[WriteLog] Writelog and Elecraft KDVR3 - mixed mode SO2R

Mike Heideman mike_heideman at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 3 14:20:43 EST 2017

 Receiving the message from Randy/K5ZD reporting his successful installation and integration of the KDVR3 with Writelog reminded me that I had almost completed a description of my attempt to use Writelog with the KDVR3 in a mixed CW/SSB contest, the ARRL 10-meter contest.

In the 10-meter contest in December I participated as a Mixed cw/phone entry. I thought it might be useful to share my mixed mode experiences in using the Elecraft KDVR3 for Writelog voice keying running SO2R with a YCCC SO2R box.

Setup was two K3s, both with KDVR3 voice recorder, using N6TV hardware interlock, YCCC SO2R box, Yamaha CM500 headset with battery-supplied bias, two P3s, and two Alpha-9500 amps. One of the K3s had a sub-RX installed and also had a PR6-10 pre-amp in the RX Ant path. The pre-amp made enough difference that I used that K3 when I was CQing on either mode. If not for the pre-amp I probably would have stuck with CW on one K3 and SSB on the other. I never used the sub-RX.

What worked well:

Timed CQ on CW while S&P on SSB. This worked nearly like single-mode Run/S&P SO2R and callsigns could be duped/worked on the SSB radio while running on CW. Auto-resume did not work so the CQ had to be started up again after completing an S&P QSO.

What worked poorly:

Timed CQ on SSB while S&P on CW. If the receive focus has been moved to the CW radio entry window then it is possible to dupe/work stations on CW. If the receive focus remains in the CW entry window when the next SSB CQ is scheduled then that CQ is sent on the CW radio (in CW). This required a quick finger on the ESC key to avoid QRMing the CW station whose callsign I was trying to copy.

Use of the second bank of KDVR3 messages. I recorded alternate messages into the second KDVR3 bank and set up a key (Shift-F5) to swap between the message banks. The mechanics of this all worked well except that my longer F1 CQ message meant having to adjust the Timed-CQ interval if I wanted to switch back and forth between the two sets of messages.

What didn't work:

Automation of dueling CQs. Auto-resume does not resume CQing after transmitting on the other radio so dueling CQ automation (WL V11 style) does not work. I had a couple good hours of dueling CQs by manually hitting keys. The tricky part is copying a CW callsign or exchange at the same time you're voicing a callsign/exchange on the SSB radio. My peak rate for 60 minutes was 239 Qs which was evenly divided between SSB and CW with long stretches of interleaved QSOs on the two modes. Pileups on either mode disrupted interleaving and led to delayed responses and the usual multiple repeats of callsigns/exchanges by those calling or being worked on the other radio.

What I should have done differently:

More use of headphones latch. Most of the time when operating SO2R I listen to both radios. With weak signals and SSB in the other ear it was often hard to copy unless I manually switched both ears to one radio. The latch function worked while CQing on CW and I should have used it more to automatically focus both ears on the CW radio.


The band conditions for all but a couple of hours both days were poor with very weak signals and spotlight propagation. While conditions were poor I mostly had both radios on CW, one running and the other S&P, glancing at the P3s for any new signals and making occasional forays to SSB on the S&P radio.


The KDVR3/Writelog combination can be used for voice keying when operating mixed mode SO2R but has some serious limitations. The most troubling issue is the Timed CQ continuing on the CW radio when initiated on the SSB radio. This appears to be a bug in Writelog as a change in the RX focus of the entry windows should not change the TX of the Auto-CQ.

Auto-resume of the Timed CQ is the key missing feature that prevents continuation of the Timed CQ after transmitting on the other radio, whether in a dueling CQ scenario or second radio S&P. The K3 command set supports the capability to poll the TX state of the K3 so it should be possible to modify Writelog or any other logging software to be able to recognize when transmission ceases on one radio to resume a Timed CQ on the other radio. This would require tighter integration between Writelog and the K3 but I suspect that other radios with DVRs may benefit if TX polling is built into Writelog.

An alternative I haven't explored is the use of the KDVR3's built-in capability to auto-repeat messages by holding the message buttons. Ron/N6EE mentions use of this repetition in his KDVR3/Writelog write-up but not in the context of SO2R which will likely have the same issues already mentioned for Auto-Resume. A separate F key could be set up for auto-repeat (using SWH21; instead of SWT21; in the macro definition, for example). The K3 MSG RPT menu item might have to be adjusted to provide the desired interval between CQs. This repeat interval could be set through a macro such as MN005;MP004;MN255; which sets an interval of 4 seconds.

There are a number of contests that are mixed mode and allow SO2R. Many state QSO parties, the IARU HF Championship, Russian DX Contest (limited SO2R for mults), ARI, etc. The techniques described here could be used for those contests.

-Mike, N7MH

More information about the WriteLog mailing list