This section is updated for WriteLog 12.x
While Ports, Sound Card and your location are the minimum to set up, WriteLog allows you to set up other items and/or customize different pieces of the program. To be fair, I won’t be able to address every item in this section, but I’ll give it a go where I can.
These items are all accessed via the ‘Setup’|’WriteLog Options’ menu.
This is one of them that I can’t address as I don’t have an SDR radio. Here is the dialog box that opens when selecting this option:
This dialog box sets the options for your Entry Window:
When opened, the dialog box looks like this:
While much of this does not need changing, I’d point out a few areas that are worth looking at for how you contest.
- Auto save count: this is how many QSO’s you make before WriteLog will automatically save your file. This is a risk/reward thing – you are betting your Windows computer won’t crash 80 calls into the 100 you’re on and you lose the 80 calls in your log. With older Windows machines and slower networks, you could see the 1-2 seconds when the logs saved. That shouldn’t be a problem today. I’d set it at like 50. Or even 25.
- Tab Next on Insert: this says that instead (or also) using the Tab key to move to the next field, you can also use the Insert key to do so. This is entirely dependent on your keyboard layout. On my laptop, I don’t have an Insert key; I’d need to use the Tab key. On keyboards with desktops, I used this feature all the time because it was closer and easier to reach with my right hand.
- Tab Next on Enter: This is how the Enter key is used. Some contesters use the Enter key to tab because it is really convenient to do so. I never did; I thought the Enter key was to log the contact.
The Tab options are really something that happens with habit. And once you have the habit – like entering to tab – it is really difficult to break the habit. So choose wisely, if at all.
The other critical piece is determining which font to use for the Entry Window. In particular, I want to have a Font with a slash zero in it so that I can differentiate between a zero and an O. The default font does not.
Entry Window Font
To change the font of the Entry Window, go to the Entry Window Font:
Setup|WriteLog Options|Entry Window font… which opens the following dialog box
Both Consolas and Terminal fonts have slashed zeros in them; there may be others. I prefer Consolas.
This dialog box shows you all of the (many, many) keyboard shortcuts you can use with WriteLog – as well as adding your own custom shortcuts. The dialog box looks like this:
I brought this dialog box up somewhat in the middle because I wanted to point to the function keys mapped to the Messages. And specifically how F01 is mapped to Message 11. This is traditionally the ‘CQ’ message in the contest whereas the Windows default Help menu is brought up with F01. This mapping overrides that.
And to add a shortcut, use the two fields at the bottom of the dialog box. If you’re starting out, I wouldn’t be adding shortcuts until you get a lot of experience contesting. In my thousands and thousands of contest contacts, I’ve never added a keyboard shortcut.
Band Summary Control
The dialog box is designed to customize the Band Summary Window, used as you contacts and score:
The control dialog box is the ‘WriteLog Option’|’Band Summary…’ option. Clicking it gives you:
Fonts and Colors…and the drop down menu where ‘font’ is located is currently greyed out, but other options could be there.
Note: This only impacts the header of the Band Summary Window – Where it says ‘Score’ and ‘QSO’, etc. Since this is a header part of the screen, I leave the fonts and colors alone.
However, the font for the Log portion of the Window – where W0ABC is – I do change from the default to a font that has a slashed zero through it.
Log Window Font
To change the font of the actual Log Window, go to Setup|WriteLog Options|Log Window Font:
Consolas has a slashed window (what is in the screen shot). So does the Terminal Font. There may be others in the list, but I prefer Consolas.
Super Check Partial
Super Check Partial is a function where putting in a partial call will bring out matches to that partial call based on rules. First, here is the Super Check Partial Window in action:
You can see I put in DF5 in the Entry window and immediately, the Super Check Partial window above it brings forth matches from the (incredibly) extensive database of active contesters. This file (and others like it) are not provided with WriteLog; you need to download them. You only need the ones with the .dta extension. This is a great resource and has been maintained for years.
These files are updated almost monthly and we are usually notified when they are available through the WriteLog Reflector. You should sign up for the email list and select a daily summary to see what is new. It is a very helpful resource.
Okay, so the dialog box for the Super Check Partial window:
Setup|WriteLog Options|Super Check Partial…
As you can see, these are the rules by which the database of calls is searched. I would start off with the default here in the General Tab.
As noted above, the .dta files are not included with WriteLog; you need to download them. If you are an active contester, download all four versions of the file as it eliminates calls not in the contest – like only uses W/VE calls for the November Sweepstakes contest. This results in even faster searching of the database and easier for you to see relevant calls.
The DTA tab in the screen shot is where you tell WriteLog to go find the Super Check Partial .dta files. For convenience, I store them in my Documents under a WriteLog folder. Once you have downloaded and saved the files, click on the DTA tab and click on Browse to take you to your saved location.
As noted, there are four files you can download and each has a specific purpose. for the Contest you are going into, change the file name in the DTA tab to match up with the file you want to use for the contest.
The CW decoder window is similar to the RTTYrite window in that it attempts to decode the CW coming into the sound card. You can adjust the filter size for listening. From Setup | WriteLog Options, select CW Decoder and you will be presented with the following dialog box:
Once you’ve selected the filters (left and right matches your Entry screen – most often L, Left), The window will open and start to decode.
Spots Window Options
This dialog box sets the option for which packet/Internet spots you want to see. For example, if you are working on a single band, you’d only want to see spots on that band. Here’s what the dialog box looks like in WriteLog Options:
As you can see, there are multiple options. Most options are easily understood. The Spot Timeout in seconds is how long the spot will stay in the window before disappearing. 1200 seconds / 60 second minute = 20 minutes before the spot disappears.
Station Location Database
This setup window allows you to define where your Buckmaster CD is located for station lookup. The dialog box looks like this:
This is the only option available. I don’t have either Buckmaster nor a CD slot to put it into on my laptop.
This allows you to keep or remove the colorful icons on the main WriteLog screen. The dialog box, set to the Toolbar tab, looks like this:
You are required to have the Menu toolbar in place. The other three are optional. What the toolbars do is open specific windows in WriteLog or perform different functions. I’m a long-time user of WriteLog and I just keep the Menu toolbar and uncheck everything else.
Every time you open WriteLog, you’ll need to come to this menu to uncheck any items as they always reopen with all toolbars.
This final window allows remote connections to be set up to WriteLog. The dialog box looks like this:
This one is a new window for me and remote operations have really taken off since I was last in the hobby. I don’t have much to say on this one!