Monday, July 8, 2024

Are you trying to pickup your CW is some info.


Giving it all you've got but you seem to be held at a CW speed between 10-13wpm....what's happening? First off there is nothing wrong and this is normal even better if you're ready to jump to the next step in learning CW. Here is the thing as you improve and your CW speed picks up the time it takes to recognize each letter speeds up as well.  When you are in the the 10-13wpm bracket your time to acknowledge the letter collides with the next letter coming at you. This is what hampers you from getting to the next CW milestone.

So what to's now time to move to the next level of CW and that is instant character recognition or ICR as it is called. Did you know most of you at this very point in time can have code sent to you at 38wpm and you can decode it!! WHAT you say.... have I been drinking, most of you if I sent  "CQ" at 38wpm you would know what I was sending. How about "73" again most of you would understand at 38wpm what I was sending to you. When both CQ and 73 were sent at that speed you knew it because you were practising ICR. At that speed, you were not hearing C and then Q and putting it together but you knew the sound of CQ or 73. This is what ICR is all about. Knowing the sound of each letter (later you can dive into words and phrase sounds) It's important to not just skip to common CW QSO phrases and words, I say this because to instantly know the letters and number is important for copying call signs, QTH's and names. 

How does one start up the ICR ladder of code, well it's very fast and easy and I  mean fast. You need to speed things up so you're only able to hear a sound and not dots and dashes. Just like CQ at 38wpm, you hear the sound, not each letter or the dots and dashes that represent each letter. At first, your brain is going to wonder what you are up to as it is used to only working at 10-13wpm and the method used to convert dots and dashes to letters or numbers. Now it's a rhythm your brain is being exposed to. 

I started by using a program where I could control the letters I wanted to know the rhythm of and start with easy ones to start tuning the grey matter. Look at a program such as MorseCode World that allows you to practice letters of your choice at the speed of your choice. At the website click on CW generator. Once there enter the letters/numbers you want to learn. Now click on Morse controls button and set your speed. The letters I  started with were E, T, C, I, K, M, and O. I entered each letter 8  times and then on the next line 8 of the next letter. See below:

C C C C C C C  

Set the speed at 18-20wpm and hear the rhythm of the letters and not dots and dashes. I enter about 3-5 letter groups and give it a go for a few days. Now don't write down what you hear but just go over it in your mind what letter it is. Then change it up by mixing these letters up and try again, don't look at the page of letters and don't write it down.  Just listen to the sound and in your head say the letter.
Your brain will start to pick up the new challenge you are giving it and yes when you hit H,5, S or B and 6 your brain will reply "Say what" BUT your brain is very powerful and soon will pick up these letters and even when you send H, S B, 6, V and 4. 

As with anything you learn, it is a journey and just remember to always enjoy it and never forget how far you have come along. Enjoy your next adventure of ICR.


PE4BAS, Bas said...

ICR that's what I need Mike. I already followed your advice. I will try for the next days to see if my ability to decode improves. Thanks very much. 73, Bas

VE9KK said...

Good morning Bas, I am glad the blog info was able to help you. Also it may take longer than a few days for the brain to adjust to the pick up in speed. Do let me know how it goes.