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. Well...at 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 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.
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 pages...am I ready for real contesting, or do I need more practising?