Just completed a QCX Mini 20M build #20m


K9NUD-Steve
 

HI all, I just finished my build, and it works great. I'm getting 5W output to a dummy load @ 13.8V, 4W @ 12V. The only bug so far is with the keyer, which appears to be somewhat common. With Iambic A, I cannot repeatedly tap out dits (like when I make a mistake and want to send dit dit dit dit). It will skip dits if I tap too fast. Switching to B moves the problem over to the dah, which solved my problem. 

What a great little rig. I'm making lots of contacts. I love QRP, and I love this little radio. I think I need another one or two.


Hans Summers
 

Hi Steve

There should not be a problem with the keyer in any of the recent firmware versions including everything that has been supplied with any QCX+ or QCX-mini. Some earlier firmware versions did have some keyer bugs. 

One thing to check is, whether you still have the same issues when keying in practice mode (see configuration in the keyer menu). If not - then that would indicate your issues are caused by RF in the shack interfering with keying. 

Many keyers have slightly different quirks - and if you have used one keyer for a significant period of time it may be that you got used to its quirks. 

The QCX keyer has been validated against an original Kurtis keyer chip which is where Iambic started. So it shouldn't have any issues. 

73 Hans G0UPL 


On Mon, May 31, 2021, 18:43 K9NUD-Steve <k9nud@...> wrote:
HI all, I just finished my build, and it works great. I'm getting 5W output to a dummy load @ 13.8V, 4W @ 12V. The only bug so far is with the keyer, which appears to be somewhat common. With Iambic A, I cannot repeatedly tap out dits (like when I make a mistake and want to send dit dit dit dit). It will skip dits if I tap too fast. Switching to B moves the problem over to the dah, which solved my problem. 

What a great little rig. I'm making lots of contacts. I love QRP, and I love this little radio. I think I need another one or two.


K9NUD-Steve
 

Hello Hans, thanks for replying. I just tried your suggestion and the issue is the same in practice mode. In Iambic A, I experience gaps during multiple fast taps of the left paddle. When I switch to Iambic B, the problem moves to the right paddle. It only comes into play when I make a sending mistake and  attempt to send dit dit dit dit dit. Moving the problem to the dah solves it for me. Otherwise, the keyer works great.

This little rig impresses me whenever I use it, though I really need more bands!


 

Forgive me if I'm missing something, but isn't the whole point of a keyer that you don't have to do multiple fast taps of the dit paddle yourself? The keyer is there to do it for you.

If you insist on keying out dits yourself, and the keyer appears to be messing with your faster-than-programmed-speed keying, then you might look to see if you have the auto space function turned on - menu item 4.5,  page 85 in the Rev 5b manual - that will certainly mess with you.
--
Julian, N4JO.


K9NUD-Steve
 

Thanks, Julian. I know what you mean. I'm only referring to keying mistakes. If I goof, I send some dits at a different cadence than my keyer speed before resending the intended character. I suppose I could remember to send some slow dits instead. The Autospace is turned off. 

It's not a big deal, and Iambic B solved it for me. My other rigs (Icom & Elecraft) let me tap out a few fast dits, whereas this radio does not when in Iambic A mode. But this is a $55 radio that I assembled myself. I am definitely not complaining! I am thoroughly enjoying the radio, and can't decide whether the next one will be a 30M, 40M. Maybe I need to get both :-)


 

I gotcher, Steve! I just thought I'd mention the spacer-outer widget because I got bitten by it when I first started learning to use the QCX. I'm certainly nowhere near accomplished enough to send a string of dits faster than I can send normally: I would just end up making even more mistakes, HI HI (which I just noticed is twelve dits, by the way ...)
--
Julian, N4JO.


 

Go for 30m! www.30cw.net see the 30m INFO menu there, and look around, there is much going for that band, and for QRP it's got its advantages. I'll summarize plus and minus for 40m and 30m in case you haven't thought of all of the same :-) below. Also, a 40m won't work at all on 30m, but my 30m QCX works well on 40m with 3W out on 40m. Build for 30m and you may well benefit from 40m as a bonus.

