New tool in the box

This week i ordered the Hamcrafters K44 CW Keyboard. Not because i think i will be a great contester, not because i don’t want to decode CW myself, i bought it because one of the students in my CW Academy class has a K42c (a previous model of the K44) and he tells me it’s a great device to track if your key timing is right, if you get the right characters, it has a learning mode and it’s a portable keyer.

So the idea is exactly this: a device to help me getting my timing right and for bringing it on my travels with my old key so i can practice in de evenings in my hotel.

I will do all to get this CW thing under my skin. And i’m still having fun!!

Morse code training update 2

We are six weeks into the course and today was an important day in the life of a morse code student. As of today we are supposed to recognise and send all letters, numbers, some symbols and some prosigns. In my reading and sending practice i have gone from 20 to 23WPM, just because i feel more comfortable at that speed.

Sending is good although i still have some issues with some character combinations. Copying is a bit harder. I still need to hear the words a couple of times to be able to copy them perfectly.

As of today we are going to do mainly callsigns and QSO practice. Still simulation, not the real deal yet, but i don’t think it will take long before we can go on the air.

The most important revelation for me is that everything still feels easy. I don’t have that feeling of anxiety i had in the previous course with Las Tortugas. And that was at the same speed as we are doing now. With Las Tortugas i was asked to practice at 20WPM and i suffered a lot. That was the main reason i quit that course. Now i am at 23WPM and i still feel fairly comfortable with it.

We keep going!!

BTW, what do you think about my new UR5CDX CT755 Single Lever Paddle?


Morse code training update 1

It’s 3 weeks since i started the course and, now that i’m writing this, i’m impressed with what i achieved so far. Nothing is perfect yet, but i can say that i have made more progress in this attempt than in my previous two. We are a group of 3 students and our trainer WB4RFQ Daniel is doing a great job.

We are learning everything in 20wpm and are practicing copying and sending which makes it more fun than just learning to copy and later, once you get that under your skin, start sending.

I am practicing now for session 7 and by Monday we should know the following letters, numbers and signs: A,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,L,M,N,O,P,R,S,T,U,W,Y,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,/ AND ? Impressive, isn’t it? 😉

I also notice now that the key i had makes me make many mistakes. It gets stuck, i make iambic errors by not letting go the paddles, it makes a lot of noise which takes away my concentration. Excuses? Maybe, but since next week is my birthday i still thought i’d buy myself a nice present. According to what i read these paddles are cheap, work good and look awesome! Ah, and yes, a single lever paddle. Since i’m not using iambic keying anyway (well, i am for the F and the C, but i keep telling myself i don’t) i am hoping i will make less mistakes with a single lever than with a dual lever. Let’s see how it works out.

Also since this week i added a new tool to the learning toolbox, Morse Runner. As you might or might not know, this is a contest simulator and i use it to practice callsigns.

So far learning CW isn’t as hard as in the previous two attempts i did. I remember to be frustrated and tense when i practiced the last time. That was mainly what made me stop. I have enough frustrations in my life, i don’t need more. But this time it’s fun. And that’s what it’s all about. Fun. I hope this doesn’t change.

To be continued.