RTTY operation

N1MM logger setup

  • N1MM logger Configurer – Mode Tab
    • Contest specific choices
    • Mode recorded in log
      • Always: RTTY
    • Mode sent to radio
      • Follow mode recorded in log
      • Log mode/Radio mode: RTTY to LSB

DI 1 – Menu: Settings
Tab: General/MMTTY Setup

  • Enable: Add Callsign to Bandmap on Alt-G
  • Enable: Send Space on Callsign Mouse Click
  • Disable: Send HamDefault on Run to S&P change
  • Enable: Turn AFC Off when switching to S&P
  • Select: Small MMTTY window
  • Select: Always on Top

DI 1 – Menu: Settings
Tab: Macro Setup

  • Setup extra keys when needed
  • Digital Macro Setup: SoundCardRTTY
  • # of Macros: Select 8,16 or 24
  • Fill in contents for macros

DI 1 – Menu

  • Disable: AFC On/Off with CQ
  • Enable: NET On/Off with Run Change
  • Enable: Auto Update TRX Offset w/Mark Freq.
  • Right click menu: Select ‘Output to text file’

Entry Window – Function Keys

  • Setup Function keys for the specific contest

Multiple RX decoders

With N1MM it is possible to run next to the normal receive and transmit decoder/encoder (MMTTY in my case) also additional receive windows. Each window uses it’s own software or hardware decoder. For each decoder a seperate instance of the MMTTY or 2Tone program has to be installed (in folders like mmtty2, mmtty3, 2tone etc.). Running them using different profiles can give very surprising results. Most often each decoder will show the same results but very often only one or two will copy clearly.

Standard filters to use: Standard, Flutter (FIR), Multipath and AA6YQ 512FIR profiles in
MMTTY and 2Tone. I do not have a hardware decoder like the DXP38 modem. The DXP38 decoder seems to be doing very well when stations call a bit off-frequency.

 

MMTTY setup

Configure it to use the EU1SA profile

EU1SA’s profile uses an IIR demodulator like the Standard RTTY profile, but with sharper filters (which increases the CPU load).
I’ve uploaded a USERPARA.INI file that includes the “EU1SA” profile along with “Standard RTTY”, “Fluttered Signals”, “Fluttered Signals (FIR)”, “23Hz RTTY”, and “MultiPath” to: www.dxlabsuite.com/winwarbler/Profiles/UserPara.ini
If you’ve created new profiles or modified the existing profiles, then save your current UserPara.ini file before replacing it with the above. Then start MMTTY, open the Profiles menu, and choose EU1SA. You can define up to 8 profiles in UserPara.ini, so you can replace the one’s you don’t like with ones you’ve developed or modified.
Documentation for the parameters that can be set in a profile is available via: www.dxlabsuite.com/winwarbler/Profiles/UserPara.doc
A spreadsheet comparing each of the profiles (including EU1SA) to the “Standard RTTY” profile is available via:
www.dxlabsuite.com/winwarbler/Profiles/Profiles.xls

73, Dave, AA6YQ

As I am quite familiar with the profile (see my signature), let me add a couple of words to the discussion.
The “EU1SA” profile is mostly not about decoding, but first of all, it’s about extra filtering. It makes the MMTTY RX bandwith exactly matching the RTTY signal. The brickwall DSP filter with sharp skirts cuts everything off but the desired signal. It is clearly seen at the tuning indicator. With such a set up you can even use wide SSB filters and still have pretty nice results overall. Obviously if you use other filters, as well, it makes the overall selectivity even better.
Yet another positive aspect of that is the tuning easiness. It comes from the fact that only one and only signal matches the bandwith. The moment you tuned to a station, the signal is already readable/decodable and you only need a bit of fine tuning, if any.
As you can see, this profile is mostly just another contesting tool. It helps quick tuning and easy decoding regardless adjucent QRM. And still, it provides the decoder with a narrower bandwith to process, virtually one signal a time.

