WriteLog RTTY Starter Page 11
Computer control of your radio (called Radio Control in this tutorial) is not required to do RTTY contesting but it makes it easier, especially when changing bands. If there is any way possible to have radio control, I would suggest you do it even if you have to spend some money for an interface for your radio, an extra COM port board or USB-to-serial adapter for your PC. WriteLog is a much more powerful contesting program with Radio Control.
It’s not the purpose of this tutorial to get the hardware connection for Radio Control working. For help with radio control hardware connections, refer to the WriteLog Help file or K9JY’s WriteLog website. Setting up and using WriteLog with radio control will be shown here.
Switching Bands & Selecting the Mode Manually
If you do not have radio control you can change bands manually with ALT+F1 or ALT+F2. ALT+F1 moves to the next lowest band while ALT+F2 moves to the next highest band. You can also change bands by clicking on the frequency button located to the left of the Entry Window.
When click on the frequency button to the left of the Entry Window, the “Logging/Duping Frequency for the current Entry Window” window will open where you can select the mode and change the frequency. You should select FSK for RTTY (even if you are using LSB for AFSK). To change bands, click on the frequency of the band you have moved to, then click OK. In our example, we have moved from 80 meters to 20 meters. Every QSO logged on that band will be shown as worked on 14000 kHz. This is OK even though you are actually operating farther up the band. The important thing is that any contacts logged will be logged as 20M contacts. Or you could type in a specific frequency in the frequency box, it doesn’t matter.
Activating Radio Control
As mentioned before, using Radio Control gives you so many great features that using WriteLog without Radio Control makes little sense. If you don’t have a spare COM port to run Radio Control you can always install an add-on COM port board in your PC or use a USB-to-serial port adapter. Using a USB-to-serial port adapter is probably less expensive and easier to install since you don’t have to open your computer to install any boards. However, adding something like a 4-port serial card in a desktop computer rids you of having to depend on USB adapters. If you are using a laptop, your choices are limited and USB adapters may be the better choice.
When you connect your radio to your PC, you need to tell WriteLog which serial COM port the radio is connected to. To do this, go to the Setup menu in the main WriteLog window and select the first option shown, which is Ports…
In the Port Setup window (shown below) select which COM port your radio is connected to by using the pull-down menu under “Rig Type” in the row of the corresponding COM port.
The Comm PTT selection in the Port Setup screen (shown above) is very important. Using Comm PTT is the easiest way to key your radio when using radio control and takes the place of an external PTT connection if you radio supports the PTT command (Icom radios do not support PTT via radio control but Kenwood & Yaesu radios do). However, if you already have an external connection for PTT to your radio from a different COM port, you may want to change this option to NO. There have been reports of minor problems (with MMTTY) when both an external PTT and Comm PTT both exist. Once you have made your selections, click OK. As with making any changes within WriteLog, you need to Save your Configuration so the changes you made will remain the next time you start WriteLog.
“Comm port not available” Error Message
If you get the dreaded “Comm port not available” error message, then the COM port you’ve selected is not available. It could be used by another program running on your PC or it could be that WriteLog is using the COM port for something else. The most likely reason for getting this error message at this point is because the particular COM port you’ve selected was already selected in the Rttyrite window. Go to the Rttyrite window, check the Ports menu there to make sure the port isn’t already selected there. You cannot run FSK or external PTT control on the same COM port as Radio Control. Nor can you run Radio Control or an external TNC on the same port.
If you don’t get a Comm port error message, you should have Radio Control at this time. However, if the frequency button to the left of the Entry Window says “No Rig!”, then WriteLog is not communicating with your radio. You will get this message if you have Radio Control enabled and your radio is turned off. If your radio is turned on and you still get this message, you need to troubleshoot your connection between radio and PC. For Kenwood radios, this could mean that you need to set the COM.RATE menu option in your radio. I use a Kenwood TS-870 and set menu option 56 to 4800 baud with 2 stop bits. If you continue to have problems, the best place to find answers is the WriteLog Reflector. Send an E-mail to the group with the radio type and interface type you are using and someone will more than likely help you out. Never think your question is “dumb” because the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask!