It’s been nearly 2 months since I set a goal of being able to copy CW at 30 wpm. I’m now doing 25 wpm at nearly 100% copy. At 30 wpm I’m about at about 50% copy but improving steadily.
I practice 3-5 times per week for about 15-20 minutes per session using the W1AW code practice site which offers practice up to 40 wpm. At some point I hope to reach and exceed 40 wpm, then I’ll need to find another code practice resource.
Now that my speed continues to improve it’s great to be able to copy at higher rates completely without writing anything. At these higher speeds CW becomes much more like conversing in a language and not just “copying code.”
I find that the W1AW code practice is more challenging than copying CW in a QSO, because it’s more difficult to anticipate what is being received. Concentration is crucial. During a QSO, especially brief QSO’s containing standard information (RST, OP & QTH) it’s much easier to copy at high speed. My sense is that if I can copy even at 50% at 30 wpm from W1AW, I can probably hold my own at 30 wpm in a QSO.
Of course when it comes to contesting, higher speeds are even easier on CW since the exchange is so brief, typically just a few numbers or a location abbreviation.
Perhaps by year-end I’ll be up in the 40 wpm range!
I just stopped by K0RU’s site and listened to a sample of 50 wpm CW. It’s hard to imagine copying at that rate, but Rob notes he can copy above 70 wpm for brief periods. For him CW is a language not a mode. I would have to agree.