[CQ-Contest] Blind Mode for N1MM Bandmap

Randy Thompson K5ZD k5zd at charter.net
Fri Oct 22 04:56:56 PDT 2010

It is disappointing that we keep having these conversations about how to
subvert the rules.  

>>>If you want to use tools to help you find people to work, enter the
assisted category.  

>>>If you want to use your own skills (ears) to tune the band and find
stations, then enter non-assisted.

Pan adapters, waterfalls, or asterisks, they are all uses of technology to
see what is going on around the band.  Part of the fun of contesting is
making the decisions around when to stay and when to go.  At least that's
part that has made the game continuously entertaining and fascinating to me.

Maybe I am just too old for this gosh darn new fangled technology.

Randy, K5ZD

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com 
> [mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of David Gilbert
> Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2010 7:14 PM
> To: cq-contest at contesting.com
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Blind Mode for N1MM Bandmap
> 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
> and
> 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.
> 73,
> 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
> > N4OGW
> >
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