SteveWS4F at SteveWS4F at
Wed Jan 31 09:13:16 EST 1996

Hi Gang-

I have now confirmed by phone with Billy Lunt my sponsorship of W/VE
MULTI-SINGLE PHONE plaque for ARRL DX TEST.  Others feel free to step up and
grab the many sponsorships remaining!


Steve, WS4F
stevews4f at

>From Walter Deemer <ac1o at>  Wed Jan 31 14:45:15 1996
From: Walter Deemer <ac1o at> (Walter Deemer)
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 09:45:15 -0500
Subject: AC1O Is On The Web!
Message-ID: <199601311445.JAA68566 at>

If any of you ever wondered what I do to earn the money to try and keep my
humble CONTEST station up and running, I now have a web site:

Designed by CONTESTER KA9FOX -- who did a *fantastic* job -- the site is
mainly financially-oriented; I couldn't resist, though, putting some fun
links down at the bottom.  (Nor could I resist keeping my dry, subtle(?)
humor off the site.  HINT: The site is NOT X-rated...)

Intersting, by the way, that CONTESTING and the contest reflector led me to
KA9FOX, and thus ended up playing a role in the economy as well.  It may be
just a hobby -- but there are some darn sharp people in it... 

73, Walt, AC1O/4

Confidential to WN4KKN: My well-placed sources at cisco told me one of the
reasons they were willing to pay such a stiff premium over market for TGV
was to get you and the reflector on board.   -- WD  

>From aa4lr at (Bill Coleman AA4LR)  Wed Jan 31 14:28:36 1996
From: aa4lr at (Bill Coleman AA4LR) (Bill Coleman AA4LR)
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 10:28:36 -0400
Subject: Summary: Copying QRQ Contest CW (LONG) 3/3
Message-ID: <v01530502ad352c932068@[]>

<Continued from part 2>

JimP911 at

I like to work on my CW while doing other things. I have my receiver tuned
to a cw qso while I'm surfing Internet on my computer. It's amazing how
your brain can read the screen, operate the keyboard & mouse & assimilate
the cw all at once!

It seems that the best way to increase speed & comprehension is simply
spending time at it. After a while you hear whole words instead of letters.

I find that if I'm away from it for some time that I lose the ability to
copy the fast stuff unless I concentrate intently. When I am very active on
the bands it seems to be second nature.

Hope my ramblings here offer some help. Please don't get discouraged. CW
contests are in my humble opinion the most challenging & worthy of
I operate the DX 'tests at the K1KI multi op. It never ceases to amaze me
how effortlessly the truly great operators copy cw after 24 hours straight.

I look over at K1TO or K1KI at their operating positions in the middle of
the second night and they don't even seem to be working at it!

"Rich L. Boyd" <rlboyd at>

I'm enjoying the messages on (relatively) high speed CW in contests. A
local guy who I've never heard in any other contest, decided to show
several other locals a few years ago how to make QSOs in the 160 M CW
contest at speeds higher than they could normally copy. He sat them down at
the local club's station and pointed out to them that the contest exchange
and the station's callsign were repeated over and over, the signal was
often strong, and a memory keyer or computer could be programmed with your
own exchange and call. He reported that they were all elated to realize
that they could work guys at 20-25-30 WPM, even though they maybe barely
passed the 13 WPM test.

And, it seems to me that the guys who send pretty fast CW in the contests,
say 30-40 WPM (maybe there are a few that go faster than 40 but none come
readily to mind) -- okay, they're in the upper end of the 30-40 range, say
38 are top 10 guys. I think the theory is you have to make QSOs that fast
to have a score in the top echelon, the tradeoff being more repeats. Many
guys that can't copy will work you and copy the call and exchange by
listening to it as many times as it takes. And, if he busts the info in his
log the QSO still counts for you, as long as you don't bust his exchange to
you. Other casual ops don't log any of their QSO or don't send in their log
anway. So, if the guy on the other end wants to get your exchange right he
sends QRS, or he listens over and over, whatever it takes. And there are
many, many ops who DO copy the 38 WPM call and exchange. Some of those may
pass on the QSO if it's at 15 WPM because they know it'll take a little
longer, where at 38 they can fit it in quick -- maybe they're using two
radios for instance.

Summary: various tradeoffs and judgments to be made -- which approach gets
the most guys to work you. 73

Rich Boyd KE3Q
"H. L. Serra" <hlserra at> N6AZE

Bill- Try PED and RUFZ. It will at least get you thinking of calls as one
"word." 73, Larry N6AZE

Bill Coleman, AA4LR      Mail: aa4lr at
Quote: "Man will never fly in a thousand years!"
            -- Wilbur Wright, 1902

>From aa4lr at (Bill Coleman AA4LR)  Wed Jan 31 14:28:17 1996
From: aa4lr at (Bill Coleman AA4LR) (Bill Coleman AA4LR)
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 10:28:17 -0400
Subject: Summary: Copying QRQ Contest CW (LONG) 1/3
Message-ID: <v01530500ad352bbdee1f@[]>

Two weeks ago, I posted a confessional - I still copy CW directly to paper.
I requested suggestions, and I've been please to receive numerous replies.
Far too many to respond individually. Thank you everyone for your comments.

My confession brought out three distinct problems in the responses. They are:

A) Being able to copy contest CW (30-40 wpm) in your head.

B) Being able to copy contest CW (30-40 wpm) at all.

C) Being able to work the computer (typing) while copying CW.

Each is an important problem, and I'll leave the responses to each in this
summary. In my particular case, C isn't a problem, as I type 80-100 wpm,
but there may be some of you who seek to improve in this area.

The answer to all three of these problems is practice. But my confessional
hoped to bring out suggestions on the types of practice that were most
beneficial. At least, it uncovered what worked for our contest breathren.

Numerically, the solutions suggested are as follows:

A) Copying CW in your head.
        16 - Listen to high speed CW (maybe while doing other things)
        13 - Ragchewing on CW (every day, or often)
        11 - Use contest practice software (NA, TR, PED, RUFZ)
        7 - Work CW contests (even if it is work)
        5 - Work traffic nets
        5 - Throw away your pencil & paper
        3 - Use W1AW high speed practice sessions
        3 - Copy behind as far as possible and take notes
        3 - Visualise spoken letters and words (alternately imagine CW)
        2 - Operate mobile CW

Casually listening to high-speed CW is highly favored. Several respondents
stressed the importance of feeling relaxed. Operating a lot of CW was also
popular -- either ragchewing, casual contest operating, working traffic
nets, or mobile operating. I believe the key to these suggestions is a
complete immersion in CW. That's the way the majority of high-speed ops
gained their skill.

Some of the more directed types of practice include the use of contest
practice software of various kinds. This proved to be much more popular
than I would have anticipated. And the W1AW practice sessions weren't
forgotten. (I learned CW to 13 wpm this way. Got to 20 wpm using a code
practice program I wrote for an ancient computer) Going cold turkey with
the pencil and paper (or only using them to take notes) appears to be a
good technique.

Mental rehearsal of spelling to create words, or aurally hearing CW is
certainly an interesting suggestion that can be done away from the radio.