30m vs 40m

ADVANTAGES OF 30M

* A great club dedicated to 30m with newsletter www.30cw.net 
* Better results with antennas at any given height due to shorter wavelength
* 24/7/365 open also with longer "skip" distance
* 80m dipole will work even better on 30m (with a little lengthening or a tuner)
* Mexican fishermen on SSB on occasion so you know band is open to near Mexico
* RTTY station www.30cw.net/ddk9 well placed in Europe so you know propagation to busy 30m CW in Europe
* No contests

DISADVANTAGES OF 30M

* Less activity than 40m (especially if you're in an area with higher population density where day time QSO will be possible on 40m)
* Occasional Mexican fishermen QRM, though this is made up for by a 100 times higher volume of Indonesiian fishermen AND villagers on 40m
* If you're in a high-density pop area more near-in stations will fall into dead skip zone of first hop unless you use a low down dipole NVIS ant.
* Less hams active on 30m than on 40m
* No contests (if you like that sort of thing)

Perhaps some 40m fans could try to tip the balance a little away from the favourable 30m? 

On 1 Jun 2021, at 23:59, K9NUD-Steve <k9nud@...> wrote:

Thanks, Julian. I know what you mean. I'm only referring to keying mistakes. If I goof, I send some dits at a different cadence than my keyer speed before resending the intended character. I suppose I could remember to send some slow dits instead. The Autospace is turned off. 

It's not a big deal, and Iambic B solved it for me. My other rigs (Icom & Elecraft) let me tap out a few fast dits, whereas this radio does not when in Iambic A mode. But this is a $55 radio that I assembled myself. I am definitely not complaining! I am thoroughly enjoying the radio, and can't decide whether the next one will be a 30M, 40M. Maybe I need to get both :-)


--
Love 30m and CW?
http://www.30cw.net


 

Thanks for this summary and the links, Louis.
As it happens, last week I finally found enough spare change to order a 30+ to fill the gap between my 20 and 40 classic QCX's, and I look forward to lighting up the soldering iron again. I'd heard that 30 is a good band, sharing benefits from 20 and 40, and I decided to make the leap as a celebratory gift to myself as I think I may finally just be good enough to hold a QSO at 10WPM after a lot of struggling these past two years. I probably won't have to worry about Mexican or Indonesian fishermen up here in  central Minnesota, but who knows? 

--
Julian, N4JO.


 

Hi Julian, great to hear! 

For the Morse struggles, have you tried using www.lcwo.net "Morse Machine" -- as well as the lessons -- it's only visible once logged in (signing up is a breeze) -- with character speed set to at least 16 WPM but you then have all the time in the world to train recognising letters. If you enter them correctly on the keyboard, it'll light up green if you get it wrong, light up red and repeat the character again. 

The reason I ask is that in my experience many make the mistake of starting out to learn Gerke Code (aka Morse, though it's actually the German guy Gerke we have to thank for not insisting his name be used as the inventor of the non-American "international" (European) Morse we use today) the wrong way, from 5-12WPM without spacing. If you do start out with that (historically English) method -- which was invented just because we could not follow anything German (Koch method) even if it was the best way to learn -- then you'll have a very hard time getting speed up to the 16-18 WPM mark for easy QSO.

The reason is that you have to retrain your brain and will hit various speed bumps, where effectively you are kind of relearning all the character again. It's always best to start with a higher character speed, and eventually shorten it, after all it is the same way humane beings learn to speak from baby onwards: babies never say Maaaaaaaaa-Maaaaaaaa slowly they say Mama. Then comes that crazy guy always in the background, Dada. Then from those two the rest of the alphabet is learned, but never MaaaaaaDaaaaaaGaaaaaSssssssCcccccccAaaaaaaRrrrrrrrr but Madascar. It's the same with dits and dahs in Morse!

But you may already be using the right way to practice and improve, just putting it out there in case. And I for one am happy to have a CW QSO at 10WPM even though I can also do QRQ. Many of us are happy to go real slow, and you can always send "QRS" to slow the other side down e.g. if answering a CQ call, end with QRS QRS PSE K, or, call CQ at the speed you are comfortable with. Again sorry if I'm repeating stuff you already know, just am so keen for more folks to come onto CW and also very aware that, unfortunately, some had a first negative experience that then put them off for many years or life!

Yes, on 30m the area from 10116 (QRP) up to 10129 you should find a good place for QRS QSO among the many speeds and styles, let us know how you go!

Here also completed a mini 20 but dud IC8, so will need to contact and find out what to do about that, also finished a QCX-2017-v-2 and that's fine on 30m, with almost 4W at 12V and 5W+ at 15V after tweaking L1-L3 (found had to remove turns on L1 and L3, and add turns plus bunch close together the windings on L2). 40m isn't much good not much local CW so not building for that. Would like to try 15/17 after 20, with another QCX perhaps modifying the band of a QCX-2017-v-1. 

