Setup

The largest one-time work that needs to be done for ham radio contesting in WriteLog is in the “Setup” section of the toolbar. In addition to your one-time work here, you will want to visit this section as specific contests will use or not use specific options within WriteLog. And, if you change equipment, such as buying a new radio, you will need to revisit this section to set up the new equipment.

Upon clicking Setup, you are presented with the following section, of which Ports is first.

The Ports section tells WriteLog where all your ham radio stuff is connected. Rig control, PTT, Wave file locations, DVK types, etc. It’s an important screen and can be found here:

Port Toolbar

Once you click on Ports, the following dialog box opens:

Port Setup

There are several items to fill in here:

  • Your radio and Comm port. This is used by WriteLog to control your rig. With rig control, for example, you can click on a packet spot and WriteLog will automatically move your ham radio to the frequency specified in the packet spot. In my case, I have a Yaesu FT-1000MP connected on Comm 1. So the rig is selected by the drop down menu, the baud rate is auto (the pull down selection can pull specific baud rates), we want that Comm port polled (so the frequency and other features work with the PC), and we’re saying that PTT can be done on this port as well. You will need to check your ham radio’s serial port connection in your ham radio manual to make sure the speeds match.
  • Your method of sending CW and Comm Port. In my case, I have the PC be the keyer for the CW. I have a serial cable to perform my CW sending. So check your correct port in the first column for CW and highlight something out of the ‘CW keyer type’ to match your equipment. If you never CW Contest, click the little white circle just above the check mark for “All Mode PTT on CW port RTS.”
  • Your DVK type. I utilize the sound board from the computer and Wave files for sending voice messages. If you have a different type of interface, check which applies for you. If you never do SSB Contesting, select “None.”
  • Your rotor controls are also controlled from COM ports. Select your rotor and com port from the drop down selections.
  • If you want to configure your sound card with your ham radio and WriteLog, you can also check out the sound card section on the K9JY site. There is also a section on http://www.writelog.com under the Support section. Setting up a sound card can take some time. You may want to complete the “One-time” section here and then come back to work through the sound card setup.

Following this process will sometimes still not provide you with Rig Control. If this is the case, click ‘Bands’ on the Toolbar and select ‘Set Frequency & Mode…’. Doing so will produce the following dialog box:

Bands — Set Frequency and Mode

Note at the bottom where it says ‘Log the frequency of QSO’s.’ The drop down menu needs to match the Com port you selected in the Port dialog box. If you have selected a Com port and see ‘Manual entry’ in this field, changing it will fix the problem.

SSB Wave File Locate

If you SSB contest and utilize your computer sound card for sending automated messages, you will need to tell WriteLog where your .wav files associated with the messages are located. If you use the default folder for WriteLog, you will see WaveFiles as one of the sub-directories under \Ham where WriteLog was installed.

Click on the ‘Wave File Locate’ button to tell WriteLog the location of your SSB wav files. Mine are located in the ‘WaveFiles’ sub-directory in WriteLog as shown here:

Wave File Directory

Note two items: first, a wav file MUST already be in the sub-directory. Notice on the top of the tool bar where it asks ‘Choose any WAV file in the directory.’ Without a wav file in the directory, you can’t click on one! Click on a wav file and then click on Open.

Second, notice the operator folders to the left. These are used in a multi-operator environment. If you are in a multi-environment, you can designate yourself as the operator and your wav files will be found as a sub-directory here.

CW Speeds

If you CW contest, WriteLog will send CW for you utilizing function keys. The speed that WriteLog sends the CW is established here. Obviously, if you don’t CW contest, you don’t need to worry about this.

This table establishes the CW speeds sent by WriteLog. Clicking on the ‘CW Speeds’ button produces the following dialog box:

CW Speed Dialog Box

These are the speeds stored in my program. Once acceptable, click on ‘OK.’ When in the WriteLog program and contesting, the CW speeds are incremented and decremented by the ‘Page Up’ and ‘Page Down’ buttons on your PC. The increment the CW speed changes to is determined from your entries in this CW Speeds box.

The default speed that WriteLog uses upon opening the program for a CW contest is the value in the highlighted cell at the top of column 3. As shown in the screen print above, 30 WPM.

CW PTT

This dialog box tells WriteLog where to provide Push-to-Talk for sending CW automated messages. Clicking on the ‘CW PTT’ button reveals the following dialog box:

CW PTT Dialog Box

Two notes here. First, where mine is checked, the PTT is on the serial port. It is a dual selection – on LPT pin 16 if you have LPT keying or on the Comm RTS line on the Comm port.

Second, with some serial keying, especially on faster PC’s, WriteLog may sound like it is stuttering when sending CW. Adding in 50 milliseconds delay in the ‘PTT to CW delay’ field solves that issue.

The ports dialog box is the most complicated in WriteLog. Once completed, we move quickly on to the “Great Circle” selection of the “Setup” offerings.

The Great Circle dialog Box looks like this:

Setup — Great Circle Dialog Box

This dialog box tells WriteLog where you are located and then uses this information to provide you beam headings, distances, and sun information during a contest. My assumption is that you know your latitude and longitude; these numbers are then input in this dialog box as decimal numbers. Once you have entered them, click on OK to save the work.

The Setup section is the most important, and complicated, interaction in WriteLog. Usually problems in getting something major to work in WriteLog, such as a radio, keyer, or rotor can be found here.