Here are some settings you'll want to configure before you begin operating each contest:
1. Select the correct software.
Make sure that you are using the latest version of the correct software for the contest that you are about to operate. Also, if the program prompts you for your password when you start the software, be sure to enter it!
2. Select the correct mode (if necessary).
If this contest is mode specific, click Settings > Setup and select the correct mode.
3. Make sure your country list from AD1C is current.
You only have to download the country list once to update all my software, but if you haven't done so since Jim's last update, from any of the programs, click File > Download Country Files from AD1C.
4. Enable Super Check Partial and make sure your Super Check Partial file is current.
Click Settings > Super Check Partial and check the check box to enable Super Check Partial. Like the country file, you only need to run the SCP download once to update all my software, but if you haven't done that in a while, please do so now.
5. Enable DX Spotting.
Click Settings > DX Spotting and check the check box to enable DX Spotting. You'll likely want to display the band map vertically, so be sure to drag the main form's right edge to the left and press Ctrl E to show the band map. You'll find a video tutorial on DX spotting, all the details on how to use the band map and Click & Pounce contesting techniques here.
6. Set DX Spotting Filters.
From the DX Spotting form, click the More Filtering button and add any additional filters. I recommend filtering for spots posted from your continent, mode (if applicable) and to block contest duplicates. With block contest duplicates enabled, every spot you see is a new station to work for this contest! Remember, with block contest duplicates enabled, you will not see the spots you post if you click Spot Last, but please keep spotting stations!
7. Set Backup Options.
Click File > Backup Options and set any backup options that you would like to enable.
8. Enable CW Transmit and set up your CW F key strings (for CW contests).
Click Settings > Transmit > CW Setup and set up your CW functions. Remember, you can load and save your CW settings from the CW set up form to quickly load your settings.
9. Enable rig interface (if you have the necessary rig interface cable).
Click Settings > Rig Interface to configure. The software will follow along as you tune your rig and you can click on DX Spots to tune your rig right to the spot frequency instantly! This can really speed your Search and Pounce (or Click and Pounce) QSO rates and it is great to not have to remember to change bands and modes in the software! Remember, you can load and save your Rig Interface settings from the Rig Interface set up form to quickly load your settings. All the rig interface set up details are here.
10. Enable Master Log Entity Confirmation Status Check.
To see if the juicy DX you are calling is unconfirmed or an All Time New One in your master log file (in Amateur Contact Log):
- From Amateur Contact Log 5.6 or later click Settings > API and check the upper checkbox that says TCP API Enabled (Server).
- From the contest software click Settings > API, check the lower checkbox to Enable Entity Confirmation Check via API.
When you tab from the Call field in the contesting program, a status query will go out to AC Log via API to check the confirmation status and, if needed, the result will be displayed in the contesting software's dialogue box!
11. Enable History File (if not prohibited in your contest rules entry category).
Click Settings > History File and check the check box to use your history file. Note that you can also optionally just have the operator's name returned if you don't want the fields to fill.
12. Enable your Web Contest Upload Feature. (if you or your club have web space set up).
Don't forget you have to enable this feature individually for each contesting program. Click Settings > Web Contest Upload Status and check the check box, or do a test upload to enable. Our club is really enjoying this feature!. If your group is using my free program that will consolidate all of your club scores for you in real time, you'll want to start that before the contest too!
13. Make sure your PC clock is properly set.
Does anybody really know what time it is? These guys do!
14. Prepare refreshments!
Pour yourself a big, cold, glass of ice water and fill a bowl with some tasty, healthy snacks!
We are going to have fun!!!
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