Monday, September 26, 2011

Radio-Active CW Tips Are On The Way !!

"Back to the Basics"


Over the next few weeks ...
I'll be adding various CW tips to my blog 
on a regular basis.
To help myself stay focused on my GOAL

My Goal:  
To Improve My CW Skills on a Daily Basis
Along the way ...  Help other Hams who struggle with CW.

I will try to add at least 1 Tip a week and possibly more if time allows.
These Tips are targeted at those who are just starting to learn code ...
 And those who are trying to improve on their current CW skills
The CW tips that I will post ...
Will come from my own personal internet research
and are not based on my personal knowledge or experience.
Feel free to comment at any time ...
 Please add your on CW tips to my comment section 
at the bottom of each post, if you like.

I hope you enjoy

Now to 
CW TIP # 1

Learning  Morse Code Is Similar To Learning To Read

Learning the Morse code is much like to learning to read by eye.

Learning to read print has several stages of skill level.

- First we learned to recognize the individual letters,
and could slowly spell and sound out words.

- Next we began to recognize and read many common
short words as words, instead of having to spell them all out.

- Before long we learned to recognize short phrases
(“of the”, etc.)  
and some of the longer words as whole words.

- Finally an expert reader can read whole clauses, 
sentences and even a paragraph as a unit of thought,
almost at a glance.

This  gives  us a clue as to how to
go about learning and improving
Morse code skill. 

73 de N4LA


Hello - From Todd Brady / N4LA said...

The 3 comments below are copied from the GORC Digest that I receive daily ... Thanks Paul & Milt

Hi Todd,
Couldn't figure out your blog site...
Here are my CW tips...

Like Koch...Listen to a faster speed, like 30 wpm...don't listen to slow code.
Never listen to or send Farnsworth.. (Words with long spaces in between letters).
Learn the 'Word' sounds.
Anticipate the next word or phrase coming.
Don't try to write it down.
If you live in Schenectady don't send that as your QTH, No one has learned that sound yet. Send QTH NY.
You probably know all these tips...Just keep at it.
Paul w0rw

I agree with everything Paul says.
Back in day 1, I got a spiral bound notebook, sat down and started copying
CW. Yup, like everything you've read about it, there are plateau's and a
learning curve. The key is the discipline to keep at it. Always push your
speed. You're not advancing if you can't push yourself. My transition to
"head copy" wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, but again, Paul nails
it! Copy can't "head copy" letters and follow a QSO. Call signs,
and copy with numbers mixed in are not'll know they're
coming and prepared to copy them. I still make pencil and paper notes as I
copy, but that's more a function of my age and memory than copying ability.
Sending cw? You'll be able to send faster than you can receive for a long
Hope I've contributed.

This one is simple...
Abandon iambic keys..
Got to a single lever key especially if you plan to operate at 30 wpm while hiking around /pm..
Paul w0rw

Charles GW0LVH said...

The best method I found to improve my CW was to throw away the microphone! If the mic is within arm's reach it is all to easy to cave in and use it.

Following a ten-year break from ham radio on my return I decided to operate QRP CW only. I have kept the mic in the box to prevent me from using it while dabbling with CW as I did before. Also I run a Yaesu FT-817ND only, so with a maximum output of 5 watts and a filter there is little difficulty with CW but 5 watts of SSB on a noisy band is near on impossible.

Charles GW0LVH

Hello - From Todd Brady / N4LA said...

Sorry Todd, couldn't figure out how to add comments to the site so here's my
$0.02 worth:
First and most important, DO NOT SEND FASTER THAN YOU CAN
*COMFORTABLY*COPY! Copying at your "comfort" speed is good practice
and with constant use
you will become proficient, however, when just "reading the mail" try and
pick stations sending uotside your comfort zone, this will increase speed as
well as proficiency. Learn to read "words" not letters, recognition will
come, I promise. I use a little MFJ tutor clipped to my belt during the day
and is always "sending" faster than I can comfortably copy. All practice is

72/3 es God Bless de Wayne - KC0PMH

Hello - From Todd Brady / N4LA said...

CW Tips -- Single-Lever Paddles
Posted by: "Bruce Prior" n7rr
Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:19 pm (PDT)

I agree that for more accurate portable operation, where you're often in awkward situations, a single-lever paddle is the way to go. Sure, you can cobble together something to make a mass-produced iambic paddle work sorta like a single-lever paddle. You can also practice playing a violin with a beat-up instrument that you find in a charity store.

How about making a modest investment in a portable single lever paddle that's good quality from the beginning?

I recently did a SOTA operation in the Pasaytan Wilderness in Washington State. I used my favorite backpacking paddle, the Mini-B made by American Morse Equipment (AME) . With 3M Dual Lock covering the entire bottom of the paddle, I could install it on any surface where I had placed identical Dual Lock, like my titanium ice axe.

Margaret K7MWP and I are set to fly to the UK tomorrow. We'll be staying with relatives and at youth hostels, not in backpacking tents. For that trip, I'm taking another fine portable single-lever paddle, the Bushwhacker, also made by AME: . Since the Bushwhacker has two mounting screws on the bottom (the Mini-B has only one), it's inherently more stable than a Mini-B without Dual Lock on its base. I don't bother with the optional heavy base with the Bushwhacker. I use two supplied screws to mount it on the QuikMount bracket with Dual Lock installed beneath it. I also carry a Leg Mount bracket on the top of which I've also installed Dual Lock. That way I don't have to unscrew the QuikMount when I want to employ the Leg Mount. I seldom install the Leg Mount on my thigh. I usually use it attached to some object which is at hand, like a chair arm or a heavy book or a knapsack.

The tension, contact spacing and leverage ratios are all adjustable with both the Mini-B and the Bushwhacker. (The leverage adjustment is unique to these two AME paddles.) Since the Mini-B is more streamlined, a screwdriver is needed for adjustments. Adjusting the slightly larger, but still quite small Bushwhacker is dead simple with its fingerscrews.

At home, I use the heavy but elegant Begali Sculpture Mono single-lever paddle . Much less expensive but also very high quality is the Begali Simplex Mono , which is was my favorite paddle until my fingers touched the Sculpture Mono. I can't recommend the Begali HST Single Lever. The HST may do fine for world-class speed competitions, but for ordinary mortals like me, it's too klunky. Anywhere away from home, I employ either the Mini-B or the Bushwhacker. Iambic paddles are part of my past.

For those who would prefer high-quality handcrafted-in-the-USA single-lever paddles for home-station use, check out the ZN-SLR by N3ZR Keys or the P-6 Single Lever by K8RA For both paddles, expect a wait. They are crafted after you order them.

73, Bruce N7RR