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Collected Wisdom and Lessons Learned for the Little Pistol Dan Zeitlin, K2YWE (K3AU) Revised January 2012 Dan Zeitlin, K2YWE (K3AU) Revised January 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Collected Wisdom and Lessons Learned for the Little Pistol Dan Zeitlin, K2YWE (K3AU) Revised January 2012 Dan Zeitlin, K2YWE (K3AU) Revised January 2012."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Collected Wisdom and Lessons Learned for the Little Pistol Dan Zeitlin, K2YWE (K3AU) Revised January 2012 Dan Zeitlin, K2YWE (K3AU) Revised January 2012 Copyright 2006, 2007,2012 All rights reserved Dan Zeitlin, Annapolis, MD Free use with prior permission

3 K2YWE Little Pistol p2 Agenda What’s this about? Who is K2YWE? Elements of Success Preparation Contest Basics (refresher) Strategy Station Considerations Antennas Software My favorite Software Features Operating Tips and “Best Practices” SO2R Resources Summary Appendix A - Best Practices Collection Appendix B – Interfaces and Accessories Appendix C – Selected Contest Loggers

4 K2YWE Little Pistol p3 What’s a Little Pistol? A Little Pistol in this context is Low Power Single Op Modest Antennas ­ Wires, maybe a low Beam ­ NOT big towers and/or stacks

5 K2YWE Little Pistol p4 What’s this about? Objective Improved Scores for Little Pistols (LP) Intended Audience Modest low power HF stations Parts may apply to VHF/UHF+ How? Make the most with what you have Adopt successful operating practices

6 K2YWE Little Pistol p5 About Dan Licensed in 1956 (KN2YWE) ­ Mostly CW. Mixed rag chewing and DXing Limited casual contest background ­ Occasional FD and Sweepstakes 1996 FD with dyed-in-the-wool contesters ­ Nibbled the bait. Fell in with a bad crowd. Little part of “Big Gun” team for a few years ­ Same crowd. Set the hook and reeled me in. Little Pistol home station small low tribander ­ 100W, wires and later a small low tribander ­ Occasional guest Op elsewhere ­ Encouraging Results CARA/PVRC FD team ­ Mostly 80 CW

7 K2YWE Little Pistol p6 Elements of Little Pistol Success The Right Frame of Mind Preparation Practice Attention to Detail Perseverance Learning from Others My observations are relevant to most successful endeavors

8 K2YWE Little Pistol p7 The Right Frame of Mind QRL! Don’t forget it is a competition “it's a jungle out there”... de N6TR You will not be alone “... contesting skill includes the ability to tolerate high levels of QRM, and if you can't do that, you might as well hang it up.“... de K3ZO Think Big “If you think and act like you’re a big dog, you will convince most of the pack that you are, although you may get bitten once in a while.”... de K2YWE Don’t forget it is a competition “it's a jungle out there”... de N6TR You will not be alone “... contesting skill includes the ability to tolerate high levels of QRM, and if you can't do that, you might as well hang it up.“... de K3ZO Think Big “If you think and act like you’re a big dog, you will convince most of the pack that you are, although you may get bitten once in a while.”... de K2YWE

9 K2YWE Little Pistol p8 Preparation Have a strategy – write it down Provides baseline guidance ­ Try to optimize within your constraints ­ Modify as needed in “battle” Reassess your strategy during the contest ­ Expect to change the details ­ Take radical departures only if you have good reason to, like one or more of your baseline assumptions was wrong “Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand.”... Sun Tzu

10 K2YWE Little Pistol p9 INSERT key seems to stick! Preparation Get your act in order before the performance Check your set-up well before the start ­ Antennas, Hardware, Software, support files ­ Set appropriate software defaults ­ Provide enough time for fixing any problems Be well rested for the contest Listen day(s) before to get a feel for Condx Have a simple means to restart software ­ What did I call this file...? ­ Re-use the same name for the current contest files. Rename after the contest. Skip Next - Contest Basics Jump to “Strategy”