B) Copying CW, period.
        3 - Copy to the computer keyboard instead of paper
        3 - Practice sending with a bug or keyer at high speed (not on air)
        2 - Copy random groups
        1 - Computer practice software (MA, CodeMaster)
        1 - Write cursive, not block letters or printing
        1 - Specialised practice busying short term memory

Although the suggestion of copying code to the computer was fairly popular,
I personally have my doubts. For me,  CW copying goes from ear to pencil.
Going from ear to keyboard won't help develop CW as a "language" that is
heard and understood.

Sending practice was a surprise, but a good suggestion. It also develops
your bug or keyer technique.

C) Operating the computer while operated CW.
        2 - Use contest practice software
        2 - Copy CW to the computer
        1 - Switch to computer CW
        1 - Copy random groups or calls

To master the use of the computer, anything that forces you to sit down and
use it is good. Contest practice software seems a good bet.

Here is a summary of the responses. They have been edited slightly for brevity.

Thank you one and all.


My way to learn to copy the code directly in the head was quite
straightforward. The key word is practice.

I practised the skill by rag-chewing with a couple of my friends, like
SM2CEK, OH7BX and OH3JG. We had real discussions beyond the usual 'how is
the wx?'. We kinda spoke of various things like

The second way was to listen the others while they were rag-chewing. I
could spend an hour a day just listening some chaps 'talking' to each

The listening was strictly without the pen and paper. During the QSOs I
tried to keep the amount of the paper copying in the very minimum.

The pile-up manners, copying ability and how-to-copy-a-call I learned by
listening to some pile-ups. I was always very happy if I copuld copy better
than the DX did.

I wish you the very best luck and I hope you will learn the head-copying
more quickly. It took about a year for me.. I don't even want to look back
in that logbook to search for how many hours.. I'd guess it took some
100-150 hours on the QSOs alone. And plus the rag-chewing listening plus
the pile-up listening.

-------------------------------------------------------------- Arlan Bowen
<abowen at> N4OO

I turned my receiver to 40M (only decent antenna at the time c.1951) and
let it play while I worked at other projects in my basement shack. Pretty
soon,, I started recognizing words, then phrases and sentences. Once you
get the thought train, you usually can anticipate whats coming. You need to
pay close enuf attention to make sure you don't get "faked out" by some
uncommon word that starts like one you know and recognize.

Memory is hazy, but I think it only took a couple of months. Of course, all
of this was interspaced with 2 or 3 QSOs per day for a long time. When you
are young and motivated, as in hanging around with the big time operators,
you pick it up fairly fast.

Put ur pencil away and just listen for a while. I think it will grow on you.

-------------------------------------------------------------- Wallace
Offutt <woffutt at> Hal Offutt K8HVT/1

If I were you I would switch to a keyboard. The contest software NA (and
maybe the others also) has a practice mode for the different contests. You
can practice SS one evening, WPX the next, CQWW the next. Start out at a
speed that's comfortable for you and work your way up. I'm sure this will

But even though I have been using computers for several years, I always
keep a pad of paper and a pencil nearby. Partly this is because I am always
afraid that the computer will die, but often I find that I write down
calls, names, freqs, etc.

 "Ronald R. Sigismonti" <sig at> N3RS

My suggestion to you is to put your mic away for at least 6 mo. Then get on
the air every day ON CW. In 6 months you will be copying CW in your head
without any problem. It should be considered like a language. Using the
dictionary to translate a language can be done. You never learn the
language that way, however. Go to the country that speaks the language in
question and live with a family there and get immersed in the language and
you will learn enough to get along in casual discussions in 6 months or

barry at (barry) W2UP

Bill - I think you hit it on the head. I was licensed at age 12, upgraded
to advanced at 13 and extra at 15. For those 3 years, I was *stuck* using a
HW-16 (CW only) rig, cuz the paper route didn't earn that much to allow
upgrading to a SSB rig. As best I recall, it was a gradual process to
increase speed, and never consciously switched from paper to head copying.
At my peak (proabably abt 20-25 years ago) could copy about 90 WPM in my
head. My guess now is probably 65-70 WPM.

Your "problem" is you need to make the transition from copying each
character, to copying, first syllables, then words, as a single unit. This
comes somewhere between 25-30 WPM because it's just too fast to copy
individual characters. You have already begun the process with the short
words like "the, and, cq, 73, aa4lr, etc." Just keep operating CW.
Listening only won't work well, because you really aren't pressured to
copy. Get into QSOs. Listen to some of the speedsters at 7025-7030. You
wikll start to pick out common words and it will progress from there. GL

tomf at (Thomas E. Francis) NM1Q

So what - so do I - espiecally during QSO's.

(CW LISTENING TIP #1) I don't try and copy the whole QSO in my head when
I'm just crusiing the bands, just the salient points - if you try and copy
the whole QSO it does become work and not as much fun.

(CW LISTENING TIP #2) RELAX!!! If you miss something, ask for a repeat -
almost always no problem for the sender...

(CW LISTENING TIP #3) - This is going to sound silly, but don't write, just
listen, listen, listen....

(CW LISTENING TIP #4) - Use the W1AW code practice sessions (schedule in
QST) and use the high speed practice - don't use the slow speed practice).
The high speed practice sessions are transmitted from 45 DOWN to 15 WPM -
you'd be surprised at how much you can copy when you start fast and work
down to slow...

Well, when you think about it, most CW contesters are also also scribbling
on paper, but their using CT as the scratch pad - I mean really, think
about it, your just typing instead of writing...

Well, you got that right - practice is paramount to being a really good CW
contest op. There are several programs out there that can help, most
notably something called PEDXX.XX (I don't know what version it's up to
now) that is a CT program simulator and there are others that you can find
on the WWW or ARRL or the CT BBS - look 'em up and give them a try...

Yep, going faster to slower - My Dad taught me code at a very young age (I
was eleven) and did exactly like that - Fast speed to slow speed. I taught
a guy 50 years old code faster to slower and he's copying 35 solid after
about three months - PRACTICE - PRACTICE - PRACTICE!!!

From: "H. Ward Silver" <hwardsil at> N0AX

I recall working on it, to some degree, but there was no "epiphany". I also
worked on copying behind as much as I could. The combination of the two
just gradually leads to full head copy. The problem I have now is that I
can copy fine, but can't remember all of the conversation! So I take
notes...try that and see if it doesn't help.

From: Jan & Del Seay <seay at> KL7HF

Hi Bill - that's a question that has echoed for 90 years! As far as I know,
the only way is to have fun at it - by rag chewing on cw. Lotsa 15 wpm rag
chewers on all bands, and once you start just chatting about normal day to
day things, pretty soon you will become relaxed, then it will be
interesting, and then you'll automatically start copying without paper. Too
many guys use the "599 Toledo John, 73" routine to get into the rythm. CW
qsos should be just like ssb qsos, talk about everything including Hillary!
Good Luck - CU in the test.

Warren E. Lewis <saswel at> AD4ZE

Bill I am in the same boat as you...I would enjoy reading any direct email
responses that you get...or if you could summarize to the group...I bet
there a lot of folks in our same shoes.

I have noticed that the more contests that I am in the better my code
copying ability has gotten. When I first started contesting a year or so
ago I was in the 10 wpm range and now have almost 100% copy at 20wpm. In
fact, I think I may have gone up a few wpm just during the NAQP contest
this weekend.

