VUSC for Windows

Version 6.48

OK1DIX (c) 2019

1. VUSC - VHF/UHF/SHF/Contest for Windows

This program
has been developed for the VHF/UHF contests as a successor of the previous MS-DOS version. Operator experiences of contest stations OK2KKW, OK2A, OL4A, OL9W, OK1KUO, DM7A, IZ4BEH, PE9GHZ and others have been used for its development. The program design is similar as with the contest program N1MM. Of course any ideas for improvement are very welcome. Currently there are English, Czech and German program versions including the relevant manuals. You can also check out the VUSC Web page http://www.ok2kkw.com/programs.htm for latest updates and news.

2. Technical prerequisites

The program is designed for using on the PC with operating system
Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10. Program in not supported  under Windows 95, 98, Me and NT.

Hardware requirements:
·
Processor: at least Pentium II at 200 MHz
· RAM: at least
128 MB may vary depending on the databases size and number of QSOs in a contest
·
Free space on hard disk: about 30 MB, depending on databases size, apart from recorded sound files.
·
Ports (optional): serial RS-232C (COM) (CW keying, elbug paddle, rotator control, TRX, band switch control), parallel Centronics (LPT)(CW keying, elbug paddle, rotator control, band switch control), USB (rotator control)
·
Sound card (optional)
·
Network card (optional)
·
Display resolution: at least 1024x768, optimal 1280x1024 and higher

 Software requirements:
· Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8
/10 with DirectX 9.0c or higher
· LINX DLportIO Driver
, optional, only for keying/paddle or rotator and band switch control on parallel port LPT (valid only for 32 bit Windows)
· MBUSB Driver
, optional, only for rotator adapter on USB port with PIC, see the chapter on the rotator control (valid only for 32 bit Windows).
·
Arduino UNO r3 driver for new rotator adapter, optional (see the chapter on the rotator control)

RAM size and disk space depend on the database size and recorded sound files. Author will appreciate any feedback concerning program usage on different PCs and Windows versions.

3. Installation

Check the version of DirectX first. A suitable version of DirectX is available on Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10. If you install on Windows 2000 or XP check it beforehand by running the program dxdiag.exe, usually located in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 or C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32. If there’s no DirectX or the version is older then 9.0c download it from http://www.soft32.com (search for the “DirectX 9 Redistributable”).


A new installation of VUSC is
accomplished by double-clicking on the self extracting archive file VUSC_setup_en.exe. The entire installation directory path must NOT contain any spaces, dots or hyphens!

If you intend to use the LPT (parallel) port for CW keying, band switching or rotator control, install the DLportIO driver by running Install.exe in the subdirectory DriverLINX\install after the VUSC installation.
If you intend to use the PIC adapter for the rotator control install the MBUSB driver for the PIC. These two options are available only on 32bit Windows, though. The driver for the rotator adapter with Arduino installs usually automatically with some exceptions (see below the chapters 17 and 10 on the rotator control and CW/SSB control for details). If you intend to use Microham for keying and/or TRX control you have to install USB driver (a very confusing name as it's much more than a driver) for it (see the Microham documentation).

If you perform an upgrade of the previous version it's better to get a special upgrade archive file
VUSC_upgrade_<version number>_en.exe. If you experience problems with the program start after the upgrade replace the file vuscwin.cfg in the installation directory by
the vuscwin.cfg from the subdirectory data or use one of the templates vuscwin*.cfg suitable for your display resolution (see below). In this case you have to renew your individual settings (CW/SSB memories, windows layout etc., see below).

In rare cases there may be a problem with the (optional) driver DLportIO.SYS after the installation of some Windows system updates (which are usually installed automatically from the Microsoft Web server). For an unclear reason the update installation program changes the registry database entry for the DLportIO driver which causes driver load failure at VUSC start. The remedy is as follows:

Go to Start->Run type into the box regedit. Go to then to the folder:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\dlportio

Open it with double click and change the value of the key Start to 2 (the original value is usually 3). Check also if the file DLPortIO.SYS is in the directory under the key ImagePath (usually C:\Windows\drivers). Close the regedit and restart your PC. If the problem persists try to change the key value to 1 and reinstall the driver.
CAUTION! Make sure that you’re really changing just the key Start as described above. Some unintentional changes in the registry database may corrupt your Windows. If you don’t feel sure about this ask someone experienced for help.

If you want to uninstall the VUSC program from your PC simply delete the installation directory and the relevant shortcut. As the program doesn't make any use of the Windows registry database it's not necessary to uninstall it in the Windows control panel.

4. List of files

The complete installation contains following files:

· VUSC.EXE - contest program

· VUS_BASE.ASC - ASCII call/locator database file sorted by stations

· VUS_BAND.ASC - ASCII call/band database file sorted by stations

· VUS_BASE_DEF.ASC - default ASCII database file sorted by stations

· OWNH.HDR - stored individual data of the log header sheet

· QSL_BASE.ASC - QSL database ASCII file

· CONTLIST.TXT – list of evaluated contests

· QSLTEM.HDR - QSL label form

· VUS.HDR - log header form for contests evaluated by distances

· VUS2.HDR - log header form for contests evaluated by locators/multipliers

· VUS3.HDR - log header form for Nordic Activity and Tesla Contest

· QRBPAT.DAT - file containing the point pattern for the evaluation by locators

· VUSC_EN.HTM - English documentation in HTML format
(with graphical files in GIF format)

· VUSCWIN.CFG - configuration file containing CW memories, port settings and other technical parameters, window layout, font setting etc. There are also configuration file templates for various display resolution vuscwin1024.cfg, vuscwin1280.cfg and vuscwin1600.cfg to make the setting easier.

· QUICKSTART.CFG -
configuration file with the same structure as VUSCWIN.CFG used for the quick restart.

· ROTATOR.CFG - rotator configuration and calibration.

·
TRANSCEIVER.CFG - configuration file with the TRX parameters

·
KEYER.CFG - configuration file with the keying/audio interface parameters.

·
RIVER.PNT, ISLAND.PNT, COAST.PNT, COUNTRY.PNT  – Files with the direction map data.


Following files are created while working with the program. They are mostly located in the subdirectory of the same name as the contest.

· #######.DIX - contest file (located in the main directory)

· #######.BIN - work file (located in the main directory)

· #######_$$$.LOG - log file from one band

· #######_$$$.EDI - contest log file from one band in EDI format.

· @@%%%%%%.EDI - contest log file from one band in EDI format for sending by e-mail named according to the general contest rules (located in the main directory)

· #######_$$$.LDB - sorted list of calls with their locators from the relevant band.

· #######_$$$.SUM - summary sheet of one band (calls with their contest numbers) as required by some contest rules.

· #######_$$$.QSL - file to print on QSL labels

· #######_$$$.ADI - file in ADIF format for upload to
eQSL, LoTW etc

· #######_$$$.REM - list of QSOs with remark

· QSL_BASE.DAT - QSL binary work file

· Subdirectory ####### for storing of logs, sound files, work file backups and other contest specific files. Only the files ######.DIX and @@%%%%%%.EDI are stored in the main
VUSC directory.

Symbol legend
####### - stands for the name of the contest
@@ - category number according to the general contest rule
%%%%%% - own callsign
$$$ - three characters band code:
144 - 144 MHz
432 - 432 MHz
129 - 1296 MHz
232 - 2320 MHz
340 - 3400 MHz
565 - 5.6 GHz
10G - 10 GHz
24G - 24 GHz
47G - 47 GHz
76G - 76 GHz
120G - 120 GHz
1
34G - 134 GHz
248G - 248 GHz

5. Program start

Before the start you should check the right local time and time zone setting in Windows
(Control panel -> Date and Time). It’s not necessary to set UTC time on your PC provided the system time and the local time zone settings (including the daylight saving option) are correct. The program allows later time corrections, but you avoid troubles and additional work if you start with the right time and zone.

On Windows XP and older start the program by double clicking on VUSC.EXE file or the shortcut on the desktop. On Windows Vista/7/8/10 use the right mouse click and choose "Run as Administrator". You also can set this permanently by right clicking and setting the VUSC.EXE properties as follows:

Normally choose "No" on the question "Quick restart?"; it's for fast renewing of the previous state.(see below).

The program is designed for minimal display resolution 1024x768 pixel. Optimal resolution is 1280x1024 or higher.
The windows layout and fonts may not be quite optimal after the first start, but you can change the size, layout and fonts ("Options->Font") of all windows to match them to your display and individual needs. When choosing the fonts of the log grid choose one of the non-proportional fonts, so the cursor position always fits to the character. The most common non-proportional fonts are:


Andale Monospace, Arial Monospace, Consolas, Courier, Courier New, Letter Gothic, Lucida Console, OCR-A, OCR-B, MICR, Typewriter, Typewriter Elite, Typewriter Gothic.