11 K2YWE Little Pistol p10 Rules are published well in advance Valid contacts exchange two-way information ­ Contest rules define the specific information Final score is composed of two pieces ­ QSO points – Based on number of valid contacts Points per contact may vary ­ Multipliers – Based on a unique characteristic Usually location - State, Country, Zone, Grid ­ Total Score is QSO points times the Multipliers Total Score = “Q pts” x “Mults” ­ Same stations may provide multiple Qs or Mults Contacts on different bands or modes may each count Contest Basics 31 W6IXB SCV 32 W5AFX STX 31 W6IXB SCV 32 W5AFX STX Individual contest rules spell everything out, including scoring Skip Contest Basics Jump to “Strategy”

12 K2YWE Little Pistol p11 Scoring Example Pts/QSO may differ within some contests ­ Might be different by mode, or by local or “DX” QTH Simple Multi-band contest Skip Contest Basics Jump to “Strategy”

13 K2YWE Little Pistol p12 Sample Exchange (CQ WW HF Contest) “CQ TEST PA0LOU”PA0LOU calling CQ contest “K3AU”K3AU responds “K3AU ” PA0LOU sends the callsign he is responding to, then exchange of RST and Zone “599 5”K3AU sends his exchange “TU PA0LOU”Thanks K3AU and waits for next station to call Results in one “Q” for each station, and a multiplier if the other station’s zone or country has not yet been worked on this band (CQ WW) Stations try to exchange required info as efficiently as possible Skip Contest Basics Jump to “Strategy”

14 K2YWE Little Pistol p13 More Q’s are key to producing higher scores ­ Q’s and Mults are both important but... Q’s fuel the engine, Mults provide the turbo boost Operating Time is fixed, so Rate must go up! Thus, Concentrate on achieving Higher Rates Rate Drivers Successful Running is a proven rate generator ­ Being Heard and Hearing others At fixed power level, this mainly means better Antennas ­ Efficiency - Less wasted time in and between QSO’s Look to Operating Practices and Shack Arrangement ­ Attracting the other stations Operating Practices High Level Thoughts... Some reasoning to frame the problem

15 K2YWE Little Pistol p14 Strategy Class Selection ­ Band(s), modes, assistance, number of Ops, … ­ Leverage your strengths Bands and Modes ­ Which, when? Propagation ­ What’s best for Q’s and Mults ON/OFF times selection ­ Time limits ­ Meals, sleep, “real life” periods Operation ­ CQ vs. S&P ­ Rates, Speeds and Timing Having a game plan pays off during the contest SOA, MUF, S&P, rates, snacks... Q’s, Mults, Bones...

16 K2YWE Little Pistol p15 Focus on making the most Q’s ­ Block out expected S&P and Run times, ground rules ­ Balance with occasional short checks for Mults Base primarily on expected Propagation ­ Range of prediction tools are available QST or CQ tables – simplest Models – most complex, better “Rules of Thumb” ­ Temper predictions with your own observations ­ Gray Line info can help real-time, especially on 160m and 80m Allow for time-of-day considerations ­ What’s going on elsewhere in the world Strategy Remember that maximizing Q’s is primary to success

17 K2YWE Little Pistol p16 Choose OFF times at lowest expected Q rates ­ Base on your own or other stations’ history ­ Don’t forget minimum OFF time rules Try to ensure using your full time allotment Allow possibility you may want a late slot ­ Don’t get caught short of time at the end ­ I usually leave a late half-hour insurance slot ­ It’s tricky, considering the bullet above Sync with your personal needs (duhh) ON/OFF Times Make the best use of your time

18 K2YWE Little Pistol p17 Set an average rate you want to achieve ­ (Total Q’s) / (Operating Hrs) Set minimum rates you’ll accept ­ Acceptable rate will vary over the contest period Include minimum rates in your Strategy Make a change if you drop below the Rate ­ Change Freq, Band, Mode ­ Swap Running and S&P ­ Chase some Mults ­ Change your shirt Rates Rules Setting Rate Rules helps you achieve QSO goals Change Something !

19 K2YWE Little Pistol p18 Be thoroughly familiar with your software ­ A contest is not the time for first trial ­ Gain familiarity in day-to-day use ­ Exploit helpful features ­ Use practice programs and modes ­ Modify settings to suit your style Be comfortable with Run techniques ­ Practice with a simulator ­ Try to operate “run style” (5NN MD DAN BK... TU) Pick a day with a good conditions on your best band ­ Use the Best Practices mentioned later in this presentation Contest Hound Practices with CT Practice It may not make you perfect, but it will make you better!

