This weekend (Sept. 28-29) is the official kickoff of contest season with the 2013 CQ WW RTTY DX Contest starting up at 8pm (local) time.
If you’ve never heard an RTTY contest all you need is any rig that can run single sideband and an audio feed from the radio to a computer. PCs are preferred over MACs as there is a ton of free RTTY software available.
Probably the easiest to use is MMTTY by JE3HHT, Makoto Mori. It can operate on its own or inside of popular contesting logging software such as Writelog and N1MM (which is free. Writelog costs $30.)
If you want to get in on the action and transmit as well you’re going to need a digital interface box (although some of the newest rigs have USB cables and can work directly with the software in your computer).
Most of the software programs allow for setting up messages which are controlled by your keyboard.
So typically what happens is the software logging program with MMTTY or another called 2Tone prints what it is decoding on the screen. The software can tell if the call is needed or a dupe.
If you run a bandmap being populated by a DX cluster you’re in the assisted category which for little pistols like us is great as we can see who’s on the frequency and which bands are open at a glance.
If it’s needed it gets highlighted and if you click on the call it will be entered into the logging program. Using the memory messages it comes down to one more click and you’ve worked your first RTTY contact.
If you want to see my setup as I’m running a FlexRadio 1500 which is a fabulous RTTY radio as it uses a virtual audio cable to connect to Writelog which has MMTTY running inside of it plus I’ve got a separate laptop running N1MM with 2Tone running in parallel head on over to VE3HG.
This is state of the art at least as far as QRP RTTY is concerned.