Also choose the fonts of the column headers so the column width fits to the fonts of the log grid.


As the setting of suitable fonts and window layout may be difficult for an inexperienced user, four sample configuration files (vuscwin1024.cfg, vuscwin1280.cfg, vuscwin1400.cfg, vuscwin1600.cfg) are supplied with the program for various display resolutions. For a new installation you can copy
the one suitable for your display resolution under the name vuscwin.cfg and use it as a start point for your own configuration. You also can change the windows layout for different display resolution dynamically at runtime by choosing "Options->Resolution<number>". It sets the windows layout and fonts as set in the relevant pre-defined configuration file (vuscwin1024.cfg, vuscwin1280.cfg, vuscwin1400.cfg, vuscwin1600.cfg) or you can specify a configuration file if you choose "Options->Resolution->User". You can have more configuration files stored in the working directory for different situations (for example number of displays, specific resolution etc.). You can also use this option to renew the proper layout if a window "disappears" or other problems with the windows layout or fonts occur. Although the configuration files contain many other parameters (see below) only the windows layout and fonts are set in this case. Other current parameters remain unchanged.

You can close most of the windows you don't need by clicking on the cross in the
title bar. For technical reasons some windows are permanent and can't be closed. Closed windows appear again when the program starts. All windows can be minimized in an icon by the right clicking on their title bar and choosing "Minimize". If the configuration is saved by "Contest->Config->Save" the windows stay minimized even after the restart. The minimized windows can be restored to their original size and location by double clicking on the icon.

All settings (including the windows layout and fonts) are preserved in the configuration files vuscwin.cfg and quickstart.cfg (details see below)
. If you terminate the program with “Contest->Exit” the current configuration setting is automatically saved in the file vuscwin.cfg for the next start. The configuration can be saved also explicitly by using “Contest->Save config”. If you choose "Quick restart" at the program start, the configuration file quickstart.cfg is read instead of vuscwin.cfg. This file contains the current configuration of the running VUSC including the open contest, network connections, displayed bands, network messages, to-do list, rotators etc. to renew the latest state. This option is usually used during the contest if you need to restart the PC, after Windows crash or similar problem. When configuring the TRXs, rotators and keying you can use the option "Contest->Config->Display technical parameters" for better overview of used ports and other technical parameters.

In rare cases the program may crash after the start. A bug in the sound card driver was identified as a most common reason. The driver crashes when a DirectX function is called. In such a case start the program from a command line "Start->Run" with the argument nosnd:

vusc.exe nosnd

or modify the program shortcut as follows:


It switches off the sound card entirely.
The sound card functionality (SSB CQ call, CW monitor and audio recording) is disabled, but the CW keying functionality is retained.

There may be the DLPortIO driver already installed on some installations of Windows 8 and 10 (typically on those upgraded from previous versions and on 64bit systems) for VUSC or another application. This may cause VUSC to crash when starting as VUSC is a 32bit application which does not comply with the 64bit DLPortIO.dll. You can either uninstall the DLPortIO driver from the Windows (if you don't need it for any other application) by renaming or deleting the file DLPortIO.dll in the Windows system directory or starting VUSC with the parameter nodlp in the same way as with nosnd.

6. Contest operation

The program VUSC has primarily been designed for on-line usage by the operator during the contest. To open a new contest, choose the menu item “Contest->New” and enter the contest name, contest (evaluation) type, own locator and callsign. There are following supported contest (evaluation) types:

- Distances

- Locators w/o multipliers

- Locators with multipliers

- Czech Activity

- Nordic Activity

- AEGAN Contest

- AGCW Contest

- Tesla Memorial

- Dutch Activity

-
MOON Contest

You can also open an existing contest file with “Contest->Open”. Following file formats can be read: VUSC specific format (extension ".dix"), EDI format (".edi") or a crash recovery file (".bin"). These file types can also be merged with an open contest using the option "Contest->Add".
In this way you can merge logs from different bands if the PCs were not connected by the network. A text file ("*.txt") can also be added to an open contest. The text line format must look as follows:

<YYMMDD> <HHMM> <Call> <RST> <QSO number> <Received RS(T)> <Received number> <Locator>

Field delimiters are any number of spaces and/or tabulator
s. CAUTION when adding a file! If there are QSOs with the same number on the same band in the file they will be overwritten in the log!

The old *.DIX files from the MS-DOS VUSC version higher then 4.03 can be opened, but they are automatically converted to the new Windows format when saved and can not be used by the MS-DOS version any more.

When starting a new contest choose the right contest type (evaluation) from the list. If the contest type is of the "Locators w or w/o multipliers" you can redefine the points for the locators by using your own locator pattern file. Check the file QRBPAT.DAT (evaluation of the Czech activity contest) as an example.

The contest data are secured, so they don’t get lost even if the program and/or computer crash
es for any reason. Only the last QSO currently being entered may get lost. In such a case either use the option "Quick restart" or open the relevant contest file with the extension “.bin”. If a ".bin" file with the same name exists in the same directory when opening a ".dix" file (i.e. the program was not correctly closed) a warning message is issued and you can decide if you want to read the original file or the crash recovery copy containing the most recent state. This also applies for the quick restart. Before any major change in the log (for instance adding another contest into the open log, saving a contest etc.) a copy of the ".bin" file is saved in the contest directory. Last five copies are retained. In addition you can write backup copies (for instance on a flash disk) at any time during the contest by using the "Save as" menu option or program automatic periodical backup copy in the menu "Options->VUSC".

The program is designed for the direct use
by the operator in the contest; no paper log is needed. It has a classic log form. It means that the QSOs are entered as they have been made in time. There are usual fields like time, call, QSO number, report, received code and locator. The field MP indicates a multiplier, RM a remark to the QSO and M indicates the mode. All fields (including the QSO number) can be changed at any time also in previous records (the same approach as in the CT contest log from K1EA). Only be careful when manipulating QSO numbers because the other stations have them already in their logs. Also avoid putting higher QSO number before the lower one or entering two or more QSOs with the same number as it can overwrite existing QSOs on other PCs if they are connected over the network. In the MOON Contest where the QTH name is a part of the exchange the remark window automatically pops up with the # (hash) as the first character after hitting <ENTER>. This indicates that the text is the QTH name instead of the remark. You can use CTRL/N as for the normal QSO remark any time if you need to reopen and change the QTH name, but don't delete the hash character at the beginning in order not to lose the extra points.

Normally you move over the input fields using SPACE or TAB key. For changing the other fields, click on them with mouse. Another option is to invoke a special typeahead window ("Options->Typeahead"). The
data can be typed there in any order and entered with the RETURN key similarly as in the programs TACLog or Atalanta. The program automatically distinguishes the data type, which is also indicated in the lower part of the typeahead window. If the automatically determined type does not fit it can be changed by using the SPACE key.

After bad experiences with too restrictive input data checks, the program allows enter
ing double and/or incomplete QSOs. All data can be changed at any time and all changes are immediately reflected in the entire log and also updated on other computers (nodes) in the network if it's used. For faster data entering it is possible to omit the callsign prefix and report 59(9). Also the first two letters of a locator if omitted are automatically extended, first according to the callsign prefix, then (if the prefix is not found) according to boundaries of one big WW locator (i.e. the locator defined by the first two letters) around your own QTH. There are following parameters in the “Options->VUSC” for this:

“North-South default border” and “East-West default border"
- big WW locator extension boundaries
"Default prefix" - callsign extension.
"Length to expand the QSO #" - the number of characters from which the report and QSO number are expanded.

To avoid unintentional data change (especially by inexperienced operators when working in the network) you can lock the entered QSO. In such case a confirmation of the warning message is needed to log the change.

If not entered manually the current UTC time is automatically supplied for the QSO provided the time and time zone are properly set in Windows. Check the "Date and time" setting in the Windows "Control panel". If you work in the network the clock must be synchronized on all PCs. It’s absolutely necessary to synchronize time on all nodes in the network using "Network->Band to synchronize" before entering any QSO. Otherwise the data may be lost or damaged! See the chapter on the network operation for details.