20 K2YWE Little Pistol p19 Station Improvements Assess Station Strengths and Weaknesses ­ Take band by band inventory based on performance history Attack Weaknesses with biggest payoffs first ­ Incrementally fill in the holes ­ Expect Antennas to rank high ­ Don’t forget to pick “low hanging fruit” Assess your Operating Practices ­ Bounce your operation against the Best Practices (later) ­ Adjust accordingly Improved Antennas & Running payoff most ­ But every improvement counts – they all add up Put method behind your madness

21 K2YWE Little Pistol p20 My Experience Operation ­ Better exploited software features (Bandmap, SCP, …) ­ Discovered and incrementally adopted “ Best Practices ” ­ Biggest single payoff in Operation was Running Started Running – Had assumed not possible for an LP My running rates improved with experience and trials Station ­ Improved antennas – eventually migrated to monobanders None exotic – Delta loop, bent dipole, and lazy U wires Eventual addition of small Yagi made a big difference ­ Made shack changes for better” operating efficiency”... Performance improved with incremental changes

22 K2YWE Little Pistol p21 “Better Operating Efficiency” Boom Mic & Footswitch Life is Good! Footswitch & Prop Mic Prop No Help! Ugh!

23 K2YWE Little Pistol p22 Station Improvements at K2YWE Footswitch ­ Frees hands for undisrupted keyboard use ­ CW - Quick T-R transition without listening to QSK noise Boom or Headset Mic ­ Less fatigue, freedom to move, respond to local “QRM”... Antenna Switching ­ Quick band changes. Replaced connector swaps. Added or Improved Antennas ­ More chance to sustain Run, snag S&P Q’s with less calls ­ Make more “second” tier QSOs uipment “Sensible Rearrangement” of Equipment ­ More efficient, less effort to operate... Improvements aimed at higher rates

24 K2YWE Little Pistol p23 Antenna Improvements What assets exist to hang antennas on? Use all the property lines to full advantage Try to design a system using monobanders Add/change antenna to help your weakest band Consider fixed antenna with gain to EU or West Enable a new band, like 160m ­ for New Mults and more Q’s during slow times Put up even a minimal Yagi if possible Be innovative within your constraints

25 K2YWE Little Pistol p24 Multi-band 270 ft Horiz Loop Two 40m DeltasTwo 40m Deltas and 160/80m Vertical(s) vg gd ok ppp vp m Delta, 80m Dipole,40m Delta, 80m Dipole 160m Lazy-U160m Lazy-U, C3SS vg gd ok pp vp Antenna Growth at K2YWE Began with Multi-band loop with uneven performance and a lot of tuning. Made incremental improvements to fix deficiencies Current System with mono-banders gives better and more balanced performance

26 K2YWE Little Pistol p25 K2YWE Antenna Farmette Squeezed in three wire monobanders and a 12’ boom tribander You can sure cram a lot in 1/5th acre, XYL willing! 80m Droopy-End Dipole 125’ 75’ 40m Inv Delta 160m “U” Force 12 C3SS (12’ boom 24ft max element) 40m Delta serves as m Rx only and Aux Ant for m Small tri-bander on a 45’ AB-577 “rocket launcher”

27 K2YWE Little Pistol p26 Software (S/W) Use your Radio and Keying interfaces ­ Build or buy and integrate them if you haven’t already (Appendix A) ­ It’s very hard to make and sustain high rates without them Recommended S/W Setup (CT keywords SHOWN) ­ WORKDUPES- BANDMAP & ANNOUNCE Windows ­ CORRECT call signs - RATE Window ­ Super Check Partial- SCP Window ­ Stop on auto CQ- SCORE Window Spotting Network? ­ View as a strategic decision ­ Can be a valuable asset, especially in S&P ­ Remember caveats about wasting time chasing Mults ­ Does not alleviate you from confirming all entries Use a contest-oriented program and set it up to facilitate high rates

28 K2YWE Little Pistol p27 Software Features Most Useful to Me Skip All but Bandmap Skip all All Detail- Jump to Best Practics

