MMTTY Plug-in page 6

MMTTY Commentary

Since the advent of using sound cards as TNC’s, many operators have joined the HF digital ranks. Programs such as MMTTY and the MMTTY Plug-in for WriteLog have become quite popular.  This has given a tremendous boost to RTTY contesting.  Jorgen, SM6SRW, by creating the MMTTY Plug-in for WriteLog and Wayne, W5XD, by making changes to WriteLog to accept the Plug-in, have done a great service to RTTY contesters who use WriteLog.

However, problems can arise when the software is not used properly, resulting in poor operation.  The main complaint after RTTY contests is that many stations are calling off frequency.  More and more of this is being seen as more sound card operators join in RTTY contests.  The main reason for this is that many operators are not using AFC and NET correctly when using AFSK (or misusing AFC with FSK).  Many RTTY operators run very tight filters in crowded band conditions, some as narrow as 250 hz.  A station using MMTTY could very easily forget to turn off AFC and end up calling someone several hz or several hundred hz off frequency while in the S&P mode.  The CQ’ing station may never even know someone was calling.  It’s up to us, the operators, to make sure we use the software correctly with proper use of AFC and NET.

For general purpose sakes, it’s best to turn AFC off while in the S&P mode and turn NET off when calling CQ.  If you are confused or uncomfortable with the operation of AFC or NET, simply turn them off and tune manually with your VFO or RIT.  This is completely acceptable.  You may not gain the advantages of using AFC or NET, but if used incorrectly, they are not advantages at all.  RTTY operators have been tuning manual for many years before sound cards and software such as MMTTY gave us AFC and NET capabilities.

AFC is a wonderful thing, but forgetting to turn it off while in the S&P mode is not.  Fortunately for me, I run FSK and do not use the NET function so it leaves less for me to have to remember and I can be more efficient with my SO2R operation.  It took me over a year to finally get comfortable with using AFC and to remember to turn it off when I S&P (occasionally I still forget).

The one thing you cannot do with the MMTTY Plug-in that you can with the Standard WriteLog RTTY Receiver is to operate SO2R using a single sound card.  Other than that, I have found that MMTTY is consistently better than the Standard WriteLog RTTY Receiver.  With the different combinations of screen views, choice of 3 tuning indicators and the availability of different operating profiles, it’s certainly more versatile.

MMTTY totally caught me by surprise.  I promised to test it when the first beta version of the plug-in came out several years ago and was very pleased at how it copied.  It ran circles around my PK232 with ease and I am convinced it is better than the HAL DXP-38 I use for backup.  I used to think that it didn’t matter much in contesting what TNC you used, external or sound card, because in RTTY contesting you need only to receive a callsign or report.  However, since using the MMTTY Plug-in for WriteLog, I can see how important it is that you have the best demodulating capability possible and you use the best RTTY receiver you can.  Using the MMTTY Plug-in for WriteLog assures you have one of the best RTTY engines available.  And it’s free of charge!

No matter how good your TNC or sound card program is, there are going to be times when it will not copy due to QRM, QRN, QSB or other factors.  A technique I have used for several years now is “Dual Receive”.  By using a TNC and sound card in parallel on the same receive signal, each with their own Rttyrite window, you create a situation where if the TNC or sound card misses print, the other usually captures it.  This “Dual Receive” configuration on a single radio is by far more effective than using a single TNC or sound card program alone.  WriteLog now comes with a “Clone” feature which is accessible through the File menu of the Rttyrite screen.  This “Clone” feature allows multiple “cloned” Rttyrite windows to be activated and tied to the same receive signal as the “main” Rttyrite screen.

The MMTTY Plug-in for WriteLog is now an integral part of my RTTY contest station.  Thanks to Jorgen, SM6SRW, and Wayne, W5XD, for their hard work in producing this excellent feature to WriteLog.

73, Don AA5AU

Thanks to W5XD, SM6SRW, WA9ALS, K1US sk, K6EP & AD1C for their contributions.