[AA4LR - Warren is proof that contesting itself helps! ]

From:   RMoore8 at N2RM

I think the secret of copying without paper is practice, but also learning
to copy syllables or short words rather than just individual letters. For
example things like, cq, test, and , etc. you probably copy as words, and
not as letters. Through practice, you just need to expand your vocabulary.
Also, if you want to learn without paper, just copy without paper. As with
most things some people find it easier than others.

Gary Nieborsky <k7fr at> K7FR

I still copy some things on paper but not during a contest. I kicked the
habit for contests by setting the speed of my computer way above the speed
my hands can write and then listen,listen,listen. It took about a month but
I finally got to the point where I could copy a 10 word string in my head
and remember it long enough to commit to the keyboard. I'm now to the point
where I can listen to a second radio while doing an exchange on the first.
But remember....
YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!!! Keep a positive attitude!


Hi Bill: Read your missive with interest. I'm hardly a certified expert,
but most of my ham activity is CW, and I enjoy it immensely. When I began
to get serious about hamming - back in 2d year of medical school (read: no
discretionary funds for gear) - I was of necessity rekegated to CW. One of
my mentors at that time - Bud Smith W4YE (then W4YZC), a consummate CW man
and a great traffic and contest operator - suggested I work traffic to
build up my speed. It worked wonderfully well: I began to read CW in my
head, and the discipline of writing it down for the traffic records
reinforced the learning. In about 8 weeks my speed went from a shaky 13-15
to about 35-40 in my head, and solid copy at 30-35. The CW traffic nets
don't seem to be what they were in '69-70 when I was doing my thing, but
they are still viable, and the experience as a code speed builder is still
there. My experience has also reaffirmed that traffic operators are still
quite interested in newcomers and very patient with people just getting
into the business. If you have a receiver in your car or workshop, you can
leave it tuned to the ham bands as you drive/work, and try to follow QSOs
along in your head - frustrating at first, but soon the words begin to
form, and the next thing you know, you're copying 24-25 wpm in your head.
It's a bit like learning a language or a new musical instrument -
frustrating as hell at the beginning, but a real payoff if you stick with
it. Even after 36 years, I still get on at times and copy the ARRL code
practice transmissions. They constitute the best, most cleanly sent code
you can hear on the bands, and are great for brushing up or reinforcing
speed, and you can check your copy. Plus it's a nice certificate to hang on
the wall and impress your SSB friends. At any rate, a few suggestions...
delighted to hear someone interested enough in mastering CW to want to make
the effort. Good luck to you, and I'll look for you in the QRQ lane during
the CW Sweeps in November! Vy 73, Don Lynch, W4ZYT


I am 29 years old and was first licensed in 1979 at the age of 12. Getting
on and having QSOs is about the only way to "learn" to copy words. It is a
killer when someone is sending at 5 WPM and you are trying to remember the
last letter that was sent.

I find CW much more preferable to phone on HF (particularly for contests.)
I like being able to use my voice come Monday morning. I use paper for the
contest exchange, primarily to avoid inputting errors in the computer log.

In junior high and early high school, I was very active in NTS traffic
handling, including CW (packet was still in its infancy). This was probably
the best way to increase speed. The nets are regularly scheduled and
writing everything down is boring.

I was pretty much radio-inactive from about 1983ish-1993. Between doing
high school stuff and college, I think I made 20 contacts, including 2
meters, during that period of time. I was up to about 25 WPM when I went on
hiatus. When I returned, I found that I could still copy at about 20-22
WPM. I was at a hamfest in the spring of '94 when a fellow club member was
going in to take his 20 WPM test. He talked me into going in with him. I
passed 100%. It surprised me.

I am glad that I got rusty but didn't corrode.

k3ww at K3WW

This is very tough...its like walking, you know you can do it, you cant
remember how it happened...
I worked traffic nets...very orderly proceedure everynight.. you wrote down
your messages, but eventually you knew who was checking in and what the Net
control was was a pretty strict I stopped writing
down stuff until It was time for me to copy a message. I suspect somewhere
along the way I could copy with out thinking about it. I knew I could copy
when I found myself in the shack, talking to someone with the radio on, and
I started laughing over something someone said (in cw) on the radio...just
background noise but I had to be listening. Like at a party where folks are
speaking a different language and you do not know the language, just
noise...or if you have a rudimentary knowledge you might strain to hear a
few words you recognize..but if you are fluent, then you can casually hear
things in the noise without really working.
Something I never really understood though, is copying behind... I type
faster than I can copy (I can copy 55 cold, and have been up to 65 when I
do it for a few nights in a row...and sometimes grab little bits faster
than that)...when I copy I just type it as I hear it, likewise writing it
down...I get confused if I lag behind too much...never mastered that I can
take notes on CW...but not follow say a word or two behind in my
transcription. On the other hand when the radio is on and cw is in the
background I understand what is being discussed...not sure how...its not
like I hear spoken words, but the information gets to my brain somehow and
is interperted.

Suggestion...dont know if they still have lots of CW traffic nets.. but
predictable stuff is a good way to try to develope a feel for what is going
on without writing stuff down. If you type fairly well..say above
might try typing what you hear.. some very good CW guys were military
trained, and can type 35 or more WPM code groups all day, never
understanding anything HI.. but most can also copy in their heads at some

Good luck, CW is much more relaxing than fone...less junk, QRM and soforth,
the faster you go the more fun it is up to some point when you run out of
guys to work or bad ears do you in... 73 Chas K3WW

From: Warren E. Lewis <saswel at> AD4ZE

I am looking forward to see what folks have to say!! I have never had a
contest speed CW!!

Contest stuff is pretty regular, so once you know the format of the
exchange it is not to difficult, it is just that people don't send at
25wpm...they have to send at 30+ wpm. I usually just listen to a few
exchanges to get all the info and then give the person a call...this keeps
the rate down a great bit though. I think my best hour during NAQP was a 20
Q hour. At this point I am stricly a S&P operator... I try running rate,
but, had very few takers of my 50 Watts.
zs6nw at (Jan van Niekerk) zs6nw

You hit it right on the head! There are two completely independent
skills-copying cw letters, and stringing together words in your head.

The second one can even be practised WITHOUT cw, just make a tape with
someone saying letters, and then you must start VISUALISING the word in
your heads-up display. Start with 2 letters (which is easy), then 3 (a lot
more difficult but you can actually see how you master it) etc.

Personally, I wrote a program for the PC to throw words at me-first
two-letter, then 3-letter, etc. I'm sure some of the more modern morse
training software can do it.

BTW, even after a couple of years I still don't have it too perfect-some
dudes are definitely more talented!

jreid at (Jim Reid) AH6NB

Back in July, I asked a similar question on the contest reflector, how did
you guys get to be QRQ operators? Thot I would send along to you some of
the comments I got back; you may get similar ones and if you get new ones,
please share them also.

I received suggestions regarding both receiveing and sending as helps to
becoming QRQ. All , of course require time for practice!

1. Excperience on the Air

Lots of CW QSOing in addition to contest times helps, per several comments.

