JJRadio without the Radio


Getting Started

Thank you for using JJRadio. This program may be used without a radio. Many folks just like using radios with knobs and switches, and I understand this.

The program is primarily designed for use by blind amateur radio operators. JJRadio is optimized for use with a braille display. With the program not connected to a radio, I am able to log, lookup callbook entries, use a DX cluster, and see my allowed frequencies.

Note that JJRadio does not use braille or speech directly, rather it relies on your screen reader to manage those devices.

When JJRadio starts up for the first time, you'll see a welcome screen. From here you can either read the main JJRadio documentation, configure JJRadio, or exit. If you exit JJRadio without configuring it, you'll see the Welcome screen again when you next run the program.

When you configure JJRadio, you will be asked to enter some information about yourself, the path to your log file, and your rigs.

The first screen asks for your full name, handle, QTH, and log file. For your QTH, something like "City, ST" is recommended, e.g. "Austin, TX", without the quotes. The QTH should be what you'd send for your QTH on CW.

You are then asked for your license class. This may be none, novice, technition, general, advanced or extra.

Following this is a button entitled "Log Characteristics". You can press this to specify a log file and its characteristics, or you can elect to wait til later. Log characteristics is discussed later in the section on log characteristics.

Following this, you can specify your braille display size in cells. The default is 40.

You may then enter the address and login name for your preferred DX cluster. This is discussed later under DX Cluster.

Leave the "Default Operator button checked, and press the Add button. You will be taken to the Rig Information dialogue.

Here you are asked for information about the radio you'll be using. You may, if you wish, hit the escape key to run JJRadio without a rig.

You're now ready to start enjoying JJRadio. Trust me, you don't need a radio. The old documentation was wrong. Note however that you will be asked to enter rig configuration info each time you start JJRadio, but you can just hit escape.


JJRadio allows you to do your logging without a rig. It is good to become familiar with the keystrokes used to log information, and the behavior of the log window in general, before attempting to use it.

JJRadio's logging can be modified to fit a particular logging situation. For example, there is a different log form for Field Day logging than for general purpose logging. These log formats are predefined.

The Log Characteristics Dialogue

This dialogue is used to specify the log file and its properties. The first thing is the log file name. You can specify a log pathname, use the Browse button that follows the name, or choose from the four most recently used log files using the Files menu, Alt-F. The default file extention for the log file is .jrl. While the log file format is unique to JJRadio, the log can be exported to, and imported from, an .adif file.

Next you specify the form name. This is the name of a predefined log format. The log format we'll discuss here is the DefaultLog.

The reason for different log forms is to tailor the logging to the activity being logged. For example, you don't need to log signal reports, QTH, and name for field day, rather you log the call, class, and ARRL section. Other log forms will be added in the future.

You can then select one of four types of duplicate checking. The types are none, justCall, callAndBand, or callAndBandAndMode. If you specify something other than none, the information in the current log entry is checked for a previous duplicate entry containing the fields mentioned. If, for example, the duplicate method is justCall, and you enter the call of a station you've worked previously, a beep sounds when you leave the call field. The #QSOs field in the log entry shows the number of prior contacts you've made with that station. This is not only useful for contesting, but also lets you know when you've contacted a station you've worked before.

Next is a field where you can specify the first serial number in the log. The default is 1.

Following the first serial field is a field that allows you to specify whether or not to lookup operator information from hamqth.com; the default is "No". The operator's information is placed into the pertinent fields in the log when you exit the Call field. For example, if you enter "ke5al" while creating a new log entry, when you exit the Call field, the QTH, Handle, and country fields are primed with KE5AL's QTH, Handle and country information.

Some general Information About the Log Window

The log window can be brought up with key sequences, and brought down immediately with either the Enter or Escape key. If you exit the window with the escape key, any new information you entered is discarded. If you use the Enter key, the new information is remembered, but not logged yet. The exception to this is the Comments field, where the Enter key adds a new line. It is important to note that an entry isn't logged until you use the "Write Log Entry" key, set by default to ctrl-W.

For example, if you've just come to the log form to enter the QTH, and you know it's wrong and want to start over, you can hit Escape, and come back to it when the station is repeating it. However, if you've entered other information and use Escape, that will need to be re-entered too, so be careful here. Remember, unless in the Comments field, pressing enter leaves the form, remembers the information, but doesn't log it. If you're in the Comments field, hit Tab to leave the field and then press Enter.

Field formats aren't checked, so you can enter anything into any field, except for Tab and Enter. Enter behaves as described, and Tab takes you to the next field. You can also enter the key sequences to go to other log fields, or perform some log actions. For example, you can jump from the Callsign field to the Comment field if you wish.

Going to Log Fields

You use a key sequence to go to a log field or perform selected log actions. If you're at the main window, the log window is brought up and you're positioned in the desired field. If you're already in the log window, you simply jump to the desired field.

You can also perform selected logging actions such as to write the current entry.

Let's go through a typical QSO, showing the default keys used to log information. You can change these key sequences if you wish.

Note: If using the program without a radio, you'll need to enter the RX and TX frequencies manually, along with the mode and band if you wish.

