Lesson 4: U & C (Plus Lessons 1-3)
Practice, Practice, Practice. Don’t get discouraged!
You can do it and CW OPS can help! (It’s like the Home Depot Motto, you can do it and we can help).
I spent 90 minutes one night practicing and it really-really helped as I could copy about 80% of what was being sent. I had to stop because I was starting to miss more and my brain was turning to mush.
The next two days it was like I had never been practicing and I could only get the easy letters and it would take me 3 or 4 tries to get a word that was being sent. I got frustrated and asked myself why I am doing this and just wanted to stop. I kept at it and it got better but still not like the 90 minute session where I could copy 80%. Boy this is frustrating! Your mind and attitude has to be ready for Morse code.
I was in a Doctors office the other day and saw a sign about exercise and it said something like this. “If you can’t exercise don’t make an excuse, just say it’s not a priority.” I am trying to make it a priority and not give up.
TIP: Make practice a priority.
I found that I had problems with words that where 5 or more letters long. When a few words were sent I was lost and had to have them repeated several times. If I saw the words on the screen as they were being sent I said, “Oh yea I know what that is”. But when I put the paper over the screen to hide the words or letters it would take me a few tries. I tried not to write the letters down and then I would forget what some where as the word got longer. I am bad about missing a letter and then trying to figure it out and then I miss the next few letters. What is helping me is that I leave a space and then I can figure out the word once it is completed. So on the words I started writing them down and it helps. The instructor stated copying can slow you down and try to avoid it if you can. One of the things that I think really helped me was to practice sending the word after it was sent to me on the software system. I had to really concentrate on spacing the letters when I was sending. I am trying to send at 20 WPM but with the Farnsworth around 5 to 8.
TIP: When you get tired and lose concentration, stop practicing for a while.
I found C to be fairly easy as it has a good pace or rhythm to it. I had to practice the U a lot as for some reason I got it confused with D. So to recap, in this session I had issues with U, D, and R. This session also sent a string of four numbers at me and that I could not get. Example was 4241 and 1452. I really struggled with these and never got them good. That is a tough one. I had to slow down my spacing between letters when I was sending and words with 5 or more letters threw me off. Putting the time in is a must. You need to practice everyday, if only for 10 or 20 minutes at a time, have good quality and quiet practice time.
TIP: Practice sending after each word. It helped me!
Don’t get discouraged. If you put in the time it will work out. I feel sometimes that I am playing Wheel of Fortune and I’m trying to solve the puzzle. The word CHAIR was sent and I got the C, H, A, and I really quick but I heard the R as a D and said to myself that CHAID didn’t spell anything in English that I knew of so I figured it was a CHAIR. When I removed the paper Vanna White told me it was a R. Bingo! Maybe if I wrote it down it would be faster but others people told me not to write it down since Part 1 of this series came out, so I am trying not to write anything down.
One of the things we found was when someone is sending on Skype, all other participants should mute their Skype so the CW sound comes through better.
For me, lesson 4 was a success. I put in a lot of time which resulted in being able to copy most of what was being sent during the class. I still have problems copying call signs but feel with a lot of practice it will come to me. (It has to or I won’t make any contacts).
The next session is 5 and new for this class are the numbers 3 and 6, letters M and W and the ?. Brought to you by Sesame Street. Boy my mind is turning to mush!
Until next time, Aloha and 73.