73, Vladimir VE3IAE aka EU1SA

MMTTY – XY scope setting

The FIR decoder creates a nice + sign on the XY-scope where the standard profile give ellipses. Selecting the correct frequenty (tuning the station) seems easier when using the + (plus) sign on the XY-scope.

N1MM logger – RTTY – Operating the contest

While in S&P leave the NET button pressed if you are running deselect it.
AFC I usually leave off and tune by hand. During a contest the bands are usually to crowded. The AFC is always trying to move and grab something you don’t want it to.

  • AFC off during crowded contests (Disable: AFC On/Off with CQ)
  • NET on during S&P, off during Running (Enable: NET On/Off with Run Change)
  • To get bandmap/spot freq. correct (Enable: Auto Update TRX Offset w/Mark Freq.)
  • Alt+T – Toggle TX/RX, the cursor will be set to the TX window of the active interface.
  • Alt+G – Grab callsign.

In N1MM
You will probably want the larger MMTTY window checked. If you use the small window you do not have access to the MMTTY settings or the buttons.. Make sure you have whatever port that is going to be used for PTT has the digital checkmark next to it..

QSO making tips with N1MM logger

During the contest the contest infoirmation like callsigns, exchanges are showing in the Digital Interface (DI. This information has to be brought to the Entry window and split out over Callsign filed and the exchange fields. Also transmissions have to be made. In Digital modes the normal behavior as used in CW (using the insert key) and SSB (just type it in) can be used. There are some extra possibilities in Digital modes which can be used (Callsign box in DI and GRAB button, additional macros and hover mode in combination with the right click mouse button).

Using Hover mode:

  • With hover mode when you hold the mouse over a valid call sign it places the callsign in callsign filed in the Entry Window. Where this works in use with ‘Right click send Enter’ is you hover over the call then right click to plant the call and send your call when the station comes back to you you click on the exchange to place it in Entry Window. Right click again send TU and logs the Q. Right click, left click,right click and your done…
    • Note: Your own call is excluded from being picked up.
    • Hover mode is used in conjunction with the menu selection ‘Rt Click = Return NOT menur’ which will will send a Return when right clicking in the DI RX window instead of displaying a pop up menu

The rate improver – Right Click = Enter not menu”

Select from the settings menu in the Digital window “Right Click = Enter not menu”. When not using this setting then you need to give it a try. It could improve your rate greatly as your hand never leaves the mouse except for the occasional difficult exchange. And your eye do not have to move far from the Digital window either. Making a qso means:

  • While in Runmode
    • Right click in the DI’s RX window it sends CQ
    • When a station replies left click on the call
    • Right click sends your exchange
    • As he sends his exchange left click on it
    • Right click again to send TU and log the call
    • Right click again starts CQ (and your back at the first bullet)
  • In S&P it does the same thing as hitting enter to advance thru the ESM mode.

The right click takes the place of hitting ‘Enter’ for the ESM. Most of the time while in the contest I have one hand on the mouse and the other hand I have one finger resting on the space between the Esc and F1 keys. With that finger I can hit Esc if I have started a CQ and someone has started coming back to me. 73′ Rick PA2AMG

Do you have… (what to check when it does not work)

Below the most common mistakes made setting up or using N1MM logger in RTTY mode.

  • Add {TX} and {RX} to each of the F Keys…
  • Set up “always RTTY” in the Configurer under the Tab: Mode Control
  • Select the DI type in the Configurer under the Tab: Digital Modes
  • When MMTTY selected: Set up the path to MMTTY in the Configurer under the Tab: Digital Modes

How to setup RTTY (by Rich VE3KI)

Another great answer from Rich to a question from a RTTY newbie. Tnx. Thomas

What I use is below – it’s a pretty standard set for the most part. I have to confess I haven’t really tried out the F12 messages – getting two answers to a single CQ from my home station is almost unheard-of.

I try whenever possible to transfer information into the Entry window by clicking on it in the Digital Interface window. That eliminates all sorts of typing errors, as well as making it unnecessary to use the keyboard for simple QSOs with good copy.

