RttyRite

The ‘RttyRite’ program is the ham radio path into the RTTY and PSK ham radio contesting arena. To open, from the toolbar click on ‘Window’ and check ‘RTTY’. Clicking on the ‘RTTY’ selection opens the RTTY dialog and a tuning indicator. Place them where you desire on your computer screen..

RttyRite Setup

There are three steps.

First, place Rttyrite into the RTTY or PSK mode.

On the Rttyrite toolbar, click on ‘Mode’ which will provide the following window:

Rttyrite Mode

For most RTTY contests, select ’45 baud.’ For PSK, select BPSK.

Second, select your comm port.

Once you have selected your ham radio mode, the second step is to tell WriteLog which port your Terminal Unit is connected. On the RttyRite toolbar, click on the ‘Port’ option shown in the following window:

Rttyrite Port Dialog Box

Select the com port location for your Terminal Unit. If your Terminal Unit is a Windows Sound Board, you would normally select ‘None.’ microHAM and RIGblaster users would normally select the com port associated with the instructions in the unit.

Also note that your Terminal Unit settings (9600,n,8,1, for example) need to match the com port settings in WriteLog.ini. If they don’t match, your Terminal Unit may not work.

Software Generated FSK (from the WriteLog Help File)

Not all COM port hardware is created equal. Until recently, all motherboards and notebook PCs had at least one COM port built-in, and those built-in COM ports almost always have the capability to send 5-bit Baudot FSK as is needed for RTTY. But this hardware is not always present on new machines. So it is common to add a COM port to your machine using USB, but these devices rarely have 5-bit Baudot support.

The solution for transmission is to generate the 5-bit timing in software. Any PC about 800MHz or better should be able to accomplish this — although the risk that FSK timing can be disrupted by other applications on your PC cannot be completely eliminated. Note that Baudot reception — used for Dumb Terminal TU only — is a different matter, and RttyRite does not support Dumb Terminal on hardware with no 5 bit Baudot UART.

To configure RttyRite to use software generated FSK, use the RttyRite Port menu, and click Software generated FSK.

Rttyrite Software FSK Com port start

USB port hardware is designed to be shared among several devices, and internally there is hardware polling in progress that can affect the ability for RttyRite to generate accurate FSK. Your hardware may have device properties you can change to improve the timing.

For advanced computer users with access to writing to the Registry, you may update the timing properties of your USB COM port through your Device Manager in your System area found in the Control Panel. For specifics, click on the WriteLog Help files in WriteLog, click on “Index” and search the index with “Software FSK” to find the article on “Software FSK.

Third, select your Terminal Unit type to match your ham radio equipment.

From the Rttyrite toolbar, click on the ‘TU type’ and then make your selection from the following window:

RttyRite TU Type Dialog Box

As you can see, WriteLog supports many different ham radio equipment types.

  • The most common setting for PSK is ‘Stereo Sound Board AFSK.’
  • Using a sound card for RTTY would be ‘Stereo Sound Board AFSK’ or ‘Stereo Sound Board FSK’ for Frequency Shift Keying.
  • MMTTY will appear if you have installed the MMTTY Plugin.

When you click on your TNC type, WriteLog will try and initialize and set up communications with the unit. If something is not correct, you will get a message saying that the unit could not initialize. That means something is incorrect in:

  • Your Mode selection in Rttyrite
  • Your Port selection in Rttyrite
  • Your Terminal Unit selection in Rttyrite
  • Your com port matching your external interface, such as a microHAM or RIGblaster.
  • Your Port settings, including speed, stop bits, start bits, and parity in WriteLog.ini not matching your unit

To narrow the selection of problems down, try and work your (non-sound board) Terminal Unit with Windows HyperTerminal. If you can work your unit with HyperTerminal, or your favorite RTTY program, you will have eliminated physical problems. One of the four items above will not be matching your setup with WriteLog and that will need changing.

The one catch is that WriteLog does not try and change any settings in your Terminal Unit as some other programs. HyperTerminal doesn’t try and change any settings either, which is why it is the best program to test your unit. Just be very aware that the speed settings in WriteLog.ini and your TNC must match.

Correctly completing these steps will allow you to send and receive RTTY.

Operation

Here is how Rttyrite looks on my PC screen in a contest (it’s perfect since you can click on it to make it active and then just type in calls and exchanges – it’s not quite this pretty in a real contest unless it’s PSK…).

RttyRite window with calls

As the program decodes the signals, ham radio call signs come through as shown on the screen. Everything after a ‘DE’ is analyzed as a ham radio call sign and is compared to the ham radio contest database as well as the operator’s log to determine the status of the call sign. Using default colors, yellow means that the call is a new multiplier, green means that the call is a new station to work but not a new multiplier, and red means the station is a dupe on this band.

All incoming text is done in black and all outgoing text (say from your automated messages sent with function keys) is in blue italic. Also, an important feature not readily apparent from the screen print, the text goes from top to bottom, not bottom to top, following the red line. This maintains the ham radio call and exchange information in the same position on the screen longer so you don’t have to chase the information up the screen with your mouse.

Mouse Clicks

You can do extensive mouse click work in RttyRite to help you automate and simplify your sending of the digital modes. If you are more mouse oriented and like using a mouse for a contest, these options really help. Your options are:

  • Click on any highlighted ham radio call to place the call in the QSO Entry window
  • Click on the exchange to place the exchange in the QSO Entry area (this is more difficult, if the exchange is buried in a bunch of other QRM).
  • Shift-click on letters meant for the exchange (e.g., TOO for 599) and WriteLog will translate the letters to numbers and place them in the exchange field.
  • Right clicking on the Rttyrite screen provides you some mouse options as well. These include:
    • Send F3 Message
    • Send F4 Message
    • Enter in Log
    • Clear Entry
    • Add to Band Map
    • Abort Transmission

Insuring that your F3 and F4 messages map correctly, you can do a tremendous amount of contesting with simply clicking your mouse in the Rttyrite screen.

Function Key Operation

Perhaps you are more keyboard oriented in your ham radio contesting efforts and are much more used to typing in everything and not wanting to touch the mouse because it slows you down. WriteLog offers you some options here as well.

Assuming you are in a ‘CT Compatible’ mode within your WriteLog.ini file, you have some good function key options available to you. Let’s use our screen from above:

RttyRite window with calls

In this situation, we want to work VU2ABC because it’s a new multiplier. Rather than clicking on the call sign as noted above, you can simply press the Insert key on your computer and WriteLog will take the latest new call (or, latest new multiplier) showing on the screen, insert it into your QSO Entry window, and send your exchange. When VU2ABC comes back with their exchange, type it into the QSO logging area and send messages with your function keys. You don’t really need to directly interact with Rttyrite.

Using the Call Queue (Alt-C)

Let’s say you have multiple call signs to choose from as shown in the following Rttyrite screen shot:

RttyRite Window with calls

Also, have an automated message set up in your ‘CW/RTTY/SSB Messages’ setup that says something like ‘TU NOW %C 599 WA.’ If you have worked VU2WAP as the first call, log the QSO by hitting Enter. To bring in the available call signs shown in Rttyrite¬† (remember, the calls will scroll off the screen once you do the exchange so you won’t be able to see the calls anymore), press Alt-C which will bring up the Call Queue dialog as shown below for the above Rttyrite screen:

RttyRite Call Queue Window

Clicking on DL7AB will automatically move the call sign to the Entry area. Now press the function key associated with your message above and WriteLog will send ‘TU NOW DL7AB 599 WA’ and you have saved some time by getting to the next station without sending a ‘QRZ’ message and waiting for the response.