Then as attempted but failed and need to try again, once I get my head around all the helpful information how to do it (as first try wasn't successful) is to put in a wide (2.7 kHz or so) switchable filter. One thing at a time, and no rush, also I noted the very good 3 pieces of advice of Steve K9NUD which is exactly what makes things here slow and difficult, as those important tools are not to hand. It'd be better for me to sort those out before attempting anything more difficult and intricate like mods. 

Let us know how you go Julian and any others battling with CW, folks from FISTS, CWOPS, SKCC should all be of help and eager to find those wanting to practice and improve on their CW. 

On 2 Jun 2021, at 13:54, Julian N4JO <n4jo@...> wrote:

Thanks for this summary and the links, Louis.
As it happens, last week I finally found enough spare change to order a 30+ to fill the gap between my 20 and 40 classic QCX's, and I look forward to lighting up the soldering iron again. I'd heard that 30 is a good band, sharing benefits from 20 and 40, and I decided to make the leap as a celebratory gift to myself as I think I may finally just be good enough to hold a QSO at 10WPM after a lot of struggling these past two years. I probably won't have to worry about Mexican or Indonesian fishermen up here in  central Minnesota, but who knows? 

--
Julian, N4JO.


--
Love 30m and CW?
http://www.30cw.net


K9NUD-Steve
 

Funny... I just noticed the exact same issue in my Yaesu FT-100D. Rapid key taps are ignored, and the issue changes from dit to dah when changing Iambic modes. Probably the same (or similar) chipset.


Hans Summers
 

Hi Steve

QCX doesn't have a keyer "chipset". The keyer is implemented in firmware in the microcontroller. 

I think there are a lot of differences in how keyers are implemented and it is easy to get used to particular quirks one keyer allows you to do, then get caught out when another doesn't. 

73 Hans G0UPL 

On Mon, Jun 21, 2021, 14:16 K9NUD-Steve <k9nud@...> wrote:
Funny... I just noticed the exact same issue in my Yaesu FT-100D. Rapid key taps are ignored, and the issue changes from dit to dah when changing Iambic modes. Probably the same (or similar) chipset.


 

Hi Louis, thanks for the recommendations!
Yes, fortunately I learned quite early about fast character speed with long gaps - aka Farnsworth. I also heard about, and used, LCWO and the Koch method. I can recognize individual characters at 25 WPM with no difficulty, but I can't even get words at 10WPM, and that gap is rather wide: it makes identifying words difficult. The good folks on this forum and on SKCC (my two ham hangouts) have been immensely helpful with advice and experience too, and I've experimented with  - and assimilated - a lot of it.
 My problems are essentially threefold:
1) I have ADHD, which means focus is a "four letter word"... or perhaps more precisely, because I have so much trouble focusing, it tends to invoke four letter words ;-) It means I have had to adopt a style of learning where I listen to CW while I doing something else or thinking of something else (because I can never NOT be thinking of something else). That will eventually result in the instinctive, instant recall that people talk about: I'm getting there, but I'm not there yet.
2) Though I know all the characters, and have done for some time, because I haven't acquired instant recall, for some reason my conscious "recall" - my "memory lookup" - still takes too long, and when I do recall a relatively slow character, my mind wants to stop and think about it, rather than move on, and the rest of the word is lost. That is infuriating.
3) I'm still employed full time, finishing up my degree, and very actively involved in supporting my needy family and home, so I just don't get much time to sit and either "play radio" or listen to CW learning tools. 
Even though I have a perfectly good multi-band multi-mode radio (an IC-7000) I have made the personal commitment to not use SSB until I'm competent with CW. Because of my electronics background I was able to get from zero to Extra class in one exam sitting on 30th March 2019, and I won a vanity callsign, but my need to be authentic and my respect for the craft and my peers demand that I earn the privilege of my "1x2".
So while my CW path is frustratingly slow - I am 65, after all - rather than driving myself and everybody here nuts, I'm taking it slowly; and meanwhile I'm trying to contribute the best way I can by working on my digital AGC project - though that isn't exactly zooming ahead either (the prototype is working quite well, though :-)  ).
I'll have finished my degree at the end of August, so that'll be one weight off my shoulders; and once I can copy at 10WPM, I'll get on the air.
Thanks again for your note!
--
Julian, N4JO.


