This weekend I started my conversion project, moving a desktop Windows computer into my ham shack and getting everything set up. The first item was getting the biggest monitor that could fit to place on the shelf above my rig. Then I needed a wireless card, and after a few tries getting the right card and finding the right PCI slot, that was working. Finally, I added a wireless keyboard and mouse. With the desktop computer costing $10, the rest of the expenditures dwarfed the computer investment. Even so, I feel that I put in place just the right system and did so very cost effectively.

Then I connected the computer to the Elecraft K3 via an old fashioned serial port. Tested that all out with the Elecraft K3 Utility and found it working quite well. Same thing with the Elecraft P3 utility and the K1EL Winkeyer software. Next up was installing an RTTY software package and a logging program.

I had been reading a great deal on some of the RTTY websites and email streams about Writelog and MMTTY. However, just in the last week there was a great deal of discussion around using N1MM with MMTTY and the newest demodulator 2Tone. So I decided to start with MMTTY and get that working with my sound card, etc. I used a great instructional article by Don, AA5AU, that really helped me set up MMTTY. There were a few things that I needed to sort out after a fair bit of investigation, but I got it working and working well.

Then it was on the N1MM, which I decided to go with since it is free and the most widely used contest software. We’ll also be using it at the 2013 Jamboree for K2BSA. I had a reasonable bit of tweaking and set up before I got it up and running. I found the documentation to be very helpful and even watched some of the instructional videos. I finally got it all set up with both main receiver and sub-receiver working simultaneously. This was a big breakthrough as I want to work SO2V during contests. Plus, I made a contact from the sub-receiver right out of the box, so to speak.

I also spent some time getting the Winkeyer and CW set up. Had a few bobbles getting the cables connected correctly. But now all is well. Not sure when I’ll get back to CW contests because I’m having lots of fun with RTTY.

Right now I’m refining a few things in the RTTY set up and trying to get ready for the NAQP RTTY contest this weekend. That will be the real test. Again, yet another ham radio adventure.

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Jim-K5ND

Freelance writer and active Scouting volunteer. Retired publishing and communication executive who writes for fun and to finance his hobby, amateur radio.

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