[NA-User] Stereo Toggle Problem (+ suggestions)

R.S.Hradilek ids at nol.net
Sat Jul 17 19:44:32 EDT 2004

With the release of the new "Super Combo Keyer II" by ZS4TX (Bernie), 
I now have use of the feature in NA where I can control this 
headphone functionality from the keyboard. I had been looking forward 
to this feature for some time, since most SO2R switches have a manual 
switch for the headphones. The SCK2 is, in effect, an upgrade to 
WX0B's SO2R Master. Jay has discontinued this and is the distributor 
for Bernie's feature loaded keyer, which does the SO2R switching and 
also has a built-in DVK. 

As currently implemented in NA, the only problem I have with the 
Stereo Toggle is in 2nd radio contacts. In Mono mode, the selection 
of radios will follow the Radio A/B signal. This signal controls the 
routing of the PTT, CW and microphone inputs to the selected radio 
when transmitting, but when neither radio is transmitting the RUN 
radio remains selected after calling a station on the 2ND radio. This 
means that if I switch to MONO in order to copy a weak station during 
a 2nd radio QSO (like to make sure he gets my call right), the 
headphones are switched to the WRONG radio and I copy NOTHING. The 
Radio A/B signal needs to point to the 2nd radio on 2nd radio 
contacts when neither radio is transmitting.

However, I have some additional suggestions which have already been 
implemented in TR, and it's all my fault! These suggestions go beyond 
a simple keyboard toggle for Stereo/Mono, because it's possible for 
the software to automatically switch the headphones to MONO once a 
QSO has begun. This is when you normally want to ignore the QRM in 
one ear as you focus on the other. In short, you would force the 
Stereo LPT pin (which is pin 9) to MONO at all times except when 
CQing or Auto-CQing. The only time you are normally interested in 
hearing a separate radio in each ear is when you are in QSO with 
neither rig, and trolling for a contact on both. Thus, it would be 
advantageous to force the headphones to mono when you begin logging a 
QSO, and back to stereo when you post it.

Actually, I wrote up the specifications for this automated headphone 
switching methodology about 2 years ago. I sent them to WX0B as a 
suggestion for an upgrade to his SO2R box. The modifications required 
changes both in his hardware and in everybody's software. It was I 
who suggested that LPT pin 9 be used as the standard for the 
Stereo/Mono signal because NA already supported it (a long time ago). 
Ironically, the software changes were only made in the one contest 
program I refuse to use: TR. Bernie (ZS4TX) has informed me that Tree 
followed my specs to the letter. Bernie has also contacted the 
authors of WriteLog and the N1MM logger urging support for NA's LPT 
pin 9 signal. All along, I was hoping to see the more automated 
algorithm implemented in NA. My original specs are at the following 


Since I hadn't even tried the stereo toggle in NA until recently (for 
lack of hardware support), I have withheld comment regarding the 
usefulness of the more automated approach. Now that I have used NA's 
manual keyboard toggle in the last two major CW contests (where I was 
the op at WX0B), it is easy to see that automated headphone switching 
would make copying QSO's much smoother using 2 radios. Please 
consider my suggestions. Since I am a programmer myself, I can see 
that very little logic is involved in supporting this automation.

In closing, note that in my original rant I also documented how the 
headphones would be switched while using the "Dueling CQ" feature 
(which I believe only exists in TR). This feature allows you to run 
stations simultaneously on two slow bands, and I feel this would be 
useful in NA. To add one more item to my "Wish List", I would suggest 
that NA automatically revert back to Auto-CQing after a QRZ message 
is sent without an answer. (I often forget to punch F1 on the Run 
radio after a 2nd radio QSO when the run rate is slow, since my focus 
has shifted to S&P). 

I would have forwarded this e-mail to Dave privately, but feel that 
input from others on this list regarding an improved SO2R methodology 
would be helpful.

Roy - AD5Q
Programming since 1967

More information about the NA-User mailing list