29 K2YWE Little Pistol p28 Dupe Alert (CT screen) Check for duplicate entries is automatic upon callsign entry TI3TLS Alert as DUPE with time & date of previous QSO TI3TLS Skip All but Bandmap

30 K2YWE Little Pistol p29 Matches callsign fragments against database created from recent contest logs and current logged contacts... anywhere in the callsign Check Partial Call (CT screen) Call fragments yield possible known contester callsigns Skip All but Bandmap

31 K2YWE Little Pistol p30 the Bandmap (CT and N1MM screens shown) Tells you who is on what frequency, if worked before, and if needed as QSO or multiplier Data is entered by hand or automatically from spots Map updates periodically to expunge stale data Own frequency can be ‘centered’ or scrolled The bandmap saves time in Search & Pounce mode Skip Bandmap Jump to SO2R

32 K2YWE Little Pistol p31 the Bandmap - CT 21:24:48 Current Transceiver Frequency Needed Mult in White Needed QSO in Blue Already Worked in Black Frequency Time Entered into Bandmap Call Radio tuned to N4CW No # or on black bar indicates Worked before Going to tune up to K2YWE, a needed QSO Radio tuned to N4CW No # or on black bar indicates Worked before Going to tune up to K2YWE, a needed QSO *

33 K2YWE Little Pistol p32 Radio tuned up to K2YWE and blue indicates Needed QSO Intend to work K2YWE Radio tuned up to K2YWE and blue indicates Needed QSO Intend to work K2YWE * the Bandmap - CT 21:25:03 Current Transceiver Frequency Needed Mult in White Frequency Time Entered into Bandmap Call Needed QSO Already Worked in Black

34 K2YWE Little Pistol p33 21:25:15 Worked and logged K2YWE Status changed to ‘Worked’ and time updated Intend to next work WA6AQQ, a needed Mult Worked and logged K2YWE Status changed to ‘Worked’ and time updated Intend to next work WA6AQQ, a needed Mult the Bandmap - CT Frequency Time Entered into Bandmap Call Updated Time & Status Needed Mult in White Already Worked in Black Current Transceiver Frequency

35 K2YWE Little Pistol p34 21:25:38 the Bandmap - CT Radio tuned up to WA6AQQ # and red bar indicates Needed Mult Radio tuned up to WA6AQQ # and red bar indicates Needed Mult Current Transceiver Frequency Call Needed Mult Already Worked in Black Next Needed QSO in Blue Time Entered into Bandmap

36 K2YWE Little Pistol p35 Tips and Best Practices “Best Practices” are what successful competitors say works for them.

37 K2YWE Little Pistol p36 Some CW Tips* - CW Do not be intimidated by stations too fast for you to copy. ­ Start with the slower stations higher in the band. ­ Don't worry if you have to hear a call several times to get it. ­ As the contest goes on your will improve! Call CQ high in the band at a speed comfortable for you. Don’t be shy about sending QRS. ­ Most stations will slow down to your speed. Try moving frequency a bit if you can’t seem to be heard. ­ Often receiver bandwidths in a crowded band are set very narrow. Don’t let your code speed keep you from enjoying CW contests *Some tips are courtesy of the 1999 YCC “Cookbook”

38 K2YWE Little Pistol p37 Some Phone Tips Use conventional or unmistakable phonetics ­ “Duck Soup” are poor phonetics for “D S” ­ Use Standard or “Common Use” phonetics (countries, cities...) Maintain a “friendly sense of urgency” in your QSOs ­ Chattiness will slow your rate and lose you contacts. Do not be intimidated by stations talking fast or unintelligibly. ­ Firmly ask until you get all the exchange info. Use “again?” ­ It is usually better to ask for one piece of missing info at a time. Listen to what is on your frequency when working split. ­ If you can hear it, you can better time your call or defer until later. Apply these basic Phone tips for starters

39 K2YWE Little Pistol p38 Every point counts! ­ There’s no such thing as “not worthwhile” ­ When things are slow, call for “anybody” A rule of thumb strategy ­ Work bands that may close first. Move with propagation. ­ This often means in a.m. then later on. ­ Try running rather than chasing spots when high bands are open. ­ Go after the Mults when 20 has slowed, but 40 hasn't opened yet. Keep multipliers in mind ­ “Move” Multipliers if you can do so efficiently ­ Have frequencies on each band set up for quick jaunt ­ Balance the effect on rate and total score when chasing Mults Best Practices Basics* - Overall Overall * Some of these tips are courtesy of the 1999 YCC “Cookbook”

