Tag: n1mm

Electronic log books

In the days when computers filled the size of your front room most people used paper to log their QSO, but today electronic QSO logging has a number of advantages. I was first licensed in 2003, and I took the decision to electronically log from the start. I mainly operated digital modes, so electronic logging was the only way to add calls and so this became the usual way I log.

The choice of electronic logbooks will depend on your preference, band and operating modes. Some electronic logs are free, others are integrated with the digital modes software like HRD.

Electronic logging can be split into two parts, what do you use to record the QSO while on air and subsequently how do you save this and gain any DXCC or other awards.

So lets look at the QSO stage first.

minosMinos for VHF and UHF – The program is free and open source written by Mike G0GJV and you can read the history of its development on his site. Its the best VHF contest software, so thank you Mike for this sterling effort.

 

 

 

hrd2HRD – Ham Radio Deluxe is a paid suite of programs that logs and decodes digital modes.

 

 

 

fldigiFLDIGI – is a free and open source, the program decodes and logs digital modes. The Wiki page makes interesting reading.

 

 

 

pztPZT log – is a free program developed by Charlie M0PZT. You also have the option of a more advanced version PZT Pro for just a few pounds.

 

 

 

n1mmN1MM – is a free program designed for contesting. Developed by N1MM Thomas Wagner it has the reputation of being the most popular logging program in the world. The program can be used as a stand alone logger, but it can be integrated with RTTY to be used in contesting.

 

 

Doing something useful with your electronic log.

Once you have logged all this data you have a choice to keep it safe on your drive, or upload so the world can see how many people you have worked. Electronic QSL cards or electronic QSO confirmation is the main benefit but keeping track of your WAS or DXCC has never been easier.

lotwARRL LOTW – Log Of The World  is the defacto standard in electronic QSO conformation. Its the only electronic confirmation system that is recognised and secure enough to allow you to claim DXCC awards. It can also track and credit you for numerous other awards. Yes its a “pain” you have to prove who you are and sign the log before uploading, but its very security is what makes it the trusted authority on electronic QSL. Its not for the paper collectors, you don’t get any pretty pictures but it does what it says on the tin. Oh the best bit is its free.

eqsl

 

EQSL.cc –  Electronic QSL cards, with pretty pictures. Its great if you like to collect cards and wanted to save on postage, but their is little or no validation on who the uses the system and so the awards are worthless towards DXCC.

 

 

clublog

 

Clublog – Electronic award tracking and confirmation of QSO. Developed by Michael G7VJG.

 

 

 

qrzQRZ – They have jumped on the electronic QSL band wagon, sometimes less is more.

 

 

 

hrdHRDlog.net – Another electronic awards and QSL tracking system

 

 

 

 

I tend to upload to all of these logs, but only take any interest in the LOTW awards. The other systems help to keep the paper QSL count down, although I reply to any cards received via the RSGB bureau.

 

CQ WW RTTY Contest

CQ WW RTTY is the perfect excuse (if you need one) to turn on the amplifier and have a play with the big boys. Its never been more popular, no longer do you need a separate room for your RTTY teletype printer just a PC and some logging software should be fine.

I have in the past completed most of the 48 Hrs as part of a team, making thousands or “QSO” but this year was a much more relaxed casual event. The plan was to grab a few hrs operating over the weekend, in between the usual tasks.

The linear would allow 400w RTTY with around 5w drive, to the doublet antenna. The doublet is 10m per leg, and fed with 30 Ohm ribbon it doesnt make a very nice match on 20m ! The alternative antenna is a 8m vertical with an auto ATU at the base. The CG5000 is a 800w PEP remote auto ATU, although I dont use the amp with this antenna and choose to run 200w barefoot from the TS990 in this configuration.

Remote ATU near the base of the antenna are hard to beat if you haven’t got a resonant  antenna, helping to reduce large mismatch in the feeder and the subsequent loss of power. One disadvantage is they need to be powered, the CG5000 requires 12v and isn’t equipped with a bias tee. This requires a separate power cable to be run to the bottom of the garden, fine in my postage stamp but maybe an issue if you own 2 acres !

After spending some time on the bands it was obvious 10m was closed, 15 was a little better but as usual the “easy band” 20m was open and provided some of the best contacts. In total I worked 132 Q in 42 DXCC, using SH5 to analyse the log. The program can be used to check and map many of the stations you work, allowing you to gain a great insight into your operating and in some cases multi operating / radio station.

cqwwrtty_m0taz

 

 

Here you can see a basic list showing DXCC worked. The mast files contain information on and the location of many of the regular DX stations, and so distances and bearing information can be analysed in tabular and graphical format.

 

 

 

RTTY and logging was provided by the excellent N1MM software, as usual its a real credit to Thomas for a massive free contribution to amateur radio.