One step forward two steps back…..

About 6 months ago I wanted to make it a goal to increase my copy speed of call signs and numbers to help out with my contesting. The first thing I had to do was master the proper keyboarding for the numbers. The letters were no problem thanks to my mom who insisted I take keyboarding while in high school. So began my relearning which finger was used for what number. That surprisingly went very well and before I knew it I was off  looking for programs to increase my copy speed in combination with my keyboarding. I came across Morse Runner which by the way is a great program. I was able to start off slow and easy. As time went on I added QRM, QRN, QSB and fading. This program only seemed to send code at random speeds up to about 25 wpm. I began the search for a program that could increase my speed, I came across a website called LCWO (Learn CW online). You have to register and come up with a password but this site has been great in helping my speed move upward. Now my dilemma is this.......over the past week my speed has seemed to drop!! I am having brain to keyboard lockup, hitting two keys at the same time, having no idea where a certain letter or number is on the keyboard and to top it off hearing the call and having to go back over and over again to copy it!!! If I understand learning correctly this is all part of the process????? It sure is frustrating and at times when I start my code practice session I end up stopping and packing it in thinking it's just not a good day for code. I am going with the theory that learning at times is one step forward and two steps back at times?
Mike Weir, VE3WDM, is a regular contributor to and writes from Ontario, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

9 Responses to “One step forward two steps back…..”

  • LarryW2LJ:


    Nice paddle!

    72 de Larry W2LJ

  • Edwin YV5EN:

    Don’t worry Mike, some days are better than others.
    Keep CWing and enjoy.
    72, 73 de Edwin YV5EN

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Thanks Larry it’s the begali signature key and it sure is a gem and the feel is amazing.

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Edwin, thanks for the advice and I had the same idea that it takes time and there is going to be good and bad days. The learning curve has to continue as I have gotten to this place before and became discouraged and stopped. So I will plough through it

  • Ernest Gregoire, AA1IK:

    It sure is part of the process, and I know it well. Recently I revived my playing the Melodica, or Melodion as is is sometimes referred to as. I’m switching from the clarinet. The Melodica is a keyboard, exactly like a piano, only I blow into it. The finger memory from the clarinet is of no use whatever on a piano keyboard. Its frustrating trying to play songs that I can play well on the clarinet. I sound like a 5th grader on the Melodion, and yes, some days are better than others.

    A famous conductor was stopped on the street in New York and asked, “How do you get to Cargnige Hall?” To which the famous conductor replied, “Practice, Practice, Practice!” So~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~, that’s what I do!

  • Byron N6NUL:

    If my experience is any guide, what you are going through is normal. I, too, started using LCWO to improve my speed for contesting and have discovered that I am essentially re-learning CW! Indeed, at my desired speed, I have exactly zero achievements. It’s going to take a while! Stick with it!

  • Mike Ve3wdm:

    Good morning Ernest, it’s true about practice and in the past this has been the point were I have stopped for some time and then came back to it….All that did was had me almost start over again. It’s true practice practice is the way to go, I guess these days most of us just expect to keep going forward.

  • Mike Ve3wdm:

    Byron that seems to be the advice that has been coming my way and in the back of my mind I know it to be true. The ups are great but it’s the downs is where the commitment is needed.

  • Nolan KI5IO:

    Mike – You certainly are not alone. I’ve been ‘putzing’ with improving my CW skills for far too long and only this past year have gotten more serious about it. I was licensed in mid-1970s and upgraded to Extra when CW was still a requirement here … but I never touched a key once I got the upgrade.

    I’ve been collecting some paddles and keys and have been spending a reasonable amount of time with LCWO and various KOCH programs and am doing better.

    Also, now that I’m ‘semi-retired’ I can spend a bit more time and learn more.

    Reading comments like yours helps me stay on track as well.


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