Head copying is a unique process different from learning codes itself

As for Morse code learning is concerned, this study may mean to us head copying is quite different from learning codes itself. We should intentionally train head copying for conversational QSO. 

 2015 Nov;36(11):4512-28. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22939. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

From perceptual to lexico-semantic analysis--cortical plasticity enabling new levels of processing.


Certain kinds of stimuli can be processed on multiple levels. While the neural correlates of different levels of processing (LOPs) have been investigated to some extent, most of the studies involve skills and/or knowledge already present when performing the task. In this study we specifically sought to identify neural correlates of an evolving skill that allows the transition from perceptual to a lexico-semantic stimulus analysis. Eighteen participants were trained to decode 12 letters of Morse code that were presented acoustically inside and outside of the scanner environment. Morse code was presented in trains of three letters while brain activity was assessed with fMRI. Participants either attended to the stimulus length (perceptual analysis), or evaluated its meaning distinguishing words from nonwords (lexico-semantic analysis). Perceptual and lexico-semantic analyses shared a mutual network comprising the left premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area (SMA) and the inferior parietal lobule (IPL). Perceptual analysis was associated with a strong brain activation in the SMA and the superior temporal gyrus bilaterally (STG), which remained unaltered from pre and post training. In the lexico-semantic analysis post learning, study participants showed additional activation in the left inferior frontal cortex (IFC) and in the left occipitotemporal cortex (OTC), regions known to be critically involved in lexical processing. Our data provide evidence for cortical plasticity evolving with a learning process enabling the transition from perceptual to lexico-semantic stimulus analysis. Importantly, the activation pattern remains task-related LOP and is thus the result of a decision process as to which LOP to engage in.


  1. If you stay with the code you automatically "head copy" and will find you can copy higher speeds than you ever thought you could.

    1. Ellen,

      Thanks for your comment. You are correct about head copying. But, at least in Japan, CW has been taught by professional radio operators who forced them to write down every letter. It has made head copying impossible for them. At first, hand writing copying is necessary for training. But in a stage of training, the trainee should discard pen and paper. Or he/she would not be able to head copy throughout his life. That is why I have stressed on the importance of head copying.

      See you on 40m as usual.