Taking steps forward.

My last post of December had to do with some goals I wanted to get working on in 2020. It's now 2020 and as has happened to me in the past I soon will be looking back on 2020 seeing my goals worked or did not work out. One of my goals was to improve my CW and get involved with the CWops CW academy program. At this point in time, my code is not to my satisfaction. On the internet, the other day I came across a very interesting document entitled " Improving Morse code proficiency Tricks of the Trade Overcoming common problems". The author of the document is W0UCE.
He highlights 12 common problems and how to overcome them so please if you want to improve your code read over the document and see any issues come to light.
Of the 12 common problems, I was able to identify with 6 and they were:

1. Anticipating what is being sent. This is done when you copy with a pencil and paper and copy one letter at a time and not by the rhythm of a word. For example when you hear someone calling CQ most of us don't write down the letter C and Q. We know the rhythm of CQ and know the word. I have to learn the rhythm of CW and not writing letters. Learn the code as a language.

2. The inability to copy behind. This was a new one for me I never really had heard of it. You hear one or two letters and let them float in your head once you hear the 3rd letter you write down the first and second letters. In the past, if this happened to me I would panic as I figured I was getting behind in the copying.

3. Unable to increase my speed. I hit a plateau and become frustrated. The suggestion is to increase the code you are receiving by about 2 wpm above your plateau speed.

4. Lack of confidence. This for sure has been an issue with me I have found once a contact gets rolling I can get lost because of some of the issues mentioned above. Once this happens I just want to pass along 73 and TU and end the QSO.

5. Not able to hear complete words. This is just done with the practice of copying complete words and not each letter.

6. Writing each letter as it is heard. This for sure is an issue with me. I find as the speed increases I just get lost as I can't write things down fast enough. I have tried using a keyboard as I can type very fast but I have found that at a certain speed the letters are coming at you so fast you get lost between hearing the letter and then transposing it to the keyboard key.

The bottom line from what I have been reading is I have to learn how to put the pencil and paper away and copy in my heard with just writing down selective information. I really believe it's retraining your brain on how CW is understood. I relate it too when I first was learning to type and when I was to type "the" I would type "t" "h" "e" but now I don't even think about it.......well it's more like I think it and it appears on paper. I am not even thinking of were my fingers are going on the keyboard. I have to train my brain this way regarding morse code.

 The CWops is a very popular program and spaces fill up fast and at this point in time, the class enrollment is for April/May or Sept/Oct. I am trying to see if the April/May works out for me. Until I am accepted into either time slot for the class I wanted to work on my code. So I am going to work on the above issues I have mentioned.
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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