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[TenTec] CW prep and training, Study Recommendation....

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Subject: [TenTec] CW prep and training, Study Recommendation....
From: Rovasw@tacom.army.mil (Rovas, William)
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 09:18:26 -0500

Hi Jim and group,
   Group, please delete this one if you don't have time for a long rambling
success story....  Only reference to Ten Tec is my trusty Triton II.
Message is for Jim and anyone else interested.

   My compliments to you on going for the upgrade to Extra.  Following is
another suggestion that you may also want to try......  It has worked for me
and several other friends who had difficulty getting over the cw hump....
   First, some background.....  Back when I was a 'kid' I could handle about
18 wpm with pretty good copy.  As an 'old guy' in my forties at the time, a
friend and I decided to upgrade to Extra.  My friend was a very proficient
cw enthusiast who thought I was dreamin'.  
        I purchased a single Gordon West 20 WPM QSO style code tape.  
        Each night during a thirty day period, I sat down at the kitchen
table, with my son's 'boom box' cassette radio and a set of stereo head
phones....  Every night takes discipline.....  Each CW QSO is only 5
minutes!!! If you want something, you make it work!!!

        Decide whether you can write or print script faster, and then
conclude that this is all you will use to copy code....

        Play the first single cw QSO which should cruise along at 20
WPM.....  DO NOT LISTEN to the voice text translation!!!  After you realize
you just got massacred because you are not a cw stud, realize that you will
'attack' the same qso the following night....  (If you don't hit it the
following night, you don't want the EXTRA bad enough!!!!, sell off your
study aids at the next swap you attend.)  Commitment required.....

        Night two play the exact 20 wpm cw qso....  Here is what you are
trying to do.....

                Hear the cw and write character on paper....

                Realize that they are trying to send text with real words
and a message.  This is what you are trying to write down!!!!  Recognize
character, write character, move on, make word..., make a sentence.

                Recognition, Rhythm, Write.....

        Okay, so you only picked up a few more characters..... (That is what
is supposed to happen)....  Night three, you are playing the same CW QSO
tape....  DO NOT LISTEN to the voice translation......

        Night Four......  (Five minutes and you're not wanting to play?????
C'mon!!!!)  Same cw QSO.  
                Recognition, Rhythm, Write!!!

        Night Five......  Same CW QSO.....  Getting Old??????  How good is
your copy????  Can you read some text?????  You need one minute of straight
copy....  20 wpm x 5 characters means 100 characters......  
        They start each qso with a series of Vs'......  (FCC use to count
these as contributing to a minute of straight copy).
        Then two call signs with at least three numerals and a slash mark
follow....  (This is a bonus....  each numeral or punctuation is worth two
characters of credit for your one minute of straight copy).
        About each qso is started with some type of conversation which will
include a three numeral signal report.  Recognition, Rhythm, Write!!!!
                Remember, they repeat call signs at the end of the cw
qso.....  (Talk about a second chance....).

                DO NOT LISTEN to the voice translation!!!!  (Okay, copy has
improved, but you are concerned that you are memorizing the text....  And
only 5 minutes per night????  Can this work??)

        Night six....  Are you still coming around????  It is time for a new
cw qso on the 20 wpm tape....  5 minutes worth of text.....

                Well, you may feel like you attended the 'Butch
Cassidy-Sundance' farewell....  May have only copied 50% and got panicky....
C'mon!!!  Privacy of your own home????  You are at the table for one
purpose: CW Rhythm, Recognition, Write!!!

        Night seven.... Here we go again with CW qso two....

                Copy was better than 50% I bet....  

        Night eight....  Get your tail over to the table.....  CW QSO two

                Rhythm, Recognition, Write!!!!

        Night nine....  Hopefully you have the idea....  Five minutes per
night and you must do it.

        The 20 WPM Gordon West CW QSO tape is similar format to what you
will be tested on.  Learning to link letters, make words and sentences is
the secret to proficiency.  Also, later in the tape, there are a couple of
22 WPM CW qsos'.....  Make sure you play them as part of the late term five
night CW QSO plan (No guts, no glory!!!).   

        After 30 days of this abuse, get a copy of your license in hand and
go visit the VE.... 
Friends who failed code testing as many as five times after using computers
and random code generators and other hi tech devices were successful in
passing the 20 WPM Extra exam....  All it is a little Rhythm, Recognition,
Write!!!!  Friends still marvel at the fact that as a primarily voice
operator, I cracked the 20 wpm barrier so easily....  As a kid I was good
for 18!  As an older guy, guess I was good for 20!!! 

        While you are at it, take the exam for the Advanced AND Extra....
You have already paid the price $$$ for testing and might get lucky......
Even if you don't pass the exam, you have the experience of seeing some of
the exam questions and can then crack the books for some hard study.
        Also, here's another method that you can try to enhance cw
proficiency.  Most modern rigs have side tone.....  Hook up a dummy load and
apply 0 dive for minimal output into the dummy load....  Rig I used was my
'trusty ol' Ten Tec Triton II'.  Sit down with your 'new fangled keyer or
bug or straight key' hooked up to the rig.  Drag out the license manual....
I prefer the Gordon West study manual.....  Start to send question #1 of the
study material you are hitting....  
        It is a lot of trouble!!!!  What a screwy idea....  After stumbling
through the horrible text you just sent, READ THE ANSWERS related to the
question.  We must have progress, so move to question #2, #3 ........  

        What have we done after a few episodes here?????  We have developed
a measure of proficiency in sending with a keyer, bug or key of some type.
(I think the ol' guys use to say, developed a fist????)  We have also hit
the books and even learned some of the study material....  (I learned how to
use the Vibroplex Bug that my SK Elmer, K1BVD gave me when I passed my

        Jim, you can't lose with this method, and though it is not painless,
it is a controllable way to gain the proficiency necessary to get the next
higher license.  Not fancy or hi tech, but it works where other systems have

        My results are amusing.....  Friends often query me as to how I got
my 20 wpm credit when I do not operate CW on a regular basis.  I always tell
them that I had to pay someone $40 to pass the cw exam, and he flunked it
the first time so I had to pay him again.....  

        If the FCC wants me to demo proficiency, let me at em!!!!

        Best of Season's Greetings to all.....
73's  de  Bill, WA1APX/8



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