Sunday, 3 April 2011

Contest excitement!

20 years ago, before my "ham pause" I was participating in many radio amateur contests. Really exciting and thrilling, but lots of boring paperwork.

For long I have wanted to check how contesting is done nowadays. I realized that there are many contest logging programs. I downloaded N1MM Logger and started evaluating. first I was not impressed: chaotic functionality jungle, messy windows and inconsistent user interface.

However, I managed to configure it to communicate with my IC-718. When I sent the first test CQ by clicking my newly configured button, and it went into the air automatically, I understood, again, why I love this hobby. I decided to get some practice. I looked at the SM3CER Contest Calendar and found the Polish contest: SP DX Contest.

I participated loosely in the CW contest and made 103 QSOs. Gosh, I was excited about the bells and whistles in the N1MM Logger. Click the picture below to see my contest setup.

The main window: 
The QSO is executed here. The buttons can be preconfigured and the corresponding functions keys are really handy. When a QSO duplicate is found according to the contest rules, a big "Dupe" text is shown; handy.

The bandmap:
When connecting to a DX Cluster telnet port, the bandmap shows spotted stations in the selected band.

The "available" window:
This is really handy: in the SP DX contest it showed only Polish stations that I hadn't yet worked. When clicking a station, the transceiver switches to the frequency where the station is likely to be found. When a station is worked, it disappears from the available list. Room for tactics here; the contest is still far away from being totally automated! I have to mention this: All stations are not spotted in this list.

Interesting: N1MM Logger works in the same way in voice/SSB contests: you just need to arrange pre-recorded .wav files. There are still loads of unexplored functionalities in N1MM Logger; the user manual is almost 250 I ready for real contesting, or do I need more practising?

1 comment:

  1. I got a comment on this in
    "I only work local contests but I can see looking at your blog info that a program like N1MM Logger can work real well. I liked the review window a neat feature."