40 K2YWE Little Pistol p39 The Master Callsign Data Base is not the Bible Verify the callsign of the station you're working ­ BV6U and 5C8N are not real callsigns (6V6U and HC8N). Don't log them that way. Always HEAR the call that the station is signing and log it correctly. Best Practices Basics* - Overall Overall - continued * Some of these tips are courtesy of the 1999 YCC “Cookbook” You mean that’s a busted call?

41 K2YWE Little Pistol p40 “fresh meat” “fresh meat” S&P rates can be very high early in the contest fo ­ Everyone is for you. quickly hop from ­ You can quickly hop from station to station with little fear of Dupes. safe to call ­ You are usually safe to call first and fill-in the call at the QSO end. Use early S&P to find a spot to CQ ­ You can maintain a high rate while searching for a clear spot. ­ It beats the alternative of establishing a frequency before the Test Be sure to try CQing late in the contest ­ You will be “fresh meat” to many that have been CQing all along. ­ They will be seeking to squeeze out the last few QSOs. Repeat only what is missing when asked for a fill ­ Repeating known parts wastes time and possible “clear times.” QRL?... Best Practices Basics - Overall Overall - continued

42 K2YWE Little Pistol p41 Do you really want to ask QRL? “Can anyone honestly believe that there is a single KHz anywhere in the relevant portion of the 20 meter band that is NOT in use somewhere in the world during the CQWW?”... de K3ZO One Approach... Pick a “clear” spot and CQ without “QRL?” You will only invite others to take the frequency by asking. You’ll find out quickly enough if the Freq is in use by calling CQ. This is very controversial. Many hams feel that not asking is rude. You Decide. Use “QRL?” if you have any doubts or are thin-skinned!

43 K2YWE Little Pistol p42 Best Practices General Use K3ZO's "Rule of TWICE" – modify “twice” as sensible ­ If you can't get a station after calling TWICE, move on ­ If he doesn't ID after transmitting TWICE, move on Don’t waste time repeatedly calling DX that has moderate Sigs when the band is otherwise quiet from their part of the world ­ They are probably “opening the band” with lots of ERP Enable and use the band map in your logging software Insist on fills until you get all the info. Use “Again?” on phone ­ Don’t log the QSO without complete info. “Sorry, No QSO” Keep the width of an SSB signal in mind ­ Be sure you are away enough from strong stations running not to be covered by a pileup you can’t hear

44 K2YWE Little Pistol p43 Running Use the widest IF bandwidth you can stand ­ Less chance to miss off-freq callers, especially on CW Don’t break a run to pull one station through ­ Your rate will suffer if you take too long ­ You will drive away impatient waiting stations Use only a quick ‘Thanks’ if stations are waiting ­ They know your call. Don’t waste time on it. ­ Throw in your call every few Q’s for the uninitiated Send complete exchange with a partial call ­ Nearly all Ops will correct you, good ones without a missing a beat ­ Fix the call during his transmission more Best Practices...

45 K2YWE Little Pistol p44 more Best Practices... Running - continued Call CQ when bands are dead for the day or worked out Call CQ when the band is active if you are able to find a frequency and hold it Always work Dupes ("WORKDUPE" in CT) ­ You might not be in his log If you can't drag a station's call through after trying TWICE, ignore him and start calling CQ again. ­ This is part of K3ZO's "Rule of TWICE." Modify "TWICE" to suit your station capabilities and contest circumstances. Enable call sign correction in your software. This will send the corrected call as part of your goodbye message ("CORRECT" in CT)

46 K2YWE Little Pistol p45 more Best Practices... Running - continued Speed up if your run is being sustained This is especially true in contests like SS where the exchange includes your call sign. Slow back down appropriately Hit the SEND key as soon as the call is in your head. Finish typing in the log during the automated response or while talking ­ Some programs can do this automatically after n characters Move Multipliers to other bands if you have the time ­ Pick frequencies in advance