There are a couple of other things that really help. One is to use ESM. The Enter key (I use the one in the keypad – it’s right beside the mouse) does almost everything. In fact, most of the time that’s the only key I touch on the keyboard. Almost everything else can be done using the mouse. For example, the function keys can be sent by clicking on the appropriate button in the Entry window.

There is one other key that comes in handy, and that’s the Esc key for when you bollix things up and send the wrong message – hit Esc to abort the mistaken message and then click on the correct button.

In the Digital Interface window, there is an option (under Setup) for Rt Click = Return NOT menu. If you use this with ESM, you don’t even need to press the Enter key, you can just right-click in the DI receive window. The downside is that you lose access to the right-click menu items in the receive window. You don’t need these very often, though, so it’s not much of a loss.

In the DI Setup -> Settings window, you might play around with using the Send Space on Callsign Mouse Click. This is a bit like the big gun/little pistol option in the main Configurer (ESM only sends your call once etc.).

The macro buttons you can get under the Macro Setup tab in the Settings window are very useful. I select the SoundcardRTTY macro set and have it set to display 24 macro buttons. That gives you up to 24 mouse-clickable buttons in the DI window that you can program to hold all kinds of extra messages (short CQs, long CQs, short exchanges, long exchanges, short calls, long calls, questions, answers, you name it…). Every now and then I still end up typing free-form into the transmit window, but with a good collection of spare buttons in the DI window that turns out to be quite rare.

Even when I am using AFSK I operate FSK-style, i.e. doing all my tuning with the radio, never with the mouse – I just watch MMTTY’s crossed ellipses and turn the tuning knob to fine-tune. That makes it feasible for me to open the second DI window as an alternate decoder. I have it set to use MMVARI instead of MMTTY, set its decoding frequency on my centre frequency, and use it to give me a second opinion. You can single-click on call signs and exchanges in the second DI window provided you remember to click again in the DI1 window before clicking on a macro button, right-clicking or hitting Enter. I often even run a third receive-only decoder (MixW) off the same sound card. You can’t click on info in this window; you have to type the info in the Entry window if this is the only window that copied it. Mostly I use this window as a check when the other two windows disagree. It’s a bit surprising how often that happens.

This “use the mouse for everything” style is very different from CW, where you normally try to set things up so the mouse is never needed. It seems paradoxical that you try to operate RTTY (a keyboard mode) using the keyboard as little as possible, and CW (a manual mode) using only the keyboard – well, not quite – in CW I use a paddle for the kind of thing I program into the DI window macro buttons in RTTY.

Oh yes, function keys – I almost forgot:

F1 CQ,{TX} CQ TEST DE * * CQ {RX}{CLEARRIT}
F2 Exch,{TX} 599 04 ON ! {RX}
F3 TU,{TX} ! TU * CQ {RX}{CLEARRIT}
F4 {MYCALL},{TX} * {RX}
F5 His Call,{TX}{ENTER} ! {RX}
F6 B4,{TX} B4 DE * CQ{RX}{CLEARRIT}
F7 Rpt Exch,{TX} 04 04 ON ON {RX}
F8 Agn,{TX}{ENTER} AGN? {RX}
F9 ZN?,{TX}{ENTER} ZONE? {RX}
F10 ST?,{TX}{ENTER} STATE? {RX}
F11 Wipe,{WIPE}
F12 Stack,{TX}{ENTER} {CALL} {LOGTHENGRAB} TU NW {F5}{F2}{RX}
F1 CQ,{TX} CQ TEST * * CQ {RX}{CLEARRIT}
F2 Exch,{TX}{ENTER} ! TU 599 04 04 ON ON * {RX}
F3 TU,{TX} {CALL} TU {RX}
F4 Call Him,{TX} DE * * {RX}
F5 His Call,{TX} ! {RX}
F6 0x1,{TX} * {RX}
F7 Rpt Exch,{TX}{ENTER} 04 04 04 ON ON ON {RX}
F8 Agn,{TX}{ENTER} AGN? {RX}
F9 ZN,{TX}{ENTER} 04 04 04 {RX}
F10 ST,{TX}{ENTER} ON ON ON {RX}
F11 Wipe,{WIPE}
F12 Grab,{GRAB}

