There are several different ways to use and manage a call sign stack. Some
are easier to setup but take more keystrokes to operate while others have
more involved setup with the benefit of more efficient operation during the
In addition, each logger has its own features for call stacking which vary
the details of the specific implementation of the various methods. Here is
how I manage and use the call sign queue in WriteLog. It is an excerpt from
the NCJ column I mentioned earlier today. (Figures 1 and 2 can't be
included in this posting, but hopefully the text will explain enough about
what they are.)
WriteLog Call Sign Queue
In Figure 1, note that the call sign stack shares the same space as the QSO
Sequence Number. Accordingly, the stack is not always visible, so the
operator may need to mentally track its contents. (Note: In Beta test now is
an independent, dedicated window that can be sized and moved as the user
desires. It has 1-4 segments, one for each of the 1-4
radios/receivers/Entry windows that are setup by the user. So all 1-4 call
sign queues are always visible.)
In this example, the next call sign to be moved into the CALL entry window
will be G6XYZ. When that happens, the next call sign, DL1HIJ, will move to
the bottom of the stack. The bottom call sign moves from the stack into the
CALL window automatically, once the current contact has been logged and the
operator is ready for the next contact. The bottom call sign in the queue
can also be moved manually at any time (over-writing anything in the CALL
window) by using the "Entry/Pop call from queue menu" item. A call sign in
the CALL field can be moved to the top of the stack by using the "Entry/Push
call to queue menu" choice. You can assign both menu items to keyboard keys
to more easily manipulate the stack.
Three things need to be set up in order for call sign stacking to work
smoothly. These are additional call sign capture, stack manipulation, and
Additional Call Sign Capture
Left-clicking a call sign in the Rttyrite receive window will copy it into
the CALL field. Right-clicking a call sign will pop up a default context
menu. Left-clicking the first item - Push Call < > - will copy the call sign
to the bottom of the stack. These two mouse clicks can be consolidated into
a single right-click by adding the following entry to the writelog.ini
Now, when a call sign in the Rttyrite receive window is right-clicked, it is
immediately pushed to the top of the call sign stack, and the context menu
will not pop up.
It's a good idea to map some keys with commands to manipulate the stack, so
that you can manually pop the bottom call sign into the CALL window or push
a call from the CALL field onto the top of the stack. I use the hyphen [-]
and equal sign [=] keys to push or pop call signs, respectively. You can map
these two functions to any keys you don't typically use in normal logging by
going to "Setup/Keyboard Shortcuts" (see Figure 2).
First click "Next key pressed" and then press the hyphen key. Then, click
"Add Shortcut" and select "EntryPushCallToQueue" in the "Command to run"
pull-down menu. Similarly, set up "EntryPopCallFromQueue" on the equal sign
key and exit the dialogue by clicking OK.
Call signs can be rotated through the stack via the CALL field by alternate
presses of these two pre-programmed keys. This allows the operator to choose
a different call sign to work without losing any saved call signs. To delete
a call sign from the stack, rotate it into the CALL window and press Alt-W.
In practice, you'll seldom use these procedures, but they're very handy when
something goes awry. In the most common situation, one of the call signs in
the stack does not respond, so you simply pop the next one into the CALL
field and carry on.
Only one additional message is required to efficiently use call sign
stacking to double your rate. It is known as the "TU, NOW" message among
aficionados of this technique and incorporates QSO phases 1 and 3 in a
single transmission. This message is sent with the normal exchange message
chained immediately after it as in this example:
N7XYX TU, NOW ..
G6XYZ 599 123 123
It is simply a matter of tapping two message keys in succession.
I map these two messages to the semicolon and apostrophe keys, respectively.
For a normal QSO sent exchange I just press apostrophe, and for working the
next call sign in the stack I press semicolon first, and then the
Some loggers allow the creation of a single key press and a one-line
message, so that the text is all on one line; I prefer two lines and two key
presses. (WriteLog can also send the message all on one line but it takes an
additional exchange message memory that omits the %R "new line" parameter.)
The two lines more clearly convey to listeners what is going on, and the two
key presses help maintain my rhythm and sense of where I am, especially when
I'm running two or three radios as a single op!
When I sense that there is only one station calling, I simply press Insert.
This copies the highlighted call sign from the Rttyrite receive window into
the CALL field and sends my exchange. If I think there might be an
additional caller or more, though, I left-click the first highlighted call
sign into the CALL window and wait a second or two for additional calls. As
soon as I have them printed in the Rttyrite receive window, I press Insert
and then right-click the other call signs onto the stack while the first
exchange is being transmitted. Following this order saves barely a second or
two. More important, though, it keeps a consistent pace and rhythm,
especially since I've already waited a beat or two for the additional call
signs. Any more delays could encourage calling stations to send their call
signs again, either delaying or obscuring my exchange.
I prefer to work stations in the order that they print clearly in my receive
window; this is one of many small things that help keep order in the pileup.
It also lets stations in the pileup know that trying to be the last station
calling doesn't necessarily get them worked first. I even follow this
protocol if a new multiplier comes up later than some other call sign. My
goal is to work stations fast enough that they don't leave before they I
If I get a good tailend call sign at any time during a QSO, I will
right-click it into my stack. If the caller is blatantly calling out of
turn, QRMing and slowing things down, however, I will manipulate the stack
either to delete that call sign or move it to the top of the stack, i.e.,
the end of the queue. This is not so much to penalize bad operating as to
reward good operating.
Sometimes I will hear the first few milliseconds of a transmission, just as
I start my own transmission. Depending on the situation, I may chain the
"His Call Sign" message to the end of my exchange. This may recover a
situation where the station I'm working doesn't hear their call sign at the
beginning of my exchange, because it is covered up by the other caller.
Other times I may abort my exchange in order to copy the additional call
sign. That's rare, though, because it messes up my rhythm.
If I get no response to my exchange message sent to a call sign from the
stack, I quickly re-send my exchange. If more call signs are in my stack, I
will wait only briefly before manually popping another call sign and sending
my exchange to that station. There is a fine balance between accommodating
slow responders and maintaining a consistent pace that encourages stations
to stick around and make the contact.
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