2.8.1 Single Operator Two VFO Operation (SO2V)
A number of N1MM users are interested in using the advanced VFO and/or subreceiver capabilities of modern transceivers to improve their scores by approximating SO2R techniques, but with a single radio. This has led to the definition of an operating mode called SO2V (Single Operator Two VFOs). This section will deal with the features of N1MM Logger that are designed for use in this mode.
1. Advanced SO2V for Radios with Separate Sub-Receivers
Additional SO2V features are available for radios that have dual receivers or Main/Sub receive. As of the last manual update the complete radio list is: IC-756/Pro/Pro2/Pro3,IC-7600, IC7800, IC-781, Orion/2, K3, KX3, TS-990, FTdx9000, FTdx5000, FT2000, FT1000/D/MP/MKV/MPSteppIr, and the Flex Radios.
In SO2V mode, the \ key changes the RX focus to the Sub receiver and enables the Sub audio if necessary (Orion). To use this feature
set the CQ repeat time a longer than normal and start a repeating CQ using VFOA (Main). If nobody answers, press the \ key to enable the Sub receiver and tune the band. Pressing \ again will change the RX focus back to VFOA and turn off the Sub if Config > Dual Rx Always On is not checked. With Icom radios that only have one VFO knob, pressing the \ key also changes the knob association to the Sub VFO.
If you do not find someone to call before the CQ timer expires, the program will call CQ again on VFOA. With RX focus on VFOB (Sub) Entry window, typing a letter will cancel the repeating CQ running on VFOA.
Pressing a function key to call someone or send an exchange will automatically switch the TX focus to the proper VFO prior to transmitting. Some radios switch faster because they require fewer configuration commands. If the RX focus is on then VFOB (Sub) Entry window and the CQ repeat needs to start again on VFOA, simply press the CTRL+CQ-Key. The program default for the CQ-key is F1 and this is set in Configurer > Function Keys tab.
If someone answers your CQ while the RX focus is on VFOB (Sub), press the \ key to change the RX focus prior to entering the callsign. If you want to change the TX and RX focus together press the PAUSE key.
There is special functionality associated with the Ctrl+Alt+D and Grave accent keystrokes for the SO2V radios. See the appropriate radio model in the Supported Radios section.
2. Approximating the Capability with Radios that do not have a Sub-Receiver
Some basic SO2V functionality has been implemented for all VFOA/B radios (those without a sub-receiver).
You may find the CTRL+Shift+Up/Dn command useful. It programs VFOB with the next spot Up or Dn in the Bandmap. When you have time to listen or call the station, press the PAUSE (or Ctrl+RightArrow) key. To return to your Run frequency, press the PAUSE (or LeftArrow) key, it won't change your RUN frequency. Instead, the program will let you know that split is necessary with a status message at the bottom of the Entry window.
See the Supported Radio section of the manual for radio specific information regarding general and SO2V operation.
3. More advice on using SO2V - from VE3KI
SO2V is a kind of halfway point between SO2R (single-op two radios) and SO1V (standard single-receiver operation). The most efficient of the three is SO2R. The main advantage of SO2R over traditional one-radio one-VFO operation (SO1V) is that you can be listening in one QSO while you are transmitting in a different QSO. Ideally, you could be doing two QSOs at once on different bands even though you never have more than one transmitted signal at a time, interleaving between the two and doubling your overall speed (at least when things are going very well). This is simply not possible with only one radio, even if it has two receivers, but SO2V is an attempt to make use of the second receiver to gain at least some of the advantages of SO2R.
In SO2V, you are deaf whenever you are transmitting, so the key advantage of SO2V over SO1V is to be able to receive two signals in parallel. You don't conduct two QSOs at once, but you can at least determine whether there is someone worth working on either of two frequencies at once. That would seem to require two receivers, one receiver in each ear, not just two VFOs. You need to be able to tell which signal is coming from which receiver (e.g. stereo headphones).
I am by no means all that proficient, but the main way I use SO2V is CQing on one frequency while S&Ping elsewhere in the same band. Again, more to get this out of the way than to describe SO2V, note that if it's a good run, people are coming back to you right away and you don't have time for SO2V techniques. In fact, what you may need is LOGTHENPOP to cope with multiple callers, and when you are doing this in CW or SSB you don't need the distraction of a second receiver. Instead, you would leave the second receiver turned off while things are going this well.
