CW: Getting inside the symbols

In the last post I talked a bit about learning sequences of numbers.  I got up to 3 numbers fairly reliably, then I went back to the weaker letters and numbers and tried that.   I’m still doing this during my commute, and mostly in the walking parts, so I’m not writing anything down and I’m doing one group at a time.

I noticed two things:

  1. I can feel my tendency to (unnecessarily) delay recognising a letter or number until a bit late.   Like I need to hear the whole thing and then think what it is.   That means the next letter is already happening and I’m still thinking about the last one.  Or even delay until the end of the word.
  2. There’s a joyful ‘yay’ in my mind when I recognise something. This then distracts me and makes me lose the next symbol.

From this I’m thinking that I need to fully climb into each symbol and try and recognise them before they are finished.  More like feeling the letter or number and then quietly moving on rather than delaying and getting caught up with it.

As a result of this, I’ve gone on to working with enough symbols at a time that I can’t stop and think, or delay to the end,  so I’m trying individual groups of 5 and concentrating on properly climbing into each symbol and not getting stuck in them, in the congratulations about recognising something, or delaying it all until there’s a gap.  Some of this is mindfulness (being still enough, back to the Zen and the art of Telegraphy focus on getting into a mindful state) and some is trust and perseverance.   

So, I’m going to keep working with 5 symbol groups for a while, still at 18 wpm, and see how good I can get.All in all, I’m loving the learning at the moment. Long may that continue.

Notes on CW learning

I do most of my CW training while working to and from work on my morning  commute.  So, I’m not writing stuff down at all, just listening to the Morse Trainer app on my phone.    Here are a few reflective notes on what I’m up to and what I’m learning about myself while doing CW training like this.

As I wrote here I’ve been training with a list of common QSO words.  Seem to have them pretty much down at 18 wpm.   18 wpm seems to be the max that the Morse Trainer app can handle, so I fix it there with no extra symbol spacing.   I can imagine there is going to be a bit of trouble getting me beyond 18 wpm.. But that would be a great problem to have 🙂

So, after the random QSO words list, I’ve gone back to training random letter and number groups, starting at 2 symbols together and planning on going up to 3, 4 and then 5.   So I’ve started with ‘AB’ or ‘C5’ or whatever the randomiser throws up.  This is going ok, except I can feel slowness/weakness with some numbers (2,3, 7 and 8) and letters like G, W, F, Q, Y.

This morning, I thought I’d have a go at the numbers. Started with random 2 digit numbers at 18wpm. I feel pretty ok with them, especially after a little practice.  Feels like about 90% correct on those so have stepped up to 3 digits now, intending to go up to 4 and 5 digit numbers and keep on those until basically perfect.   And after that I need to go back to the harder letters, or maybe even all-letter or letter-number groups up to 5 long at 18 wpm.

It feels like the key thing in here is noticing when my recognition is weak, so that takes awareness and that gentle kindness and experimentation to see what I can do.    I’m looking forward to real CW QSOs and want to be able to QSO before around the end of September.