Lots of trying at the contests also helps; the SS contest was suggested by
mamy as the best fo speed buildd up and practice.

Got a couple of suggestions to listen to CW nets for awhile, then try
joining in; not sure I have ever heard a CW net out here!

2. QRQ Receiveing Practice

Contest logging programs require that you know how to type rapidly without
looking at the keyboard, and that you know the program commands. Both TR
and NA have contest simulator programs built-in for help and practice. The trainer program (available from, in the
SimTel\msdos\ hamradio file) is a specific CT contest program trainer. The
"new" RUFZ program is a great QRQ build-up call-sign to keyboard entry
training aid.

Spend time copying to the keyboard random groups of both characteers and
numbers. Morse Academy (available from the W5YI group) is specifically good
for this kind of practice. Also, all the CW test programs of MA can be sent
at very high practicing speeds for practice "reading in the head." Also for
practice in copying behind to the keyboard. Code Master V, ads in the mags,
allows keyboard or text file input of kilobytes of text for very long, high
speed CW listening practice session, up to 30 minute sessions at even 50
wpm. I have taken lots of long text directly from various internet sites,
and copyied it directly into a CM V text file for this sort of practice.

Onwe way to start on the air CW practice, is to stop writing down
everything as you say you are now doing. Have you log in front of you, and
just write now the call, name, qth and report; thats all that is usually
sent in the firsst
go around anyway.

CW training in the military created many QRQ operators. Not sure that is a
good enough reason to join-up, but if you are young.......

Spend lots of time, daily if possible, just listening to very high speed
stuff. Enev faster than you can hear a dit from a dah for awhile. Need tp
get tje braom accistp,ed tp tje spimd/ Tjem bring the speed down to only 5
or 10 wpm fater than you know you can copy with a pencil or to a keyboard,
and spend 30 minutes twice or so a day just listening. After a couple of
weeks, surprisingly, you'll be understanding the text! Then jump the speed
anouther 5 wpm, in surprisingly little time, a few months or so, you'll be
"reading" at 45 or 50 wpm. This was the message of a Worldradio magazine
article in an early 1995 issue. Doug, KR2Q, says he went from 18 to 27 wpm
in one step using this method!

Among many, Larry, K7SV; Tony, K1KP; and Ken, AB6FO said to learn to copy
to the keyboard dropping as many letters behind and then words behind as
you can. They claim that after awhile you will realize you don't have to
type it down anymore (unless in a contest using one of the programs)
because you already have the info in you head; you have heard and
understood, just like oral English language.

3. Sending Practice Helps Loads!

Don't practice sending using the keyboard for input for these practice ideas!

Use a bug or preferably an electronic keyer and iambic paddle set up.
Adjust the paddle to a very lighty action. You don't want to be slapping
the key all about the table top! A good heavy key helps, even placeing it
on a mouse pad helps to keep it in place.

Practice lots of sending REALLY fast! This works wonders because it
requires you to "think" in English, while subconsiously you are translating
into Morse without conciously (later on as you are QRQ) translating the
words into and forming the Morse characters. It is all in your mind, and if
you train your mind to send fast, it will easily be able to use the same
subconcious process to receive fast! Johnny, KE7V told me he raised his QRQ
to 55+wpm using this method specifically!

Joe "Palooka", K8(oops lost the suffix) told me a keyer is better than a
bug as it forms perfect code, and does a better job training the ear to CW
as just another language.

Of course, Bill, many of the guys became QRQ operators while quite young
(which I am not, just a few months from #62, but am still building up my
speed). Ken, WM2C, two years after being licensed at age 13, went to ARRL
HQ where he was tested with solid copy at 55 wpm! Also many others had
various musical training experiences as kids, then became hams as
teenagers, and found CW to be a sort of "natural skill", I suppose because
the same sort of subconcious translating in the head goes on as you learn
to play must to an instrument from a musical printed score. A couple of
these guys told me they had no trouble with the RUFZ program at 70 wpm and

And some people are just born with quicker reflexs, they didn't become
athletes or jet airplane pilots, but did learn CW quick and fast to QRQ
ability. Rapid reflexs help if you are born gifted that way, ask anyone who
once tried to play at major league baseball level! Clearly aids the CW op

Well, Bill, that is more words than I have typed onto a keyboard in ages!
Helped to refresh the entire topic in my mind as well as I hope interesting
you in your quest for QRQ status. Maybe I'll break out MA and CodeMaster V
some more and try more practice myself, as I am really at about the same
level of CW skill as you seem to be. I got the good advice months ago, but
have not really honestly applied myself to any of the suggest methods,
shame on me!

From: WJ2O at WJ2O

If you figure out the answer I'd like to know. I have the same problem. In
a heated contest pileup I can enter folks into my computer along with the
exchange at a very high rate of speed and still have time to eat lunch.
But, if somebody asks me a question I have to get them to slow down to
about 25 wpm and use a pen.

I've tried to practice copying code in my head but like you say, I
concentrate on the words so much I forgot the beginning of the sentence.
There must be a way to break the habit.

Anyway, you're not alone.

[ AA4LR - well, here's the answers, Dave ]

From: Ai7b at


From: W8FN at

Way back in the dark ages (middle 60s) when I first got going, I guess I
mostly learned to copy in my head by getting on 40 CW and ragchewing. After
doing this over a summer vacation from high school, I found my code speed
had increased from about 15 wpm to nearly 30 wpm. I purposely seldom wrote
anything down except for name, QTH and such like in the log. I also dimly
recall spending lotsa time listening to the W1AW code practice and just
trying to follow it, without copying anything down. I later spent a good
while just listening to the real QRQ guys who hang out around 7030 and
pushed my copying speed (in my head) to 55-60. I still listen in on those
guys every once in a while to keep from getting too rusty.

<< Instead, I kind of hear the letters and write them down. Sometimes I'm
not even aware of what I've copied until I read the paper. >> Most
interesting. This is **precisely** what I learned to do when I pretty much
exclusively handled traffic on the CW nets (and operated in contests, of
course) from 1965-1972. The modern day equivalent of this, of course, is
having the stuff go straight from your ears to the keyboard rather than to
paper. RUFZ is an excellent training tool to develop this skill; it's
strictly an exercise in callsign copying. If you know anybody who has an
old Commodore 64 and a Dr. DX cartridge, this is still probably the best
all-purpose CW contest trainer around. CQWW in a box whenever you want it.

But beware: the mere mechanical skill of going directly from sound to
keyboard is NOT sufficient for contest work. To prevent minor keyboarding
errors from completely screwing things up, and to manage high rates when
many people are calling at once, it's vital that you develop a "buffer"
that's two or three calls deep between your ears. If you don't have at
least the call of the guy you're currently working stored away in your grey
matter, the distraction of a typing error, or just asking for a repeat of
part of an exchange, can completely wreck your concentration and blow the
QSO. I realize this sounds impossible now, but once you start copying calls
in your head it will become easier and easier as you operate contests.

The fact that you're posting to the Reflector indicates you have a
computer, so I would recommend just using what you have to practice. Fire
up the MS-DOS Editor, or Windows Notepad, or whatever, and find W1AW
sending code practice at a speed you're truly comfortable with. Then just
sit back and try to transcribe what you hear. The radical difference
between the rhythm of Morse and the normally smooth flow of standard typing
will quickly force you to begin copying behind. It'll be frustrating as
hell at first, but you should soon get the hang of it.