Searching the Log

You can search for information in the log with ctrl-shift-F by default. If you were at the main window, you are placed in a blank log form, and you need to enter the information in the appropriate field. For example, if you want to look up a callsign, put it in the callsign field, which you can jump to with alt-C by default. The results are displayed in a list form, and you can select the desired item. You are then placed in the log form for that QSO.

If you are logging a station that you've worked before, and focused on the log form, ctrl-shift-F will search for that call. You will be placed in the list of previous logged QSOs. Note however the search from within the log form only searches if the entry has been identified as a dup. Thus if you're not dup checking, it won't function.

DX Cluster

This allows you to use DX clusters which have a telnet interface. By default, the key assigned is Ctrl-Alt-D, or use the "DX cluster" item from the Operations menu.

Before using this function for the first time, you may want to see if the current operator has defined a cluster address and login name. This is done by selecting "List Operators" from the Actions menu, and updating the currently checked user. The Cluster address defaults to dxc.nc7j.net. The cluster address may contain a port number, delimited with a colon, in which case you specify it as address:port. For example, dxc.nc7j.net is the same as dxc.nc7j.net:23; 23 is the default telnet port. The login name will default to the callsign of the operator when the operator is created or updated. You will almost always login using your callsign. For one list of telnet available clusters, see Telnet Access to DX Packet Clusters. There are other lists as well.

When you use this function you will be asked to enter the cluster address and the login name. This will be the cluster address and login name, callsign, for the current operator if set. When in this dialogue, you can tab past the OK and Cancel buttons, and check the box to not see this again, and then click the OK button. If you do this, when you subsequently bring up the cluster, you won't be prompted for the login name. Thus if you wish to use multiple clusters, you may not want to check this box. JJRadio allows you to have multiple cluster windows open, so checking the box will mean you'll always open a window on the same cluster.

If the login was successful, a separate window will come up showing text from when we connected to the present; basically the login banner stuff. Then the DX spots appear. If you haven't set a filter, you may be inundated with spots, primarily from skimmers. The NC7J cluster, an AR-Cluster, has good documentation starting at the AR-Cluster Introduction page. The DXSpider cluster documentation is at The DXSpider User Filtering Primer v1.0.

If you press tab once you'll land in the "Cluster cmd" field. In this field you can enter a command to the cluster. For the NC7J cluster, and other AR-Clusters, you might immediately want to enter the command "set dx filter not skimmer", without the quotes of course. This will turn off the skimmer spots. I encourage you to read up on the clustr commands. They allow you to filter the cluster output, set your login information, such as your name, lat/long, grid square, etc, and other functions.

At the bottom of the screen are two buttons. The first is the "Beep on/off" button. The text for the button shows the action to be performed. Since the button is initially off, the button is labeled "Beep on". Turning beeps on causes a beep every time output is sent to the screen. The next push is for Beep on DX. This, my preferred setting, causes a beep only when a new spot is reported. Also, the setting you choose, on, off, or beep on dx, is remembered so you don't need to set it every time you use the cluster.

Next is a button initially labeled "Track last post Off"; it will be Off or On. If you press it, turning tracking on, the cursor is routed to the last displayed screen item, instead of staying in one spot. This is quite useful if you don't have a lot of spots coming in, and always want to read the most recent post. This setting is also remembered.

You may simply close the cluster window to log off the cluster. Of course you are logged off if you close JJRadio also.

The reason I developed this interface as opposed to simply using a telnet client, is that I can either maintain your current cursor position in the output while new information is being added at the bottom of the window, or always set the cursor to the last item added. If maintaining position, even if the window would normally scroll, your cursor position is preserved. This gives you a chance to read the output with speech or braille, before moving on. To navigate to the bottom of the output, (i.e.) to the most recent entry, use Ctrl-End. Ctrl-Home takes you to the top of the window. As usual, you move up and down a line at a time with the up and down arrows.

The format of a displayed spot is usually frequency, callsign, comments, timestamp, and reporting callsign. For example,
14020.1 EA1AA good sig 2149Z KE5AL

This says that the station, EA1AA, is on 14020.1 khz, reported by KE5AL at 2149Z. KE5AL says he has a good signal.

With your cursor on that line, if you press enter, your radio, if being controled by JJRadio, will go to that frequency, 14020.1. Also, the call, EA1AA, will be in the windows clipboard, so it can be copied into the log.

Show Bands and Frequencies

This is a useful way to show what frequencies you may operate on. Currently, there is only information for U.S. amateur bands and license classes. This dialogue consists of 3 list boxes, a display area, and a couple of buttons. When it comes up, you are in the first of 3 list boxes, the band box. If your radio is connected and tuned to a ham band, that band is selected. The second box is used to select the license class. Initially the license class you specified for the current operator is used. The third box selects the mode. This will be set to CW or phone, depending upon the mode setting of your radio, if connected. You may alter these selections if you choose.

When you press the Show button, or just hit enter, you are taken to the display area which shows the results. The first line will show the entire band, (e.g.) "20m 14000 14350". If I'm on 20 meter CW, the second line will show,

extra - 14000 14150 - CW RTTY/Data

If I now select "none" for the license, I am shown all the 20 meter band restrictions for the different license classes.