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Author Topic: Acceptable QRS time frame  (Read 2231 times)

Offline N5STS

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Acceptable QRS time frame
« on: February 17, 2014, 00:32:42 UTC »
How long is it acceptable to QRS on 7.114?  How long did ya'll spend QRSing before you felt comfortable enough to let lose a >12wpm?  I know that the question is kind of subjective but i would like to hear about different QRS experiences. 

Offline G0BVZ

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Re: Acceptable QRS time frame
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2014, 09:27:23 UTC »
In my day you had to go to a Coastal Station for a morse sending and receiving test @12 wpm before you could get a full ticket. My generation lived in terror of the assessors so most folk were good for 15wpm before they applied for the test, just to be sure.  ;D  My assessor was kindness personified: the 'warm up' before the sending session was actually the test itself!!  I got to play on the station key and even inexperienced me could tell it was a fine device. Now I know what it was. They're no longer manufactured and they change hands used for £400+.  <sigh...>

One popular method was to listen to CW characters @ 12+ wpm with a really big space between characters. As time went by the character spacing was reduce little by little until the op was working 12wpm true.  At least that way you're learning the sounds of morse right from the start.

Vic /Ship's Cat, QLF QSD CW exponent par excellence...

Offline GM0LVI

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Re: Acceptable QRS time frame
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2014, 21:06:13 UTC »
Hi Aaron & welcom to the club, you'll find it a great place to start with QRP radio with your General class license.
To attempt to answer your question regarding how long to stick to QRS - Well, it takes as long as it takes and the more you get out the key and practice, either on air on on a computer the sooner you'll get your speed up.
I'm in the same boat as Vic and had to pass a test at 12wpm to get my class A and gain access to the HF bands. It took me about 8 months to get up to 15 wpm to give me a bit of leeway for the test. I would take an oscillator and key to work and spend 15 minutes during my lunch breaks and then when I was comfortably up to about 7 or 8 wpm I joined a net on 2m where we held practice sessions two or three times a week. I also listened to the ARRL cw practice transmissions on HF and to one from Holland.
Sadly I made a big mistake once I gained access to the HF bands - I didn't keep up my cw and for several years only made a handful of cw contacts. I think that one of the things that put me off using cw was that when I sent a CQ at about 15 wpm someone came back at about 20+ and my reaction was to panic and switch off! So for about 20 years I seldom used the key until I got into 2m DX and later 6m DX. Later I started taking QRP radios on holiday and found that by far the best way to make contacts was to use cw so little by little my speed improved.
Suggestions -
1. Call CQ at a speed you are comfortable with and don't let youself be put off by a station that comes back at a much faster speed. He/She is just a bad mannered operator.
2. Listen to the ARRL code practice transmissions.
3. Get used to identifying your own call at high speeds.
4. Get a memory keyer, program it with your call and 599 and try to work stations that are just running pile-ups.
5. Use your KX3's Utility software to help you read and send cw (once you get your speed up you'll find that using the key alone is easier!)
6. Don't worry about making mistakes - just correct them.
7. Stick with it. The effort will be worth it and the journey enjoyable.

And, just to encourage you- An hour ago at 2000z with 5 Watts from my KX3 I worked N1HEL in CA on 17m cw. 1000 miles per Watt.
Dave

Offline G0BVZ

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Re: Acceptable QRS time frame
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2014, 22:45:33 UTC »
1. Call CQ at a speed you are comfortable with and don't let youself be put off by a station that comes back at a much faster speed. He/She is just a bad mannered operator.

Dave, I'm shocked.  How could you be so unfair?  How can you say the op is bad mannered when there's a good chance he/she is simply not very bright?  ;D

Aaron, I forgot to mention that there's scads of free 'lern yerself morse' programs out there for Windows, linux, Android...... which will let you put in a little rx practice wherever and whenever you are. Download the freebies, try 'em out and stick with the one(s) which give you the best result on your hardware.  Look for words like koch and farnsworth... they represent well regarded systems. One of them is sure to suit you.

Give yourself permission to enjoy what you're doing: it ain't supposed to be an ordeal!! ;D

Vic /dit dit

Offline GM0LVI

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Re: Acceptable QRS time frame
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2014, 23:13:44 UTC »
1. Call CQ at a speed you are comfortable with and don't let youself be put off by a station that comes back at a much faster speed. He/She is just a bad mannered operator.