[ AA4LR - I have tried this, and found it VERY DIFFICULT! My CW copying is
really tied to the pencil. I think I'd rather just understand it, and then
type in what I understand. Hence, I'm motivated to go directly to copying
in my head.]

I would also recommend removing pencil and paper from your reach for this
exercise. Don't have your old familiar crutches around and you'll soon wean
yourself from depending on them.

palooka at K8Joe"Palooka"

First, you are correct. Practice. But, to way back when, I used to listen
to CW like some people listen to back ground music. I used to take tapes of
fast CW and play it in the car. Not really paying attention, there it was.
No car radio, just the tape. Later in life, I had moved and operating CW
/mobile was my only way and my CW went into the 50's. You got's ta copy in
the head there! Just let it run and it will come!

<Continued next message>

Bill Coleman, AA4LR      Mail: aa4lr at
Quote: "Man will never fly in a thousand years!"
            -- Wilbur Wright, 1902

>From aa4lr at (Bill Coleman AA4LR)  Wed Jan 31 14:28:26 1996
From: aa4lr at (Bill Coleman AA4LR) (Bill Coleman AA4LR)
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 10:28:26 -0400
Subject: Summary: Copying QRQ Contest CW (LONG) 2/3
Message-ID: <v01530501ad352c5a1306@[]>

<Continued from part 1>

From: AA7NX at

I was licensed at age 13 and operated a lot for the first few years. I
first taught myself code with a Radio Shack Morse code LP. I was so intent
on getting my novice that I learned 5 wpm in one weekend.

[ AA4LR - I had the AVEMCO LP -- these were absolutely AWFUL! ]

However, getting faster was not easy at first. I just got on and chewed the
rag a lot. Of course, when I started, I was writing everything down. I
would even copy other QSOs just to practice. I recall hitting plateus,
first about 8 wpm, then 11 wpm, then at about 2 months I managed to clock
myself at about 15 wpm. An interesting note is that I could send 15 to 18
(sloppily) when I could only copy 5. I used to get a magazine and mark
every 5 characters and time it to see how fast I could send. I think it
helped. I think I got to about 18 - 20 on paper, then I knew I was at my
limit because I simply couldn't write any faster, and legibility was gone!

It was also at this point that I began to have regular QSOs with the same
people often, and the familiarity and comfort developed. We were all
novices and a few were further ahead and would begin to "stretch out" and
send a bit faster at times. Since the conversations were informal, I
stopped worrying about writing everything. It is like the difference
between a lecture, where you need to take notes and a casual or informal
discussion where you converse freely. All of a sudden, I realized that 25
wpm was not a mystery, and not long after, 30, 35 and even 40+ wpm just
happened. It was because it didn't matter if I missed a character or 2, the
flow of the conversation just happened.

Those were heady times! I relaxed and let it happen and it was really
great. Local old timers would hear me on the bands and sometimes work me
and were impressed at this 14 year old who could fly on CW. Of course, that
helped the ego and drove me on. My limitation then became sending, and I
topped out at about 50 wpm copying and 45 sending. Years of less activity
have limited me some. I can comfortably converse at around 30 - 35 wpm and
can contest up to about 40 - 45 wpm, but that is it. It is good enough to
copy anyone during a contest, and since that is almost all of my operation,
it is okay.

What made it all happen was immersion in the medium. I spent a few hours
every day at a tender young age, and it locked in. I think that helped a
lot, but I think too that even a few minutes a day or a few times a week
can make a huge difference. When I do rarely spend multiple days at a time
having casual QSOs, I improve. If you want to find good fast CW rag chews,
I suggest 7025 to 7040 in the evening. There is almost always someone there
who will work with you. Don't hesitate to ask someone to QRS, but also
don't hesitate to push your limits. Remember, it is only a casual
conversation and if you miss something, it is okay. You can ask for a

Just read Randy, W8FN's note. The simulators may be a good way to exercise
too. Besides Dr. DX (rare) and RUFZ, there is PED, which features pileup
practice if you have a sound card and is available at most Ham Radio sites
and BBSs. Also, N6TR Log, which is available as freeware at the V4.05 level
and at later levels with many enhancements for a nominal fee if ordered. It
has a contest simulator that not only trains you on CW but does it while
using a super logging program.

I love CW, it is music to my ears. Good luck and stick with it. If you can
do 20 writing, you probably have the natural ability to do 40+ just
listening. 73 and see you in the CW tests,

k8bl at (Bob Liddy) K8BL

You get an A+ for having the guts to make a public confession like this - BRAVO!

[ AA4LR - Can I count that as an extra multiplier in the next CW contest? ]

Anyway, how did I do it? I discovered this when I was trying to ready
myself for taking the 20 wpm Extra test many years ago. Since then, I've
suggested it to Hams struggling to upgrade their code skills & class. For
quite a few, they've told me it helped them.
So, if you are comfortable at say 15-17 wpm, get/make a code tape of 5
character random groups of letters/numbers at 22-25 wpm. Play it in the
background when you're doing something else - reading the newspaper,
driving back & forth to work, tinkering at your workbench, changing the oil
in your vehicle, cleaning up your shack. Don't pay a lot of attention to
it, but every now and then you'll pick out some of the characters. It's the
rhythm that you want to feel comfortable with first and then copying the
info second for now. Don't allow yourself to listen to any other speed of
code while you are conditioning yourself to this speed.
After a while, you'll find yourself picking out 2 or 3 characters in a row,
then 3 or 4. Once in a while, you'll get all 5. When you find that
sometimes you get 2 or 3 complete 5 character groups in a row, you're ready
to try to write some of it down. DO NOT USE BLOCK LETTERS!. No one can
print CW that fast - you MUST write cursive (longhand). Just try writing
some of it and quit. Come back some other time and try writing some more.
Don't spend much time doing it, just try it a couple times.

[ AA4LR - I don't think this will work for me. My cursive is SLOWER than my
printing. My Print was long ago perverted by attempts to copy high-speed
CW. Perhaps I need to first copy behind before writing. ]

Now, you want a tape of regular text. A tape of a QSO would be best,
especially for folks using this method for upgrading their ticket. Do the
same thing again that you did with the random groups - just play it in the
Again, you'll hear some characters and soon you'll hear the words, too.
After the rhythm feels good, try copying what's actually being sent. Avoid
the temptation to write it down if you're trying to better yourself with
mental copying.
If you want to increase beyond this speed for mental copying, just do the
same as above. Always jump at least 5 wpm above what you're presently
comfortable with.

don.daso at (DON DASO) WZ3Q

First, simply put the pencil down. With it in yr hand, you will always use
it. So get rid of it. Second, practice. And practice some more. This
seemingly glib answer is, quite simply, the key to success. And most people
seem to trivialize the process. Practice means work, steady effort (10-15
minutes/day I think is best) REQUIRED, & willingness to stick to it. I also
subscribe to the theory that CW nets can help. I went from General class
levels to 30wpm vy easily, then beyond by listening to the keyboard artists
(like W9TO etc) on 40M. You will go through levels--plateaus--& periods of
frustration. You must keep going if you want to succeed. I wish you luck.
vy 73 de Don WZ3Q
From: Walt Kornienko <k2wk at>

Here are my reflections on CW:

Get on the 40M high speed frequencies, centered around 7035 and pratice
making QSOs at speeds just above your comfortable paper level. Indeed, the
answer is practice, practice, practice,.

