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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Digital Mode Logging During Field Day

Richard Langford (N8SDR) on June 20, 2013
Website: http://kd8lcd.sopmcincy.org/index.php/w4elp-lookup-utility
View comments about this article!

Looking to make Digital Modes during Field Day manageable?

 

During Field Day events many of us who have run digital modes suffered with the possible setup of two computer systems one for running digital mode software and the rig interface and another for logging the worked stations, while this situation works if two people are involved a digital station operator and another who can watch and log the stations that are worked. Another possibility is a single operator running both the digital software and a logging program, they then cut and paste or manually enter the worked stations call-sign, class and section from one application to the other, which can become cumbersome and frustrating and fatiguing.

What if there was a way to export the stations you have worked on the fly right from your digital software into a logging program for Field Day?

That would certainly make operating more enjoyable, less tiresome and quicker.

For some time now I have been using Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) and its DM780 Digital Mode program which works well for most digital modes. But HRD logging ability for contests is lacking. Each year during Field Day I use The Field Day logging program by N3FJP " ARRL Field Day Log" which also works well.

It would be nice to have the functionality of both applications and the ability to somehow export worked stations from HRD directly into the N3FJP program..

Well that is now possible using the W4ELP Lookup Utility. Some of you may already be familiar with Ed's (W4ELP) auto lookup program. It acts as a gofer so to speak, when called upon it can retrieve operator information from QRZ.com or HamQth.com based on a call sign lookup via an XML database that information is then populated into the corresponding fields in HRD Log or DM780. In addition, the program provides several keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys which help make using DM780 smoother and more efficient.

This utility now has an added advantage, it can auto export the needed fields from with HRD's DM780 program directly into N3FJP's ARRL Field Day Log 4.0.

This allows you to keep the DM780 program in the foreground while the information obtained via mouse clicks of the station being worked call-sign, class and section exchanges once the fields are populated and an auto-log via the num-key pad is initiated the worked station is logged in both HRD logbook and the N3FJP programs call, class and section boxes auto populated and logged as well.

This free package contains the utility, installation instructions and usage manual. The utility works with Microsoft Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 

HRD version 5.24.0.38 or newer and the N3FJP ARRL Field Day Log 4.0 need to be installed and configured, users should have a working knowledge of both of these programs.

The Utility Program and a Video tutorial are available at http://kd8lcd.sopmcincy.org/index.php/w4elp-lookup-utility

 

Member Comments:
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Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by KE7FD on June 20, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'm thinking the FREE fldigi and fllog packages working together as a FD/emcomm/everyday package. Maybe some of you current fldigi users can comment. I'll be using fldigi this year although I and the rest of our group will be using N3FJP for logging. Can fllog be used in a network setting where it checks for dupes among the LAN members like N3FJP? The other win/win to using the fldigi suite is it's free, multi platform and is the defacto ARES system software. The suite is pretty well thought out and works well. It also has some CAT functionality, and for my purposes replaces HRD at $99. Did I mention it's free?

Just for grins yesterday I switched it over to CW and it just worked w/o any additional tweaking (after my initial tuning for PSK). Like I said, it works well and seems to be pretty mature.

Glen - KE7FD
 
Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by N8SDR on June 20, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Incase you are not aware the 5.x versions of HRD are free and will remain free. They wont be updated but they are indeed free.

Scroll about halfway down under the FAQs as posted on the HRD Software site.

http://hrdsoftwarellc.com/faq/default.html
_______________________________________________________

Q: Will there be any updates available for Version 5.x?

A: No. HRD Version 5.24.0.38 was the last 5.x version. This and previous versions are still FREE to download and use. With the release of our first commercial Version 6.0, all development and updates to the FREE versions was discontinued.
____________________________________________________

But it is Free,
 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by K5LXP on June 20, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Serious Field Day operations don't waste a transmitter running digital. So the problem of logging and duping is only a problem for casual operating, and is thus it's not really a problem that needs a serious solution.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by HAMMYGUY on June 20, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I remember when field day was actually fun, laid back, and not a serious contest.

It used to be all about emergency preparedness. Now it's all about the points to be made with power house stations, multiple operating positions with rapid fire contacts all manned the full 24 hours, and not much fun. As a matter of fact FD operations such as this are completely boring.

But in an operation such as the above having computer logging is probably a necessity.
 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by KE7FD on June 20, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I hate to bust anyone's illusions about what amateur radio means to the general public... It's somewhere between someone's hermit uncle, the guy down the street with 50 antennas on his Ford Pinto and the one guy or club in the community who actually has the wherewithal to help out during an emergency. Lest anyone forget, Field Day's roots were about emergency preparedness, and then after that fun and sitting around keeping chairs and park benches from floating away. So with regards to wasting transmitters, CW is one of the oldest forms of digital radio communications which has been around for well over 100 years. It has some updated cousins known as the digital modes like PSK, MT63, RTTY and Olivia just to name a few. Each has its advantages and this is why many ARES groups have formally adopted digital to transmit confidential information for hospitals, and first responders. While saving lives may not rank as high as a contesting score hanging on the wall to some, wherever hams can make a real difference to other people is about the only time the general public sees us as useful. Serious Field Day operations dedicate at least one transmitter running CW and the digital modes because those operators are among the group of people who can see beyond themselves as the center of the universe.