73, Rich VE3KI

Best exchange format

The best format is 599 001,with a space separating the two parts of the exchange and without any hyphens.
The reason is a bit technical, but basically RTTY as used by hams has a built in function called UnShift On Space, or USOS. USOS provides a means for resetting the state of the FIGS or LTRS shift if they should get messed up due to QRM, QRN, QSB or whatever. When USOS is on, every time the transmitter sends a space, it resets itself to the LTRS state, and every time the receiver receives a space, it does the same. I won’t bore you with the details (unless you ask), but that greatly increases your chance of copying correctly. Using a hyphen, such as 599-001 defeats USOS because there is no space. Some contesters use the hyphen intentionally because it does speed up the transmission, but most experienced contesters have decided to trade the speedup for more reliable copy.

In any event, please don’t run things together like 599001. That causes the receiving station to have to manually enter the exchange instead of just clicking on it.

By Bill, W6WRT

RTTY tones

With RTTY sideband does not matter. Mark is always the HIGHER frequency and the shift is ALWAYS down.

RTTY and modes

“Normal” RTTY operation is conducted in pseudo LSB mode with the higher radio frequency representing MARK and the lower frequency representing SPACE (e.g., shift DOWN). For AFSK operation this means that AFSK is typically LSB regardless of band using 2125/2295 (high tones – US) or 1275/1445 (low tones – EU). Note that for AFSK. MARK is the lower AUDIO frequency due to the inversion that occurs with LSB.

The use of 1585/1415 and/or 1085/915 Hz tones and USB is a function of software by programmers who never operated RTTY and failed to study the historical operating practices – many programs fail to support FSK as well.

Welcome to RTTY Contesting

RTTY is becoming very popular on the HF bands. Many hams, both old timers and new comers, have gotten RTTY working and made QSOs. Now they are trying RTTY contesting. We, and other RTTY contesters, have noticed that some RTTY new comers are unaware of efficient contest exchanges or have picked up a few bad habits. After each RTTY contest there are email discussions about ineffective (i.e. time consuming) exchanges.

While the newer RTTY contester may be using the contest as a mean towards RTTY WAS or RTTY DXCC, most of the RTTY contest operators are trying to make as many QSO in the time allotted. Sending anything but the minimum, required contest exchange slows them down.

To provide guidance, VE2FK wrote an excellent guideline and posted on the RTTY contest reflector. The following is our updated guidelines:

These operating tips are from the very best operators. This information has been collected from several RTTY sites in order to standardize contest operations on the air.

  1. Message buffers should have a carriage return (ENTER) at the beginning and only a space at the end. Following this practice really helps pick out sent information such as a call sign or the contest exchange.
  2. Start your CQ with the contest name and end it with CQ ex: BARTG DE Mycall Mycall CQ.This way, a station tuning in midway of your CQ will know you are not calling another station, but CQ’ing.
  3. Use spaces to separate your numbers, ex: 599 001 001. There is no real reason to use hyphens. Do not use periods, commas, slant bars. In RTTY it is preferable to send the 3 digits, it’s easier to click on 001 than 1. In normal conditions the exchange is sent twice but the RST only once. In poor conditions exchange may be sent 3 times, ex: 599 001 001 001. For contests that require a State or Province send the RST once and the State or Province twice, ex: 599 QC QC.
  4. Do not use 5NN in RTTY, use numbers, ex. 599. RST is sent only once and not repeated if exchange is sent again. Read the rules, if the RST is not required, don’t sent it.
  5. Do not use abbreviation like: PSE, IN, HR IN, NR, PLEASE COPY, RST, BK, KN, PSE, QSL?, SK etc. Keep the transmission short and limited to just the essential information needed for the contest exchange.
  6. It is important to have macros to ask for (or repeat) specific information instead of asking for an entire repeat or sending an entire repeat of an exchange. Repeating the entire exchange when only one piece of information is needed is a waste of time.Also, have macros ready for special situation, ex: SRI QRG QRL,SRI YOU ARE OFF FREQ, SRI NO QSY, SRI NO COPY CUL, etc.
  7. If you are in RUN mode (CQing), reply with (Hiscall) the exchange (Hiscall). If there are many callers or QRM, it is important to confirm to whom you have sent the exchange. ex: Hiscall 599 001 001 Hiscall.Then, confirm with (TU Hiscall de Mycall CQ) to continue.
  8. If you are in the S&P (Search and Pounce) mode never send your exchange to the CQ’ing station until he has acknowledged your call and sent his exchange first! Don’t send Hiscall but only Mycall, ex: DE Mycall Mycall, then reply with only your exchange, ex: TU 599 002 002. (TU says it all: QSL, TU, 73) The DE can be omitted.
  9. Do not use (NAME) while in S&P mode.In RUN MODE, it’s your choice to use it or not.
  10. Put the word RTTY in the comment field of DX spots.
  11. Be on frequency, know how and when to use AFC and NET options in the software or don’t use them.