At about 15-20 WPM my brain started to copy instead of my hand. My writing
skills allow me to copy 28 WPM, max. I don't type. So, anything above 28
WPM MUST be copied in my head, I've spent countless hours on or about 7035
engaging in QSOs where the sending station was sending a tad faster than I
could copy. Copying CW at just above your skill level allows you to copy
words and phrases rather than individual letters. When you spproach 35 WPM,
one tends to copy phrases and not just words. At these higher speeds, you
can often second guess what the phrase is, or get a gist of what the sender
is sending.

In recent months there has been some discussion on getting rid of the
useless signal reports that are often sent as a part of a contest exchage.
I find that the report serves a beneficial funtion. It acts as a semaphore
that triggers the mind to copy what follows which IS important information.
This is particularly helpful for the "not so fast" ops. I use CT and in
Ver. 9 one can force the sending of the report faster or slower than the
"regular" speed. I find that 2 to 4 WPM faster works for me.

Oh, more thing. Try PED, its a useful CW contest trainer. Its available on
many BBSs (ARRL for one) and via anonymous ftp, or www.

So, get on the air and keep practicing.
ni6t at (Garry Shapiro )

First of all, I do not think there are as many real high-speed operators as
you might think. To be sure, there are some awesome cats out there, and we
have heard from some of them on this reflector---but, IMHO, most CW
operators do NOT copy 40-50 wpm, even good contesters. You need to
differentiate between copying a contest exchange---where one has some idea
of what is about to be received--and copying random characters or plain
text. It is not that difficult to copy a short burst of predictable
structure at elevated speeds.

I bare my soul and offer myself as an example. I think I am a fair
contester---I doubt if I will ever be a top-rank one--and my
code-speed--real code speed--is probably no more than 30 wpm on a good day.
The guys who send those BRRRRRRRT exchanges at 60 wpm leave me cold---I
cannot copy them and I think they are b--tholes for doing it. But I can
copy a contest exchange at much higher than my nominal speed, and I think
that is probably generally true of most operators.

As for paper copying---good for you! I do not think most "highspeed"
operators can do that! I think the reason most of us copy in our heads is
because we just cannot write that fast! As it is, copying CW ruined my
ability to print legibly, before I even went to college. I only marginally
made the transition to printing more efficiently--such as making an E with
one or two strokes instead of four (how unfortunate that the shortest
character is so hard to write!) ...

[ AA4LR - my "e" has become a short circular stroke. Don't ask me about my
"s" and "g"s and how I tell them apart. ]

and never really made the transition to handwriting. So--for me--copying in
my head was necessity born of incompetence: it is the only way I can follow
at 25wpm and above. And--since there is no hard copy--it is debatable
whether, strictly speaking, that is "copying" at all.

If you are looking to improve your contesting skills, you need to master
typing what you hear directly into a contesting program from your
keyboard---which is different from pencil work OR head copying. If you are
contesting without a computer, you are definitely adding to the struggle.
(Some top SSB contesters are pencil guys, but I doubt that many CW
contesters are, especially the younger ones.) And you will find that the
top contesters have developed a discipline/skill that is separate from
"copying", per se---the ability to listen to multiple layers of callers and
to stack callsigns in their heads. The contest simulator programs should be
helpful in developing these concentration skills.

flanders at (Jerry Flanders)

Bill, I am neither a master contestor or a "CW maven". But I think I may
have the answer for you:

You didn't mention it, but I presume you are using a computer as your
keying and logging device. (If not, you should be). If so, copying CW in
your head is not what you need.

You need to re-train your fingers so that they know what to do "without
being told" when a code character comes over the earphones. The reason you
are locked into writing it down now is because you have programmed yourself
to only make those finger movements to scratch out that one character,
repeated over and over.

I have "been there, done that"... I trained as an AF radio operator in
1951. We sat there about 6 hours per day teaching our fingers to scratch
out those characters! We trained on 5-char code groups all the time, and
reading back the copy was not important. When I got on the ham bands later,
I had to write down everything the guy said, then read it before I could
transmit back to him! My mind was not really involved.

Ever see a really good typist carry on a spoken conversation with a
bystander while reading text from a rough draft and simultaneously typing a
finished copy of the draft? They do it all the time, because of how they
have "taught the fingers" to work independently of the thought processes
going on simultaneously. If you stopped her and asked about the content of
what she was typing, she would actually have to stop and read it to find
out! Probably some kind of biological "parallel processing" going on. This
is what I was doing with the code. You too!

For contesting, you don't need code "speed" at all. You don't need to copy
it in your head at all. You need to train your fingers to quickly push the
"E" key when a dit comes across, the "A" key for a didah, etc.

When I got serious about trying to use a computer-based keying/logging
system awhile back, I realized that I would have to re-train my fingers. I
did so by copying (from QRZ CD database) all of the "Smith" calls into a
text file (somehow, I had only the calls - maybe I edited the file), then
feeding that text file into a code practice generator program on the
computer, and recording the output from the computer's speaker onto audio
tape. I practiced keyboarding the output of those audio tapes for a
half-hour each day for a few days, and eventually my fingers started
cooperating at a reasonable speed. I deliberately choose not to practice
with english text. I wanted my fingers to respond to randomized call-like
letter combinations, not words!

Learning to copy "in the head" is a separate thing. Having to "read back"
the text before transmitting was so cumbersome and limiting (my code speed
eventually exceeded my hand-printing speed of about 30-35 WPM) that I
immediately realized that I would have to "pay attention" to what the guy
was saying, so I made a conscious effort to do that, and it worked fairly
well. I will admit, though, that even today if I REALLY want to know for
sure what he says, I would scratch out those characters with a pencil just
like I was taught 45 years ago.

Any time I am working in the shack, I will have the receiver tuned to a CW
conversation on the low end 40, and can follow the conversation fairly well
in my head. This is painless practice for copying "in the head" for general
ragchews. I would recommend this to you, as well.

jreid at (Jim Reid)

Wow, I was in a hurry to get into town to the Dr.'s yesterday when I sent
my note to you. Had a look at it this morning, and find my typo's pretty
embarasing! Lots of double and missed letters, and a couple of lines during
which my hands obviously were ;on the wrong row of keys, So here is a
correction on one or so of the lines anyway.

" The "new" RUFZ program is a great QRQ build-up call-sign to keyboard
entry training aid." Note that this program can be downloaded from several
of the ham sites on the WWW, if you have a browser. The KA9FOX site which
is pretty much devoterd to contesting has it, I am pretty sure.

