[CQ-Contest] My RTTY Adventure

Randy Thompson k5zd at ultranet.com
Tue Sep 16 18:02:35 EDT 1997

Thanks to everyone who responded on my question about using a PC and 
Soundblaster to do RTTY.  As I reported in my summary, there appear to be 
two recognized choices:

- K6STI RITTY software ($150) plus the WF1B logging package ($60)

- W5XD's Rttyrite/WriteLog/WinRTTY software ($50) 

Since my goal was just to be able to give some of my RTTY contesting 
friends a QSO, I opted for the W5XD software.  It was less expensive and 
ran completely in Windows using any sound card supported by Windows. 
(Windows 3.1 or 95)

[I saw a demo of the K6STI+WF1B combo at K1AM and it is very impressive. 
 Probably the correct choice for the super serious.  Unfortunately, it runs 
under DOS and only with certain sound cards.]

The WinRTTY software is a little confusing to get started, but there is a 
nice tutorial on RTTY operation and it didn't take long to figure it out. 
 I did have to make a trip to the Radio Shack store to get cables to go 
between the Soundblaster and the radio.  All connections are audio. 
 Speaker out goes to Sound card in.  Sound card line out goes to radio's 
mic input.  They don't tell you this, but AFSK is typically done using LSB!

There is a bit of a trick to learning how to tune stations in quickly. 
 WinRTTY provides a 'scope' display to help with the process.  (The K6STI 
software auto detects any station within the passband which makes it a 
little easier and quicker).  My first impression of RTTY operating is that 
it is like CW without the copying part (i.e. not as much fun).  My first 
experience with a RTTY pile-up was interesting -- it is more important to 
be loud than skillful.  The biggest thrill has just been the process of 
learning a new mode and how to operate.  Kind of like going back to my 
Novice days.

WriteLog/WinRTTY has all the usual contest software stuff.  It can 
communicate with the most popular radios.  It can network for multi-ops 
using Ethernet instead of COM ports.  It also supports logging CW and SSB 
contests as well.

One of the more popular RTTY contests of the year is this coming weekend -- 
the CQ WW RTTY.  If you can get hold of a copy of either of the above 
packages, it would be a fun weekend to relive the thrill of learning how to 

Randy, K5ZD

Randy Thompson                Amateur Radio Call: K5ZD
11 Hollis Street
Uxbridge, MA 01569

H (508) 278-2355             E-mail: k5zd at ultranet.com
W (508) 337-6600


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