Contest Super Simulator

The Contest Super Simulator is a simulation package designed by Wayne, W5XD and distributed by WriteLog Contesting Software, LLC. It extends WriteLog such that the two together become a virtual contest in progress. You jump in and call CQ. Or tune around and find stations to answer. It works in CW, SSB and RTTY. Setup WriteLog for one radio, and you’re running stations right away. Add a second radio to WriteLog’s configuration and you have a real time Single Operator 2 Radio (SO2R) simulation. Its usable for novices—practice your first contest QSOs before you get your feet wet—or set it up on a simple laptop to demonstrate, in real time, contesting at your local ham club. It also has:

  • Packet spots
  • Panadapter/SDR view of the simulated spectrum (virtual audio cable required–not included.)
  • RTTY support of sound card modems like MMTTY or 2Tone (virtual audio cable required.)
  • ADIF export of the logs of the simulated stations. (For a post-contest Log Check. Not automated.)

This is also a serious training tool for serious contesting operators. Have a look at what Tom, W2SC was able to do in the 2016 ARRL DX contest from 8P5A. Here is what Tom has to say about the simulator:

Wayne did some very good work here on both the dual CQ front and the simulator front. Having used the Dual CQ now in two contests, it clearly made a big difference in my score. I believe all Single Ops will need this ability to compete at a top level. Wayne has automated a single keyboard approach that is very effective.

One challenge with this is how to practice. Out of contest, on-air practice does not simulate a contest, even from Barbados. The only option for dual CQ is a simulator. What Wayne has done is not perfectly realistic, but is very close. Setting S&P callers to 1 or 2, is very close to what is sounds like during high rate hours from 8P.

Tom, W2SC

The simulator has only a few configuration options, of which the most significant is the selection of a Windows sound Playback device for it to play its (simulated) receiver audio. You’ll hear the contest startup in those headphones as soon as you call CQ.

Settings.png

The simulator installs a Windows help file that describes in detail how to use it. You start a simulation simply by running it from its desktop icon.

Jump into the simulated contest running WriteLog. The simulator has created virtual WinKey and SO2R OTRSP (Open Two Radio Switch Protocol) devices and WriteLog talks to the simulator instead of real hardware. (Important hint for WriteLog users already set up for your real rigs: use WriteLog’s startup screen, Settings, Export to save a snapshot of your WriteLog settings before changing Setup/Ports.)

Contest Super Simulator can be set to simulate any of these four contest exchanges:

  • Simple contest with RST only
  • WPX contest with serial numbers
  • IARU with RST and ITU zone (with a few HQ stations thrown in)
  • ARRL November Sweepstakes

This simulator can be used for training with any WriteLog configuration and performance tuning you use in a real event. Tom used the Dual CQ WriteLogRunMode automation in his 8P5A operation that set the ARRL DX CW Record. This simulator can be used to train yourself how to use that plugin.

ScreenShot.png

This window allows you to tweak the simulation while it is running. Set the bandwidth on its virtual receiver, adjust the sidetone volume, and set your preferred CW beat note (Contest Super Simulator adjusts the virtual receiver’s “BFO” to match.)

License
The Contest Super Simulator is freely redistributable under the MIT license.

Installation
Download this file:

Unzip it, and run the .msi file inside. It will give you a new icon on your Windows desktop. WriteLog’s Setup/Ports dialog has to be set for WinKey and OTRSP “pipes” (see the Contest Super Simulator help file.)

License
The Contest Super Simulator Voices is freely redistributable  but only for use with the Contest Super Simulator. No other users of the Contest Super Simulator Voices is permitted.

History

1.12.01 November, 2017 Each radio can have its own sidetone pitch.
1.11.02 August, 2017 Add more diagnostics, and allow sidetone volume of 100%
1.10.02 June, 2017 Better simulate SO2R with rigs on different modes.
1.09.02 October, 2016 First release

Requirements

Requires Windows 7  and .NET 4.0 to install.

CPU requirements

All recent WriteLog versions 11 and 12 are supported for you to call CQ in CW, including SO2R configurations.

WriteLog 12.09 (including the latest demo version!) adds support for SSB.

WriteLog 12.07 and later support running Search & Pounce in a virtual 48KHz-wide band per radio.

WriteLog 12.07 supports simulated RTTY contests. You’ll need either a physical or virtual audio cable (not included) to route the simulator’s Playback audio to your RTTY demodulator’s Record Audio device.

WriteLog 12.07 places CQing simulated stations on its Band Maps and Packet Spots window. Add a virtual audio cable to route the simulator’s IQ output to WriteLog’s Band Map SDR to superimpose the simulated 48KHz band on WriteLog’s Band Maps.

SSB Support

The Contest Super Simulator supports SSB contest simulation. It requires a little different setup than the other modes. There are details in the Contest Super Simulator Help/Topics menu, look for SSB.

  • You must install SSB voices for the simulator’s use separately. The WriteLog team provides a download below.
  • The simulator has no voice recognition. Instead, it depends on you pressing f-key’s to make transmissions.
  • You must set your logging program up to notify the simulator of text representations of the f-key messages it sends.

Installation of SSB voices
The Contest Super Simulator in SSB mode requires prerecorded phonetics. The WriteLog team provides the following download with a couple of voices. Instructions on how to add your own prerecorded phonetics are including the Contest Super Simulator Help file.

Download this file:

Unzip it, and run the .msi file inside. The Contest Super Simulator Voices install per Windows user, in contrast to the Contest Super Simulator, which requires Windows administrator privilege and installs per machine. The reasons for the separate Voices installer are:

  • The license is different. You may only use the Voices with Contest Super Simulator.
  • The download is far larger. You don’t need to download them if you’re not going to simulate SSB contests.
  • The voices install per-user to give you more options for placing the large voice files on disk.
  • The voices install per-user to eliminate privilege requirements for adding your own voice recordings for use by the Contest Super Simulator in SSB.