Morse Code Impediments:


I.e. "Initial Difficulties"

While teaching morse code to folks over the years, I made a study of a few things:

  • Besides the obvious, in that everyone will tell you to quit trying to count the dits and the dahs, I found that in spite of themselves, the attempt to "count them" still continues.
  • Now, how to help individuals to deal with this problem?
  • I decided to try something that would influence how people react, and push them in the right direction.
  • The method starts off somewhat intimidating, but has really consistently paid off (after you convince folks how to handle the bombardment they are faced with).
  • There are actually only 2 problems that exist when most folks are at the very beginning stage, or trying to learn Morse Code at 5WPM .
    1. They are initially convinced that faster code puts the letters too close together, which make them feel "run-over" and overwhelmed.
    2. They basically want time to "mull over" the character before writing it down.

    Note that these two initial problems are tightly related, and interestingly enough are really more of a psychological hangup, than anything else. I'm sure that you would agree that most of us do not want to be run-over by fast running characters, and that we like being "comfortable" in our learning process.

  • I discovered an interesting facit of dealing with this problem, in that if you can for just a little while convince people that they will hear the same character repeated quickly several times, they can adapt to it rather quickly.
  • There is still a tendancy to wait and "mull-over" the character when they know it's going to be repeated, but what I found was that there was a definite advantage to hitting them with the character quickly.
  • In short, they were able to deal with the issue of literally being "run-over" with consectutive characters, with worrying about losing some characters.
  • They were told that they should try to train themselves to "respond" to the first character they hear of the series of repeats, without being concerned with getting it wrong. Avoid "mulling over" the character they heard.
  • Hard as it seems to believe, those errors will correct themselves as time progresses.

  • There are a couple of associative issues that will greatly help:
  • When the code characters start, be relaxed, but with your pen or pencil already on the paper!
  • You know that there will be 3 consectutive "V's" and then then 3 more, as attention preludes.
  • You also know what the first letter of the initial series of repeats will be (like e,i,s,h,5), so you can be prepared toWRITE in SCRIPT the very first letter you hear. But be prepared to respond to it.
  • WRITE SLOWLY, very, very SLOWLY that letter.
  • As you are SLOWLY writing that letter, you will be bombarded with that same letter 4 more times, but let it slide off your back.
  • As the first letter in the next series of repeats is heard, SLOWLY write that letter, again as the next 4 repeats bombard you.
  • Continue this process as the code characters are presented, but be prepared for the run of characters where there will be only 4 characters in the repeating set.
  • Later, there will be only 3 characters in the repeating set, and even later there will be on 2 characters in the repeating set.
  • Finally, the last of the series will be only 1 character, with no repeats.
  • Special Note:
    Consider that while all of these code characters are popping at the same speed, the speed at which you start copying is actually only 1/5th of the character speed. This computes to only 3WPM if you choose the 15WPM chracter rate! When you get to the 3 characters per set in the run, you will have reached a comfortable 5WPM. These series of runs will quite literally take you from 3WPM to about 10WPM without changing speeds, just by staying in there longer into the run. If you get used to the 15WPM series and the 18WPM series, you will find that 13WPM seems just entirely too slow.

  • In summary, I have over the years found this method so successful that I have found a 100% success rate with everyone that used it.
  • By the way, in the past where folks did things this way, there was no 13WPM barrier, and their base speed was never less than 10WPM!

    InitialDifficulties.html - SfE-DCS, ddf - 11/04/2001