intentions" for 2014. What happened with their good intentions of Jan 1 2013?


Posted: 2014-01-07 22:41
Sometimes you just get stuck. I think the only way is to hang in there I guess. The Koch course was going really well, I was able to hit 90% within 30 to 40 minutes of training on each lesson. Until I got to lesson 33, which is where I am now. I've spent more than 3 hours on this lesson. I will be so glad when I can get my brain to process this at 20/13wpm and progress to lesson 34 at 20/14wpm.

Posted: 2014-01-08 00:04
Back up a few lessons, that approach is according to this web site known as the battering ram principle, something like that .

If that doesn't help fast enough take the 5 last learned letters and do "code practice" with that set.

Posted: 2014-01-08 20:30
Thanks for the tip, I did try different lessons (words, callsigns) but the reason for that was not to get bored :-)

It's not specific letters I think, it's the fact that the processing of the letters is still too "conscious", which leaves no remaining brainpower for remembering the last letter and typing it while the new letter is already being sent.

I did some word practice, that seems to go roughly the same, although the patterns are less "wierd". In Koch lessons I miss the "e" between a Q and a J or Y.

I'll get there. I hope.

Posted: 2014-01-09 18:45
I am new here and am wondering if there is a suggested setting for Character speed and wpm speed initially? I know the goal is to hit 20/20+. Should new people start at 12/5 and rachet up from there?

Posted: 2014-01-09 21:04
Start with a character speed so high you can not "count" dots and dashes. Depending on you hearing, you can start with 20wpm character speed and a very low Farnsworth speed between 5 and 10.

Experiment. But never, ever start counting dots and dashes. It will cost weeks to de-program your brain from counting.

Posted: 2014-01-10 00:33
Thanks Rolfje.

Posted: 2014-01-11 21:46
Celibration message: Finally mastered lesson 33 at 90% average, at 20/13wpm after 5 hours (!) of combined training (just for that lesson, yes). It took me roughly 20 days.

I hope lesson 34 takes less time. New settings: 20/14wpm.

Posted: 2014-01-11 23:07
Hoi Hoi,


Binnenkort verwacht ik je op 3575 kHz de home frequency van alle CW flikkers. Het wordt daar steeds stiller, kort geleden is PA3FBF SK gegaan, helaas.

Keep us informed abt your progress.

Misschien krijg ik de eer je eerste CW QSO te zijn. Wie weet.

Posted: 2014-01-12 20:08
Time for new blood in CW world. Tonight was very crowded on 3MHz, and I often hear stations on 7 and 10 MHz too. 3.575 is your home freq? I'll keep you posted :-)

Als CW al een "niche" is, dan moet "CW Flikkers" helemaal een eenzame bende zijn hoor :-)

Posted: 2014-01-13 22:26
If I did not have this HF in the shack problem on 80m, I'd join you. If Lea agrees on a 40m sked, I'd go for it - and shout QRS! QRS!

Posted: 2014-01-14 11:49
First I need to get to Koch lesson 40 on 20wpm in order to be able to join the average conversations on 80m, so I'm not there yet. I'll practice my QRS :-)

Posted: 2014-01-17 06:47
I don't know if I'd have the time to play with the code even if it is released, but I know I would have liked to be able to alter the progression of letters used in the Koch method so I could use the sequence I was already using with another tool instead of starting over.

Posted: 2014-01-20 11:18
"First I need to get to Koch lesson 40 on 20wpm in order to be able to join the average conversations on 80m, so I'm not there yet. I'll practice my QRS :-)"

Take a look at the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC)- as well as having ueful info for beginners, they have a list of "Elmers", and also frequencies where they gather. They are very welcoming for slower-speed operators!

Also listen on the QRP calling frequencies - you quite often hear people calling fairly slowly. If you can stagger through just one or two real contacts at around 10wpm, then that will boost your confidence and motivation no end.

best wishes,


Posted: 2014-01-20 22:15
Sounds like a great tip Jon, I'll keep that in mind as soon as I know all the letters. Thanks!

Posted: 2014-01-21 22:58
Quick visit to say hello to fans telegraphy.

73 de Vincent F0CYA (inactive callsign).

Posted: 2014-01-21 23:00
I beg to differ. 80m is a very relaxed band, where QRS ops like us can have a chat, as long as there is no contest going on. 30m is where you have to be careful; these guys are fast and impatient.

Posted: 2014-01-22 21:28
Meh. What are they going to do? Beep at me? ;-)
80m it is then.

Posted: 2014-01-31 03:16
My grey-matter just picked up another birthday, and that ain't helping any. But I'm still enjoying CW. Guess that's half the battle.

Agreed. At 58, I don't expect to ever be a world class CW operator, but the mental challenge may delay the onset of Alzheimer's. Anyway, I'm a solid 90%+ at lesson 7 with one minute or two minute attempts at 20/5. I try 20/6 or 20/7 sometimes and feel like I should hit a steady 90% there before I go to lesson 8 at 20/5. Rinse and repeat. The short 1-2 minute attempts work well for me, but I know I need to do occasional 5 minutes. I can keep it together on the "sprints", but tend to lose it on the marathons. Anyway, improvement is inevitable if you keep at it.

"Practice is Magic" - Houdini

Posted: 2014-02-01 00:51
Keep at it, Len. I've got nineteen years on you. And you're right about mental activity and Alzheimer's. That' why I've been a little lax with studying CW. I also just started taking music lessons on a saxophone. Got to learn to give equal time to hobbies.

Posted: 2014-02-03 04:22
I'm learning cw for the first time, starting about two weeks ago . I also am retired. I have tried different speeds and different rates but have not found the optimum study patterns yet. I'll try 20/6 as some of you are trying, and then work up for each step before advancing. But so far, cw is fun.

