[CQ-Contest] CW Accuracy
N7MAL at CITLINK.NET
Tue Sep 12 18:22:26 EDT 2006
Barry I would like to respectfully suggest you save your response and
re-visit it in 15 years. The problem W4ZV is talking about is 'Father-Time'.
Unfortunately, in the long run, Father-Time is going to win out. I have
found the connection between my brain and typing hand is being lost at an
alarming rate. When computers first arrived on the contesting scene I
developed a technique, which has until the last 2 years, has worked
flawlessly for me. I only type with my left-hand(I'm left handed). With my
right hand I tune, do CW fills, smoke, drink coffee, scratch my butt, etc
etc. I could type exchanges during SS as fast as guys like K0RF could send
and never miss a beat. Thankfully for things like email there is a spell
checker but an exchange checker for contesting has not yet been developed.
I asked, in passing, 2 different doctors about the problem and their
response was the same. As we age the loss of coordination between our brains
and hands is natural and predictable. There are short-term fixes but in the
end aging will win out. It doesn't mean I should fold-up my tent and wither
away but if my peak rate last year was 60 per hour then this year I should
be happy with 50 per hour. Instead of sitting here for 6 hours straight,
without a break, try 4 hours. Competing against Father-Time is unfair
because he will always win.
(p.s. spell checker found 8 mis-spelled words and proof reading I found 2
horrible grammar errors...)
BULLHEAD CITY, AZ
----- Original Message -----
To: cq-contest at contesting.com
Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2006 1:35
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] CW Accuracy
There's no question age is a factor. I've been doing some RUFZ
practicing lately and I find progress VERY slow. As a matter of fact, I
think I've only improved back to the level I was at when I was a teenager.
While I enjoy running RUFZ, it's not ideal for improving contest skills,
as you're really not copying calls in real time - you have as long as
you want to enter the call.
Try Morserunner. It's an excellent contest simulation with pileups,
exchanges to copy, and time pressure. As you become more proficient,
increase the speed a little bit at a time.
After reviewing a few of my past log UBN reports, I decided to find out
where I was busting calls. So I started working out with RUFZ-XP and made
several interesting discoveries. The first culprit is my typing ability,
lack there of. I never learned touch typing and have adopted the hunt and
peck method until I feel fairly comfortable, but limited by speed.
I switched to computer logging completely about 15 years ago, although I
wrote programs to do computer logging on DEC, WANG, and DG minicomputers
jillion years ago for FD and SS. I'd never noticed a large error rate
studying my UBN's. I have enough hearing loss in my left ear at certain
frequencies such that often sounds seem "muddled" and I do miss calls when
doing SO2R and have returned to basic SO1R because of it. But I wanted to
see exactly where I was making the errors and I discovered several
My typing errors were the first and most obvious culprit when I simply hit
the wrong key. But I also discovered that I almost always get the call
if it's a "standard" call, that is a 1x3 or 2x3 or shorter because I have
in my head cache at speeds up to about 50wpm. But if it's a
I have a momentary mental blink and miss the complete call. Also
have a mental blink and a degree of error with the Call/QRP. And last, at
speeds over 40wpm I mix the "S" and "H", and that from a guy who was K4HHG
for 40 years. Also found certain "mental stops" with repeated characters
and certain letters like "T", e.g. copy "UTU" as "VTU" or just "TU".
When I stir this all around with my poor typing, I can see how my UBN is
higher than I want. I also think some of this has to do with aging,
I remember how clearly I could grab calls in my head when I was younger
(especially in my teens when my head cache was really BIG) and putting
down with a pencil. I tried using a pencil with RUFZ and discovered that
accuracy did improve, but not enough to give up the wonderful advantage of
Anyone else notice this aging by-product?
Jon Hamlet, W4ZW
Casey Key Island, Florida
"A little piece of paradise in the Gulf of Mexico"
Barry Kutner, W2UP
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