QSO Entry

All of your ham radio contacts and contest exchanges are placed in the QSO Entry window. This includes the call of the ham radio station you are working and the ‘exchange’ information for the contest. The QSO Entry window, greatly simplified, looks like this:

Entry Window

This window, with all of it’s editing capabilities, also shows that OH2BH is a new station and a new multiplier available to work in this contest.

Here’s an explanation of each part of the window:

The Radio Button (where it says “No Rig!)

The left button shows, with RS-232 control of the ham radio by WriteLog, the frequency and mode that your ham radio is currently operating on the air. WriteLog, upon entering the QSO into the log, will take the frequency and mode from this button location to place in the log. In addition, packet spots initiated by you will also include the frequency from this button, including splits.

Without RS-232 control of the ham radio, you must manually change the band you are operating on by clicking the radio button. If you do not manually change the band and mode you are on, without RS-232 radio control, your log will be totally inaccurate because the program records the band and frequency in the log from the value in this button.

Upon pressing the button, you are presented a dialog box that looks like this:

Frequency and Mode Setting

Correct manual entry of the information for the log requires you to:

  • Select the mode of the transmission
  • Manually enter the frequency (for SSB, for example on 20 meters, enter 14200)
  • Answer the question at the bottom of how the Entry window knows which band to dupe. In the cases without rig control, this field defaults to ‘Manual Entry’
  • Once all of that is completed, click on the ‘OK’ Button to change the band on the Entry window.

The ‘Set’ button is used for RS-232 controlled rigs to change the radio to the band and mode you want. Most often this is used in RTTY where Lower Side Band could also be FSK.

QSO Entry Area

Entry Window

To the right of the Radio Button is the QSO entry area. As an operator, you type in the exchange information or have the ‘call’ field automatically filled in by a function key or mouse click if the Rttyrite window is open for the contest. The ham radio operator can Tab or hit the space bar on the keyboard to move about the fields on the screen.

This window also responds to mouse clicks to place the text cursor, or to send CW/RTTY/PSK messages using the buttons associated with the field names above the white entry area (for example, the ‘CALL’ label is also a button that can be used to store CW or RTTY or PSK automated messages. To enter a message in one of those areas, hold down the Shift key and left click on the button you want to program – you’ll get a dialog box to enter a message).

You may have multiple QSO Entry windows up at one time by selecting the Radio|Number of Radios menu entry from the main WriteLog tool bar. So, for example, two radio contesters would select two radios on the tool bar option and a second entry window, one for each radio, would show on the screen.

2-radio entry window

Serial Numbers (SEQ Field)

The field labeled SEQ in the Entry Window shows you the serial number that WriteLog will (a) send as a CW, RTTY, PSK or voice message if the ham radio contest exchange requires it to be sent, and, (b) record in the log as the transmitted serial number.

In a network or when running two radios it is quite probable for the number of QSO’s in the log to change between the time you transmit a number and time you log it. Thus, WriteLog calculates the next serial number when you first enter anything in the CALL field. WriteLog remembers this blue number during the QSO–i.e. as long as the QSO remains in the Entry Window–and then clears the serial number memory when you log the QSO (with ENTER). It also clears the QSO number on ALT+W and calculates a new one the next time you enter something in the CALL field. In a multiple Entry window environment (e.g., SO2R), WriteLog will also clear the serial number if you use SHIFT+UP/DOWN to move the keyboard focus to another Entry Window and leave it away for 60-seconds.

First time users of WriteLog will question this behavior because the serial numbers are not “sequential” in the log and/or do not match the total number of QSO’s actually worked. True. However, the ham radio contest rules require a correctly copied unique serial number, not that your log looks pretty. When you log the QSO with the serial number, you can be assured that the ham radio contest committee recognizes this as the right stuff.

