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20 March 2005 PVRC Contest Seminar Contest Logging Software Mark Bailey KD4D.

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Presentation on theme: "20 March 2005 PVRC Contest Seminar Contest Logging Software Mark Bailey KD4D."— Presentation transcript:

1 20 March 2005 PVRC Contest Seminar Contest Logging Software Mark Bailey KD4D

2 20 March 2005 My Biases... I’m an HF Contester –My experience is with CW and SSB –I don’t have any RTTY or VHF Contest experience I use TR-Log for my single-operator contests –I also use CT and Writelog for multi-ops –I like TR, so I am biased

3 20 March 2005 Some of the available programs… CT by K1EA N3FJP NA by K8CC Win-EQF

4 20 March 2005 Why use logging software? Have more fun! –See how we are doing during the contest Rate meters show how fast we are making contacts Programs calculate our score during the contest –Make contacts with less work Automatically generated CW Voice keyers for CQ’s, callsigns, exchanges, etc. –Prepare logs for submission in a few minutes

5 20 March 2005 Why use logging software? Increase our scores –Automation gives us a bit of free time for strategy or a second radio –Computer logging tells us whether we need a multiplier or QSO on other bands –Submitting a log is easy…so we enter more contests and PVRC gets more points!

6 20 March 2005 What does the software do? “Super Check Partial” Last 10/Last 100 Rates Multipliers/QSO’s needed by band Transceiver Interface Packet Interface SSB Voice Keyer CW Keying SO2R Switching Multi-operator networking

7 20 March 2005 Integration with the station Transceiver Control –Modern transceivers use “Serial Ports” to interface with computers –Windows computers can use USB to serial converters to provide more serial ports –DOS desktop computers can use PCI interfaces from with DOS drivers –DOS computers use serial ports for TNC’s or packet interfaces –Some programs can use serial ports for CW keying – N1NM uses an external box called a “WinKey” which uses a serial port

8 20 March 2005 Integration with the station Parallel Ports –CW Keying – requires relay or transistor interface –DVK (Digital Voice Keyer) control –PTT (Push-To-Talk) – requires relay or transistor interface –CW paddle input –Band decoder outputs –Radio 1/Radio 2 select – requires external SO2R switching

9 20 March 2005 Integration with the station Soundcards –Primarily useful for Windows these days –SSB and digital modes –Require isolation transformer to interface to Radio inputs USB ports –Some SO2R and station controllers are going to USB interfaces Note: some new computers no longer have “Legacy” serial and parallel ports

10 20 March 2005 What Packages do PVRC Members Use? I conducted an informal poll of PVRC members on the PVRC reflector –I asked about what logging program(s) people use and what they liked or disliked about the programs I decided to do a quick overview of the top four –CT, N1MM, TR-Log, and Writelog –NA and N3FJP were tied for fifth place

11 20 March 2005 CT

12 20 March 2005 CT Best Features –“Point and Shoot” packet Window – K3DI –Good support for Multi-Multi – N3OC –CT is simple and always works – K4FJ –Free! Worst Features –DOS Program – everybody –Problems initializing LPT ports for some DVK’s – KD4D –Very limited sound card support for SSB – KD4D

13 20 March 2005 N1MM

14 20 March 2005 N1MM Best Features –Great Band Maps – W3PP –Outstanding developer support and the most active e- mail reflector – numerous –Ease of exporting contest logs – numerous –Soundcard support for SSB voice keyer –Free! Worst Features –CW can be choppy – W3PP (Note: solved with external “WinKey” keyer –Can’t record SSB messages “on the fly”

15 20 March 2005 TR-Log

16 20 March 2005 TR-Log Best Features –Fast and intuitive SO2R Capabilities – K4QPL –Everything goes in one window and you can type in a callsign correction without changing fields – K4QPL –Separate run and S&P Modes – W3CB –Exchange info can be “jumbled” and is entered in a single field - N8II WPA 36 Q 735 A 234 STX 76 B becomes 234 B K5RAT 76 STX Worst Features –DOS only – Everybody –Can only edit the last five QSO’s – K4QPL –No ethernet networking of computers – KD4D –Very limited sound card support for SSB – KD4D

17 20 March 2005 Writelog

18 20 March 2005 Writelog Best Features –Fully integrated logs in a multi transmitter environment (synchronizing multiple computers) – N4GG –Very nice CW and voice keyer – W3YY –It does not crash – N3UM –Built-in CW and RTTY Decoders – W3DQ Worst Features –Some windows can’t be moved everywhere on the screen – N3AM –Setup difficult until one goes through the learning curve – W3YY –Windows XP keying may be an issue – W4KAZ and others

19 20 March 2005 DOS or Windows? Windows is clearly easier to deal with DOS vs. Windows –New computers will run DOS, but configuration is painful Limited sound card support – laptops are especially problematic No support for USB to serial port converters Limited ethernet networking support – DOS drivers are hard to find FreeDOS works well and is available free from All of my computers are set up to dual-boot Windows XP or DOS, but this is tricky to set up

20 20 March 2005 PVRC Statistics

21 20 March 2005 “Free Advice” Remember, free advice is worth what you pay for it! –If you are just starting out, try N1MM. It’s free, has very active support, and lots of features. You need a fast computer and may need to buy a “WinKey” –If you are just starting out or have old, slow computers or a good bit of DOS experience, try CT. It’s free, and lots of people know how to use it –If you love Linux, try TLF If you want the ultimate in SO2R CW programs, try TR- Log If you’re setting up a multi-op station, you probably don’t need my advice! :-) Consider CT or Writelog

22 20 March 2005 More “Free Advice” Allow some time before the contest to configure a program and learn how to use it –CW and SSB keying interfaces –Transceiver control –Packet interfaces - Ham Software - Logging has links and reviews of most of these packages Remember: Have fun and submit those scores for PVRC!

23 20 March 2005 For more information (CT) (CTY Country Files) (Super Check Partial Files) – TRLog, CT, and Writelog e-mail reflector – Select “Yahoo Discussion Group” (e-mail reflector archives)

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