WRITELOG RTTY STARTER
RTTY Contesting with WriteLog - Page 1 of 16
WriteLog is the best RTTY contest software available on the market today. There
are other software packages that will work for RTTY contesting, but none come
close to the features and support offered by WriteLog.
WriteLog is not brain surgery or rocket science, but it's difficult enough that the learning curve can be quite sharp for newcomers. With this tutorial, it's hoped that beginners will have an easier time getting started using WriteLog for RTTY contesting.
Whether you're operating RTTY for the first time or you are an experienced RTTY operator using WriteLog for the first time, it's hoped that these pages will get you up and running quickly. Before you begin using WriteLog for RTTY, go to the WriteLog help files and read all the pages concerning RTTY if you haven't done so already, and then come back to this tutorial. By combining the resources of the Help files and this tutorial, you should have a better understanding of how RTTY is operated using WriteLog.
If you are a first time RTTY operator, I strongly suggest you first go my tutorial "Getting Started on RTTY". Read it and get an understanding of how to operate RTTY. Join the RTTY Reflector and ask questions. There's a large group of RTTY operators there that are more than happy to help. The assumption, for this tutorial, will be that you already have your hardware working on RTTY. Be sure you can send and receive on RTTY before trying to use WriteLog.
There are some things that need to be covered before getting started. A recommendation is going to be made for the use of the MMTTY plug-in for WriteLog. MMTTY is a stand-alone RTTY program written by Mako, JE3HTT, which uses a sound card in your PC to decode RTTY and to transmit RTTY in the AFSK mode. MMTTY will also transmit FSK via a serial COM port or USB-to-serial adapter. MMTTY is free and only requires a sound card in your PC to run. There is no need for any other external device other than cables to connect the computer to the radio (running FSK does require an external interface circuit either commercial or homebrew as shown here).
Jorgen, SM6SRW, wrote a plug-in program that allows the MMTTY engine "mmtty.exe" to be used with WriteLog. This plug-in is available in "beta" form only, meaning that if it doesn't work with your system, it's not WriteLog's fault. Yet, since the MMTTY plug-in has been in use since mid 2001, it's been widely accepted and works on every Windows platform that WriteLog works on. Some users experience "lock ups" or "crashes" but these cannot always be directly attributed to WriteLog or the plug-in. For the most part, the MMTTY plug-in works fine. If you experience problems, there are several users on the WriteLog Reflector that will be happy to work with you in getting these problems resolved. If you do not subscribe to the WriteLog Reflector, it is recommended that you do so. This "reflector" is a news group created for discussions on issues related directly to WriteLog. It's excellent forum to find help in resolving problems or getting your WriteLog questions answered.
MMTTY is not the only way to use WriteLog on RTTY. It's recommended for several reasons. First and foremost - it's free. Secondly, it has an excellent decoder. And the program is fully supported by Mako. He listens to his users and is consistently working to improve his program. MMTTY is so good, I personally could not even think of operating a RTTY contest without it.
WriteLog also supports several external TNC's and TU's (terms used for "boxes" or "cards" that do RTTY). WriteLog supports the following hardware that can be used to transmit and receive RTTY: PK-232, KAM, SCS PTC-II, KT4FY Multimodem as well as the HAL units DXP-38 & DSP 4100. HAL modems that install as PCI cards inside your computer such as the PCI-3000, PCI-4000 and P-38 are also supported. WriteLog also supports the use of RITTY by K6STI, which is DOS based software for use with certain SoundBlaster sound cards. WriteLog also supports other modems through use of its "Dumb Terminal Use" mode. And WriteLog has it's own RTTY program for use with a sound card called WinRTTY.
It's not the purpose of these instructions to show how to use each of these modems. We'll concentrate on the basics of using WriteLog in the RTTY mode. Since most newcomers do not already own an external TNC or TU, basic instructions will be shown on how to use MMTTY and the MMTTY plug-in for WriteLog.
RTTY Contest Support
WriteLog supports every major RTTY contest. And with the installation of the SM6SRW RTTY modules, available from the Third Party Downloads Page of the WriteLog website, nearly all other RTTY contests are now supported. A "module" is simply a driver written for a particular contest. SM6SRW created several modules for RTTY contests that WriteLog did not originally support. As much as Jorgen should be commended for giving us these modules, it should be mentioned that many of the SM6SRW modules have bugs, which makes WriteLog react differently than when using standard WriteLog modules. These modules were never fixed and these bugs continue to exist. There are several ways to work around the bugs and they are an inconvenience, but without these modules, we would not be able to use WriteLog for those unsupported contests. So if you operate your first RTTY contest using one of these SM6SRW modules, don't be discouraged by some strange occurrences associated with these modules. The standard modules provided by WriteLog work fine.
WriteLog presently comes with the following contests fully supported: ARRL RTTY Roundup, BARTG Sprint and Spring RTTY Contests, WPX WW RTTY Contest, NAQP RTTY Contest, ANARTS RTTY Contest, SARTG RTTY Contest, CQ/NRJ WW RTTY Contest, JARTS WW RTTY Contest, WAEDC RTTY Contest and the TARA RTTY Sprint.
By installing the SM6SRW module package you get these additional contest modules: Anatolian RTTY WW Contest, ARI International DX Contest, EA RTTY Contest, FMRE International RTTY Contest, Russian RTTY WW Contest, SARTG New Years Day Contest, SCC RTTY Championship, SPDX RTTY Contest, Ukrainian DX Contest and VOLTA RTTY WW Contest.
In addition to the above mentioned RTTY contest modules, Carsten DL1EFD has written a module for the DL-DX RTTY Contest. This module can be found at www.dl1efd.de/.
The RTTY Starter Road
The road to getting started using WriteLog can be long or short. Because of all the wonderful features of WriteLog, it's possible for a newcomer to get sidetracked on features that are not absolutely needed, like radio control or using Super Call Check or some other feature that is not directly related to transmitting or receiving RTTY.
Get your hardware working first. Once you can transmit and receive RTTY using Rttyrite, then start integrating the other features that make WriteLog such a powerful program.
So let's get started.