Another perspective on copying CW in your head

Yesterday, I blogged about N7AGK’s ad in the Ham Ads section of the June 2017 QST. The ad read:

CW Operators Learn to copy Morse code in your head. n7agk.com.

That’s always a hot topic among CW operators, especially those who are striving to get better.

My post sparked a couple of emails from readers. Bill, W3MSH, wrote:

I was a CW op for many years and discovered something fascinating. I first began to hear “dots and dashes”, then letters, words, sentences and at 35+ WPM…thoughts in my head.

I replied:

I like the idea that copying code in your head is more akin to generating thoughts than it is to copying individual characters or words. Everybody talks about how getting faster is about moving from copying individual characters to copying words to copying entire sentences. I’ve never thought of it that way, although I was at a loss as to how to describe how I do it. 

You have really hit the nail on the head, though, with the idea that the code is creating thoughts in your head. That’s a beautiful way to put it.

Isn’t that what’s happening when we talk to someone? When someone talks to me, I don’t consciously parse the sentences and then analyze them to see what was just said. It’s more of an unconscious process. The sounds being uttered are creating ideas in my head.

We shouldn’t approach head copy as the process of writing down the characters on an internal blackboard, to be read later. Instead, it should be about translating the sound of the Morse Code directly into concepts. The sounds “dah di dit…dah dah dah….dah dah dit,” should conjure up the image of a poodle or a pitbull, not the letters “D O G.”

How that translates into a program or a method for learning to copy the code in one’s head is another matter. It might be worth thinking about, though.

The post Another perspective on copying CW in your head appeared first on KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog.

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