I like HRD, always have and in fact I still have the older pre-commercial version loaded on my FD laptop. I just felt with ARES using fldigi and its related modules FD was the perfect exercise to put it to the test. Our group is focusing on having a good time and not killing ourselves for some coveted Kewpie doll to gloat over. Instead we're inviting the public to attend, get on the air, do some hands-on training with DIGITAL and enjoy ourselves.. Most of our people are hard working stiffs or harder working retirees and we want to do FD in a way that will give us some much needed R&R while building skills to help others and to grow our ranks. If radio clubs are going to survive they have to think outside the box to find ways to attract a wider cross section of the masses, either as new hams or those served agencies who see value in turning to us WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS.

KE7FD
 
Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by JOHNZ on June 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Lest we forget and as others have commented, during the Golden Age of amateur radio, the June Field Day was primarily an emergency exercise, intended to provide training and real time experience in emergency field operations. Sadly, similar to most things involving ham radio today, the original intent of the FD event has been long ago forgotten. Hanging worthless pieces of paper on a wall, which supposedly attest to some sort of accomplishment is something I will never understand. Treating contest certificates as though they were a graduate degree from a prestigious university is a mystery and something from the modern ham (CB) radio age.
 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by K5LXP on June 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
It's not 1930 anymore. Field Day is a contest by any measure. A slow SSB station will spank the Q rate of even a great digital op and there's many more CW and phone stations to work than digital. It's a lose-lose proposition.

If you're with a group that wants to go with a theme other than rank in the standings then you can do anything you like. But it's structured that you will never know how you rank against others running digital modes because the rules don't offer a separate class or distinction for digital. The super-duper save the world emcomm digital station group is listed right next to the 2 or 3 guys that get together and make a few phone contacts before the keg gets tapped.

Maybe if you can get the League to create a different multiplier value for digital modes then there'd be a reason to bother with it. Until then, Field Day operations that include digital stations are destined to be low in the rankings. Frankly, if I'm staying up all night in front of a rig I'd like something to show for it.

As part of the point strategy you could run digital at the GOTA station, and not have it count as a real transmitter.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by W3TUA on June 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Digital can't keep pace with most CW operators either but that's not the point. There's a whole bunch of people interested in computers and digital modes. Having a digital station can attract those types and open a door to amateur radio for them. My club sets up solely to expose ham radio to the public.
 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by KE7FD on June 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
That's been our experience over the years too. The phone crew has the largest number of ops while the CW and digital crews with the least (a couple more for the digital). The CW crew always pulls off the larger raw score (most contacts) with the phone and digital crews vieing for second place. It just takes longer to exchange information with voice who often have to contend with so much QRM. It helps to have a second person logging for voice too. With DM780 and fldigi, the callsign and other parameters are set automatically speeding things up so logging is not as much of a problem.

We're trying something new this year by going minimalist (somewhat) using a netbook (linux) for digital and maybe logging but will have our usual Windoze laptop there if we need to pull it in. Our CW crew might even try using a Rockmite CW transceiver when they get far ahead of the rest of us.

Thanks for the video link; will check it out.

KE7FD
 
Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by KT4EP on June 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Pen and paper, log it to computer later or in a lull. Rush, rush, rush. But since digital (other than CW?) isn't a "real" field day operation, why bother?
 
Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by NC4RT on June 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, we can all look down our noses at the gung ho contesters. But if they get off the grid, there's no real harm, is there? To the contrary, they *are* helping raise preparedness in their own way.

One can easily pace oneself as one sees fit. Make your one or two contacts an hour, have some fun, work on your tan... you got off the grid, you jumped into the pile, you probably enhanced your skills in some measure.

72, Randy NC4RT
 
Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by K1CJS on June 22, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I see some of the posts here, and all I can do is shake my head. Field day was first and foremost a day that was meant to show off the capabilities of ham radio, get a ham's family and friends out to enjoy the day, and to introduce the general public to how ham radio could be FUN! Secondarily, it was an opportunity to practice--PRACTICE--setting up stations from scratch, as hams may well be asked to do if--IF--there was an actual emergency. It was never, ever originally meant to be any sort of contest or any serious emergency preparedness exercise.

We've lost sight of that, and so now field day is twisted and made to be less than what is was meant to be--a showcase of ham radio and its capabilities.

"I remember when field day was actually fun, laid back, and not a serious contest."

This is the only post here that realizes the original intent--and probably the only poster who really gets it. Posts like the following just go to show that hams have lost sight of the original intent:

"Serious Field Day operations don't waste a transmitter running digital. So the problem of logging and duping is only a problem for casual operating, and is thus it's not really a problem that needs a serious solution."

"Lest we forget and as others have commented, during the Golden Age of amateur radio, the June Field Day was primarily an emergency exercise, intended to provide training and real time experience in emergency field operations."

No, no, no, no... NO! When field day was enacted, there wasn't any such thing as 'emergency preparedness' in ham radio, there was only helping out if needed in the event of an emergency--something that hams excelled at back then. With the way the ARRL is pushing 'emergency preparedness' these days, it's all too easy to see where all those wrong ideas came from.

