[CQ-Contest] Blind Mode for N1MM Bandmap

David Gilbert xdavid at cis-broadband.com
Thu Oct 21 12:13:49 PDT 2010

Good point.

So, in your opinion, would it be legal for unassisted operation to use 
my own private local CW Skimmer (in conjunction with a Softrock, SDR-IQ, 
QS1R, etc) operating in normal mode to telnet spots to the N1MM bandmap if:

1.  the CW Skimmer window was minimized so that I couldn't see it


2.  N1MM was configured to replace the decoded callsigns with an asterisk

To clarify my objective here, I'm merely trying to come up with a way to 
step through recognizable signals from a panadapter using the keyboard 
with N1MM always remaining the active window.  I own an Elecraft K3 with 
two receivers, and the idea would be to operate SO2V running with VFO A 
while hunting mults or unworked stations using VFO B without having to 
take my hand off the keyboard (such as having to reach over to tune the 
VFO B knob on the K3).  Making stepped frequency changes on VFO B from 
N1MM is already possible, of course, but doing so in small enough 
increments to home in on a station is slow ... it takes a lot of tapping 
on the arrow keys.  Being able to step through known signals would be 
much more efficient.

There is another way to accomplish a similar thing, at least for CW, but 
it's pretty clumsy.  I hacked the configuration file used by OmniRig, 
the application that CW Skimmer uses to actually communicate with the 
rig, to have it control VFO B instead of VFO A on the K3.  I set CW 
Skimmer to Blind Mode, and then created two AutoHotKey scripts (assigned 
to keyboard keys not used by N1MM) to:

a.  query Windows to find the unique six digit hex window identifier 
code for whichever N1MM window I may be in at the time
b.  jump from that N1MM window to the CW Skimmer window
c.  simulate an UpArrow or DownArrow keypress (CW Skimmer has the 
capability to step through identified signals in it's own bandmap)
d.  jump back to whichever N1MM window was found by step a).

It works, and it's actually pretty fast.  I can step through whatever 
signals CW Skimmer is showing on its waterfall, and if I'm willing to 
open up the bandwidth on VFO B I can even use CW SKimmer this way in its 
3KHz Audio mode ... no SDR hardware required at all.   CW Skimmer 
acquires new signals almost immediately so it increments the frequency 
and populates the new portion of its bandmap by the time I hit the 
AutoHotKey keys again.

Disadvantages of the AutoHotkey approach:

1.  Only works for CW
2.  Requires a different script for each model of rig and would be 
clumsy for most people to set up
3.  Stops at every blip on the screen whether it is a station or not.  
CW Skimmer is pretty sensitive and will display QRN bursts, off 
frequency key clicks, etc.  In Blind Mode, CW Skimmer makes no attempt 
to sort any of that out.
4.  CW Skimmer zero beats almost too well.  I usually prefer to listen 
to VFO A (my run frequency) in both ears, and listen to VFO B in my 
right ear.  I found, however, that CW Skimmer increments to the next 
station so accurately that I was hearing the exact same CW tone from 
both VFOs and it was hard to mentally keep them separate.  I had to 
switch to VFO A in left ear and VFO B in right ear to keep from going crazy.

All in all, I think it would be nice and so much simpler ... IF 
determined to be legal for unassisted operation ... to have N1MM be 
capable of displaying blind spots.

Dave   AB7E

On 10/21/2010 8:53 AM, RT Clay wrote:
> Does not seem legal to me with current rules if you take the frequencies from a remote source (telnet). Blips on a bandscope are fundamentally different from frequencies taken from telnet: For example, with what you suggest, you could take DX spots from a skimmer in Europe during a 160m contest. That way you would know where the EU DX stations  are on the band even before the band opened to you in North America. In such a contest that would be a huge advantage even if it didn't include callsign information.
> On the other, just marking signals on the bandmap from your local receiver (with no cw decoding) is fine, I currently do that.
> Tor

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