If you are new to contesting, remember that the top guns are out to make as many QSOs per minute as possible. Following the above hints will not slow them down. They will be anxious to work you on another band and in the next contest.

One of the best WEB Sites to get info is : www.rttycontesting.com. It is also a good idea to be a member of the RTTY reflector. You can subscribe at: http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/rtty

Good luck in the RTTY contests!

Starting in September

This first part of the big 3 part CQWW fall contest is coming soon.

CQWW RTTY occurs the last weekend in September. It is an excellent chance to test out antennas, radios, amps, and other station changes made over the summer. It is also an excellent way to learn, or brush up on, SO2R or other logging program features since you don’t have to concentrate as much on copying the exchanges and calls. You can pay attention to the computer and the mechanics of your operating rather than worrying about making copying mistakes yourself.

I look at RTTY contesting a lot like CW contesting, but quieter. While it is useful to listen to the received signal to make timing exchanges go smoother, you don’t have to listen to most of the qrm and other noise, you are just listening for the other guy to stop transmitting so you can start. Also, with modern loggers, and more contesters realizing that RTTY is gaining popularity, the pace of RTTY contesting is picking up. It wasn’t long ago that a typical exchange was repeated several times, extra ‘hello’ and ‘thanks’ and brag stuff was added which slowed things down… now I think most operators have figured out that rates well over 100/hr are very possible if you cut out the chit chat and use exchanges like in CW contests with just a few simple modifications.

And don’t think that it takes lots of extra hardware of special stuff to get into RTTY contesting. If you are using a logger like N1MM and have hooked up your sound card as a voice keyer you are likely just one cable away from RTTY operating. If you already have the computer playing audio to the radio, all you need is to get the radio audio to the computer. With an FT-1000mp, and probably many other radios, that can just be a single off the shelf cable from the line out-on the back of the radio to the sound card line-in. This lets you use the radio in SSB and send/receive AFSK. DON’T listen to the pundits that say you ‘HAVE TO USE FSK’ to do good! I have a wall full of plaques for winning North America, the USA, or the World, ALL done with AFSK, and NEVER a complaint about the signal. And all I had to add were 2 cables so I could use the narrow filters instead of SSB filters using the mp’s ‘PKT’ mode. And 100% FREE software!

It also presents you with some interesting technical operating capabilities. With a single sound card it is possible to do SO2R and be decoding 2 bands at once, and not lose a beat decoding the 2nd radio while transmitting on the first. With 2 sound cards, or 2 computers with one card each, you can decode BOTH VFO’s on 2 radios at once, so you can both CQ and S&P on 2 bands at once!! Talk about technique building!

CQWW RTTY has some very interesting operating features. First, it has a very interesting Multi-Single Low Power category. We ran that here and were able to win the World plaque a couple times, how many times has someone in the states won a World plaque in CW or SSB??? This category makes it nice for expeditions and other stations that don’t have RTTY capable amps to do a multi-op without a lot of big amps.

Next, CQWW RTTY is a ‘Work Everyone’ contest… You get to work everyone, including stateside. Multipliers are states/provinces, countries, and zones… so your first stateside and Canadian on each band are TRIPLE multipliers! This adds to the activity and there are virtually no slow times, there is always someone out there to contact.

