Getting Started with Contesting

DXLab supports Contesting by

This is considerably less than what is provided by dedicated contesting applications like N1MM. For example, there is no real-time scoring, no run-rate display, and no multi-operator collaboration. Serious contesters are urged to use a dedicated contesting application, but DXers participating in a contest while seeking needed DX QSOs can exploit the capabilities described here to issue and record the correct exchange, avoid duplicate QSOs, and submit a Cabrillo log that supports the contesters with whom you made QSOs.

What Contests Are Currently Underway ?

If listening to 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m, or 10m between 0 UTC Saturday and 23:59 UTC Sunday produces lots of "CQ Contest" calls and QSOs with exchanges, you can determine which contests are currently underway and the rules for each by consulting these resources:

Configuring DXKeeper and WinWarbler for Contest Operation

You can record contest QSOs from either DXKeeper's Capture window, or WinWarbler's QSO Info panel. Recording QSOs with WinWarbler is obviously appropriate for PSK and RTTY contests; its macro and voice keyer capabilities may also make it preferable for use in CW and SSB contests. If you record contest QSOs with WinWarbler and then wish to generate a Cabrillo log from DXKeeper, follow the instructions in Generating a Cabrillo file From Logged QSOs in DXKeeper below.

Whether you record contest QSOs from DXKeeper or WinWarbler, DXKeeper must be running and configured as described below; if you record contest QSOs from WinWarbler, it must also be configured as described below.

  1. ADIF defines a Contest Identifier, abbreviated ContestID, for many contests. If ADIF defines a ContestID for the Contest in which you're participating, set the ContestID selector on DXKeeper's or WinWarbler's Configuration window's Contest tab accordingly; if not, type an abbreviation unique to this contest in the Contest tab'sContestID selector.

  2. On DXKeeper's or WinWarbler's Configuration window's Contest tab, check the Place focus in RX# on DX spot activation box

  3. locate the entry for your Contest in the Contest Table

    1. if the entry's Increment TX Serial Number# column contains a checkmark,

      • if recording QSOs with DXKeeper, then check the Increment TX Serial# box on its Configuration window's Contest tab

      • if recording QSOs with WinWarbler, then check the Increment TX# box on its Configuration window's Contest tab

    2. if the entry's Transmit Exchange column specifies

      • TX Exchange setting

        • if recording QSOs with DXKeeper, then initialize the TX Exchange box on the Configuration window's Contest tab as specified by the note associated with the TX Exchange setting

        • if recording QSOs with WinWarbler, then before directing DXKeeper to generate a Cabrillo file, initialize the TX Exchange box on the DXKeeper's Configuration window's Contest tab as specified by the note associated with the TX Exchange setting

      • recorded TX# with a note

        • if recording QSOs with DXKeeper, then set the TX serial# box on the Configuration window's Contest tab as specified by the note

        • if recording QSOs with WinWarbler, then set the TX# box on the Configuration window's Contest tab as specified by the note

      • recorded TX# without a note

        • if recording QSOs with DXKeeper, then click the X button to the right of the TX serial# box on the Configuration window's Contest tab to initialize it to 1

        • if recording QSOs with WinWarbler, then click the X button to the right of the TX# box on the Configuration window's Contest tab to initialize it to 1

      • Location X (e.g. Location Section in the entry for ARRL-SS contests or Location ST/PR in NAQP contests), then populate the specified item in the Cabrillo panel's Location sub-panel on the Configuration window's Contest tab

      • First name setting, then type your first name in the First name box in the Cabrillo panel on the Configuration window's Contest tab

    3. note the contents of the entry Receive Exchange column, as it indicates in which item(s) you must log the received exchange if you wish to successfully generate a Cabrillo file after the contest; failure to log received exchanges exactly as directed can make it impossible to generate an acceptable Cabrillo file.

  4. On DXKeeper's or WinWarbler's Configuration window's Contest tab, check the Contest-mode box

  5. If you plan to generate a Cabrillo file after the contest, then on DXKeeper's Configuration window's Contest tab,

    1. select or specify the contest's Contest ID

    2. if TX Exchange is present in the Transmit Exchange column of contest's entry in the Contest Table, set TX Exchange as required

    3. populate the required boxes in the Cabrillo panel

Recording Contest QSOs with DXKeeper

Before the contest,

  1. adjust the Capture window height so that the tx# and rx# boxes are visible.

