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2.4.3 ESM - Enter Sends Message


1. ESM Overview


This section provides a step-by-step introduction to ESM. Try it, and we can almost guarantee you'll like it.

The first step is to turn it on. Open the Config menu in the Entry Window, and select ESM

Entry ESM SpTurnItOn


Now close the menu and enter any call in the entry window. We're assuming that you are doing S&P.

Entry ESM SpPressEnter


What's different? Take a look at the F4 button. The highlight means that if you press <Enter> at this point, the F4 message will be sent (which is what you want - your call). Press <Enter>, your call is sent, but the cursor remains in the callsign field, and F4 is still highlighted. If he doesn't answer the first time, just press <Enter> again. If he answers you, hit <Space>, and the cursor will move to the Exchange box. You are not ready to send your exchange to him yet, because you have not yet copied his exchange, so now F8 (Agn?) is highlighted. Type in the exchange you receive from him, and look!

Entry ESM SpPressSpacebar


Now F2 is highlighted. That means that the next time you hit <Enter>, the program sends F2 and logs the QSO.

So instead of an 8 step process to work an S&P QSO, you have either 3 or 4:

  1. Enter the callsign
  2. Press <Enter>
  3. (optional) If he doesn't answer, press <Enter> when it's time to call him again; if he does, press <Space> and copy his exchange
  4. Press <Enter> again to send your exchange to him and log the QSO.

 What is this "Big Gun" switch?

What's described above is the default behavior in S&P ESM, which assumes you won't get answers every time (or even most times) you call somebody. If you're louder than that, you may want to change the behavior. Go to the Configurer (the first option on the Config menu), click it, choose the Function Key tab, and look for the option "ESM sends your call once, then ready to copy S&P exchange." Check that, and the behavior changes. Enter now sends your call once, and the cursor then moves to the Exchange textbox. At the same time, the Function Key highlight moves to F8 Agn. Type in his exchange, and the highlight moves to F2 Exchange. Press Enter, and your exchange is sent to him. If you already have a valid exchange in the Exchange textbox, whether you type it or it is pre-filled, the highlight will move directly to F2 instead of going to F8. Once F2 is sent, the QSO is logged, and the highlight moves back to F4, ready to call the next station.

 Big Gun Tip

One little trick to use with the Big Gun switch on is to program your call in F8 instead of "again". This way, when you don't get the guy on the first call, hit Enter again to repeatedly send your call until he answers (and the cursor is always in the right place when he does answer). 73 de Ted W4NZ


But suppose you're Running (Calling CQ)? The first thing to do is tell the program. You do that by checking the box next to the word "Run", either with your mouse or by hitting <Alt>+U. Now your Entry Window looks a bit different:

Entry ESM RunInitial


Note the highlight is now on F1, because the first thing in most Run QSOs is a CQ. Press <Enter> and the program will send F1.

Now someone answers. Type in his callsign and the window changes.

Entry ESM RunEnterCallsign


You're starting to get the hang of this - the highlights mean that when you hit <Enter> the program will send F5 followed by F2 (on CW - on phone you would speak the callsign and then press <Enter> to send your exchange).

Once you have done that, the window changes again.

Entry ESM RunEnterExchange


Now the highlights tell you that you have copied a legitimate exchange (in this case the program has supplied it from the callsign), and that the next <Enter> will send your F3 message and log the QSO.

So, type a callsign, hit <Enter> 3 times, and you've logged a QSO. Pretty slick!

Now suppose you're like me and you fat-finger copying the exchange, so that you have nonsense in the Exchange box, like this. In that case, the program reminds you:

Entry ESM RunAGN


If you hit <Enter> with an incorrect exchange, the program will send the F8 message and request a repeat. Alternatively, if you see your mistake and correct it, the screen changes again to show the "F3 and Log It" highlights. Just press <Enter>, the program sends the F3 message, logs the QSO, and you're done.

Once you've used ESM, I predict you'll never go back to the old way again.

 F1 Call CQ - A special Function Key that switches to Run Mode automatically

The developers have reserved F1 as the "Call CQ" key. Pressing it while in Search and Pounce mode will switch you to Run mode. Although we do not recommend changing it, there are at least two ways to redefine F1: modify the ESM function key assignment table (see below) or use the {S&P} macro at the end of your F1 definition to force the program back to S&P mode.

Entry ESM ConfigFunctionKeysTab

Two further refinements, and then this chapter is done. Open the Config menu again, and then open the "Configure Ports, Telnet Address, Other" sub-menu. Click on the Function Keys tab:

In the left-hand column, note that I have checked "Send Corrected Call." This neat feature, in Run mode, keeps track of whether you have changed the callsign in the callsign box. For example, say you only copied "DL6A" at first, and filled in the rest later. Eventually, you copy DL6ABC, and when you press <Enter> to send the F3 (TU message), on CW the program sends "DL6ABC TU ..." On phone, you'll need to supply the correction.