If you enter the QSOs from your paper log after the contest you have to enter the QSO time explicitly
in the format HHMM. If the hour does not change you can enter only the minute. After entering the QSOs you have to set the right contest date and eventually time shift using "Edit->Time shift"

When entering a call and locator the program checks the current contest for dupes and entries from other bands and two databases with the callsigns, locators and bands from previous contests as you type. The results are displayed in the windows "Current Contest Check" and "Database Check" respectively. The first database is the callsign/locator database. There are three possible database checks. The callsign check for locators (F9); the callsign must be completely entered except for /P, /A and similar extensions. A list of all locators from the previous contests for this callsign is displayed. The locator check for callsigns(F10); the locator must be entered completely. A list of all calls worked from this locator is displayed. The “super check” (F11) searches for records containing partials of callsigns and locators. You can set which of the three checks is performed by default when entering callsign/locator by using "Options->VUSC->Default database check". Normally you should use "Super Check" for checking the partials. However, on less performant PCs you may experience some delay when entering the callsign/locator especially with large database. In this case set the default option to "Call Check", which is faster and requires less system resources. The last option "Locator check" may be used for analysis after the contest. The first number at the displayed database record shows the number of occurrences of the combination call/locator in previous contests, the second number is the azimuth from the current QTH as soon as it is known after opening an existing contest or creating a new one. If you have activated the ON4KST chat the records with callsign and locator of the logged on users appear also in the database window with the special label KST instead of the number of previous occurrences (see the chapter about the packet and DX cluster below). The call and locator in the database window can be copied into the log by double clicking on the relevant line. If the callsign is found in the KST chat the relevant locator is copied directly in the log.

For quick filtering of calls when checking an
incomplete received call/locator you can use meta characters "*" and ".". The "*" matches a string of any characters, the "." matches just one character. For example:
If a string DL.KN is entered, all callsigns of set DL1KN, DL2KN ... DL0KN with their locators and bands are displayed in the "Current contest check"
and "Database check" windows. Similarly if you enter *KN all callsigns ending with KN are displayed. The same rules apply for locators. When you return to the field with the incomplete call/locator with the meta character the cursor is placed on it.

The second database contains the information about the bands on which the particular callsign has been worked with. Its results appear in the "Current Contest Check" window in blue under the header "QRV on:". The information can be used especially for negotiating skeds on the other bands.

Apparently wrong database records in the locator database (for instance if a locator differs only in one letter against the currently received locator) can be marked and
lately removed from the database by clicking on it and deleting with DEL key or by choosing "Delete" from the menu in the "Database check" window. The records are permanently deleted from the database only if you respond “Yes” to the question "Do you want to permanently remove deleted records from the database?" when terminating the program. See the chapter 8. on database maintenance.

For general overview different types of statistics including the direction map
are available in the menu "Statistic" of the window "Statistics". There are QSO and point time statistics, azimuth/locator overview as well as direction map for each band. The window size and position change automatically according to the selected statistic so the map or graphs are correctly displayed, but it also can be changed with the mouse as needed.

To enter and edit the QSOs use following keys:

Arrows UP, DOWN - move over the records.

Arrows LEFT, RIGHT - move inside of the field.

SPACE - move to the next field right

TAB - move to the next field left

Home - move cursor to the begin of a field

End - move cursor to the end of a field

Page Up - list of one page up

Page Dn - list of one page down

INS - toggle insert/overwrite mode

CTRL/Page Up - jump to the begin of the log

CTRL/Page Dn - jump to the end of the log

Delete - delete character under the cursor

Backspace - delete character left from the cursor

CTRL/W, F12, ALT/W - wipe out a not finished QSO

CTRL/N – enter a remark to a QSO, it's indicated in the column RM of the main window

Return, Enter – Save a new QSO or confirmation of changes of an existing QSO, without the confirmation no change is made and the old data are restored.

CTRL/Return - same as Return, but in addition a window for entering the band and frequency for a sked appears and a message is sent to another node in the network according to the chosen band.

Right click on a QSO – Context menu with the most frequent QSO operations


Function keys:

F1-F8 CW/SSB memories (see below)


ALT/F1-F8 CW/SSB memories with repeating (see below)

F9 - locators database check for a call

F10 - calls database check for a locator

F11 - super check partials of calls and locators

F12 – wipe out current line


General control keys:


ALT/A - database window


ALT/B – band selective display


ALT/C - packet window


ALT/D - band down

ALT/E - send sked

ALT/F – find a call

ALT/G – create log

ALT/H - help

ALT/I - QSO context menu (the same as the right click on a QSO)


ALT/J - to do window

ALT/K -
Airscout check


ALT/L – switch to the message window in network mode (see below)

ALT/M – mode change CW/SSB

ALT/N – send CW from keyboard

ALT/O – open a contest

ALT/P - not used

ALT/Q - quit the program without saving any file. All data entered/changed since the program start is lost. Only  a copy of the work file (*.bin) is saved in the directory of the same name as the contest for security reasons.


ALT/R – log recalculation

ALT/S –
save log

ALT/T - time shift and/or system time set up. It serves for correction if time was wrong set at the contest start.

ALT/U - band up

ALT/V - statistics window

ALT/W – wipe out a not finished QSO


ALT/X - program exit with saving of the contest file and configuration changes (file vuscwin.cfg).

ALT/Y - not used

ALT/Z - band map window

ALT/- - CW speed down

ALT/= - CW speed up

ESC - return to the main window


Sound recording control:

CTRL/R – record

CTRL/S – stop record/playback

CTRL/P – pause record/playback

CTRL/B – back (playback)

CTRL/E – forward (playback)


Rotator control:

CTRL/< - turn left

CTRL/> - turn right

CTRL/space - stop

CTRL/? – turn to the azimuth of the current QSO (if valid)


The mouse click at the edge of the position indicator turns the rotator to that azimuth

The technical parameter setting (ports, packet, connector pins, sound card etc.) is described in the relevant chapters below.

7. Contest evaluation - log creation

If the network was not used during the contest it is better to merge the logs from all bands (PCs) into one DIX file with the “Contest->Add” function, although the separate evaluation on every PC is possible, too. You start the evaluation of the relevant band from the menu option “Create Log”. In the following dialog choose the band and fill out the header page.

All header data for each band are stored in the file OWNH.BIN, so you don't need to repeat the constant data as first operator's name, QTH etc. By editing of files VUS.HDR (evaluation by distances), VUS2.HDR
(evaluation by locator and multipliers), VUS3.HDR (Nordic activity contest) and QSLTEM.HDR you can change the format of header page and QSL label. In the file QSLTEM.HDR the strings in the format @n@@# are placeholders for the QSO data. You can change their order and/or layout on the QSL label or even omit them. On the other hand the item length can not be changed except of the contest name. The numbers denote the QSO items as follows:

1 - contest name
2 - own
callsign
3 - own locator
4 - call
5 – date
6 - time
7 – band
8 - own RS(T) and contest number
9 – mode
10 – power
11 - antenna

In the files VUS.HDR, VUS2.HDR and VUS3.HDR it is only possible to change their layout. The strings @@@@@ are used as placeholders for the variable header page data.

The following files are created after the evaluation for every band:

· contest log from a band to print (*.log)

· sorted list of calls with their contest numbers (*.sum)

· contest log in the EDI format for electronic exchange (*.edi)

· contest log in the EDI format for electronic exchange (*.edi), named according to the general contest rules.

· sorted list of calls with their locators used for the database update (*.ldb)

· file with the QSL labels to print (*.qsl
)

· ADIF format file for QSL upload and other purposes (*.adi)
(if the option is selected)


· file containing the QSO with remarks (*.rem)


All files except the EDI file named according to the general VHF/UHF contest rules are stored in the separate contest subdirectory. The first two files (*.log and *.sum) can be printed; the EDI-files are for the electronic data exchange (e-mail, web upload etc.). The *.ldb file contains data for the database update (see below).


The next two files
(*.qsl and *adi) deal with QSL. The first one contains labels for QSL to print, the other one is for the electronic QSL exchange (ADIF) via http://www.eqsl.cc/qslcard, LoTW or similar servers or eventually for import into other programs. The program does not print the files directly, due to the very wide spectrum of printer types with various formatting options. The files contain only the ASCII data in pages separated by <FF>. For printing it is recommended to load the file into any word processor/editor (for example MS-WordPad) and format the output according to your needs. In the worst case the files can be printed using the command in the command prompt (cmd.exe) window:

print /D:<printer name> filename

8. Database maintenance

As mentioned before there are two databases callsign/locators and callsign/bands. Users can build up their own databases from the previous contests. Sample databases containing about 500 records are provided with the program. For a routine database update after the contest reply "Yes" to the question "Do you want to update the databases?" at the end of the
band evaluation run. The information about callsigns, locators and band from the currently evaluated contest and band are entered into both databases then. Every time a new contest and band is evaluated the occurrence counters of the combinations call/locator are bounced. The contest name is entered in the file CONLIST.TXT then to avoid double processing of the same contest and band. As mentioned before if you identify an invalid record in the database during the contest you can mark it with the <DEL> key in the "Database check" window (see above the chapter 6). They will be removed after confirmation at the program exit.