Dave, I'm shocked.  How could you be so unfair?  How can you say the op is bad mannered when there's a good chance he/she is simply not very bright?  ;D


As a former teacher, I've sometimes thought it, but never said it!
Dave

Offline ve3lyx

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Re: Acceptable QRS time frame
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2014, 19:04:29 UTC »
Don't worry about it. Just get on the air and try and keep yourself calm. Do your best and when you are in qso with someone who goes from say 8 to 20wpm during the exchange move freq and call CQ again.
Don't give him a second thought. It is like speaking a foreign language. It is much easier if your are involved in the conversation and subject then if you are just listening and copying for practice. I am just OK at CW. Did pass my advanced and it was 100% or nothing here back then 15wpm but I am much more relaxed at 10 wpm and can enjoy that now.  Like any conversation it isn't how fast you talk that makes it. Some people are naturals. I wasn't and am not however that does not and will not stop me from enjoying it.
Or as my ancestor would have said "Angst nicht!"
don

Offline KA5TJS

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Re: Acceptable QRS time frame
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2014, 01:26:19 UTC »
Just saw your post. I am like you I guess, been doing this a long time and have to work at it. I got back on the air about 8 years ago and work 95% CW. I love it but have to work at it. I can copy 20 if they guy has a good fist but like 12 to 15 a lot better. No problem there brother!
I run the NAQCC QRS net in Texas on Monday nights and have a lot of fun. Work CW and don't worry about the other guy.

Allen KA5TJS

Offline m0jha

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Re: Acceptable QRS time frame
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2014, 17:17:14 UTC »
Some mixed advice there , First off if you can use morse WITHOUT a decoder at whatever speed , starting to use one is just bad advice.  if your going to use memory keyers and decoding software you may as well just use a dig mode.

Looking at a screen is NOT going to  make you "better ,in fact it will allow you to relax your brain and thus won't put the required effort in to decoding.

QRS for as long as you feel that's for you , the more you use code the faster you will become (to a degree) without thinking about it .

Like stated if you send at 10wpm and get answered at 15 it's just bad manners , ask them to qrs or ignore them .

Sit watching the decoder and you won't progress ..
Voice is for CBers, amateur radio operators, the average citizen, and the military. In other words, voice is for everyone with a mouth. CW is for those who choose this newer mode of communication. Newer? Why yes. Voice has been around for a million years.

Offline GM0LVI

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Re: Acceptable QRS time frame
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2014, 18:18:13 UTC »
Some mixed advice there , First off if you can use morse WITHOUT a decoder at whatever speed , starting to use one is just bad advice.  if your going to use memory keyers and decoding software you may as well just use a dig mode.
The above may perhaps be valid advice when LEARNING morse, but I can't really agree with all of
the last sentence. I'm perfectly proficient sloping along at 18 to 22 wpm without using a memory (other than my own!) but I do find that particularly when operating /P and using a hand written log being able to send my name and QTH from memory during the initial exchanges of a contact gives me time to write the other station's callsign and the RSTs. I also find a memory handy for CQ calls as it gives me time to grab a mouthful of coffee.
In the QRP context particularly I've not found decoding software all that good as signals can often be too weak or from homebrew equipment that drifts and wobbles and it's no use at all with poorly sent straight key cw. In these context the best software is that software between your ears. :)
Dave

Offline KO7I

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Re: Acceptable QRS time frame
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2014, 11:50:58 UTC »
My two bits are:
#1) Try to operate daily for 30 minutes. (emphasis on try, there are multiple days my CQ's go unanswered on an open band.)
#2) Stick with it, it will come. There are some local hams who keep a schedule (10M CW) on a weekly basis, they are not high speed op's they just get on and play radio.

This past weekend I worked a SOTA activation, he was down in the noise floor of the receiver, the CW reader programs would not have worked.

My 3rd bit  :) is to do as has been suggested already, load up some memories in your radio's CW Keyer and use them for DX/Pile-up style operations. You will be surprised that you can recognize your callsign and 5NN sent at higher speeds (20+ wpm). At home most logging programs have a CW keyboard interface. I use the K1EL WinKeyer USB, it provides an easy interface to the radio. They also operate as a stand alone. I have never used the memory keyer inside any of my HF rigs.

Bottom line, Thru steady use of CW you will break thru that 10/12 wpm barrier quickly and then you will bump up to 17/18 wpm pretty quickly. If you only have time to get on once a week, you will continue to struggle.

Vy 73, Don KO7i
Don KO7i
Arlington, WA

QRP Rig: Elecraft KX3

Home Station Ant's:
Verticals 80 & 40M, with 36 radials.
Center Fed Dipole 34 ft long, 40 ft high, fed with ladder line and remote antenna tuner.

Offline GM0LVI

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Re: Acceptable QRS time frame
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2014, 22:49:07 UTC »
My two bits are:


Bottom line, Thru steady use of CW you will break thru that 10/12 wpm barrier quickly and then you will bump up to 17/18 wpm pretty quickly. If you only have time to get on once a week, you will continue to struggle.

Vy 73, Don KO7i
Wise words. The more you use it, the easier it becomes. It won't happen over-night, but there's no rush!
One thing I would add is don't worry too much about making mistakes - just correct them. The guy/gal at the other end won't mind at all. I used to worry and it made me tense up which made my sending worse, but now I don't worry and just correct the odd mistake and I've found my speed and accuracy has increased considerably.
Dave