Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I am slowly learning.

I have been out of town and in a situation with time to use on my hands. I have sat down with the Koch system downloaded onto my laptop and am trying to learn code.

It is pretty slow going but it does a pretty good job of passing time. 

I have been told that people with a musical ear tend to learn it faster than those of us like me that can't carry a tune in a bucket.

I also don't have an affinity for learning languages, either so this is just going to have to be a slug fest. It really isn't coming easy like a lot of other things do for me.

My goal is to be able to decode 25 words per minute by ear and I think I am on the right path.

I have the program running the characters themselves at 25 wpm and the spacing between them set at about 5 wpm.

The plan is to get up to about 99% recognition and up the speed in spacing and work my way up. It's just going to take time and listening, listening and more listening.

I can already send fairly well, most likely around 10 wpm with good accuracy. I do believe the trick to sending and receiving code is to attain accuracy first and then increase speed as time goes on.

Anyway, I'm working on it and will likely will find a little more time to work on it and reach my goal. All learning to read code takes is practice.

Back in the day the army used to send kids to what was then called radio operator's school. I was told by someone that their dad went through it in the sixties and it was a twelve week course. Most likely one week of it was spent learning to use the various radios and the rest of it was spent learning code.

The guy's dad told him that after he graduated the army switched to single side band (voice) field communications and he never did use the code and like a lot of people, promptly forgot it.

Speaking of army schools and schools in general, it's too bad I couldn't just find about 8 weeks and immerse myself in code and learn it like the GIs did in radio operator's school.

In my quest for 200 DX entities I am at a plateau of sorts now with 185 confirmed. A few of the other guys I know that are DXers like me have said that if I want to keep going I'll likely have to either start using digital communications or learn and use code.

What is interesting to note is that there is a resurgence in the use of code. The use of it it is on the rise.

A few years ago the FCC dropped having a working knowledge of code as a requirement to getting an amateur radio operator's license. The requirement for the class of license I now hold was 20 wpm.

It should be noted that many of the recent operators out there, myself included, would not have gotten licensed if the code requirement was still in effect.

Yet there we are now trying to learn it.

Go figure....

Code is a perishable skill. What is interesting in amateur radio is that the very few old hams that sit around griping about the 'no code Extras' that haven't stayed in practice are generally either code illiterate or code semi-illiterate.

One of my first messages I sent out was to one of these chronic complainers. The message was: "Just another no code extra ruining the hobby." He claimed it was unreadable but the other guys said they read it just fine.

Enter this in the For What It's Worth department. There are a number of keyers out there for radio telegraphy. There are paddles and jitterbugs and what have you. Most modern ham rigs are set up for keyers and can be adjusted to make it fairly easy for a ham to send near perfect code.

Moving on to the 'As Usual, Piccolo Will Do Anything to be Different and Difficult Department', I am learning to send on an Old School straight key. It is actually a very heavy Chinese Army key from the Korea/early Vietnam era. And of course, my theory is that you start with basics and work up from there. Same as shooting. You learn with iron sights.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

1 comment:

  1. good luck with that, mr. pic. When I was working on my advanced license, my 13 wpm copy looked like garbage to me, but when the instructor graded it, it actually was correct enough to get a passing grade.

    I suspect proficiency will come with practice; so with all the time you spend on the radio, I'll bet you'll come up to speed pretty quickly once you start using it.