And as in most RTTY contests there is no 160m, so while that might be interesting if you have antenna changes there to test, at least you don’t have to worry about the end of summer noise quite as much. This also means for M/S or M/2 entries you can spend more time on the productive 80m and 40m night time bands.

So keep in mind, CQWW REALLY starts in September! Hook up those sound cards and get on the air. Check out some of the digital contest reflectors and web sites for hints and suggestions. Join the N1MM-Digital reflector if you use that logger for all the up to date info (including a new update to MMTTY to make it work better with Vista!)

David Robbins K1TTT

FLIDGI install

Download the installation program from the fldigi web site. If it was version 3.20.12 you downloaded, the installer program would be called fldigi-3.20.12_setup.exe. When you run the installer, if you accepted the default location it would install fldigi in C:\Program Files\Fldigi-3.20.12\ . If you look inside that folder, you should see several sub-folders, the fldigi.exe program itself, and a few other files.

I don’t know this from personal experience, but if you are using Windows 7 (or Vista) and have installed the program in the Program Files path, I think you may have to run the program once stand-alone as Administrator. You can configure it and test it stand-alone if you want to, but be aware that the stand-alone configuration and the configuration inside N1MM Logger are independent of each other, so configuration changes you make stand-alone won’t affect operation under the Logger and vice versa. Close the stand-alone version before opening the Logger, just to avoid confusion.

In the Logger, open the Configurer and select the Digital Modes tab. The path is set in the “DI-1 Fldigi Setup (if used)” area. Don’t do the DI-2 one by mistake. I would not recommend typing the path in, because it’s too easy to make a typing error. Instead, click on the Select button to the right of the DI-1 Fldigi Path box. An Open Files dialog box will open, and it will start out in the N1MM Logger program folder. Use the Up One Level button at the top and then navigate your way around until you find the Fldigi-3.20.12 folder. Double-click on that folder and you should see an icon for fldigi.exe. Click on that icon and click the Open button, or just double-click on fldigi.exe . Click on OK to exit the Configurer.

If the DI window is open, close it and re-open it. In the DI window’s menu bar, select Interface > Fldigi. That should open the Fldigi window, and you should see a button in the Task Bar called “Fldigi Engine 1 – waterfall-only mode”. The first time you open fldigi, a configuration window should also open, and there should be another button for it on the Task Bar. If either of these windows is off your main screen for some reason, you can right-click on the icon in the Task Bar, select Move, and press one of the arrow keys, and then you can move the window around with the mouse. After moving it with the mouse, click once to “drop” it where you want it.

In fldigi’s configuration wizard, follow the instructions in the N1MM manual (Manual > Digital Modes > Digital – Fldigi for Sound Card Modes > 2.2 Fldigi Initial Configuration), and after the wizard closes, save the configuration.

73,
Rich VE3KI

RTTY: Frequency displayed in logging window versus the frequency or the rig display

This depends on if  you are using AFSK or FSK and the mode your radio is in.

If you are using AFSK and the radio is in LSB, where the rig displays the suppressed carrier frequency, the frequency that is logged *should* be lower than the radio’s displayed frequency by an amount equal to the Mark frequency in the digital engine (MMTTY, MMVARI or fldigi), e.g. by 2.125 kHz. If the logged frequency is not equal to the dial frequency minus the Mark frequency, your log will be incorrect. There are two option settings that make sure this happens: from the DI window’s menu bar, make sure Setup > Turn AutoTRXUpdate On/Off is *checked*, and in the DI Setup window, top left corner, make sure the Display Radio Freq and not Exact Freq in DI Caption is *unchecked*.

If you are using FSK and your radio’s dial displays the actual transmitted frequency, this is when you will want to log the frequency displayed on the radio’s dial. To do this, in the DI Setup window make sure the Display Radio Freq and not Exact Freq in DI Captino check box is *checked*, and make sure the Setup > Turn AutoTRXUpdate On/Off menu item is *unchecked*.

73,
Rich VE3KI