The primary database files are VUS_BASE.ASC and
VUS_BAND.ASC. The files are in ASCII format and can be edited with any text editor (Notepad, WordPad, etc.). You can fix errors like cancelled prefixes, typo errors etc. The file CONLIST.TXT can be edited as well for eventual reevaluation of a contest. Before updating databases the old database is saved in the files VUS_BASE.OLD and VUS_BAND.OLD. If any error occurs you can renew the previous state by renaming them back to VUS_BASE.ASC and VUS_BAND.ASC.

As described above the database is updated normally when evaluating (creating the log) a band. If you decide not to update at this point (not recommended) you can do it later by using "Contest->Database->Add file". In the following dialog window select the file <contest name>.ldb (the sorted file with the calls and locators created during the evaluation of the particular contest and band stored in the contest subdirectory) and open it. The same method can be used to include information into the locator database from other sources or even to merge two VUSC locator databases.

 
The file must have following format:<callsign><separator><locator><separator><number of QSOs><separator><any contents>

The separator is any number of spaces or tabs. If the number of QSOs is not present it defaults to 1. After manual editing the locator database file or contest evaluation you can read the new database into memory using "Contest->Database->Check and load". The database is checked sorted and read in. The same procedure is also done when starting VUSC normally (not with quick restart). This applies only for the locator database, the band database is updated only after the evaluation of the relevant band.

If the locator database file is not found or the check at the program start detects errors an error message is issued and the default database file VUS_BASE_DEF.ASC is opened. Check eventually edit the database files manually in this case.

If you upgraded VUSC from the previous version without the band database you can fill it using following procedure:

1. Backup the files VUS_BASE.ASC and CONLIST.TXT into a separate directory.

2. Delete the file CONLIST.TXT from the VUSC directory.

3. Start VUSC and open and evaluate the contests
on the relevant bands (i.e. create logs) from which you want to update the band database.

4. Delete the files VUS_BASE.ASC and CONLIST.TXT from the VUSC directory.

5. Copy VUS_BASE.ASC and CONLIST.TXT from the backup back into the VUSC directory.

If you used older VUSC version note that the database maintenance changed significantly since the version 6.34. The utilities tr.exe, usort.exe and dbase.bat are not used any more and can be deleted from the installation.

9. QSL maintenance

The evaluation program supports also printing of QSL and a small database of the QSO for which the QSL has been sent. There are several processing options:

No QSL – no QSL are created.

All QSL - QSL for all QSOs of a band are created.

New QSL - only QSL for the new QSOs (which are not in the database yet) are created.

Update QSL Database – if checked, the QSOs are written into the QSL database.

A QSO is considered to be new if the callsign is new and/or the band and/or the locator. Database ASCII file (QSL_BASE.ASC) is sorted by the callsigns and bands and it can be edited by any text editor (Notepad, WordPad) in order to correct mistakes. If you insert a line you have to regard the right sorting. Unlike the locator database this one is updated automatically during the program run. The file QSL_BASE.DAT is only a work file without any other meaning. As mentioned above the ADIF file (extension *.adi) is to upload to http://www.eqsl.cc/qslcard , LoTW or for other purposes
like data import into other programs. If you only need the complete ADIF file from a band without QSL database update choose "All QSL" and do NOT check the box "Update QSL database".

10. CW/SSB control

The program VUSC supports direct CW keying and elbug paddle connected to the serial
COM or parallel LPT port as well as the SSB modulation of the TRX and sound recording. The circuits and the default pin-out are described in the Appendix below. The keying and audio parameters are set for every band separately and can be switched automatically with the TRX (see also the chapter 13 on TRX control). Only one keying/audio interface can be active at a time, though.

The CW/PTT ports, pin-outs and audio interfaces can be changed in "CW/SSB/Cluster/Chat->Setting CW/SSB". You can use the same port for the keying and the paddle. Note that if the paddle is connected to the COM port there's voltage between the cable shielding (i.e. also paddle body) and the PC ground. Therefore you should avoid direct galvanic contact of the paddle body with the TRX or PC ground. Normally leave the check box "Virtual Ports" checked so both physical and emulated COM ports (USB Adapter) work. Uncheck this only on old slow PCs with physical COM ports if you experience problems with the keying and/or paddle. Installation of the DLPortIO driver is needed in that case as described in the chapter 3.

The COM port used for CW/PTT can also be used for the CAT communication with TRX, but paddle can't be connected to the same port in this case (see also chapter 13 on TRX control).

The program also supports WinKey or MicroHam for CW keying. Set the relevant COM port for the communication under "Port key/Winkey" and check the boxes "Winkey" and "Virtual port".
Microham requires starting so called USB router before it can be used (see Microham documentation). For some unclear reason the USB router filters and changes some WinKey commands. Therefore the speed limits and PTT on/off times for the Winkey must be set identically in VUSC and in the USB router. Only then the speed can be controlled from VUSC as well as by the WinKey (MicroHam) potentiometer.

The audio interfaces for SSB modulation and sound recording can also be set independently for each band in the "CW/SSB/Cluster/Chat->Setting CW/SSB" the same way as CW/PTT ports. All audio interfaces must be available before VUSC start. If you use a detachable USB sound card (typically with Microham) Windows may change the order of the interfaces in the system so the setting will no longer match. Therefore you should always check the setting if the audio card configuration changes. All settings are stored in the configuration file keyer.cfg. For compatibility reasons the settings for 2m band are also stored in the files vuscwin.cfg and quickstart.cfg.

There are 8 CW/SSB memories, which can be programmed and used for the automatic keying or modulation. The memories can be maintained with "CW/SSB/Cluster/Chat->Program CW" or "CW/SSB/Cluster/Chat->Program SSB". They are also stored in the configuration files vuscwin.cfg and quickstart.cfg, so they are permanently available. For the TRX SSB modulation (usually CQ) you have to prepare the WAV files by using the Sound Recorder in Windows or similar program. The recommended setting is 16 bit, 44kHz sample rate, stereo. Windows 10 sound recorder does not support the wav file format, but you can use the program sndrec32.exe from Windows XP. Copy the executable from the directory C:\WINDOWS\system32 of Windows XP
or get it from the Internet. Copy it into a suitable directory on Windows 10 and set the compatibility mode as follows:





For CW memory programing there are following symbols :

$O - own callsign

$C – callsign of the current QSO

$L - own locator

$R -
RST of the current QSO

$Q -
RST with short nines

$P - RST played at double speed

$N - contest number of the current QSO

$M - contest number with short
leading zeros

$K - contest number with zeros as the letter O

$<1-8> – memory content under the keys F1-F8


In addition to the standard CW characters there are also following composite characters:

+ - AR

\ - correction

) - BK

( - KN

% - AS

* - SK


When programing the CW memories you have to pay attention not to create a loop by putting a memory symbol ($<number>) into the same memory or indirectly through another memory. The program would work, but after stack exhausting the keying would be automatically stopped. For every memory a button label can be also defined to identify the assigned memories.

The CW keying is possible only in the CW mode
and the speed can be changed from 6 WPM to 60 WPM by using the slide bar in the "CW/SSB/Recorder control" window or shortcuts. The keying can be done either directly from the keyboard in the window "CW/SSB/Recorder control" or with the paddle. You can enter all symbol variables as well. You can enter the characters in advance. The characters which have not been sent yet can be cancelled with <Backspace> key. The predefined memories can be sent repeatedly by multiple hitting the relevant key (F1-F8). Sending can always be interrupted by hitting ESC (the cursor must be in the main VUSC log window), by touching the paddle or clicking on the button "Stop" in the "CW/SSB/Recorder control" window. The CW or SSB memory can also be sent in the repeat and pause mode. Set the parameters in the "CW/SSB/Recorder Control" window, choose the memory to repeat and click "Start". Clicking the button "Stop" , hitting ESC or touching the paddle terminates the keying. The following shortcuts can be used:

F1-F8 - memory send

ALT/F1-F8 send CW/SSB memory with repeating
according to the parameters set in the "CW/SSB/Recorder control".

ALT/= - increase the speed by 1 WPM

ALT/- - decrease the speed by 1 WPM

ESC – interrupt and return to the main window

ALT/N – direct CW input from the keyboard

 The shortcut keys <ALT>/F1-F8 play the relevant memory with repeating using the current parameters.

The headphone output of the sound card is the best choice for the TRX modulation.
You have to set the optimal modulation level by the volume control in Windows or with a resistor trimmer. Of course a shielded cable is necessary for the audio connection. It is also recommended to use a little audio transformer to galvanically separate the PC and TRX grounds.

11. Network operation

The network enables the communication of connected computers, sending QSOs, skeds, synchronization, sending messages, packet sharing etc. A connected computer is called network node.