 

Thank you very much Julian.

It's admirable how you are committed to getting there in CW. The issues you mention surely make the journey harder, but some advice that may still be relevant though you probably know it already:

Don't have too big a ration between character WPM and effective WPM. E.g. 20/5. Try around 15 or 16 cWPM and go as high eWPM as you can starting at 5 and going up, until eventuall you get to 15/15 or so. That's plenty speed for enjoyable CW QSOs. 

Also never stress, enjoy. I can copy very QRQ when relaxed, less so when not relaxed. 

Have fun on air, I guess QSO on air no matter how slow, may also help as those you have found and you'll find many willing to answer QRS. Seems you already decided to do that at 10WPM which is good.

But never ever reduce character speed to below 15 because at slower speeds you'll not be hearing the character but possibly counting dits and dahs and then going through a multi stage of decoding to image then from image to letter instead of directly from sound to letter. 

Also don't go much above 15 cWPM as you'll otherwise end up with Farnsworth spacing for a very long time. 

It seems you might have gone the route of learing characters at a too high speed, there is really no point in doing that, you aren't just going for "5NN TU" junk. Aim for 15/15, starting from 15/5, 15/8, 15/10 etc, and whenever you face a hurdle "plateau" you can't get past, here is very good advice: https://lcwo.net/forum/2379/PLATAUING-AT-LESSON-24-hELP

And at any point just ask in the LCWO forum you'll get great advice I'm sure.

Hope to QSO you on 20m or 30m later this year!

On 21 Jun 2021, at 13:40, Julian N4JO <n4jo@...> wrote:

Hi Louis, thanks for the recommendations!
Yes, fortunately I learned quite early about fast character speed with long gaps - aka Farnsworth. I also heard about, and used, LCWO and the Koch method. I can recognize individual characters at 25 WPM with no difficulty, but I can't even get words at 10WPM, and that gap is rather wide: it makes identifying words difficult. The good folks on this forum and on SKCC (my two ham hangouts) have been immensely helpful with advice and experience too, and I've experimented with  - and assimilated - a lot of it.
 My problems are essentially threefold:
1) I have ADHD, which means focus is a "four letter word"... or perhaps more precisely, because I have so much trouble focusing, it tends to invoke four letter words ;-) It means I have had to adopt a style of learning where I listen to CW while I doing something else or thinking of something else (because I can never NOT be thinking of something else). That will eventually result in the instinctive, instant recall that people talk about: I'm getting there, but I'm not there yet.
2) Though I know all the characters, and have done for some time, because I haven't acquired instant recall, for some reason my conscious "recall" - my "memory lookup" - still takes too long, and when I do recall a relatively slow character, my mind wants to stop and think about it, rather than move on, and the rest of the word is lost. That is infuriating.
3) I'm still employed full time, finishing up my degree, and very actively involved in supporting my needy family and home, so I just don't get much time to sit and either "play radio" or listen to CW learning tools. 
Even though I have a perfectly good multi-band multi-mode radio (an IC-7000) I have made the personal commitment to not use SSB until I'm competent with CW. Because of my electronics background I was able to get from zero to Extra class in one exam sitting on 30th March 2019, and I won a vanity callsign, but my need to be authentic and my respect for the craft and my peers demand that I earn the privilege of my "1x2".
So while my CW path is frustratingly slow - I am 65, after all - rather than driving myself and everybody here nuts, I'm taking it slowly; and meanwhile I'm trying to contribute the best way I can by working on my digital AGC project - though that isn't exactly zooming ahead either (the prototype is working quite well, though :-)  ).
I'll have finished my degree at the end of August, so that'll be one weight off my shoulders; and once I can copy at 10WPM, I'll get on the air.
Thanks again for your note!
--
Julian, N4JO.