However, if things slow down, as they often do late at night or late in the contest, then while you are CQing on VFO A and find you have to send CQ several times before anyone shows up calling you back, you can turn your second receiver on and start using it to S&P up and down the band while you keep on CQing.
After your transmitter stops at the end of the CQ message, in SO2V you have two receivers both active. One is on your transmit frequency, listening for someone calling you back. The other one is somewhere else on the band, looking for a station CQing that you can call.
Suppose: (1) no-one answers your CQ (IMHO your first duty is always to answer someone who answers your CQ); and (2) you find someone on VFO B that you haven't worked yet, and they are calling CQ or just about at the end of a QSO. In that case, what you can do is switch to the VFO B entry window (with the mouse if you are mousing, e.g. in RTTY, or with the \ key if you are keyboarding) and have (or try to have) a QSO on the VFO B frequency. Once that QSO is completed (or as soon as the other guy comes back to someone else instead of you), you switch back to VFO A, hope that someone hasn't taken over your run frequency while you were away, and send a CQ again to repeat the whole process.
In SO2R, you can keep listening to the other station on the S&P VFO even while you are transmitting on your CQ frequency in between transmissions on the S&P radio, but in SO2V you have to stay on the S&P frequency for the entire duration of the S&P QSO, which means you run a significant risk of losing your run frequency. You have to weigh the risk of this happening against the benefit of picking up the S&P QSO during a dead period on your run frequency.
You will probably want to turn autoCQ off while you are doing this. If I leave autoCQ on, inevitably I find that the transmitter fires up at exactly the wrong time, just before the other station sends his call sign, or when his QSO is ending and it's time to drop in my call sign on the VFO B frequency.
You can also use SO2V to S&P with two receivers at once. Tune one up the band and the other down the band at the same time, and simply decide which one to use based on where you hear a new station to work first. You can use the \ key to jump back and forth between the two entry windows.
SO2V is more productive if you are in the Assisted class. You can use spots from the cluster or RBN to guide where you tune with VFO B, instead of just tuning up and down the band. Instead of turning the VFO B tuning knob to find the next station to work, you can jump VFO B to the next workable spotted station using Ctrl+Shift+Up/Down arrows. This greatly increases the odds of quickly finding someone to work on VFO B versus just randomly tuning and screening out the ones you have previously worked.
You can also use the cluster this way in SO1V with only one receiver, but with a significant disadvantage. Once you tune away from your run frequency after listening for someone calling you back, you then often have to wait some more listening on the second frequency until the caller is at the right point for you to call him. With two receivers, you can time your CQs on VFO A so that you don't have to waste time listening first on VFO A and then on VFO B; you can listen to both at the same time and line up the times so you either respond to a caller on VFO A if one is there, or else send your call to a CQer on VFO B, in this way minimizing the time you are away from your run frequency.
To set up for SO2V with a dual-receiver radio, you select the SO2V button in the Configurer, and in the Config menu you check the "Dual Rx always on" menu item. In RTTY, you can set up the two DI windows with two separate interfaces listening on different channels of the sound card and just leave both receivers on all the time. In CW/SSB, you will probably want to learn how to use the ` and Ctrl+Alt+D keys (see the documentation on Supported Radios) to turn the second receiver on and off.
I am probably missing some important things, but this is how I use SO2V with my dual-receiver K3.
4. SO2V RTTY with MMTTY
Instructions for setting up two copies of MMTTY for use in SO2V (Note: there are more detailed instructions on setting up for digital modes in the Digital Modes section - this section focuses on the SO2V aspects):
- Create two separate folders for the two copies of MMTTY. This allows each copy to have its own configuration
- Copy the MMTTY.exe, MMTTY.ini and UserPara.ini files (plus extfsk.dll, if you use EXTFSK) from the main MMTTY program folder into each of the two folders you will use for SO2V
- Start N1MM Logger and open the Configurer (Config > Configure Ports, Audio, Mode Control, Other)
- Select the Hardware tab
- Select the SO2V option
- This next step is optional for many users, but mandatory for some. If you are using serial ports for PTT and/or FSK from MMTTY, you may wish or need to check the Digital check box beside the ports used by the two copies of MMTTY. This step is necessary if you use the same port for CW or PTT keying from N1MM Logger in CW or SSB modes; if the only place you use a port is from MMTTY, the step is optional; and if the port number is higher than 8, you have to skip this step and perform all of the setup for this port within MMTTY.