After opening a contest a node can (but does not need to) be logged on (assigned to) one or more bands. The band(s) for a particular node can be entered by "Network->Own band". The network is then automatically enabled for this node and the skeds scheduled on other bands and messages can be sent to this node (see below). The assignment of bands to nodes is displayed in the window "Nodes". Only one node can be logged on a specific band, but one node can be logged on more bands. The assignment is valid until a new node logs on the same band. For logged on nodes their IP addresses are displayed. The bands which are not assigned to a node are marked with 0.0.0.0. Automatic network search for on-line nodes is performed when the program is started or a new band is assigned. The same check is made always when the node list is refreshed by clicking the button "Network ping"
. "A" (active) next to the IP address means an on-line node, "O" (own) means own band. The program also automatically checks the network connections every 20 seconds and updates their status (network heartbeat).

The network is in “
disabled” state after the program start. It means just limited network functions are enabled. This avoids the receiving the QSOs from other nodes and other log related operations before a contest file is open when for example a node has been connected later during the contest, the node had to be restarted etc. The full network functionality is enabled by unchecking the "Network->Disable" menu item or logging (assigning) the node on a band. Do it only when a contest is open on the local node and synchronization (see below) has been made. Failure to do so may lead to data lost or damage. For security reasons the contest file name must be the same on all nodes in order to avoid operator mistake and overwriting the contest log by the data from another contest. A new or changed QSO on any node is sent automatically to all other nodes in the network after entering it by RETURN key no matter if the node is logged on a band or not. Receiving QSO records from other nodes  can be stopped at any time by checking the menu item "Network->Disable".

If a node is logged on a band skeds can be sent to this node on this band from another node (band)
by using "Send->sked" in the menu or with shortcut ALT/E or using CTRL/ENTER when confirming a complete QSO. They are displayed in the "To Do" window. By double clicking on an item in the "To Do" list the QSO is copied into the current line in the log. The skeds which could not be made can be deleted from the "To Do" window by selecting and pressing the DEL key. For relaying information among the bands a text message can be sent either to a specific node or to all nodes in the network by using ALT/L or by clicking into the input box of the window "Network Message". Only nodes logged on a band can be chosen as a specific message target.

If any information from other nodes gets lost during the operation (for example computer crash, network connection interrupt, later connection to the network etc.) you can synchronize the local log with a log of another node using "Network->Band to synchronize". At first the system time and zone setting is transferred. Then you can choose either the transfer of the complete log from the node or just the selected band. A message with the number of QSOs to transfer is displayed at the transfer beginning and the message "Synchronization complete, nnn QSOs transferred" indicates the successful completion. Use the synchronization also when an inconsistence in QSO numbering on the network is detected. If any problem occurs during the synchronization, the synchronization is automatically interrupted after 5 second time out. The broken synchronization can also be reset by disabling and re-enabling the network ("Network->Disable").

The program also detects inconsistencies and differences in the contest numbers. If the difference is not too big that synchronization would impact the source node operation it is performed automatically. CAUTION! All QSOs with the same number on the same band on the local node are overwritten by the data from the network node.

If a new QSO is inserted/changed from a node which is not logged on the relevant band a confirmation is required, because it can cause double numbering on this band. The same confirmation is needed if a band is overtaken by another node.

When running secondary nodes (for example a second search and pound working place in the VHF contest) on one band use the button "Book #" for requesting a contest number from the node which is logged on the relevant band in order to avoid QSO double
numbering. The number is booked with regard to the current state at the primary (usually run) node. If the operator on the primary node entered a call and moved to the next input field, the QSO number is blocked for this QSO and the other operator at search and pound node will get the next available number.

12. Network – installation and configuration

VUSC utilizes the TCP/IP network protocol. You have to configure it in Windows before the operation. If there’s a DHCP server in the local network you don’t need to do any other configuration except checking the firewall setting (see below). If not, you have to set fix IP addresses for every node. Choose the network TCP/IP protocol configuration of the relevant network interface in the
Windows Control Panel and set the IP addresses. Use the address range 192.168.x.x, network mask 255.255.255.0 or any other general recommended range for local networks. Do NOT use the automatically Windows set local IP addresses (usually from the range 162.254.x.x, mask 255.255.0.0). In Windows XP SP3, 7, 8 and 10 you can take advantage of setting the fix IP address as an alternative TCP/IP setting so it's automatically used when no DHCP is active in the local network. Check your setting by command ipconfig in the Windows command prompt window (cmd) and also check the connection between the nodes with the ping command. CAUTION! If you’re using firewall on the individual nodes, make sure that the VUSC port number (default 5068) is enabled for TCP and UDP packets in both directions for VUSC application and also broadcast packets are allowed. Free versions of some firewall software (for example Sygate Personal Firewall) don’t support allowing broadcast packets for a single application. In this case it’s better to switch off the firewall. If this is not possible for security reasons you can check the option "No broadcast" on ALL nodes and enter the IP addresses for individual bands manually in VUSC with "Network->Setting" as for external nodes (see below).

If there are more network interfaces installed on your PC (
Ethernet card, WiFi, modem etc.) VUSC picks up the first suitable interface. You can change it in the network configuration of VUSC ("Network->Setting"). The network is re-initialized in this case, i.e. the network is disabled and you have to log on the node on the relevant band(s) again. The same applies if you change the VUSC port. If you're changing the VUSC port choose the value greater than 1024.

The communication with nodes connected to non-local network (for example Internet) is possible, but you have to enter individual network addresses and ports in the field "External address" as the broadcast packets are transferred only in the local network. If a node in a non-local network is behind the router define either a port trigger or a fix port routing rule on the router to forward the packets for the VUSC port to the relevant IP address where VUSC is running. If there are more nodes behind the router you have to use different port numbers for every node. You also have to check the option "No broadcast" on ALL nodes. CAUTION! You can assign a band only to ONE node no matter if local or external! There are two kind of external nodes assigned to a band or not assigned. The assigned ones can also be seen in the window "Nodes". Their IP address is valid until another nodes logs on that band or is changed in the "External address" setting. If a band should be unassigned without assigning to another external node enter the address 0.0.0.0. External nodes not assigned to any band can be removed from the list by choosing "Remove".

13. TRX control and band switch

VUSC supports control
(CAT) of certain TRX types over the serial interface. Most of the ICOM types (with the CI-V protocol) and KENWOOD types are supported. Also Elecraft K3 is supported as it's using the KENWOOD protocol. Since every YAESU model has different CAT protocol, only FT1000MP, FT847/817, FT897D/857D, FT991 and FT736R are currently supported. First you have to connect the serial ports with the proper cable (the cable type can differ for various TRX types - straight, null modem or USB cable in case the TRX emulates the COM port; check the TRX manual). One COM port can be used for both CAT and CW/PTT keying provided that the TRX does not require signals RTS and DTR for communication handshake. The paddle can't be connected to this port, though. On some ICOM TRXs you also need to check if the item 38 (CI-V Transceive) is set to OFF in the setting menu and find out the right ICOM address (identification number) of the individual model (see the TRX documentation).

The CAT parameters can be set individually for each VHF/UHF/SHF band in the menu "TRX/Band switch->Setting" so that more TRXs can be connected to the PC and automatically switched with the band. One TRX can be used for more bands (typically with more microwave transverters), but at most one TRX can be defined for each band. On each band you can set the TRX type, COM port communication parameters and frequency offset to compensate possible frequency shift on transverter. If the TRX type is set to NONE no CAT communication is activated for the band. If you check the box "Change mode on TRX" the mode change on TRX will change the mode in the log. Normally leave the box "Transverter" checked, so VUSC can "learn" the bands and frequencies for connected transverters (see below). It's especially important when working in the network on more bands and transverters are used so the other operators can see the right QRG for eventual skeds. In order to see the QRG and mode in the window "Nodes" you have to activate the network and assign the relevant band(s) to the PC even if the network may otherwise not be used.

To activate CAT control on the current band choose "TRX/Band switch->Start". When the current band changes the relevant TRX is automatically switched and activated together with the CW/PTT and audio interfaces. After activating the operating frequency and mode are displayed in the window "Nodes" at the relevant band(s). This information is also sent to other nodes on the network and displayed in the "Band map" window. With double click or RETURN on a spot detail in the band map the band is automatically changed and relevant TRX activated if needed and the TRX is tuned then to the spot QRG. To change any setting you have to stop the CAT connection first using "TRX/Band switch->Stop". To ensure the right tuning of the TRX when working with transverters switch all relevant bands and set the right band and frequency to "learn" the program. VUSC stores the TRX band and frequency for each VHF/UHF/SHF band and uses them when switching.

