[WriteLog] Dueling-CQ Run Module (was Re: W2SC featured in May/Jun NCJ)

Dick Green WC1M wc1m73 at gmail.com
Mon May 30 16:37:08 EDT 2016

> W5XD wrote: 
>Tom, W2SC, got some top notch results at 8P5A in ARRL CW and SSB. He
>runs WriteLog SO2R using an add-in that is available to anyone from here:
>Its not for everyone. To quote N9RV interviewing Tom: "It soulds a lot
>like a really fast race car. You've got it build, and now you need to
>learn how to drive it."

I like it!

Living dangerously, I downloaded the run module on Sunday afternoon of CQ
WPX CW. I figured it would be an ideal time for dualing-CQs -- rates slow
down a lot after the morning runs on the second day. Only two bands were
open, 20 and 15, and after doing several mult sweeps of the slower band it
seemed like a good ideal to try dualing-CQs.

Luckily, the installation went very smoothly. Only took about 20 minutes to
download, install, read the instructions and setup my keyboard shortcuts.

It took a bit longer to get used to the "fast race car". Yeah, at first it's
like riding a bucking bronco. I wasn't quite prepared for what it would do,
how it made decisions to switch radios, etc. At first I ran it with my
headphones not split, and wasn't sure what it was sending on the
non-keyboard radio. I ran it for a while in split to get straight on that.
As always when running split headphones, It helps to lower the CW monitor
volume to minimize distraction from the CQ radio. Once I got the hang of it,
I went back to non-split headphones. This makes it easier to focus on the
replies on the radio with keyboard focus.

Generally speaking, I found the run module does what it should do about 85%
to 90% of the time. There were some hairy situations where fills were needed
by a station or by me, especially when that was happening on both radios at
the same time. Late in CQ WPX the 4-digit serial number makes for a longer
exchange (I don't use cut numbers), which seemed to throw of the
synchronization when handling caller on both radios. For example, if I sent
"NR?" to a station on the first radio, then had to copy the exchange on the
second radio, I would miss the response from the station on the first radio.
I think the sequence goes like this:

- Send CQ on radio 1
- While sending CQ on radio 2, I hear a caller on radio 1, type in the call
and hit Insert
- While exchange is sent on radio 1, I hear a caller on radio 2, type in the
call and hit Insert
- While exchange is sent on radio 2, radio 1 responds with serial number,
part of which I miss due to a static crash, and I send "NR?"
- While "NR?" is sent on radio 1, radio 2 responds with the exchange. I copy
and hit Log
- By the time TU WC1M starts sending on radio 2, radio 1 has already
responded with the serial number and I've missed it. 
- I have to send "NR?" to radio 1 again and ignore any caller on radio 2
until I get can copy the response from radio 1

Similar things happen when callers ask for fills, and it's really bad when
fills are needed by me or the other stations on both radios at the same
time. Note that this only happens when there's a certain timing relationship
between the sessions on the two radios. Sometimes the above sequence can
happen with no problems, sometimes not. It all depends on the timing, which
can't be predicted.

Sometimes the only solution is to drop out of automated mode and work the
stations manually.

I'm not sure if anything can be done in the automation. Maybe an optional
delay before a certain function key gets sent (like the one with "?" or

All that said, this automated dueling-CQ is a valuable and fun addition to
the Writelog tool kit. There's no question that my rates were significantly
higher when I ran dueling-CQ than they would have been in traditional SO2R
run/S&P mode.

BTW, the setup window doesn't display correctly on my 4K monitor (mostly
blank.) Had to move it to my second monitor to read the window. 

What does the "max time before Call" parameter do?

I might explore the code. If I compile it under Visual Studio 2015 will it
work or do I have to dig up a copy of Visual Studio 2010?

73, Dick WC1M

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