- Note that you must use either two serial ports, one for each copy of MMTTY, or no serial ports (AFSK; PTT controlled either by the main N1MM Logger program or in hardware, e.g. PTT via radio command or by VOX). If you are using two serial ports, their FSK keying outputs must both be connected to the radio's FSK input
- Click on the Set button for the port you will use with VFO A and set the Radio Nr and the Dig Wnd Nr both to 1
- Click on the Set button for the port you will use with VFO B and set the Radio Nr to 1 and the Dig Wnd Nr to 2
- Select the Digital Modes tab
- Under Digital Interface 1, TU Type, select Soundcard. Similarly for Digital Interface 2
- Under DI-1 MMTTY Setup, select AFSK or FSK as appropriate for your setup and set the MMTTY Path to point to the copy of MMTTY.exe in the first folder
- Under DI-2 MMTTY Setup, select AFSK or FSK as appropriate and set the MMTTY Path to point to the copy of MMTTY.exe in the second folder (this must be a different copy from the one in the DI-1 MMTTY Setup path)
- Close the Configurer
- Open the Digital Interface 1 Window (Window > Digital Interface menu item in the main VFO A Entry window). Make sure the program is in RTTY mode (if necessary, type RTTY into the Entry Window callsign box and press Enter)
- If an MMTTY window does not appear (e.g. if you see an MMVARI window instead), then in the DI-1 Window select the Interface > MMTTY menu item to open the MMTTY window
- Select the Setup > Settings menu item in the DI-1 window
- Under Preferred RTTY Interface (lower left), select MMTTY
- Under Alignment Frequency (lower right), enter your Mark audio frequency (e.g. 2125)
- Under MMTTY Window Settings, select either Normal or Control Menus, in order to have easy access to the MMTTY setup window
- Click on Save Configuration
- In the MMTTY window for the first copy of MMTTY (the title bar reads RTTY Engine 1), select the Option(O) > Setup(O) menu item
- Select the TX tab and set the PTT & FSK port you will be using for the VFO A copy of MMTTY (this is the port with Dig Wnd Nr = 1 in the Configurer). If you are using AFSK and doing PTT from the main N1MM Logger program, set this port to None
- Select the SoundCard tab (MMTTY version 1.66 or newer) and select the Reception sound card you will use with VFO A. If you are using AFSK, you must also select the Transmission sound card
- Under the Misc tab, select the channel (left or right) under Source (usually the left channel for VFO A )
- Close the MMTTY Setup window
- If the second Entry window is not open, open it by pressing the Pause key, the backslash (\) key or Ctrl+Right Arrow
- Open the Digital Interface 2 Window (Window > Digital Interface menu item in the VFO B Entry window). Make sure the program is in RTTY mode for VFO B (if necessary, type RTTY into the VFO B Entry Window callsign box and press Enter)
- If an MMTTY window does not appear (e.g. if you see an MMVARI window instead), then in the DI-2 Window select the Interface > MMTTY menu item to open the MMTTY window
- In the MMTTY window for the second copy of MMTTY (the title bar reads RTTY Engine 2), select the Option(O) > Setup(O) menu item
- Select the TX tab and set the PTT & FSK port you will be using for the VFO B copy of MMTTY (the port with Dig Wnd Nr = 2 in the Configurer); this must be a different COM port from the one that is used for VFO A. If you are using AFSK and doing PTT from the main N1MM Logger program, set this port to None
- Select the SoundCard tab (MMTTY version 1.66 or newer) and select the Reception sound card you will use with VFO B. If you are using AFSK, you must also select the Transmission sound card (in SO2V this will likely be the same as the Transmission sound card used for VFO A)
- Under the Misc tab, select the channel (left or right) under Source (usually the right channel for VFO B )
- Close the MMTTY Setup window