Thursday, May 21, 2009

Making high speed progress

Two weeks ago, I made a 40 WPM CW code practice CD; and have been playing it in the car each day during the ride to and from work. The first few days were nothing more than a big, "Huh"? The code slipped past my ears and brain faster than a 5 year old coming down a playground slide that had been buffed with wax.

It made no sense to me at all; and I was lucky if I could pull out a letter here and there. But determined to not ignore my own admonitions, I just let the CD play and relaxed the best I could, allowing my brain to wrap itself around the oncoming buzz saw of Morse characters.

Before I knew it, individual letters were sticking out and being recognized. A few more days and an occasional word made itself heard. Now I'm at the point where I am copying at a rate of what I would guesstimate to be 25 to 30% of the words coming at me.

I find that if I concentrate too hard, then I start messing up. The same thing happens if I concentrate on the code too little. There seems to be a zone of concentration that is just right; and everything starts to flow. I can't define it; and I can't explain it; but I definitely know when I am in that zone. I'll start getting 5, 6, 7, 8 maybe even 10 words in a row; and then "BAM", something upsets the apple cart and I start flubbing again.

Just for kicks, I went back and inserted the 30 WPM CD that I made a few months back. It didn't seem painfully slow; but it didn't seem as fast as I remembered it, either!

73 de Larry W2LJ


  1. That's an interesting observation, Larry. Thanks for posting it.

    It's something I really should try myself. The obstacle for me is just that I'm very impatient - if I can't see that I'm making immediate progress then I figure it's a waste of time and I may as well give up.

  2. Though capable of more, I keep my speed at 20wpm or so. High power, high speed...ok. But at QRP levels, it has been my experience that a lot of charactes can be lost in QSB when ripping it out at 30+wpm.


  3. Dick,

    Like you, I am most comfortable in the 20 - 25 WPM neighborhood for QRP. Strangely (I guess), I have no desire to send code at high speed. I just want to be able to understand it if it comes my way.

    73 de Larry W2LJ