The band switch
The band switch works on the LPT or COM port
which can be set also in the menu "TRX/Band switch->Setting". The band number is coded on the upper four data pins (6-9) on LPT port. On COM port the bands are coded as bytes starting with value 1 for 2m band, 2 for 70cm etc sent to a controller. The COM parameters are fix: 8 bits, no parity, one stop bit, rate 9600. The switching occurs automatically with the band change. Unlike the rotator LPT port the band switch LPT port can be shared with CW/PTT keying.

14. Packet radio, DX cluster, ON4KST chat and posting results to SloVHF web

The packet radio operation is supported for modems as of TNC2 standard (currently TNC5+) and for the Internet servers using telnet protocol. For the modem connection to the COM port, use the standard null-modem cable (see the modem documentation). The communication parameters (port, speed etc.) can be set in "CW/SSB/Cluster/Chat->Packet/Chat Setting". The communication with the modem works only in the terminal mode
(see below). The parameters are stored in the configuration file vuscwin.cfg. To connect to a modem (or a telnet server) use the menu "Packet->Connect/Disconnect" in the Packet window.

For telnet servers an IP address or a server name and the port number must be set. The most used servers with their parameters are preset in the program and can be selected from the list.
You can find other servers on the web page http://www.iw5edi.com/ham-radio/?dx-cluster-telnet-links,65 . Some known servers are also pre-defined in the program.

If the local network is active the computer with the
TNC packet connection can work as a packet server for those computers on the network on which the option "Packet Remote" has been chosen. Check the option "Packet->server" in the menu of the packet window. The packet server IP address is then also displayed in the network "Nodes" window. The current packet configuration is displayed in the title of the packet window.

Commands for the packet server as well as the TNC control commands are entered in the lower line of the "Cluster/Chat" window. The communication with the TNC modem runs in the terminal mode. It may be needed to set some TNC parameters (which dedicated packet programs set automatically) manually, especially own callsign (TNC command I), modulation delay (TNC command T), channel select (TNC command S) etc. The TNC commands (escape sequences) are entered beginning with the * (star) character. See the modem documentation for details.

For better overview the DX spots from the packet are gathered into the "Band map" window. Four lists are maintained for 2m, 70cm, 23cm and microwave bands. You can select them in the menu "Band". The new spots are displayed in blue, the spots with already made callsigns
are black. By checking the item "Band->Filter Made" these spots can be filtered out. For microwave bands a bit mask in hexadecimal format can be entered in the dialog “Options->VUSC”. The mask determines the relevant microwave bands of the current contest on which a QSO must be made for a spot to be considered as made. The bits correspond to the bands from the least relevant one. For example 68 (hexadecimal) means 13cm, 6cm and 3cm bands, 78 means 13cm, 9cm, 6cm a 3cm, E8 means 23cm, 6cm, 3cm a 24GHz etc. The spot is considered to be completed if a QSO is made on all selected band. With the "Band->Wipe" the whole map of a particular band can be cleared. In the menu "CW/SSB/Cluster/Chat->Packet/Chat Setting" time out can be set after which the items are removed from the list. If you need complete information of a spot click on the entry in the list for displaying of the spot detail. Double click on the detail copies the callsign in the log.

Besides the normal DX cluster nodes it is also possible to connect to the ON4KST chat using the telnet connection. You have to have an user account on ON4KST chat. Get the user registration on the www.on4kst.com web site. Fill the username (usually your callsign) in "CW/SSB/Cluster/Chat->Packet/Chat Setting" and select the server info.on4kst.com. Select "Cluster/Chat->Connect" in the Cluster/Chat window, enter the password and the chat number as the ON4KST server prompts. CAUTION! The following parameters must be set for the username on the ON4KST server to get the DX spots and messages.

/set dxclx
/set here
/set ann
/set qra <own locator>
/set na <your name>

Optionally you can filter incoming DX spots by bands by setting
/set qrg  <bands>     the bands can be: 50 70 144 432 GHZ, there may be more bands separated by spaces

For the complete list of commands and options use the command
/
h

The DX cluster spots
from ON4KST work as usual and come into the relevant lists in the "Band map" window. If you need to refresh the spot lists use the command "/sh dx 100". The chat traffic is displayed in the communication window. The chat messages are basically displayed in black. The messages directed to you (i.e. containing your user account name in parenthesis) are red similarly as in the web chat. Other lines containing your user account name (mostly the ones you entered) are blue. For direct message to a station use the command /cq <callsign>. This command sequence is also generated if you double click on a callsign in the chat communication window. If you hold the CTRL key, the callsign is also copied in the log.

Besides the DX spots the program also gathers the callsigns and locators from the logged on users and displays them in the the "Band map" window (menu "Spots->ON4KST users"). According to the current selected band the already made callsigns are displayed in black, the new ones in blue. A single click on an item in the user list displays the details. Double click on the detail enters the callsign and locator in the log the same way as for a normal DX spot. Double click on the line in the list (out of the detail) enters /cq with the callsign in the packet/chat communication line so a direct message can be typed and sent to the station. The same with the CTRL key does both (/cq and log entry). The callsigns with locators from the user list are also displayed in the "Database Check" window with the special label KST instead of the number of QSOs (see the chapter 6.). Be careful when using it, though, as a station may be logged on with an incorrect locator. The ON4KST user list is refreshed automatically every 20 minutes or directly using the command "/sh us" in the packet communication window.

As there are usually many incoming lines in the packet window during the contests, is it possible to define a filter to display only selected lines. The filter supports logical operations with individual strings. There are following operators:

~ - negation
& - logical AND
| - logical OR
[] - square brackets to build complex logical expressions (the square brackets are used, because the normal parenthesis may occur in the ON4KST entries.)

The rules of Boolean algebra apply in the evaluation i.e. if no brackets are used the operators are evaluated in the order: 1. negation, 2. AND, 3. OR.

Example:
You enter a string like this (without spaces): OK1DIX|[432&~DX]

The entries containing either the callsign OK1DIX or the number 432, but no DX are displayed in the packet window.

If a filter is defined you can switch between the filtered and unfiltered window using the "Toggle" button. The filtered window is indicated by bright yellow background.

There's also an option to post your current results to the web site www.slovhf.net. You need to get a username on https://slovhf.net/en/. Click on "Register" in the lower right corner and fill out the form as required. Enter the username in the "CW/SSB/Cluster/Chat->Setting cluster and chat" The data transfer is activated by entering the interval value larger then 5 minutes. You can see the status of the last data transfer here, too. The transfer is deactivated by default when a new contest is opened/created.



 Except of the regular interval the result is also transferred when the program is ended by "Contest->Save and Exit". If there's no point change against the previous interval no data is transferred from the relevant band. If the VUSC network is deactivated ("Network->Disable") data from all bands with non-zero result are transferred. If the network is active only the data from own bands are transferred. You can see the results at this link http://slovhf.net/en/claimed/. They can be deleted by using your registered username and password.

15. Communication with the program AirScout

VUSC supports communication with the Program AirScout by DL2ALF to employ the airplane reflection to make a QSO. The communication requires following settings:

- AirScout communication port (usually 9872)
-
AirScout server name (for instance AS)

The parameters must be set on both sides. In VUSC enter them in the menu "Network->Setting". In AirScout click on the button "Options" and select the tab "Network". After entering the parameters activate the AirScout server by checking the box "Activate Network Server". Then start the AirScout tracking by clicking on the green arrow below and minimize the window in order reduce the PC load by rendering the airplane map. To get the current list of flights suitable for a QSO a valid locator must be entered on the current line in VUSC. Request the list of flights by choosing "Network->AirScout request" or using the shortcut ALT/K. If the option "AirScout activate" is checked under "Options->VUSC", the list is also requested after pressing <SPACE> in the locator field. The list is displayed in the window "Current Contest Check". The individual entries are colored according to their reflection potential similarly as on the AirScout plane map. When requesting the AirScout information take into account that it can take a couple seconds till AirScout gathers and sends the information and it also can load your PC momentarily. So be careful about using this option too frequently.

AirScout can run either on the local PC or on a PC on the local network. In the latter case make sure that local firewalls are set to allow broadcast packets for the AirScout port 9872. See the chapter 12 for details on the network settings.

16. Sound recording

If you have troubles with receiving a DX station it may be useful to record the
audio signal for further examination. Choose the relevant signal source (microphone or line-in) in the sound mixer recording control in Windows. Double click or use right click on the little speaker in the Windows task bar to get the mixer control and go to the menu "Option->Properties->Recording" to get the recording controls and set the appropriate signal level so the recorded signal is not distorted. Use a shielded line to connect the TRX speaker with the microphone or line in input on your PC. A little transformer for galvanic separation is recommended. If your TRX has its own sound card or you want to use the sound chip from Microham choose the relevant audio interfaces for input/output in the "CW/SSB/Cluster/Chat->Setting". (see the chapter 10 for details).

