WEEK 5 – My Experience
Well we are over half way through the Alphabet and I feel good with all so far except R, D, W, and U. I keep plying those over and over and over and still have a hard time when they are formed into words.
The letters for session 5 is M, W, 3, 6, and the ?.
I am having a hard time getting motived today and I’m getting a lot of distractions for property owners and tenants with tax time coming up and trying to run a business. Oh yea I remember us talking about making excuses instead of making Morse code a PRIOROTY. Sounds like I am making excuses.
I’ve been practicing sending more today with a little pocket keyer (Palm Keyer) and a Ultra PicoKeyer, (Morse Code Memory Keyer). I like it but the volume is really low so I use headphones and sit in my chair and pound away.
As I started practicing again…….there was a CW contest on Saturday 14 January 2017 and as I was listening I started to pick out familiar letters and that got me excited and motivated me to practice more. Hey what’s going on here, am I starting to copy code?
TIP: Find something that motivates you and do it! It could be a saying you tape to the wall or it could be a friend that challenges you, whatever works. I changed the screen on my IPhone to a keyer so when I open up my phone I see the keyer photo. This blog helps as well. I have to keep going so I can finish this series!
I really did not want to practice today. I’m tied, busy, and lazy! Those are excuses and I made myself get in a better mood and listen for 30 minutes. I moved the Farnsworth speed up to 10 during my second practice session of Lesson 5 today. There is a better rhythm to it but in realty I think it is the same because the letters are still at 20 but at 10 Farnsworth they are closer together. The A and N’s sound easier for me at 20 and 10. It made me concentrate harder and I had to replay them a few times but I did figure them out. Still the U, W, R, and D are causing me issues. I went back and looked at my notes for the 2016 class and those are some of the letters I had problem with then as well. I found I was too fast on thinking I had a word, for example the word TOW was sent. I got the T and O and figured the word was TOM. Then the next word was TOWER and I got all of it on the first try except the R and I had written it down and couldn’t think of what the word was. I think the next word should be FRUSTRATED! I can do this and I just have to keep practicing and try to stay as positive as possible.
Life happens and I had a bad day today. I was also painting a rabbit hutch, got lazy, knock over a bucket of paint then my phone rang and the door bell rang at the same time. I forgot to start the BBQ today on time and I was supposed to smoke a piece of meat and now dinner will be late. If it can go wrong then it did for me today. No excuses, just calm down and then practice. So I did, I waited about an hour and started back practicing at 20 WPM and 10 Farnsworth and keep playing U, W, R, and D over and over again. Is it coincidence that each one of those letters have 3 symbols in them?
I’m just not getting anything tonight. I went back to a 5 Farnsworth and I’m still missing a lot of letters I usually have been getting right. I know I do have times where it seems like I am starting all over again and those are the times I have to take a time out and remind myself that this is normal and it happens and to just take a break and come back to the lesson later. Soooo… that’s what I am going to do. I am done for tonight. I will listen on my IPhone laying in bed to the U, W, R, and D to see if that helps. I play one letter for about 5 minutes and then pick another one. I can’t understand why those 4 letters are kicking my butt. I use a program called Hamlog (73).It was free when I got it years ago and now it cost .99 cents. (I am not associated with the developer in anyway.) It’s an app for logging contacts but I only use the tools as it has a CW Generator and also a CW Helper. The helper lets you pick a letter and keep playing it every time you touch it. The Generators lets you type in letters and it will play them once you hit the play button. You can space them out to get the Farnsworth distance you need. So I put U, W, R, and D in the Generator and keep hitting play. Maybe I will wake up one morning and it will have set in my head and I will know them. At least that is my hope. What a day! I’m going to bed and hope for a better day tomorrow.
Practice day and session day. I am still having issues with D, R, W, and U. I keep playing them over and over to the expense that I’m have not been practicing the words. I am know getting worried that if I can’t get these letters it is going to be hard to keep up with the class. So before this class I set the WPM at 20 and the Farnsworth at 20. Yes I know call me crazy. I just played the letters at this setting and am no where near ready to play words at this speed. Strangley, maybe just of this session the letters have a better rhythm to them. W W W W W W W W over and over again at 20 and 20.
Skype can be as problematic as a one legged man in a butt kicking contest! I spent 30 minutes trying to connect and could not get into the class tonight. I worried how that is going to impact my progress as I have no one to practice with except myself. So no session 5 for me tonight. I hate to leave everyone in limbo but I don’t know what is going on but I’m sure it will work itself out somehow.
Until next time, Aloha and 73!
Fine information for those who want to learn or improve their CW. I forgot about CWOPS until I found Part 1 on your blog a few days ago. I an working to improve my CW. Your posts and CWOPS is a big help.
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I’m right with you on the same lesson with CW academy. I’m glad others are having the same difficulties as me. Thanks for helping me with my motivation!
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Don’t know if this is going to post to the origional thread, or not, bjt, here goes. First of all, it’s so good to read about folks struggling with morse code, AND STILL KEEPING AT IT!!!!! It was such a disappointment for me, when the fcc dropped code as a requirement for licensing. Seems no one thinks they should have to work towards anything these days. The exception is the gugs posting to this thread. Congradulations fellas…. guess that makes you EXCEPTIONAL hams.
I dreaded code when I started out. But, as I got into it, it started to get this magical mystique to it. A rigbt of passage, so to speak. Guess that would qualify to be labeled as hazing, by the whiners. If so, so be it. It felt good to me. I was earning a feeling of accomplishment. Something that was going to be burned into my soul for eternity. I was feeling good. And when i finally achieved my goal, I felt like something had been enhanced on a core level.