  2. on the Configuration window's General tab, check the Display previous QSOs on Lookup box

  3. if you're planning to generate a Cabrillo file after the contest, log a few test QSOs, generate a Cabrillo file, and verify that all of its fields have been correctly populated

To log a contest QSO,

  1. type the callsign into the the Capture window's Call box, and then strike the Enter or Tab key; DXKeeper will respond by

    • filtering the Log Page Display to contain QSOs with that callsign made in the current contest, rendering in red font any QSO that exactly matches the Capture window's callsign, band, mode and Contest ID

    • setting the RST sent and RST rcvd items to 59 (if the mode is SSB or FM) or 599 (if the mode is CW, RTTY, or PSK)

    • setting the contest and tx# boxes to the specifiedContest ID and TX serial# settings (from the Configuration window's Contest tab) respectively

    • placing the mouse cursor in the rx# box so you can immediately type it in

  2. capture the receive exchange as determined in step 3.c of Configuration DXKeeper for Contest Operation above

  3. strike CTRL-L, or click the Capture window's Log button; DKXKeeper will respond by

    • recording the QSO
    • automatically incrementing the TX serial# setting on the Configuration window's Contest tab (if that tab's Increment TX serial# box is checked and its TX serial# box contains a numeric value)

Recording Contest QSOs with WinWarbler

Before the contest,

  1. adjust the QSO Info panel's height so that the TX# and RX# boxes are visible.

  2. on the Configuration window's Log tab, check the automatic lookup box

  3. if you're planning to generate a Cabrillo file after the contest, log a few test QSOs, generate a Cabrillo file, and verify that all of its fields have been correctly populated

To log a contest QSO,

  1. either type the callsign into the the QSO Info panel's Call box and then strike the Enter or Tab key, or double-click a decoded callsign in a receive pane. WinWarbler will respond by

    • filtering DXKeeper's Log Page Display to contain QSOs with that callsign made in the current contest, rendering in red font any QSO that exactly matches the QSO Info panel's callsign, band, mode and Contest ID and displaying the word Dup! in red font to the left of the Call box

    • setting the rst S and rst R items to 59 (if the mode is SSB or FM) or 599 (if the mode is CW, RTTY, or PSK)

    • setting the Contest and TX# boxes to the specifiedcontest ID and TX# settings (from the Configuration window's Contest tab) respectively

    • placing the mouse cursor in the RX# box so you can immediately type it in

  2. capture the receive exchange as determined in step 3.c of Configuration DXKeeper for Contest Operation above

    • double-clicking a sequence of digits in a receive pane will copy that sequence into the QSO Info panel's RX# box

    • double-clicking a word in a receive pane while simultaneously depressing the ALT and CTRL keys will copy that word into the QSO Info panel's RX# box

    • selecting a group of contiguous words in a receive pane while simultaneously depressing the ALT and CTRL keys will copy those words into the QSO Info panel's RX# box

  3. strike 'CTRL-L, or click the QSO Info panel's Log button; WinWarbler will respond by

    • sending the QSO to DXKeeper to be recorded
    • automatically incrementing the TX# setting on the Configuration window's Contest tab (if that tab's Increment TX# box is checked and its TX# box contains a numeric value)

Generating a Cabrillo file From Logged QSOs in DXKeeper

  1. on the Configuration window's Contest tab,

    1. select or specify the contest's Contest ID

    2. if TX Exchange is present in the Transmit Exchange column of contest's entry in the Contest Table, set TX Exchange as required

    3. populate the required boxes in the Cabrillo panel

  2. filter the Log Page Display to contain your contest QSOs

    1. on the Main window's Log QSOs tab, click the Adv button to display the Advanced Sort, Filters, and Modifiers window

    2. in the Advanced Sort, Filters, and Modifiers window's Contest Filter panel

      1. select or type the contest's Contest ID in the Contest ID selector

      2. type the 4-digit contest year into the Year box

      3. click the Filter button

  3. select the Main window's Export QSOs tab; when a small window appears noting that the log is currently filtered, and asking if you wish to remove this filter, click its No button

  4. on the Main window's Export QSOs tab,

    1. click the Options panel's Export Cabrillo button (if this button is disabled, specify the contest's Contest ID on the Configuration window's Contest tab)

    2. uncheck the Export callsigns with leading ! box

    3. click the Start button, and specify the pathname of the Cabrillo file to be generated

Configuring DXKeeper and WinWarbler for Normal Operation

On DXKeeper's and WinWarbler's Configuration window's Contest tab,

  1. uncheck the Contest-mode box

  2. clear the Contest ID selector

  3. uncheck the Increment TX Serial# box

  4. clear the TX serial # and TX Exchange boxes


Post a question or suggestion on the DXLab Discussion Group

Getting Started with DXLab

Contesting (last edited 2018-06-11 01:38:16 by AA6YQ)