Special Characters and Keyboard Shortcuts for the Entry Window

The character editing capabilities of the QSO Entry Window are:

  • BACKSPACE deletes the character to the left of the cursor.
  • CTRL+D and DELETE are identical and delete the character under the cursor.
  • CTRL+A moves the cursor to the beginning of the first (left most) field in the entry window.
  • HOME moves the cursor to the beginning of the current field.
  • CTRL+E moves the cursor to the end of the last field in the entry window.
  • END moves the cursor to the end of the current field.
  • CTRL+F (or right arrow) moves the cursor one character to the right.
  • CTRL+B (or left arrow) moves the cursor one character to the left.
  • ALT+W (or CTRL+BACKSPACE) clears all the fields in the Entry window, and places the cursor in the CALL field.
  • CTRL+W clears the current field.
  • ALT+T brings up the timed CQ dialog and turns timed CQ on or off.
  • ALT+C brings up the Rttyrite call queue, if you’re running RTTY. Otherwise it does nothing.
  • ALT+L forces a switch to LTRS if you’re running RTTY. Otherwise it does nothing.
  • Keypad * clears the RIT setting on your rig if it is attached and if it supports such an operation.
  • CTRL+K clears the current field to the right of the cursor.
  • TAB exits the current field and moves the cursor to the next one to the right, unless there isn’t one. SHIFT+TAB goes to the previous one to left.
  • ENTER causes the current values in the Entry Window to be entered in the log at the end. (See also Special Message Accelerator Keys. If you are calling CQ, you want may turn on the preference that causes ENTER to simultaneously send CW, move the cursor through the entry fields, and log QSO’s.) WriteLog can refuse to enter the QSO if there is something wrong with the entry. If so, it presents a message just below the CALL field saying what its complaining about.

The QSO fields configured to not accept the SPACE character (i.e., the call sign and numeric fields) usually respond to SPACE by moving the cursor to the beginning of the next field. However, SPACE from the right most field always goes to the CALL field. Typing a SPACE to the CALL field in the rare case (Sweepstakes only) where it is not the left most field goes either to the right, or to the first field whichever is opposite from the way it went the time before.

A right mouse click in the Entry window brings up a menu of items that affect the window, or the radio it controls.

Quick Band and Mode Changes in QSO Entry Window (keyboard shortcuts)

The Band menu on the Entry Window provides for a quick band change using the Band Up (ALT+F2), Band Down (ALT+F1), Mode Next (CTRL+F1), Mode Previous (CTRL+F2) commands or their keyboard accelerators. WriteLog cycles through the allowable modes for the contest you have selected, and through the allowed bands. If the contest has no bands, then it cycles through the HF contest bands, 160m through 10m.

Another quick method to get to another band is to type the frequency you want into the CALL field of the entry window, followed by ENTER. WriteLog adds zeros to the right until it finds a frequency inside a ham radio band and sets the logging frequency to it. It also tunes the rig if you have rig control enabled.

Typing the minus key, “-“, to the Entry window brings up the Split frequency dialog, which only has an effect if you have rig control through a serial port enabled. Type in the desired transmit frequency and WriteLog sets your rig to split frequency operation. If you enter nothing and type ENTER, WriteLog sets split mode off on your rig. ESCAPE cancels the dialog with no action.

Sending Messages via the QSO Entry Window

Entry Window

While the most common way of initiating computer controlled message transmission is with the F keys F1 through F11, additional messages are sent by clicking on the buttons in the Entry Window (such as the Call, RS, and NUMB buttons shown above) that title each column.

Edit the message contents by holding down SHIFT when you click on the button. Also, a right click on any of these buttons aborts any message transmission in progress.

Changing the Font for the QSO Entry Window

As on most windows in WriteLog, font sizes can be changed. This can be a significant help in reducing or increasing the size of some windows to better fit your monitor. To change the font size for the Entry Window, select Entry Window Font from the Setup toolbar as shown in the following window:

Port Toolbar

You will then be presented with a standard Windows dialog box allowing you to change the font size for the window.

Adding a Note to a QSO

WriteLog allows you to append a note to a QSO on the fly. Notes can be used for commentary (you’re writing an article for National Contest Journal and want to remember what happened during a contest), or for reminders to you (check this station for proper country), or your own commentary about this ham radio contact. To do so, add a note to the QSO.

Once a station is in the QSO Entry window, simply type Alt-N (as in NOTE…). A mini window will pop up allowing you to type your note about the ham radio contact. All of these notes are stored in a separate file with your WriteLog contest and can be viewed with Notepad or WordPad. The pop-up window looks like this:

QSO Note Window

Once you have added your note, click on OK for the note to be saved.