--
Love 30m and CW?
http://www.30cw.net


 

Thanks for the encouragement, Louis!
Yes... I never thought that I'd get into CW - I certainly didn't have that in mind when I finally committed to get my ticket in the US back at the beginning of '19. Somehow I heard about Hans and his QCX QRP design, and something clicked.. Now it has become a solid commitment that I can't let go of. I really want to be able to toodle around the country on my motorbike and sling wires into trees when I finally get to retire...
I believe you are absolutely right about the "Farnsworth Gap", Louis (I had heard that advice from others too): I found I can easily identify characters up at 25 and beyond, but can't read new words or callsigns at anything like that speed. For a while I was getting about 75% or better of "100 most frequently used words" at 30/25, but as soon as I slowed down my word speed for things like simulated QSOs, or new words, it all fell to pieces. We really do learn cadence, don't we? Again, you're absolutely right about it being risky to rely too much on Farnsworth: there is no point in allow that, because I can't be asking QSO partners to "please send at 20/10" - that's ridiculous. And the words really don't come when we have more than a 5WPM gap, do they?
Right now the Wolphi Morse trainer that I use extensively on my phone is set to 20/12, but I can't read at 12, so I have been wondering whether to just stick it out or to reduce cWPM to 15 (I really didn't want to go below 20), and use 10 for words (what is the "e" in your 'eWPM? I know you mean "words", but what does the "e" mean?)
On your recommendation I'll drop to 15 cWPM (no, I definitely won't go below that: it took a lot to learn not to count, and I don't want to go back there) and do whatever I can do for wWPM - 8 is probably a good start, though maybe I can do 10 at 15cWPM - and see how that goes. I have been advised to do at least occasional spells of "higher-than-I-can-copy" speeds just to push the mind, but as you say, I need to be relaxed for that.
Thanks again; I know how to move forward now, and I think I'll be able to finally warm some leaves around my EF random wire with my QSXs this summer ;-)
Actually, the family have ordered me a four-band EFHW for Father's Day, so maybe I'll string that up when it arrives, and the random wire will work for 30m and 80m...
OK, back to work now...
--
Julian, N4JO.


 

That's all great!

eWPM meaning "effective" words per minute, so the actual words per minute, which is lower, due to the gaps. You can, for a few minutes, increase the speed eWPM and even cWPM a little, to make it harder, so that when you then decrease to what you are at generally, a few minutes later, it will seem much easier and slower than it actually is.

The reason I say not to go higher than 15 cWPM (character speed) is this: if you go lower than that, as you know, you'll end up maybe "counting" things. But, if you go higher, you aren't going to get to send in QSO at 20/20 cWPM/eWPM are you? Isn't that a bit of a tall order? As you said, sending 20/15 won't sound right to people, so for that reason, you want to get to 15/15 first, as you gradually increase the eWPM (meaning decrease the gaps between characters). You don't want to reach 20/15 and then take longer to get to 20/20. 

15WPM (15/15) is plenty for QSO. So keep character speed cWPM at 15. And just work on increasing eWPM (effective or actual words per minute) also to 15, eventually. 

Are you good at trouble shooting QCX in other words, tracing where a fault is in no TX or no RX? Reason I ask is that I'm going to need some help, ideally at agreed times on video link, as I'm OK building, but hopeless at finding cause of faults. If you can assist with that then I could also before or after, or at alternate sessions, assist with your CW. How we can do the CW practice though isn't via video link as such, but via audio, or via "Mumble" server (quite easy to set up, it's a downloadable app), where there is a "CW server" with good features, so I could send to you with QCX side tone and you can reply same way.

Just an idea as I'll have time I think from early July, until then things are a bit stressful.

The reason a lot of people learn CW at these high speeds is because they're really aiming to recognise short burts of sound (sometimes aided by decoders) for callsigns and contests or "DX 5NN TU", none of which I find very satisfying. For actual "real" QSO as you know these take place for the most part between 15-20 WPM, and many above 20 WPM but fewer as the speed goes higher, also fewer as the speed goes below 15WPM. 

This comes to my mind just now, and it is a pity this method is not used in amateur radio (much or barely) whilst it was common place in professional "commercial" CW -- QSZ. QSZ means repeat each word twice, though QSZ3 would mean thrice, etc. This is a really effective way of getting messages through during QRN, QRM, QSB but also would be effective for you in QSO. I and many others would surely be happy to QSZ at 15WPM instead of sending at 10 WPM. This means that you get each and every word sent twice, making it much easier to fill in what you missed, as you write it down. 

If you sent QRS15 QSZ2 I'd understand what you meant, probably few others would. You could thus find also good practice and fun in "slow traffic nets" of which there are some in USA, where you receive and pass on messages (radiograms) and the OPS there would be very happy to both QRS and QSZ and moreover they will know what these codes mean :-)

That upcoming EFHW sounds great :-)

GN from here and welcome to Email me directly to continue as I'm not sure if this was your thread, and is now off topic? 