The sound recorder controls are
Record, Playback, Back and Fast Forward. You can choose either the button controls or shortcuts mentioned above. The usage is similar to a normal tape recorder. The sound files *.wav are stored in the contest directory in the subdirectory sound. Their name consists of time stamps of the record start and end, record hour and minute and the callsign. The hour, minute and callsign is taken at the end of the recording from the current line in the log. Beside the normal controls confirming a QSO with <Enter> terminates the recording. If the box "Permanent recording" is checked in the "CW/SSB/Recorder control" window a new sound file is automatically started and the recording continues.

When the recording is running the seconds are counted in the main window. One minute represents about 1MB of the disk space. The files have the standard *.wav format and can be played by any Windows player and/or be further processed. Be careful when using the recorder in order not to overfill your hard disk with the sound files.

17. Rotator

The hardware
VUSC supports up to 10 rotators simultaneously. The maximum number can be set in "Options->VUSC".
All other settings are made in the menu "Rotator->Setting". The individual rotators are activated in the menu "Rotator->Rotator" by their names (see below).

The rotator control is possible over COM
(also virtual), LPT or USB port. The COM port control supports Yaesu and SPID rotator standards (for more information see the relevant Yaesu/SPID documentation). You may experience some delay in the rotator position display when using the older SPID rotator controller. It's not an error, it is due to low communication speed supported by the SPID firmware, which, unfortunately, can't be changed.

The rotators connected with LPT or USB port are using a special VUSC protocol. They require a simple adapter either with a PIC or Arduino (see below), but it provides more options and features. The adapter schemes are in the appendix. There are two options of the USB connection. The older one with the PIC CY7C63001AFWP1 and newer one with Arduino UNO R3. Both have pros and cons. The adapter with the PIC has a bit less accuracy and works only on 32bit Windows (the PIC manufacturer does not deliver the driver for 64bit Windows), but you don't need to upload the firmware and the installation is simpler. The new Arduino adapter works on all Windows and it's smaller, but the installation is more complex as you have to upload the firmware.

A potentiometer or another sensor which delivers linearly proportional voltage
theoretically from 0 to 5V (practically about 0.1 to 4.9V) as position indicator is a general prerequisite for the USB or LPT adapter. The potentiometer value can be from about 200 ohms to about 30 kOhms. The higher potentiometer value increases the risk of interference voltage being induced in the connection wires when transmitting. The potentiometer can be fed either from a voltage or current source. The voltage source requires 3 wires for connection, but it works with any potentiometer value from 200 to 30000 ohms and the motor power supply can be galvanically separated from the adapter. The current source needs only 2 wires, but it must be adjusted to the individual potentiometer value and requires common ground of the motor power supply and the adapter. The output of the eventual external sensor is to be connected between the point C and the ground (see the scheme).

The
adapter for LPT and PIC is designed with the 8-bit ADC0804LCN converter which has sufficient precision for usual contest antennas. Normally 8-bit digital information comes to the LPT data signals D0 to D7 (pins 2-9), but the program is able to evaluate also 9th bit on the ACK signal (pin 10). You can use your own A/D converter with more bits for higher precision if you change the circuit accordingly. The adapter with Arduino utilizes the internal 10-bit A/D converter so the ADC0804LCN is not used (see the scheme).

There are PCB boards for all types of adapters. The PCB data are available in the files vusc_generic_new.brd and vusc_arduino.brd in Eagle format. The PCBs are double sided and silkscreened so the corresponding scheme can easily be identified. There are DIP switches for the switching between voltage and current source for the feedback potentiometer and jumpers for the connection of DC (for example Yaesu) or AC (for example Kenpro) rotators. If all jumpers are installed (connected) the DC power supply used for the adapter is also used for the rotator motor i.e. the power supply must be sized accordingly. If all the jumpers are disconnected the motor AC voltage has to be applied on the pins AC1 and AC2 and a synchronous capacitor must be connected between the pins RE1A and RE2B on the board. In this case the DC power supply is used only for the adapter and can be a small one (about 200mA).

CAUTION! Arduino must be fed only from an external power supply 7-12V either from a 7808 regulator connected to the DC power supply (see the scheme) or a separate small wall power supply. Do NOT use 5V from the PC USB connector as the voltage can vary with the computer type and/or load and thus impact the voltage reference of the Arduino internal A/D converter (i.e. the calibration of the feedback potentiometer). Use a special USB cable with the 5V line cut or disconnect it on the USB connector in the adapter.

Up to 3 rotator adapters can be connected to one Arduino. The red line in the scheme separates the parts of the adapter needed for Arduino. The following table shows the connection points marked in the scheme and on the PCB board to Arduino pins.

Arduino pin connection table
Point in the scheme Rotator A Rotator B Rotator C
G pin A0 pin A1 pin A2
P pin D4 pin D8 pin D10
Q pin D5 pin D9 pin D11
X pin D2 pin D6 pin D12
Y pin D3 pin D7 pin D13
AR pin 5V pin 5V pin 5V
GND pin GND pin GND pin GND

The pins marked as DIGITAL on the Arduino board are the D pins and the pins marked as ANALOG IN are the A pins in the table. Points P and Q for the manual control in the scheme are connected directly to Arduino and so they are not (unlike with the PIC adapter) on the adapter board.


Old USB adapter with PIC - installation and calibration
The programmed PIC circuit CY7C63001C-PXC (order Nr. CY7C63001PFW variant 1) is used for this adapter. CAUTION! The PIC adapter works only under 32-bit Windows as the MSUSB driver for 64-bit systems is not available.
The PIC can be ordered together with the Windows driver MBUSB at the company AK MODUL-BUS GmbH on the web page http://www.ak-modul-bus.de for about 15,- euros. Unfortunately the web page is only in German, but the ordering is simple. On the web page find the field "Suchbegriffe" (Search) and type CY7C63001C. You will see a couple of links, choose "Mikrocontroller CY7C63001C-PXC mit Firmware". On the next page check under the title "Bestellen" (Order) if the order number is CY7C63001PFW and choose "Port-Chip Variante 1" in the field below. Put the number of pieces into the field "Anzahl" (Number) and click on the button "In den Warenkorb" (In the cart). This puts your order into the cart. Click then on the icon Cart in the upper right corner and you'll get to the check out page in English. Major credit cards as well as PayPal are accepted. Download also the latest driver version from http://www.ak-modul-bus.de/cgi-bin/iboshop.cgi?show1200000510,254447591177330 or click on "Downloads" on the ordering page. Under the title "Treiber für den Mikrocontroller CYC63001 mit der Firmware Port-Chip Variante 1" or "Port-Chip Variante 2" click on "Details" and click "Download starten" on the next page. The archive zip-file contains files MBUSBprt.sys and MBUSBprt.inf.

Extract the
zip archive into a suitable directory. You can also use the driver supplied with the VUSC installation. On Windows XP the driver installation is done automatically when the PIC gets connected to the PC for the first time. Windows will find a new hardware and ask for a driver. Enter the directory with the extracted files and finish the installation. In Windows 7/8/10 the driver must be installed manually before connecting the PIC. Right click on the file MBUSBprt.inf and choose "Install".



It may take dozens of seconds till the USB communication is established when connecting the controller for the fist time.
The PIC behaves similarly as other USB devices (for instance flash memory). It can be connected and disconnected at any time while the PC is running. However, the interface must be connected before activating the rotator window in VUSC.

Set up procedure:
1. Check (in case of current source feeding of the feedback potentiometer adjust with its trimmer)
the maximum voltage at the point C (feedback potentiometer input) between 4.5 and 4.9 V. The maximum input voltage must not exceed 5V in any case, because it may destroy the A/D converter. Therefore there is the protection circuit with LM393N in the adapter.

2. Set the voltage at the point A about 0.1V lower then the minimum voltage at the point C
using the trimmer 820R. Then set the voltage at the point B about 0.1V higher than 50% of the maximum voltage at the point C using the trimmer 3k3.

3. Start the program and open the setting window by "Rotator->Setting". Choose the relevant rotator from the list in the upper left corner. Check the USB checkbox. You can also change the rotator name (default Rotator0, Rotator1 etc.) here according to your needs. Close the window by clicking OK.

4. Connect the adapter to an USB port and activate the relevant rotator in the menu "Rotator/Band switch->Rotator". Open again the setting window ("Rotator->Setting") and select the relevant rotator from the list in the upper left corner. Turn the antenna to both end switch positions and check if the counter value displayed in the "Potentiometer calibration" section is 258-268 and 500-510 respectively. If not adjust finely the trimmers 820R (low value) and 3k3 (high value) in the adapter.

