[CQ-Contest] FW: What Software to use ????

Richard Ferch ve3iay at rac.ca
Fri Dec 16 11:46:45 EST 2005

YV5LIX said:

>... this combination didn't work well with N1MM because the
>link between N1MM and the microHAM USB Device Router was lost several 
>times during the contest, up to the point on which I was forced to 
>deactivate the CAT control on N1MM to prevent having to close and restart 
>both N1MM and the USB device router to re-establish the link.

Jose, this sure sounds like one of two things:

- RFI affecting the USB link; or
- an incompatibility between the microHAM device router and your 
hyperthreading CPU.

If either of these turns out to be true, you are going to be equally 
disappointed with *any* software. Before you spend money on some other 
software that might turn out to have exactly the same problems, I think you 
should investigate these possibilities further.

For example, if you remove the microKeyer and use a simple USB-to-serial 
adapter for CAT, with CW keying from DTR, do the problems still occur? If 
the problems stop, then the problem is the microKeyer (specifically, most 
likely the router). If the problems continue, then try the same test with 
the power turned down to 5 watts to eliminate the possibility of RFI.

If you have the ability to turn the hyperthreading feature of your computer 
off, you could try that. My guess is that if hyperthreading is a problem, 
it is much more likely to affect the microHAM router than the N1MM 
software, because N1MM is written in a high-level language (Visual Basic), 
whereas the router code manipulates the hardware directly and is therefore 
more susceptible to problems of this kind.

Be that as it may, all of these tests are a lot cheaper than spending money 
on software that may turn out not to perform any better.

Understand, I am not saying that you should stay with N1MM (although I 
personally love it; I also have a microKeyer and I love that too, and the 
two of them work together perfectly well for me - but I do not have a 
hyperthreading CPU). You should make the choice of software based on how 
well you like their features and user interfaces. But you cannot expect 
changing the software to solve a problem that is in the hardware, and you 
have not yet eliminated that possibility.

Rich VE3IAY  

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