47 K2YWE Little Pistol p46 more Best Practices... Running - continued If another station calls CQ on your frequency, try "QRL" or "Frequency in use, QSY" Don't engage in extended frequency fights ­ If QRL/QSY fails, it almost always pays to move ­ Sometimes you can move up or down a bit in order to lessen the QRM and still hang on to "your" frequency NEVER NEVER NEVER acknowledge a "jammer". NEVER. Just keep your pace, and don't change your tone of voice on phone or even synchronize your calls to his QRM. ­ Often throwing in a few fake Q’s will discourage the jammer The Complete Best Practices Collection Appears in Appendix B The Complete Best Practices Collection Appears in Appendix B

48 K2YWE Little Pistol p47 A Word About Single Op 2 Radio Everyone has their own idea of an efficient SO2R layout... K1PT S02R Setup two radios, two computers “Special” contest switch at DF0WA S02R one computer An earlier two radio setup (no PC)

49 K2YWE Little Pistol p48 It’s easy for SO2R to be a distraction KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) is key ­ Start with a simple setup ­ Use SO2R only when things are slow CQ #1, S&P #2 or Alternate CQs Modify your setup operation with experience Many top Ops swear by it (i.e. N6TR) ­ Has potential to add significantly to your score Some don’t use it at all (i.e. K3ZO) p.s. I’m at stage one – few or no SO2R Q’s per contest - dbz SO2R Save SO2R until you have nearly exhausted other improvements

50 K2YWE Little Pistol p49 If the IF is being "pumped" by stations nearby (and in the AGC bandpass) trying running with your AGC OFF”... de K3RA Noise limiters can cause noise or clicks when “pinged” by strong adjacent signals. Turn off unless you have no choice. * Miscellaneous Receiver Tricks Hints and Kinks that you may not have considered *On the Yaesu 1000MP, turn the adjustment knob full CCW, even when both NLs are off.

51 K2YWE Little Pistol p50 Local PVRC Resources There is ample opportunity and willing help available locally Multi-Op Station Opportunities ­ WX3B in Frederick - Jim Nitzburg Help (order not significant!) ­ K3RA – Rol Anders ­ KE3Q – Rich Boyd ­ KD4D – Mark Bailey ­ K2YWE – Dan Zeitlin ­ K3ZO – Fred Laun ­ W3LPL – Frank Donovan ­ ND3F - Brian, VHF+ Single Op Opportunities ­ Often “unused” stations are available ­ Post a query on the PVRC reflector

52 K2YWE Little Pistol p51 Internet Links “includes non-contest loggers Contest Organizations, Calendars, Info, and Sponsors ­ Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC) pvrc.org Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC) ­ Contesting.Com contesting.com Contesting.Com ­ Frankford Radio Club (FRC) frc-contest.org Frankford Radio Club (FRC) ­ CQ Magazine (CQWW, WPX, and others) cq-amateur-radio.com CQ Magazine ­ National Contest Journal – NCJ (QSO parties, Sprints, more) ncjweb.com National Contest Journal – NCJ ­ ARRL (Sweepstakes, Field Day, DX, UHF/VHF, more) arrl.org/contests ARRL ­ SM3CER Calendar sk3bg.se/contest SM3CER Calendar ­ WA7BNM Calendar hornucopia.com/contestca WA7BNM Calendar Contest Logging Programs ­ CT & CTWin k1ea.com CT & CTWin ­ TR Log, TR4W tr4w.com TR LogTR4W ­ Win-Test win-test.com Win-Test ­ Writelog writelog.com Writelog ­ N1MM pages.cthome.net/n1mm\ N1MM

53 K2YWE Little Pistol p52 Prepare and pay attention to detail Prepare and pay attention to detail ­ Remember Sun Tzu Adopt proven Best Practices Adopt proven Best Practices ­ Don’t be afraid to experiment. Keep what works for you. Run, big dog, run Run, big dog, run ­ Try to Run if at all possible Start now making incremental changes Start now making incremental changes ­ Make an improvement list and work it down Strategies are important Strategies are important ­ Pick and plan the contests. Use the plan for guidance. There are lots of resources to help you There are lots of resources to help you ­ Just ask “ It’s not the size of your station, it’s how you use it! ” Little Pistols can successfully compete You can do well with a modest station