5. Turn the rotator to the left end position, enter the azimuth value in the left field of "Range" and confirm with "Set". Turn the rotator to the right end position, enter the azimuth value in the right field of "Range" and confirm with "Set". When setting the values make sure that the indicator turns in the same direction as the rotator. The azimuth values must be positive and not overlapped. For example if the beginning value is 60 degrees and the rotator turns over 380 degrees the end azimuth value will be 60+380=440 degrees (not 80).

6. Optionally assign the rotator to the relevant band(s) in the lower part of the setting window.

7. Check if the button controls Left/Right work properly. You can change turning direction by checking "Motor reverse" if needed.

8. Close the setting window by clicking OK.

CAUTION if you're using more rotators with the PIC USB adapter. Unlike LPT or COM ports the MBUSB driver does not support explicit USB port numbering. Therefore make sure that you connect the individual adapters to the PC and open the rotators in the same order as they had been during the calibration so the stored calibration values match the individual rotators. This applies for normal program start or after PC reboot. In case of quick restart (without reboot) it is assumed that the rotator configuration didn't change and the program uses the last USB port number assignment before program termination.

The new USB adapter with Arduino - installation and calibration
This adapter utilizes the Arduino UNO R3 with USB interface. One Arduino can handle up to 3 rotators (see the scheme below). Arduino requires the USB/COM port driver for firmware upload and communication with VUSC. CAUTION! Manufacturers may use various FTDI chips as USB/COM converters so the driver installation may differ even with the Arduino boards looking identical. The driver mostly installs automatically on Windows 7, 8 and 10 when the board is connected to the PC for the first time. In case the chip CH340 is used (mostly by a Chinese manufacturer) as USB/COM interface a special driver from http://www.wch.cn/download/CH341SER_EXE.html must be installed manually. Also on Windows 2000 or XP the driver must be installed manually (see the description here https://www.arduino.cc/en/Guide/UnoDriversWindowsXP). After the driver installation connect the board to the PC and find out Arduino COM port number using right click on the "This PC" icon on the Desktop and selecting "Device Manager". Expand the tree at "Ports (COM & LPT)" and look for the entry "USB-SERIAL (COMx)" where x is the Arduino COM port number. Then upload the firmware by using the XLoader utility. First download the utility from http://xloader.russemotto.com and install it. Start XLoader and enter the parameters:

Arduino COM port: COMx
Baud rate: 115200
Arduino type: UNO(ATmega328)
Hex file: vuscrot.ino.standard.hex (i.e. the firmware file from the VUSC directory)



Set up procedure:
1. Check
(in case of current source feeding of the feedback potentiometer adjust with its trimmer) the maximum voltage at the point C (feedback potentiometer input) between 4.5 and 4.9 V. The maximum input voltage must not exceed 5V in any case, because it may destroy the A/D converter. Therefore there is the protection circuit with LM393N in the adapter.

2. Start the program and open the setting window by "Rotator->Setting". Choose the relevant rotator from the list in the upper left corner. Check the USBCOM checkbox and the rotator identification A,B or C according to the pins to which the rotator is connected (see the table above). Set the relevant Arduino COM port and Rate 38400 (confirm both with "Set"). You can optionally change the rotator names (default Rotator0, Rotator1 etc.) in the upper right corner according to your needs. Repeat it for all rotators connected with the Arduino adapter. Close the window by clicking OK.

3. Connect the adapter to the USB port and activate the relevant rotator(s) in the menu "Rotator->Rotator". Open again the setting window ("Rotator->Setting") and select the relevant rotator from the list in the upper left corner. Turn the antenna to both end switch positions and check if the minimum counter value displayed in the "Potentiometer calibration" section is less than 200 and the maximum value is in the range from 950 to 1020. If the feedback potentiometer is fed from the voltage source the maximum value is guaranteed automatically. In case of current source adjust the maximum value with its trimmer (see the scheme) if needed. If the minimum value is higher than 200 you may think about mechanical shifting the feedback potentiometer gear in the rotator.

4. Turn the rotator to the left end position, enter the azimuth value in the left field of "Range" and confirm with "Set". Turn the rotator to the right end position, enter the azimuth value in the right field of "Range" and confirm with "Set". When setting the values make sure that the indicator turns in the same direction as the rotator. The azimuth values must be positive and not overlapped. For example if the beginning value is 60 degrees and the rotator turns over 380 degrees the end azimuth value will be 60+380=440 degrees (not 80).

5. Optionally assign the rotator to the relevant band(s) in the lower part of the setting window.

6. Check if the button controls Left/Right work properly. You can change turning direction by checking the box "Motor reverse" if needed.

7. Repeat the steps 3. to 6. for all rotators and close the setting window by clicking OK.

LPT port adapter - installation and calibration
The LPT adapter requires DLPortIO driver (see the chapter 3. on VUSC installation) and a dedicated LPT port. Note that it works only on 32bit Windows. Otherwise the procedure is identical with the installation of the PIC USB interface with these changes:
- Skip the part describing PIC and its driver installation.
- Point 3. Make sure that neither USB nor USBCOM checkboxes are checked. Then select the LPT port from the port list and confirm with "Set".
- Point 4. If you use your own A/D converter with 9th bit the minimum counter value should be between 2 and 12.
- On the PCB board don't mount the PIC, the X-tal and the USB socket. Connect the relevant signals directly to the LPT port according to the scheme.

CAUTION! Parallel port LPT may be in an undefined state after booting the PC. Don't switch on the motor power supply before activating the rotator window to avoid unwanted switching on the motor. Also when closing the program switch off the motor power supply before rotator control deactivation.

Common for all adapters
After the calibration the software
end switches are automatically set to the beginning and end azimuth values. If you have hardware end switches in your rotator make sure that their beginning and ending positions comply with the minimum and maximum voltage on the potentiometer. When the setting window is open the overlap range is indicated in yellow on the indicator edge. If the rotator turns in less then 360 degrees the range it is marked red. If you further need to limit the rotating range more than the default end switches (for example due to interference or obstacles in the range) open the setting window and set the software end switch positions by left (lower limit) or right (upper limit) mouse button click at the edge of the indicator. The initial (calibration) end switch positions can't be exceeded, though. During the normal operation the overlapping range is marked with green, but it turns yellow if the rotator gets into that range.

If you just need to rectify the antenna direction on the already calibrated
rotator you don't need to repeat the calibration. Aim the antenna to the known azimuth (for instance a beacon), enter its azimuth in the field "Rectification" and click "Set". This option works also for the rotators utilizing the Yaesu protocol. If you want to retain the setting for future contests use "Contest->Config->Save". The rotator configuration is stored in the file rotator.cfg. For compatibility reasons with previous versions the configuration of the first rotator is stored also in the files vuscwin.cfg and quickstart.cfg.

Rotator control
You can control the rotators
with the buttons (Left/Right/Auto/Stop) in the relevant indicator window. To turn to a concrete azimuth you also can click inside the indicator at its edge. The keyboard shortcuts work for the active rotator i.e. the one with the red arrow (the others are blue). The active rotator is switched either according to the band assignment or explicitly by using CTRL/'.

Rotator
shortcut controls:

CTRL/< -
Left

CTRL/> -
Right

CTRL/space -
Stop

CTRL/? –
Auto (turn to the azimuth of the current locator)

CTRL/' - cyclically switch the active rotator

The click at the edge of the position indicator turns the rotator to that azimuth

18. Appendix - schemes and pin-outs of the interfaces and adapters

Use only shielded cables for all connections between the computer and TRX. The shield should be connected to the signal ground (GND). The 100 Ohm resistor in the collector of the keying transistor is only for the protection. It can be leaved out if necessary.

Arduino adapter bottom side (view from the top side)
Arduino.bottom

Arduino adapter top side
Aduino.top

Arduino pin connection table
Point in the scheme Rotator A Rotator B Rotator C
G pin A0 pin A1 pin A2
P pin D4 pin D8 pin D10
Q pin D5 pin D9 pin D11
X pin D2 pin D6 pin D12
Y pin D3 pin D7 pin D13
AR pin 5V pin 5V pin 5V
GND pin GND pin GND pin GND

On the Arduino board the pins marked as DIGITAL are the D pins and pins marked as ANALOG IN are the A pins in the table. Points P and Q for the manual control are connected directly to Arduino and so they are not (unlike at the PIC adapter) on the adapter board.

PIC/LPT adapter bottom side(view from the top side)
PIC.bottom

PIC/LPT adapter top side
PIC.top

For the usage with LPT port don't mount the PIC, the X-tal and the USB socket. Connect the relevant signals directly to the LPT port according to the scheme.