Will listening to your sidetone, while sending CW on your keyboard, slow down your typing speed ?

Typing at the maximum possible speed, to send qrq cw on a morse code keyboard, it has been my experience that listening to the sidetone has significantly lowered my maximum qrq cw typing speed.
W3njz told me a couple of years ago to turn off the sidetone in order to optimize my ability to send CW on a keyboard at my highest possible speed.  It was very awkward at first, but after about 3 weeks,  I finally started to feel comfortable not hearing my sidetone and noticed that my typing speed did increase significantly over those sidetone-LESS  3 weeks in comparison to the improvements I had made over the last year of practicing speed typing with the sidetone.  I focused my attention for accuracy to visual feedback instead of auditory and looked at the screen for error correction.  The more text that I was able to  type ahead of the buffer, the more time I had to correct spelling mistakes. VFECVisual feedback error correction, is performed in REAL TIME and gives the best chance for top speeds. When you are sending cw at your top speed, and just barely staying ahead of the buffer, it is critical in order to maintain smooth code to minimize anything that would distract and impact the data flow from your thoughts to your fingers.

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I'm willing to give it a try, but one thing I like about hearing the sidetone is that it gives an instant clue as to how far ahead of the transmitting code I am at any moment. If I'm sufficiently far ahead, I can slow down and concentrate on typing more carefully. If I'm running right alongside the transmitted code, I know it's time to start filling in with lots of dah-di-di-di-dah's (the CW equivalent of "uhmmmm"!)

Will give it a shot.
Hi Chuck, I can't claim credit for this advice as it was passed along to me about 15 years ago by KB9XE. It is a must for me over 80 wpm where you must concentrate on finger placement to minimize finger positioning errors leading to misspelling of words. Anything that diverts you from this hurts you in the accuracy of your typing. You need all of your facilities to type clean words and keep from sending improper gaps between words. It is essential to send smooth code at high speeds to aide the copy so that the buffer must be at least a letter or two ahead of the text being transmitted. Anything that diverts you from achieving this is the enemy of good smooth code transmission. You already know what you are going to say and the fingers and screen can tell you that you sent it error free.

One variation of this I find useful is to use a very weak background sound that comes and goes with the keying. It could even be the sidetone if it is very weak and doesn't distract you. That tells me if I am falling behind the buffer and beginning to send choppy words. I don't say that this is the secret to sending good code over 80+ wpm but it works for me!
-Fred, W3NJZ
Typing without a sidetone is the only way to go for me. I don't type that well anyway and listening to the sidetone makes it worse. The program AutoHotKey gives me a way to catch up if I am just staying ahead of the buffer and sending choppy code. I have programmed the period key to give me 7 spaces and the comma key to give me 3 spaces. So if I get in a bind spelling a word or just need a bit of time to catch up, I hit the period or the comma key to give me the time I need. Its like pausing occasionally when we talk. I like the spaces better than 'bt' sent over and over, which is like listening to someone who says 'you know' a lot just to fill up space when they talk. The pauses give the listener time to catch up as well. Chuck, AA0HW, has a nice video on AutoHotKey on this site.

Joe KH6/W3GW
Until I started using iCW using FLDIGI, Mumble, and WSaudio soundcard, I never considered
qrq cw without sidetone. After all, years and years using HF rigs with sidetone already set
to key when you key, was the norm. But when I first started using iCW with this setup, I found
it awkward at first, but after a few weeks of going "silent", I too found I was able to focus on my
typing and using visual feedback via the screen, instead of audible feedback, my typing speed
improved! Now I find that when I go back to using sidetone, I am distracted and listening to my
qrq cw, instead of focusing on my typing, and my speed decreases and errors increase.


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