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[TRLog] Sequence number problems

Subject: [TRLog] Sequence number problems
From: (Mike Heideman)
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1999 09:41:45 -0800
We've now used TR Log for 5 contests here at W6YX (CQP and both modes SS and
CQWW) and have encountered sequence numbering problems in every contest.  We
have a 486 interfaced to an IC761 set up for keying on CW and no radio
control.  This is networked to a laptop 486 that has no radio interface at
all (yet).  Here is our config file for the interfaced computer:


The other computer has no PADDLE or KEYER PORT config and is set up as ID =
B.  Both computers were booted up in DOS (I'm not sure what versions).

The symptom that we see is that a QSO is occasionally not transmitted from
one computer to the other.  In CW SS this occurred once in 1058 QSOs.  In
Phone SS it occurred 3 times in 1741 QSOs, alternating between computers, so
that the sequence numbers were resynchronized after the second transmission
loss, but got out of sync again later.  This is a real nuisance because we
have to remember to send a number one higher than is displayed on the
lagging computer.  It also caused us to send the same sequence number to two
stations before we realized it.  Our rate was slowed down by an occasional
"Oops, sorry, you should have been number 'N+1'".

After CW SS we assumed the problem was caused by frequent editing with
ALT-E.  During Phone SS we didn't use ALT-E at all, instead noting all
corrections with notes.  It still happened.  I had to merge the CQWW logs
from the two computers for both Phone and CW because one or two contacts
hadn't transferred to the other computer.

Is there a configuration setting that can be changed to prevent this from
happening?  Is there a way to ensure that all QSOs are transferred between
computers?  I would think that for a contest where a single serial number
has to be shared between computers this could be more easily enforced.  If
the program can't do it automatically, then perhaps there should be a manual
way of forcing synchronization.

I've been busy at work lately so I haven't had a chance to go to the shack
to test any theories about how the QSO transmission fails.  One or two of
the failures seemed to coincide with a time when the (non-)receiving
computer was being used for composing or posting a note.

Other than the sequencing problem, we've only encountered a small number of
annoying behaviors:

1. Correction of a callsign or band using ALT-E doesn't adjust the
multiplier status of the station.  We had worked 6V6U very early on 20M in
CQWW CW, but our operator thought he'd worked B4BU (don't ask me why...) and
then corrected the call.  Later in the contest I noticed that the multiplier
list showed we hadn't worked 6W on 20, so I didn't even try duping the call
when I heard him.  After 5 minutes in the pileup and major disruption to our
CQing station, I finally got him only to have him say we were a dupe.
Ensuring that a station is a new multiplier on a band is crucial for
multi-single stations in CQWW.  In the phone contest we accidentally worked
two stations that weren't new multipliers from our multiplier station
because they were accidentally logged as 15M and edited to 10M later (I
can't wait to interface the radios...)

2. We ended up logging several dupes in the Phone SS because we used the
CALLSIGN UPDATE ENABLE feature and edited callsigns in the exchange window.
We didn't find out they were dupes until after hitting return and seeing '0'
in the points column.  Is there a way of preventing the logging of such
dupes?  I noticed that editing in the callsign window after the exchange has
been copied also causes a dupe to be logged.

3. When I tried interfacing our FT1000MP, it was in a slow tuning mode so it
took about 10 seconds to move 1 kHz using the shift keys.  I held down one
of the shift keys for about 5 seconds, tuning, and when I let go of it the
radio continued to drift.  Finally after about 5 minutes I rebooted the
computer to stop it.  I'm glad this didn't happen in the middle of a

4. The one new feature that I would greatly appreciate is the ability to
have ALT-E edits propagate to other computers on the network.  For a
multi-single, two-radio station with one interfaced radio, both radios tend
to be used on all bands and it is important that information like corrected
bands/callsigns/zones get propagated to all computers to prevent rules
violations that put the station into the multi-multi category.

Overall, though, the program has worked great for us and we are learning and
using more new features with each new contest.

-Mike, N7MH

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