54 K2YWE Little Pistol p53 Appendix A - Best Practices Collection Appendix B – Interfaces and Accessories Appendix A - Best Practices Collection Appendix B – Interfaces and Accessories Appendix C – Selected Contest Loggers Appendix C – Selected Contest Loggers Appendices

55 K2YWE Little Pistol p54 Best Practices Collection Appendix A

56 K2YWE Little Pistol p55 Best Practices Collection

57 K2YWE Little Pistol p56 Best Practices Collection (con’d)

58 K2YWE Little Pistol p57 Best Practices Collection (con’d)

59 K2YWE Little Pistol p58 Best Practices Collection (con’d) S

60 K2YWE Little Pistol p59 Best Practices Collection (con’d)

61 K2YWE Little Pistol p60 Best Practices Collection (con’d)

62 K2YWE Little Pistol p61 Best Practices Collection (con’d) Got More?

63 K2YWE Little Pistol p62 Interfaces and Accessories Appendix B

64 K2YWE Little Pistol p63 Can be from rig or computer. RS-232, parallel, or discretes Switch Relays and Point Rotors Antenna & Rotor TNC or Internet using RS-232 cable or no H/W at all (Telnet, etc) Annunciate and track needed Mults and QSOs Spots Varies with DVP type, but interface itself is not complicated Send CQ and Exchanges with DVP or card Voice “Keying” Simple interface, usually to parallel port Send CQ, Exchanges, keyboard CW, paddle CW CW Keying Varies from RS-232 cable alone, to simple electronic interfaces Track & control Freq and Mode, maintain Bandmap Radio ComplexityFunctionalityInterface Hardware Interfaces H/W interfaces vary in complexity Plans and parts for home building are readily available

65 K2YWE Little Pistol p64 Interface Issues Many radios use RS-232 or TTL interfaces Some programs use RS-232 and/or Parallel ports Most newer computers don‘t have those interfaces ­ You may need USB to RS-232 or TTL converter(s) ­ Optionally, you may find suitable multi-I/O cards ­ Check with other users to see what brands and types work Some programs or OS can’t handle real-time CW keying ­ You may need specialized keying interfaces, like Win-Key ­ Check with other users to see what works Older Voice Keyers may use RS-232 or Parallel ports if you want to control them with the logging program ­ Some loggers, like N1MM, use the computer’s sound card New computers and Operating Systems introduced complications

66 K2YWE Little Pistol p65 1K 2N2222, 2N K 2N2222, 2N P/O LPT1 Typical Parallel Port Keying Interfaces DVP and Band Data discrete outputs are also available on parallel ports. 10K PADDLE A 12 PADDLE B 13 PADDLE CENTER 14 KEYER PADDLE GND 18 STROBE 1 KEY DRIVE 17 Low-level positive PTT to rig. Grounded on PTT keyed. Low-level positive center keying to rig. Grounded on key down. GND 18 STROBE 1 PTT DRIVE uF

67 K2YWE Little Pistol p66 Opto-Isolated Interfaces DVP and Band Data discrete outputs are also available on parallel ports. GND 18 STROBE 1 PTT DRIVE 16 Low-level positive PTT to rig. Grounded on PTT keyed. 10K PADDLE A 12 PADDLE B 13 PADDLE CENTER 14 KEYER PADDLE GND 18 STROBE 1 KEY DRIVE 17 P/O LPT1 Low-level positive center keying to rig. Grounded on key down. 1K Replacing transistors with Optos can improve RF immunity 4N25, 4N35, 4N37 … 4N25, 4N35, 4N37 … 0.01uF

68 K2YWE Little Pistol p67 Typical Serial Radio Interfaces Many older Rigs, especially Yaesus, need level translation Most newer Rigs only need a simple cable to PCto Transceiver RS-232 to TTL TTL to RS32 +/- 12V RS-232 5v / 0v TTL to PCto Transceiver RS-232 +/- 12V RS-232 +/- 12V RS-232

69 K2YWE Little Pistol p68 MAX-232 IC 5V/RS-232 CAT Interface For older Yaesu and other rigs with 5V TTL I/O

70 K2YWE Little Pistol p69 Discrete 5V/RS-232 CAT Interface Transistors replace IC as TTL/RS-232 level-shifters

71 K2YWE Little Pistol p70 Some inexpensive foot switches The one I use (cheap) $ 8.70 $ 6.95 Best Buys, Baynesville (Balto) and other electronics stores also have inexpensive foot pedals meant for games or music.