Now for the corrections to the following paragraph:

"Spend lots of time, daily if possible, just listening to very high speed
stuff. Enev faster than you can hear a dit from a dah for awhile. Need to
get the brain accustomed to the sound. Then, bring the speed down to only 5
or 10 wpm faster than you know you can copy with a pencil or to a
keyboard(say go to, maybe, 27 to 30 wpm in your case, Bill) and spend 30
minutes twice or so a day just listening. After two or three weeks,
surprisingly, you'll be understanding the text! Then jump the speed
anouther 5 wpm, in just a little time, a few months or so, you'll be
"reading" at 45 or 50 wpm. This was the message of a Worldradio magazine
article in an early 1995 issue. Doug, KR2Q, says he went from 18 to 27 wpm
in one step using this method!" To do this, I had to either type or down
load text from a web site that would last 30 minutes at these speeds. Then
I found I had to edit out quotation marks, semicolons and other such
symbols as Codemaster will go ahead and send them, and they really caused
me to stumble when these odd-ball signals came through. I find it best edit
out any of the punctuation, except maybe commas and periods to build up
in-the-head CW speed.

Codemaster V comes from Milestone Technologies, 3140 South Peoria St, Unit
K-156, Aurora, CO 80014-3155. The price is modest. MA from W5YI is only
$15, or so. By the way, Codemaster comes with a nice 30 or so page manual,
MA's manual is on the disk, and a bit tough to find just the instructrion
you need sometimes, at least for me, and I even have printed it out!

Good luck again, Bill and I hope you are getting lots of good ideas from
the real QRQ guys!

73, Jim, AH6NB

PS: Note that in on the air QSO reading there is a pretty orderly pattern
to what is sent in the first one or two go arounds, so you can anticipate
ahead of time what is probably going to be sent next. Most QSO's even use
the same very limited vocabulary set; you know, tnx fer call, ur rst is,
name is, qth is, wx hr is, etc., etc. So put those into MA and listen to
real fast! There may be only 20 or 30 words altogether which make up the
huge majority of ham QSO's, so be patient, listen for the words, an-
ticipating them in the usual places during the QSO. Obviously this is true
in comtesting, where the vocabulary is ridiculously limited, and may only
expand to state abreviations, or some such for various contests.

Also, when starting this whole process, when you do start copying again on
paper, write or type between words if possible, then type the first word as
the second is being sent, etc. Most important stuff is always sent twice,
anyway, especially by those of us still in the below 22 wpm world, kyou
know , my name is Jim  JIm. QTH is Kauai Kauai, etc.


once upon a time when I was in the second chair on 20 meters at W2PV on a
phone weekend, yes I used to do "the phone", I was told that I wrote too
much stuff down and I could cure that by not having any scrap paer (or very
little) at the operating position. Fred, then doublyoubee 2 o e u brought
this to my attention and I have been greatful for this tip ever since. At
the start of the contest get all but a single piece of paper or pad within
your reach and only ONLY use it if you can justify reaching for it. There
is very few things, especially now with computer software, that you should
have to write down.

If you have made up your mind to work a station that is running people get
the bits of pieces of the exchange filled in on your CT/NA/TR screen and
then when you get the courage to call him all thats left to do is enter the

If you wanna walk, you gotta get rid of your crutch!
ea1au at

Hi Bill. I learned CW receiving just from the loudspeaker to my brain and I
that you can do exactly the same. Try to do it! Perhaps the first days you
will have
to request QRS but later on I think that you will receive just exactly as me.


As someone else suggested, I think some practice with the freeware program
RUFZ would help you accomplish your goal.

If you haven't seen it, RUFZ is a program which generates random calls from
a 13K callsign database. You set it for the starting speed you want. When
the program starts, a callsign is sent: you type the callsign on the
keyboard and hit the enter key. If you logged the call correctly, the
sending speed increases by one increment. If you missed, the sending speed
slows by one increment. The program constantly pushes you above your
comfortable code copying level.

I feel that for contesting or DX ing it is important to be able to
recognize whole callsigns. One technique you could use with RUFZ is to copy
the whole callsign in your head before typing anything on the keyboard. You
should be able to do this initially at some slower speed than you can copy
with a pencil. Start at this slower speed and practice. My guess is that
soon you will be hearing and thinking about whole callsigns. I think the
contest exchange won't be a problem for you then.

73 and good luck,
Chas N8RR       RFPWR at AOL.COM

PS: Thanks to Garry NI6T for finally explaining to me why no one can read
my printing or handwriting (writing down CW before I went to college --or
high school).

[ AA4LR - Me too! ]

"Fred Hopengarten" <k1vr at>

My answer may not be legitimate, because I began short wave listening at
age eight, and was first licensed at age 10. And to answer your next
question, NO -- I had no parents, relatives, neighbors, close friends, etc.
who were hams. I learned it all by myself. Today, I'm as fluent in CW as I
am in spoken English (which may not be saying a whole lot). But my answer,
legitimate or not, is still my answer.

As an 8-9-10-11 year old (it took me about a year after being licensed to
get up to 20 wpm), I would look at street signs and advertising billboards.
As I did so, I'd imagine the sounds of the letters coming back at me. After
a while, the letters, sounds, words and meanings all meshed together.

In particular, I went to religious school by bus on Tuesday and Thursday
afternoons. Those rides presented a lot of billboards. In my mind, those
billboards were all sending morse code, to me.

Now don't ask for a better explanation of the pedagogy involved. But you
DID ask: "Was there any particular kind of practice you remember?" Those
billboards speaking to me in tones of 700 Hz is what I remember.

steve.steltzer at WF3T

The only way is force yourself to do away with the pen or pencil, and the
best way to do that is operate mobile. Then, you have no choice. Start out
in the novice band if you need to, it will take a while to get used to it,
but you'll be amazed at how fast your speed will increase. I think I was
about 35 wpm when I started running /m, but it took a month or so before I
could copy more than 25 or so in my head. But within 2 years I was up to 45
or 50. Now I can get 90 - 95% at 55 and around 70-75% of 60. Most guys who
don't get rid of the pen will never go above 35 wpm, no matter how long
they do it. Oh, one other big help is just to practice sending with the
sidetone. Send anything and everything you can think of, in other words,
talk to yourself in cw. The key is learning to recognize whole words, and
the more words you hear, and the more times you hear them, the more they'll
stick in your mind. Callsigns are, of course the hardest thing to get at
high speeds, but that will come too.

n3rr at

Bill, I decided years ago (1962, I believe) to learn how to copy CW in my
head. The way I learned was to just put the pencil and paper away and call
CQ!! Then carry on QSO after QSO! You'll be forced to learn!!
Hodge Thorgerson David Cameron-INBA <hodge at>

Bill, I can't honestly remember when I stopped using a pencil but I think I
know why. I just couldn't write that fast!!! Suggestions...

Anyone will benefit, I feel, by practicing sending in one's head and trying
to hear conversations in code in one's head. Not copying, but imagining! By
this kind of training one sends better. And I think there is some
reciprocity. Qsos on pencil and paper would drive me nuts! This all
happened to me when I was 14/15/16 years old and working traffic nets so
maybe my mind was more plastic. But it is never too late. I think it is a
state of mind. If you give yourself permission to screw up by putting down
the pencil and trying to copy cerebrally it will come with time and
practice. And hold your own mental code practice sessions while doing
something that doesn't require your thinking processes. Good luck 73, David


Well, I'll tell ya making the transition from copying on paper was a
challenge for me. In had to force myself to do it. Just keep at it and have
a lot of ragchew qsos with people. Suddenly one morning you will wake up
and find that you can do pretty well copying in your hear (kind of like
whern you wake up and all of a sudden you are copying at 30 wpm very easily
when the day before 20 was shaky)! But the important thing is not to copy
all the stuff on paper. resist the temptation. Make notes so that you can
respond to the stuff but that's all.