On 21 Jun 2021, at 14:47, Julian N4JO <n4jo@...> wrote:

Thanks for the encouragement, Louis!
Yes... I never thought that I'd get into CW - I certainly didn't have that in mind when I finally committed to get my ticket in the US back at the beginning of '19. Somehow I heard about Hans and his QCX QRP design, and something clicked.. Now it has become a solid commitment that I can't let go of. I really want to be able to toodle around the country on my motorbike and sling wires into trees when I finally get to retire...
I believe you are absolutely right about the "Farnsworth Gap", Louis (I had heard that advice from others too): I found I can easily identify characters up at 25 and beyond, but can't read new words or callsigns at anything like that speed. For a while I was getting about 75% or better of "100 most frequently used words" at 30/25, but as soon as I slowed down my word speed for things like simulated QSOs, or new words, it all fell to pieces. We really do learn cadence, don't we? Again, you're absolutely right about it being risky to rely too much on Farnsworth: there is no point in allow that, because I can't be asking QSO partners to "please send at 20/10" - that's ridiculous. And the words really don't come when we have more than a 5WPM gap, do they?
Right now the Wolphi Morse trainer that I use extensively on my phone is set to 20/12, but I can't read at 12, so I have been wondering whether to just stick it out or to reduce cWPM to 15 (I really didn't want to go below 20), and use 10 for words (what is the "e" in your 'eWPM? I know you mean "words", but what does the "e" mean?)
On your recommendation I'll drop to 15 cWPM (no, I definitely won't go below that: it took a lot to learn not to count, and I don't want to go back there) and do whatever I can do for wWPM - 8 is probably a good start, though maybe I can do 10 at 15cWPM - and see how that goes. I have been advised to do at least occasional spells of "higher-than-I-can-copy" speeds just to push the mind, but as you say, I need to be relaxed for that.
Thanks again; I know how to move forward now, and I think I'll be able to finally warm some leaves around my EF random wire with my QSXs this summer ;-)
Actually, the family have ordered me a four-band EFHW for Father's Day, so maybe I'll string that up when it arrives, and the random wire will work for 30m and 80m...
OK, back to work now...
--
Julian, N4JO.


--
Love 30m and CW?
http://www.30cw.net


R. Tyson
 

Hi Julian,

I guess you have done quite a spell now using the "Farnsworth gap".  You could try doing away with the gap and just listening at a straight 20 or 25 wpm. It may take several days or even weeks but you should eventually start copying words and then getting more and more words after that. I found that I could copy words O.K at 25 wpm but then started to listen to passages from books that were converted into morse.  That is another jump forward and is a stage well worth pursuing.
Three suggestions....

Don't go backwards on speed or spacing....drop the gap and keep pushing forward. If you can copy 75% at 20 wpm then go to 30wpm.That jump will mean you are struggling again and not picking out much. A  week or two and it will start making sense again.

Keep the training sessions short... around 15 minutes. Once it starts sounding like gibberish then stop.

Start including some passages from a book instead of doing words all the time. Harder but also more interesting.

A big jump in speed will make your brain work harder but will get bigger results than increasing by just a couple of wpm at a time.

Good luck and keep plugging away.

Reg                 G4NFR


jerry@tr2.com
 

All,

I am seriously working on spiffing up my CW. Right now, I start off
most mornings with lcwo.net. Am doing morse machine and code groups at
effective 20WPM and character speed 30WPM. These are far faster than I
would attempt for a QSO.

I warm up with the "morse machine". I like it because there is no pressure.
It sends a character, waits for you to copy it, then sends another character. So
the effective speed is very slow, but you learn to recognize the rhythms inside
the characters.

Then I go to the code groups. Right now, I'm running about 95% accuracy at
20WPM effective. When it gets to 100%, I'll bump it to 21WPM...