72 K2YWE Little Pistol p71 Selected Contest Loggers Appendix C

73 K2YWE Little Pistol p72 Popular Contest Logging Programs Similar capabilities with varying implementations All run under Windows OS Need varying amounts of learning to fully utilize ­ CTWin (Free) – Grandaddy of them all Windows character mode version of DOS program. ­ TR4W (Free) Very flexible. Behavior taken from popular DOS program. ­ Writelog ($) Popular Windows full-featured contest program. ­ Win-Test ($) Many features and options. Easy transition for CT users. ­ N1MM (Free) Most popular Win logger. Continuous open source development

74 K2YWE Little Pistol p73 Popular Contest Programs (con’d) Contesting-specific with advanced features Band Maps with S&P “point & shoot” SO2R Support Spotting through a Telnet connection Radio, CW & voice keying, and rotator Interfaces Sound card support ­ all with External DVP control ­ most with varying degrees of Sound Card Voice ­ some with sound card Receive recording Varying levels of RTTY and PSK31 support are provided ­ Most generate and read digital modes using the sound card ­ Some only log functions Facilitate operating, logging, and exploiting opportunities

75 K2YWE Little Pistol p74 CTWin by K1EA Uses Windows character mode. Minimal system required. Win version with same features as original premier CT logger ­ Includes extensive set of utilities Contest support files actively maintained by AD1C & WA1Z ­ No longer supported by K1EA ­ User Group support Supports all major contests and a few others ­ No new contests to be added. ­ Limited user-defined contest capability RS-232 and LPT I/O ­ USB with converter Controls some voice keyers* Free! Win version of first serious contest logger, still in wide use Not generally recommended for new starts because new contests are not being added, but Good if you have old computer hardware Good to know as guest Op in existing station * SM3WMV S/W Voice Keyer

76 K2YWE Little Pistol p75 TR4W by UA4WLI Small and fast 100% Windows API code ­ Only 100,000 lines of code in 160KB of memory Win version with same features as successful TRlog by N6TR ­ N6TR provided TRlog source code as basis ­ Continuously adding more features S&P/Run Mode Adaptive Superior sound card voice support Over 140 supported contests RS-232, LPT, USB support ­ USB I/O includes log backup Free! New Win version of mature world-class adaptive contest logger

77 K2YWE Little Pistol p76 Writelog by Contesting Software, LLC Efficient code with minimal processing and memory requirements Requires only one window 110 supported contests Sound card voice RS-232, LPT I/O ­ USB with converter $30 (updates same) ­ Prev ver. $18 Mature written-for-Windows high performance contest logger

78 K2YWE Little Pistol p77 Win-Test by F5MZN Efficient code with minimal processing and memory requirements Strong CT keystroke emulation Over 100 supported contests Sound card voice RS-232, Parallel, USB support ~$65 (50€) Proceeds support Radio Amateur Club de Kourou contest activities, including FY5KE (French Guiana). Mature written-for-Windows high performance contest logger

79 K2YWE Little Pistol p78 N1MM by N1MM et. al. (N1MM, N2AMG, K3CT, N2IC, NA3M) Cooperative project with multiple participants/coders. ­ Over 200,000 lines of code and growing ­ Mainly Visual Basic & Access Runs on 1GHz PIII + 512K RAM Multiple Windows 110 supported contests ­ Allows User-Defined contests Sound card voice RS-232, LPT I/O ­ USB with converter Free Newest and most popular Windows contest logger

80 K2YWE Little Pistol p79 Single Window 41 supported contests ­ State QPs Sound card voice RS-232, Parallel, USB support Limited Band Map and Spot Window – limited utility ­ Prefix only, no indicators (dupe etc), no band or mode filtering... No Partial Call Check except in own log – No SCP, limited utility Can’t work Dupes – it’s important to work dupes No SO2R support Excellent personal customer service ­ But updates may be slow $39 all programs or ­ or $ 7* each contest separately N3FJP by N3FJP [Info Only – Not Recommended] Basic contest logger – Easy, but lacks important functionality * network version $12


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