Posted: 2014-02-03 14:13
Everything you start because it is fun, will at some point become boring when it takes more then a week or one month.

So you have to chose between the expected fun and proud from reaching your self defined goal, and the boredom of daily exercises.

When you chose quitting due to daily boredom, and no fun anymore, then the already invested time is lost. You can spent your time only once.

It amazes me that all the work you do must be fun. Always chosing a fun way is the easy way to hell.

Posted: 2014-02-11 17:30
Hi fellows,
Sarted with LCWo in Summer and continued with Kochmorse for the last 2 months. Started with 15/20 and after having all characters, worked up to 20/20 wit better than 95%. Mostly good training also for writing speed. I mostly listen a 4x5min sessions and over.
I have two problems;
first, can't build buffer as a rule over the sesion, but sometimes, at the end of sending I remember3-4 letters. Only have a buffer of 1 letter needed to be sure what I hear.
second, After so much random text training I decided to take some clear text from ARRL and SKCC
but had a huge surprise, I only can make about 75% at 18/18 and maybe 90% at 15/15.
When a word containing lots of e.i,n,a,etc shows up, I get easily lost even at 15/15

How you guys deal with these two problems?

Course I can have a standard qso but my aim now is to be able to chew a rag without too much hassle
I use to read about reading cw in mind, and specifically training for that, but when in a rag chew a word like "silently" "twighlight" or "conductively" suddelnly appears, I doubt a non native will be able to get it without writing down every letter.

Posted: 2014-02-11 19:53
After some weeks of not doing anything with cw, i started it again :)
Altough not at a dayly basis, i hoop to get the speed back (32 wpm) wich i achived a few months ago.
Time will tell if i go on with it or not, we'll see.

Posted: 2014-02-12 10:44
First of all I am not an expert, So just my 2 cents.
And only my case, other people may be different.

The story that you remember whole words is only true for a few words that pop up due to the rithm.

I just read words as if they were on a lightdisplay of a few letters. So without attention I can't copy.

Mostly you recognise the rest of a word in advance when you listen, just as with reading text with your eyes.

So when the word has different tail you didn't expect you hear it and correct your wrong expectation in your mind.
When a word has vocals in the middle s or h, d or b in the start, may be I detect a different one when other combinations of the vocals are also a valid but different meaning. When I miss the start of a word, changes are small I detect the word correct. Start of the word is most important, tail less and middle least, unless ambiguous. This for random words. Speed 50 wpm.

However in plain text the words are not random so that problem solves itself mostly.

The idea that you recognize the sound of whole words, as is often said, is proven for me personally not valid, because I only exercise with Dutch words, but when I recently tried by exception to copy US English from the ARRL at 40 wpm, I had no problem at all, except for the figures that are not in my daily wordtraining and text exercises.

I wrote here in this forum in the past: Exercise what you want to learn. Random codegroups are for intercept telegraphers. Just like copy on a mill. Copy without thinking, or thinking on other things then about what you hear, will give you a hard time learning to copy in your head. In general:

When you do something else then you exercised yoor speed may fall back to half of the value it was.

So for ham radio rag chewing: exercise with plain text headcopy. Start with words.

When you are a contester exercise with rufzxp and morserunner.

Posted: 2014-02-12 16:31
Thanks for the hints Lea, it is encouraging to know that what happens is about normal.
I thought If I talk 20WpM it is the speed I am able to copy, what ever I get from the headphones, if plain or random text what so ever but now I notice that words are not equal words in terms of time needed to be sent.
I suppose if I will be able to raise my speed at say 25-30WpM with random characters I would be rather able to copy at 20wpM, words like "possibilities" containing short characters which come in quicker than same number of longer characters in terms of nr of characters/second when I reach my writing barrier( I use hand writing , no blocks, but also no shorthand writing)
When copying plain text I try not to guess words but, in order to do so, I need not to watch the paper,in order to focus on the incoming letters. Hear-> write-> forget to make place for the next and avoid the temptation of reading what I already have written down. If I do watch what I wrote I lose 1-2 words.
I understand that after I have a solid copy of 20WpM and thus consolidated all learned characters, I could start headcopy. As you say, often coming words in a text as (the,it,is ,this,they, etc ) I do copy as a whole which means to me I actually unconsciously build a buffer. This buffer ends at 2-4 letters and when the word is longer... I think you still need to actually receive letter by letter and write on paper or, is it possible to build the long word in your mind, even when 10-12 characters long? I mean unknown words, not words learned from a list?

I use to work 3 languages(english, german, romanian) so I wouldn't like to learn specific 100words list for each language but rather being able to copy letter by letter I guess.
I suppose with the time I will get to the sound of most used words anyway.
My final target is to be able to chew a rag at 20wpm what ever the language, for indefinite timeand what ever the subject
I sometimes give points in contests sending check logs. For me contesting is not the point but rather working a certain station from a certain area.

Posted: 2014-02-14 05:13
It amazes me that all the work you do must be fun. Always choosing a fun way is the easy way to hell.

I agree. Fun is not all it's cracked up to be.

Furthermore, I think many people do not understand the concept of professional patience. It is the necessary state of mind that motivates the "daily grind" school of practice and also provides the certain knowledge that long periods of no apparent progress will inevitably be rewarded with occasional sudden improvements in skill (followed each time by another plateau).

Profession patience is the hallmark of every great craftsmen and practitioner in almost every area of human endeavor.

The fun in such work is less frequent but deeper and longer lasting, because in the end you will possess a skill or talent that few others can claim.

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