- Jerry KF6VB

On 2021-06-21 08:44, VK5EEE wrote:
That's all great!
eWPM meaning "effective" words per minute, so the actual words per
minute, which is lower, due to the gaps. You can, for a few minutes,
increase the speed eWPM and even cWPM a little, to make it harder, so
that when you then decrease to what you are at generally, a few
minutes later, it will seem much easier and slower than it actually
is.
The reason I say not to go higher than 15 cWPM (character speed) is
this: if you go lower than that, as you know, you'll end up maybe
"counting" things. But, if you go higher, you aren't going to get to
send in QSO at 20/20 cWPM/eWPM are you? Isn't that a bit of a tall
order? As you said, sending 20/15 won't sound right to people, so for
that reason, you want to get to 15/15 first, as you gradually increase
the eWPM (meaning decrease the gaps between characters). You don't
want to reach 20/15 and then take longer to get to 20/20.
15WPM (15/15) is plenty for QSO. So keep character speed cWPM at 15.
And just work on increasing eWPM (effective or actual words per
minute) also to 15, eventually.
Are you good at trouble shooting QCX in other words, tracing where a
fault is in no TX or no RX? Reason I ask is that I'm going to need
some help, ideally at agreed times on video link, as I'm OK building,
but hopeless at finding cause of faults. If you can assist with that
then I could also before or after, or at alternate sessions, assist
with your CW. How we can do the CW practice though isn't via video
link as such, but via audio, or via "Mumble" server (quite easy to set
up, it's a downloadable app), where there is a "CW server" with good
features, so I could send to you with QCX side tone and you can reply
same way.
Just an idea as I'll have time I think from early July, until then
things are a bit stressful.
The reason a lot of people learn CW at these high speeds is because
they're really aiming to recognise short burts of sound (sometimes
aided by decoders) for callsigns and contests or "DX 5NN TU", none of
which I find very satisfying. For actual "real" QSO as you know these
take place for the most part between 15-20 WPM, and many above 20 WPM
but fewer as the speed goes higher, also fewer as the speed goes below
15WPM.
This comes to my mind just now, and it is a pity this method is not
used in amateur radio (much or barely) whilst it was common place in
professional "commercial" CW -- QSZ. QSZ means repeat each word twice,
though QSZ3 would mean thrice, etc. This is a really effective way of
getting messages through during QRN, QRM, QSB but also would be
effective for you in QSO. I and many others would surely be happy to
QSZ at 15WPM instead of sending at 10 WPM. This means that you get
each and every word sent twice, making it much easier to fill in what
you missed, as you write it down.
If you sent QRS15 QSZ2 I'd understand what you meant, probably few
others would. You could thus find also good practice and fun in "slow
traffic nets" of which there are some in USA, where you receive and
pass on messages (radiograms) and the OPS there would be very happy to
both QRS and QSZ and moreover they will know what these codes mean :-)
That upcoming EFHW sounds great :-)
GN from here and welcome to Email me directly to continue as I'm not
sure if this was your thread, and is now off topic?

On 21 Jun 2021, at 14:47, Julian N4JO <n4jo@barnlea.com> wrote:
Thanks for the encouragement, Louis!
Yes... I never thought that I'd get into CW - I certainly didn't
have that in mind when I finally committed to get my ticket in the
US back at the beginning of '19. Somehow I heard about Hans and his
QCX QRP design, and something clicked.. Now it has become a solid
commitment that I can't let go of. I _really_ want to be able to
toodle around the country on my motorbike and sling wires into trees
when I finally get to retire...
I believe you are absolutely right about the "Farnsworth Gap", Louis
(I had heard that advice from others too): I found I can easily
identify characters up at 25 and beyond, but can't read _NEW_ words
or callsigns at anything like that speed. For a while I was getting
about 75% or better of "100 most frequently used words" at 30/25,
but as soon as I slowed down my word speed for things like simulated
QSOs, or new words, it all fell to pieces. We really do learn
cadence, don't we? Again, you're absolutely right about it being
risky to rely too much on Farnsworth: there is no point in allow
that, because I can't be asking QSO partners to "please send at
20/10" - that's ridiculous. And the words really don't come when we
have more than a 5WPM gap, do they?
Right now the Wolphi Morse trainer that I use extensively on my
phone is set to 20/12, but I can't read at 12, so I have been
wondering whether to just stick it out or to reduce cWPM to 15 (I
really didn't want to go below 20), and use 10 for words (what is
the "e" in your 'eWPM? I know you mean "words", but what does the
"e" mean?)
On your recommendation I'll drop to 15 cWPM (no, I definitely won't
go below that: it took a lot to learn not to count, and I don't want
to go back there) and do whatever I can do for wWPM - 8 is probably
a good start, though maybe I can do 10 at 15cWPM - and see how that
goes. I have been advised to do at least occasional spells of
"higher-than-I-can-copy" speeds just to push the mind, but as you
say, I need to be relaxed for that.
Thanks again; I know how to move forward now, and I think I'll be
able to finally warm some leaves around my EF random wire with my
QSXs this summer ;-)
Actually, the family have ordered me a four-band EFHW for Father's
Day, so maybe I'll string that up when it arrives, and the random
wire will work for 30m and 80m...
OK, back to work now...
--
Julian, N4JO.
--
Love 30m and CW?
http://www.30cw.net
Links:
------
[1] https://groups.io/g/QRPLabs/message/67555
[2] https://groups.io/mt/83212465/243852
[3] https://groups.io/g/QRPLabs/post
[4] https://groups.io/g/QRPLabs/mutehashtag/20m
[5] https://groups.io/g/QRPLabs/editsub/243852
[6] https://groups.io/g/QRPLabs/leave/10312280/243852/1190336630/xyzzy