In the right-hand column, the third checkbox is cumbersomely titled "ESM only sends your call once in S&P, then ready to copy received exchange." In shorthand, we call this the "Big Gun switch." If you nearly always get stations you call the first time, you can save a keystroke by having the cursor advance automatically to the exchange box after the first time you call. If you often need to call again, don't check it. If you have checked it, and need to call a station more than once, you just press F4, regardless of where the cursor is.

 ESM cursor behavior and the Digital Interface window

Because of the ability to transfer data from the DI window to the Entry window with a mouse-click, the behavior of the cursor moving between the boxes in the Entry window is slightly different when the DI window is open than when it is closed. If you are using ESM in CW or SSB with the DI window open and the cursor does not move between the call sign and exchange boxes when you expect it to, try closing the DI window.

 Caution

Don't change the "key mappings" (below the red type on the Function Key tab of the Configurer) unless you absolutely know what you're doing - it can make a horrible hash out of ESM.


The chart below outlines the possible combinations of information in the Entry window, and what will be sent in each situation.
Note: ESM is affected by two options in the Configurer under the Function Keys tab:

  • the "ESM sends your call once in S&P, then ready to copy received exchange" check box (sometimes called the "Big Gun" option)
  • the "Work dupes when running" check box (recommended)
ESM Mode Enter Key Actions
Callsign field Exchange field In Run Enter sends In S&P Enter sends
Empty Empty CQ (F1) My Call (F4)
New Call (1st time) Empty or invalid His Call + Exch(F5 + F2) My Call (F4)
New Call (repeat) Empty or invalid Again? (F8) My Call (F4)
New Call (repeat) - ESM sends call once... checked Empty or invalid Again? (F8) Again? (F8)
New Call (before sending exchange) Valid His Call + Exch(F5 + F2) Exchange + Log(F2 + Log It)
New Call (after sending exchange) Valid End QSO + Log(F3 + Log It) Log(Log It)
Duplicate Call Empty or invalid QSO B4 (F6) do nothing
Duplicate Call (before sending exchange) Valid His Call + Exch(F5 + F2) Exchange + Log(F2 + Log It)
Duplicate Call (after sending exchange) Valid End QSO + Log(F3 + Log It) Log(Log It)
Dupe (1st time) - Work Dupes checked Empty or invalid His Call + Exch(F5 + F2) do nothing
Dupe (repeat) - Work Dupes checked Empty or invalid Again? (F8) do nothing
Dupe (before sending exchange) - Work Dupes checked Valid His Call + Exch (F5 + F2) Exchange + Log(F2 + Log It)
Dupe (after sending exchange) - Work Dupes checked Valid End QSO + Log (F3 + Log It) Log(Log It)

2. ESM on Phone - One Special Feature

There's every reason, when running CW or RTTY, to use stored messages for almost every transmission. Phone is different - you may not want to have the computer talk for you all the time.

  • Most operators choose to say callsigns and serial numbers themselves, rather than having the computer assemble them from individual letters and numbers. See the next section for more discussion of these issues, and for information on how to set up your Function Key definitions, whether you choose to let the computer do it all or not.
  • In some contests like CQWW, the exchange is so short that it may be more hassle than it is worth to have the computer voice your CQ zone.


Or... you may forget, particularly when you are running tired, and say the other station's call and your exchange before you realize you've done so.

To deal with this, N1MM Logger incorporates some additional flexibility. Here's how it works, courtesy of the inventor, N2IC:

You are in Run mode. A station answers. You type in the callsign, and you use your live voice to send the callsign and exchange. Now, the station you are
working is about to send his/her exchange. If, at this point, you hit the Enter key, your exchange wav file would be sent. That is bad - you already used your live voice to send the exchange. Instead of hitting the Enter key, hit the Space bar. Now, type in the other station's exchange. Hit the Enter key, and the "Thanks" message will be sent, and the QSO will be logged.

In summary, the decision of whether to use the Enter key or the Space bar at that step in the logging process depends on whether you use your live voice to send your exchange, or a wav file.

Here's an illustrated version of how it works:

You're running, and W8QZR calls you. You type his call into the callsign field.

Entry ESM RunW8QZR1
Then, for whatever reason, you say his call and the exchange instead of having the computer do it. If you then hit Enter, the program will, as it says, transmit his call and the stored exchange message. Not what you want.

Instead, you hit the Space bar.

Entry ESM RunW8QZR2

Perfect! Now the cursor is in the Exchange field. There is nothing in the exchange field yet, so F8 (Agn?) is highlighted. Type in his exchange.

Entry ESM RunW8QZR3

The highlight moves to the TU and "Log It" buttons, just where they should be. Hit Enter, and the computer will log the QSO, send your "TU QRZ" message and be all ready for the next QSO.

Last Modification: 17 October 2015 09:35:47 EDT by VE3KI.