Anyway folks….. i went from zero to hero in about 5 weeks. Went in to break the ice directly at the 13 wpm test for general. Passed the written test, but was overwhelmed by the 13wpm code. So, i took the 5wpm test at the same session, and got perfect copy. Skipped the multiple choice questions, as perfect copy was a pass on the written test. I went home and started working guys on the novice section of the band. Felt good about it, so, found another test session at a hamfest. I had also been studying for advanced, so, I took that as well. Passed the advanced, and aced the 13 wpm. So, now i was an advanced class ham, with all the privilege’s, before I even had recieved my general ticket in the mail. I WAS STOKED !
I went home, stayed busy at bumping my speed up to 20 wpm, like a rebell with a cause. I returned to my home testing site 2 weeks later, after staying buried in the extra class written material, and only breaking from that to work live cw on the air, and passed my extra written, and the 20 wpm test….. although i did have to take the multiple choice test on that one. Numbers got me on the copy, and are still a bit harder to copy on the air than sentences. Numbers are what they are… no way to copy them from context, like words.
Anyhow….. went home from the extra test session, fired up my riv on thr extra class portion of the band, and worked the United States Senate station in DC. What a cool present, huh? So, that’s a special qsl card on my wall.
Whst a rewarding experience for me, that I will always remember. Thank God for cw, and, I’m so glad i made the effort. You may be saying, “yeah, great…. good for you, buddy. But not everyone can pick it up az fast as you.” Well, maybe not as fast as I did, but, on the other hand…. maybe faster than I did. Never know.
I had two great weapons in my arsenal. The first, was motivation. You see, when i did this, the fcc was just beginning to ponder dropping the code requirements to 5 wpm for all classes. I was living in Charleston, SC at the time, and jjst about every ham i knew was a retired navy cw radio operator. Even if I got my extra class, they would never let me live it down, if i didnt pass it with 20 wpm. I RESPECTED those guys for acquiring that ability, I didn’t whine about it. So, with the rulemaking at the verge of passing, I was running out of time. MOTIVATION: check.
The othe weapon I had, and I share NO affiliations with these people, or the product they supply, was *CODE QUICK*. If you really want to learn code…. this will teach it to you quick. No pun intended…. but, definitely truth in advertising. There are 5 ways individuals learn, and they hit you with all 5 at once. They teach morse code to you as a language…. the same way you learned your native tongue…. NOT as a series of dots and dashes. They teach you the *sound* of the entire character, not how many dots and dashes you are recieving.
As I said, no affiliation. But, on reading some of the replys to this blog… you folks deserve it. So, im sharing my story, and how I learned cw.
If this didnt go to the group, please, whoever’s gotten it, please post it to the main thread.
Now….. if I could just learn this computer technology stuff…..
73, all…….. Mike, N4ZN
This has been the most inspiring (set) of articles I’ve read so far. Thank you for being so real and authentic in your journey. It’s helping me.
keep going and keep the speed at 15 wpm plus so you cant count I’ve learned that IN MY JOURNEY to learn cw on my own with a mentor 1500 miles away i have been using the cw ops program and been doing head copy at 30 20farns it helps a lot to not count but hear and learn the character 5 wpm is hair pulling at its worst ,,, keep going as ill be in the September classes 73 de N0NEE
Your journey is inspiring. I look forward to each update. I am scheduled for CW Academy Level 1 April/May 2017. That will be 8 months after I signed up… That is how long the waiting period is! Must be a good program if it fills up that far out.
73 de AD0UA
I just to see you post in qrz an article about CW.
It is the number 3. I would like have the previous, the numbers 1 and 2.
I like CW, but have deep problem for copy around 20 wpm. My big problem is that when I loose a character, stay thinking about it and loose the followings also.
What you suggestion me?
Thanks in advance for any help.
Main operator of HI3DX.
I have always had the same issue as you. I can’t let the letter go and miss the remaining. For me it has gotten better the more I practice and become familiar with the letters, I don’ t miss them as much. If I miss it I just keep replaying it. I have problems with D, R, U, and W. Now I am better with the U and the D. I get the A and N mixed up at times as well. The numbers can be hard. I set the WPM at 20 and the Farnsworth at 5 until I get it then I move the Farnsworth to 10 and go there until I feel comfortable with it.
Just don’t give up when you get discouraged. Reach out to me and I will send you words or encouragement. I’ve been trying to learn code for 7 years or so and have failed every time. I feel good about this time. I am practicing about 3 hours a day. You have to put the time in to get better.
Interesting articles! Go ahead and you will not regret the effort. It took me long time to learn CW and today it is my preferred mode. My daughters (ZL2GQ & ZL4YL) learned CW in a fraction of the time using http://lcwo.net/
Thank you. I am working on it each day and I am seeing some progress. I appreciate the encouragement!
Keep up the good effort. It will pay off down the log in many many quality QSOs. Please remember that there is more to the code than the banal robotic 5nn tu contest stuff. There are still hams out there that want a quality conversation using your new found skill. WA6JJM
I am currently doing the Part 2 of the CWA and yes it does take some dedication to get those practice times in, but if you do it pays off in the end. What helped me a lot was trying to listen to it as much as you can. You can over do it but listen to the MP3 files, even if it is whilst driving, the letters will start getting into your head. Also use lots of varied ways to get morse into your daily routine, I used LCWO Morse machine to get to know the letters and then used the Callsign trainer to get used to hearing callsigns..
I read this article and decided to sign up for the class. I start in September. Thanks for writing the article. I’ve wanted to learn CW but just never got around to it.