 

On Mon, Jun 21, 2021 at 10:44 AM, VK5EEE wrote:
You can, for a few minutes, increase the speed eWPM and even cWPM a little, to make it harder, so that when you then decrease to what you are at generally, a few minutes later, it will seem much easier and slower than it actually is.
Yes, I've had that advice, and it definitely seems to work. As you say (and what Reg says in the following post), I need to keep the ratio between cWPM and eWPM as close as possible. I think that has been my mistake, as things seem to go backwards when I change the ratio. I am maddened by the fact that some words (an increasing number, fortunately) pop out at high speed - so I am tempted to increase my cWPM, but I can't maintain it, drop my Farnsworth speed, and get into a mess.

OK, so stay at for now,15 cWPM, using Farnsworth where needed but aiming for 15/15. It's just that I can feel that my brain wants to do 25 WPM. Ah, the challenges of ADHD  :-)  

You're right, I've kind hijacked this thread (sorry, everybody), and it has wandered OT, but I had calculated to stick with it for a volley or two more a while back because it seemed relevant to many learners.

GN, I'll go private on this issue.
--
Julian, N4JO.


 

Thanks, Reg,
My speed capability seems to vary based on what I'm doing: familiar words (like those used in simple QSOs) "come in" far better at 20 or 25 WPM - they're words, not just sequences of letters - but anything else is tough even at 10. I think that's why a) old-timers keep saying "just get the air, dammit!" - it builds the familiarity with QSOs - and why b) I'm so averse to doing so: as soon as the basic exchange is over I'd face-plant immediately.

I like your idea of getting short practice sessions of 15 minutes in at straight 20/20. I have a couple of short stories in text form on my phone I can play at whatever speed I want, so I'll start listening to those. I think I'll put together a file of QSO words at 25, just to satisfy that need: I do want to get to 25 eventually - it "feels right" to me.

Thanks for your help, thanks to everybody for their patience and support, and thanks and apologies to Steve K9NUD for his tolerance of my hijacking of his thread.
--
Julian, N4JO.


Steve Barkes
 

OT or not, I really appreciated this thread and the pointers to the Morse Machine info.  Very interesting read.

 

Steve

W5RRX

 

From: QRPLabs@groups.io <QRPLabs@groups.io> On Behalf Of Julian N4JO
Sent: Monday, June 21, 2021 10:38 AM
To: QRPLabs@groups.io
Subject: Re: [QRPLabs] Just completed a QCX Mini 20M build #20m

 

On Mon, Jun 21, 2021 at 10:44 AM, VK5EEE wrote:

You can, for a few minutes, increase the speed eWPM and even cWPM a little, to make it harder, so that when you then decrease to what you are at generally, a few minutes later, it will seem much easier and slower than it actually is.

Yes, I've had that advice, and it definitely seems to work. As you say (and what Reg says in the following post), I need to keep the ratio between cWPM and eWPM as close as possible. I think that has been my mistake, as things seem to go backwards when I change the ratio. I am maddened by the fact that some words (an increasing number, fortunately) pop out at high speed - so I am tempted to increase my cWPM, but I can't maintain it, drop my Farnsworth speed, and get into a mess.

OK, so stay at for now,15 cWPM, using Farnsworth where needed but aiming for 15/15. It's just that I can feel that my brain wants to do 25 WPM. Ah, the challenges of ADHD  :-)  

You're right, I've kind hijacked this thread (sorry, everybody), and it has wandered OT, but I had calculated to stick with it for a volley or two more a while back because it seemed relevant to many learners.

GN, I'll go private on this issue.
--
Julian, N4JO.