Chuck Lewis AD4Y <clewis at>

Bill, the next time you're in the shack just piddling around (cleaning,
building, anything but serious operating) put the rig on 20 or 40 CW,
instead of SSB. Just hang out with it & read the mail on a few CW QSOs. no
need to concentrate - occasionally you'll catch the drift of a conversation
& then just as quickly, lose it - no big deal, cause u don't have to write
it down or reply to it - stay loose & you'll notice that you're copying in
chunks rather than letters (& not just calls and prosigns, although that's
the bulk of contest stuff). This is not the whole answer, but it may help.
I seldom have mine on SSB when I'm just messing around in the garage, where
my shack is, doing garage-type stuff, and I find it has helped me to copy
THOUGHTS from the CW, rather than LETTERS. It isn't instantaneous, but it's
painless! Also, enter CW contests with a noncompetitive approach for a
while, not pressing for the rates like you might in a phone test; short
periods of easy S&P to keep the frustration level down. Try copying into a
contest logger via keyboard; even if you're not a touch typist (especially
if you're not!) you'll notice a steep learning curve and soon feel more
comfortable. Just try to keep the panic and frustration level at bay by not
committing to a "I've GOT to copy this absolutely correctly" mode until you
feel more confident; then go for it - you might be surprised at how much
more proficiency you now have when pressed. GOOD LUCK - it's worth the
N1CC at

There have been quite a few comments in regard to your note! Many are from
folks who are very good CW Ops... and the comments have been positive.
However, there is one point that most miss ... a point that I used as an
undergraduate at UTD.

The ability to copy code quickly depends on YOU reaching two plateaus:

1. You no longer "count" dits and only hear a discrete sound that you
immediately know as a character. This usually begins to take place at 13-16
wpm. It's that speed that most people can no longer concentrate on
"counting". This is in part a cognitive process that relates to Short Term
Memory ... much like a computer buffer, your mind accepts information into
a "disk cache" that has a "link" to Long Term Memory (Where you have filed
the equation "di di di dah = V"). When you are still "counting" you
actually load most of the alphabet from LTM into STM to "break the code".
Because this becomes a serial process it takes a long time, just like it
would in a computer.


2. Your need to make a "record" copy by writing or typing becomes either
not a noticible process or more precisly automatic.

There is one way to get the bottom-line process to work, and that is to
achieve what is called "Transferance". Transferance takes place when an
cognitive task becomes a reflex action. YOU can get transferance to take
place today. Here is how to make it happen:

Bill, you say you have mastered 20 WPM. If you can give this method an half
hour every other day for a month you can dramatically increase both your
"hot receive without writing it down" and your "ability to record to

Some of the folks have pointed out...learn to record it on your
computer....DO that, it will help you Log in a contest..... however, for
the next month I want you to follow the following Regimen: (You will need a
good source of fairly accurate constant speed plain text morse code)

Week 1 Day 1: At 20 WPM LISTEN ONLY for 5 minutes, don't try to write it
down or record it. Then COPY at 15 WPM for 5 minutes...
LISTEN at 25 WPM for 5 minutes. Repeat this one
time = 30 Min.
Week 1 Day 3: Do Week 1 Day 1 again
Week 1 Day 5: Do Week 1 Day 1 again
Week 1 Day 7: At 25 WPM LISTEN ONLY for 5 minutes, don't try to write it
down or record it. Then COPY at 20 WPM for 5
LISTEN at 30 WPM for 5 minutes. Repeat this one
time = 30 Min.
Week2 Day 2: Do Week 1 Day 7 again.
Week2 Day 4: Do Week 1 Day 7 again
Week2 Day 6: Do Week 1 Day 7 again
Week3 Day 1: At 30 WPM LISTEN ONLY for 5 minutes, don't try to write it
down or record it. Then COPY at 25 WPM for 5
LISTEN at 35 WPM for 5 minutes. Repeat this one
time = 30 Min.
Week3 Day 3: Do Week3 Day 1 again.
Week3 Day 5: Do Week3 Day 1 again
Week3 Day 7: Do Week3 Day 1 again
Week4 Day 2: NOW lets type into your computer/typewriter at 30 WPM for 10
minutes. IF you type 80% or better start the formula again at five WPM
bumps for another three weeks. ADDing to each session an extra 10 minutes
typing at the speed 5 WPM slower than your "circling" speed.

Now you will ask why .... tranferance happens best when the STM is busy. If
you are circling letters you are adding an unrelated motor action to your
This keeps you from thinking about other things besides what you are doing,
and allows the STM stack to set up a better link to LTM.

I have used this over the years in teaching code... it always works if you
follow the routine and REALLY want to improve your speed. I have had it
work with a  74 year old (an SK now) who went from Novice to Extra in less
than a year with no prior code knowledge, and with a 7-year old.

Pete Smith <n4zr at>

You also raised the question of how to increase your CW speed and get away
from writing everything down. I had the same problem, and my solution was
simply to rag-chew a lot on CW, at comfortable speeds, and to make a
conscious effort not to write things down, but just to take notes as if
listening to a lecture. That way you get in the habit of only copying down
key things, like name, QTH, rig, etc., which weans you gradually off the
"copy everything" habit. I found this much preferable to going "cold


<Continued next message>

Bill Coleman, AA4LR      Mail: aa4lr at
Quote: "Man will never fly in a thousand years!"
            -- Wilbur Wright, 1902

>From Paul D. Walker II" <pwalker at  Wed Jan 31 15:29:22 1996
From: Paul D. Walker II" <pwalker at (Paul D. Walker II)
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 09:29:22 -0600
Subject: Heil ProSet IV
Message-ID: <199601311529.JAA00499 at>

Thanks to all who replied!  I received about 20 thoughtful replies to my
query. Since only two requests were received for summaries, I will e-mail
directly to them.  However, I would like to note that the summary is also
going to Scott, KA9FOX, to be included in his web page.

Again, thanks to all!

73 es CU in the Sprints with low power,


Paul D. Walker II                 e-mail: pwalker at
Amateur Radio: N9WHG		  packet: n9whg at

>From junger at (John Unger)  Wed Jan 31 15:45:27 1996
From: junger at (John Unger) (John Unger)
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 96 10:45:27 EST
Subject: Beverage boxes - summary
Message-ID: <9601311545.AA05742 at>

A number of people sent me email wanting to know what I had 
found out concerning building a beverage box.  So here's a
quick summary:

The books, "Low Band DXing" by ON4UN and "Beverage Antenna
Handbook" by W1WCR, are both good sources.  I intend to take
a look at them tomorrow.  I was also advised to look at a
book on transformers written by Jerry Sevaks.

N4ZR cautioned that the box should provide some means of limiting
RF from the transmitting antenna to prevent damage to the 
receiver's front end, and maybe a BC-band reject filter.

Thanks to everyone who sent me information.

73 - John, W3GOI

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