Wednesday, October 10, 2007

N1MM Contest software

as copied in part from the contesting software website.......
A bit of insight as to what the software for logging looks like
that we use during SS at KG5VK

Ok, now we are ready to log. By default, you should be in the General log - look at the log window caption. So you want to log a qso? Type in the callsign field from the Entry Window the call of the station you want to log. Let's say you type 'N1MM'. Notice that the Check window shows calls with N1 in it, later N1M and finally only N1MM. This will happen with any call or partial call 2 or more characters long. Use the mouse and click on N1MM in the Check window. Notice that N1MM will be filled in the Entry window callsign field, defaults will be set for fields who can have defaults (in this case the RST fields) and the cursor will be placed in the next field to be filled in -- the name field.

Using the Space Bar to Tab

Ok, that's cool, lets try it another way. Click on the Wipe button to clear the Entry Window fields. Your cursor will be positioned on the callsign field again. This time Type 'N1MM' and press **SPACE**. Notice that the RST fields are again filled automatically and you are positioned to the next field to be filled in. Enter 'Tom' and press SPACE. In this case, you will not tab to the next field, since space is a legitimate character in a name. This is atypical behavior. Most contest fields do not allow any spaces in them, so the space bar will jump from field to field. You'll like this, dammit! Really, I think you will like it - particularly in contests.

Using the Tab Key

So if SPACE tabs, what does Tab do? It tabs as well! But it doesn't tab like space. The Tab character (and Shift+Tab) behave like they do in most programs. They jump from field to field, without trying to be smart. So if you need to change the RST, you'll use the Tab key to get there.

Bandmaps, Spots and Other Cool Stuff

Ok now the really cool part. We need to get some spots onto the bandmaps. If you have set up a radio, you should have two bandmaps, and they should be displaying the frequencies of your A and B VFOs at the top. So how do we get spots on there? We need to connect to packet or telnet, of course. If you have an Internet connection, try telnet, if a packet connection, well I guess you'll try packet. To pick, click on the appropriate tab in the Packet Window. To connect to packet, just type a command in the one-line text box at the top, like "C K1TTT" and press enter. Just do your usual stuff. Then type sh/dx/100 (we want a lot of spots) if it's a weekend, otherwise just type sh/dx/30. (Why the difference? The logger won't show old spots - the default is 60 minutes.

Spots are Fun

Spots should start appearing. Don't be afraid, there is no leopard. (Get it, spots?) Enough dumb jokes. Anyway, that's what people always tell me. So, what can we do with the spots? Lots of stuff. First note that each spot (except US and VE spots and spots from your own country) has it's beam heading next to it. (Well it has the beam heading from my house, too bad if it isn't the beam heading from your house. If you really want to fix that, go to the station dialog in Config/Change Your Station Data - you'll need to enter your latitude and longitude. If you don't know your latitude and longitude, tough - this isn't geography class, kid.)

Are we ever going to get to the good stuff? Sigh. Ok. You have spots in your bandmaps. Try SINGLE clicking on one. Notice how the radio tunes to the frequency of the spot? Also notice that the call appears in the frame around the callsign textbox in the Entry Window. Now press that magic space bar again. The spot jumps into the call textbox! Let's try this another way. Click on the Wipe button (or press Ctrl+W). Now tune the radio to a frequency within 300 Hz of another spot. Notice that the call again appears in the frame, and again the space bar will enter the call into the call textbox.

Ok, try Wiping again (either way). Now double click on a spot. Notice that again, you jump to the frequency of the spot, but this time the call is entered in the callsign field and the default fields are filled in, and you are ready to copy the next empty field (in this case name).

Wipe just one more time. Let's try jumping around the spots without using the mouse. Your cursor should be in the callsign field. If it isn't put it there. Now press Ctrl+Up arrow or Ctrl+Down arrow. You should jump from spot to spot on the same band. Pick one of the spots where you can hear the station. Use the up and down arrow keys (no Ctrl this time) to tune the station in. Each press of the key will go jump 100 Hz on SSB and 20 Hz on CW (configurable). You're smiling, aren't you? There is a lot more. Go look here for more keyboard tricks: Key Assignments and Key Assignments Short List

Actually Logging Contacts

We need to shift attention to actually logging contacts. Enter a call in the call textbox, press space and then type a name, well any name except 'Arthur' in the name textbox. (I'm sorry, I really cannot be responsible if you type Arthur.) You typed Arthur, and nothing happened, didn't you? Now you're angry. Here's a quarter.... Ok. Back on task. You have enough to log a contact now. Press enter, and notice that the contact will appear in the Log Window.

Now the fun part. Enter the same callsign again and press space. Looky, looky! The usual stuff happens, but two more things happen as well. The first contact shows up in the lower part of the Log Window, and the name from the first contact appears in the name field. If you were logging a contest, like ARRL DX, the power would be filled in from the first contact. If the first contact was on the same band as this contact, then the word "DUPE" in BIG RED LETTERS would appear. I was going to put the word "Dope", but then I thought that no one would want to use the program. Really, you should probably work the dope, I mean dupe, since you might not be in his log. It's actually easier to just work him than explain "You're a dupe, dope!"

Ok, press enter and log the dupe. You don't agree with me about logging dupes? Then RIGHT-click on the Log Window entry for the dupe, and choose delete contact. No, I'm not going to tell you what to do with the dialog box that pops up. I trust you. I feel like we are already friends.

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