I just wish that field day could go back to a simple, fun day where hams could set up, operate, and show off ham radio, its capabilities and it's FUN side once again--instead of being all those things it was never, ever meant to be!

Chris, K1CJS
 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by K1CJS on June 22, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
One other thing--if field day went back to being what it was originally meant to be, just maybe we could attract more people and get them to get their ham licenses. One thing that always used to be included with field day was either a table for people to pick up information and sign up for classes--or someone who would go around and ask if there was anybody interested in getting their license.

Now, tell me, just how many field day operations these days have that--and how many just set up in an out of the way place so that other people won't bother them while they chase that high score?
 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by JOHNZ on June 22, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The informational literature is still there and prominently displayed, right next to the keg of draft beer.
 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by LONESTRANGER on June 22, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Yup, if it isn't a contest then why do they keep score? It used to be a demo/test of emergency comms 30 years ago when i first got licensed. The local clubs' email for the past few weeks has been to ask which salad dressing do you prefer or if you want a steak or chicken.
So locally it's now a cookout with radio. I feel better knowing how prepared we are for an emergency; I have several bottles of Thousand Island stocked up.
 
Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by NA4IT on June 23, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Set up FLDidig correctly, with a macro at the end of your reply message, and it auto logs for you, with the ability to export the log in FD format...
 
Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by W0DLR on June 23, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The best thing about 2013 Field Day is the fact that it is over.

Field Day with the old men in their air conditioned motor homes pulled down by the lake make about as much sense as trash/junk traffic handled on a traffic net.

Now we can get back to enjoying our hobby until the next QSO Party of contest pops up.

W0DLR
 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by K8QV on June 23, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
If on Field Day you can get out of your house, set up some emergency power and a portable antenna, and make even one contact - you've accomplished the purpose of the exercise. If the public sees you doing this and gets interested, all the better.

Then, it's time to eat, relax, try some new modes and have some fun. All of life is a friggin' contest for some.
 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by K1CJS on June 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
W0DLR--You said a mouthful--and all of it true.
 
Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by N9AOP on June 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
To me, using digital modes on field day are like watching paint dry. However, the digital modes peak the interest of the younger set more than some old man pounding the brass. Field day is many things and one of them is showing the public what we do so it has to appeal to those that come through the door.

As far as the emergency aspect, sometimes it gets lost. Pushing up a 50ft tower with a pro96 on top of it in some field generally does not happen after some emergency in real life.--and these kind of pics show up in QST after FD.

Also, it is a contest regardless of what you think. If it were not then the ARRL would not have all those points built into it. And lastly, I am sorry if I interrupted the magnolia net one night of the year.
Art
 
Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by KC2WI on June 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Field Day is anything you want it to be.

If you want to be a serious contest that's your choice, although that is not and never was the intent.

No, it is most likely not a realistic emergency communications exercise either.

It is highly unlikely that most emergency situations will require you to go through the extremes that some go through on FD. It is highly unlikely that you'll try to run several HF stations at the same time in the same place and have to contact all states.

Most likely any HF emergency communications will be over a few hundred miles at most.

But the experience of setting up, making do, resolving unexpected technical and logistical problems, and operating under less than ideal conditions is valuable.

Even if your set up effort is minimal and you operate from a motor home or existing shelter it is still practice.

I do think the experience can be valuable if you do need to operate in an emergency. If nothing else, the experience of planning and logistics is valuable, even if the actual operating style and information exchange isn't much like it would be in an emergency.

There is really no 'wrong' way to do Field Day.

If you want to operate digital, do it. Who cares whether you could make more contacts or points on phone or CW.

Personally I look at Field Day as mostly fun. If it is not fun for you, don't do it.

I like the camaraderie of the group and also the fact that it is a shared experience you can probably talk about with most of the next 100 hams you contact.

 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by KV4MJ on June 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Mark,
You are so right.

The club I am in wastes a transmitter on PSK! What are they thinking?!?

Just because in the past 10 years alone we have finished #1 in our Class 9 times, have 9 top 10 overall finishes and set 4 national records, I see no reason to waste a transmitter on such a useless thing as digital communications!

Bob
KV4MJ
 
Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by KE4DRN on June 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Hi,

I operated our Digital station with our club W4DW here in Raleigh NC.

Digipan for ease of use and first timers can get on the air fast and N3FJP Field Day logging program.

Between the psk and logging thinkpads I have a 20" lcd monitor so one person can operate if you need to take a break.
Wireless mouse makes it very easy to do this. Visitors can get a great view of the PSK action.

Many old timers and new operators log first and observe how we make contacts,
then we move them to the operating position and they all have a blast.

The way I run our station is to introduce the digital modes to as many people as possible,
even if it means we miss one or two contacts along the way.

73 james
 
RE: Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by W0DLR on June 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I think digital modes get a bad rap for several reasons.
No. 1 the user doesn't know squat about a computer.
No. 2 the user doesn't understand the Computer operating system.
No. 3 the user doesn't understand Digipan or whatever program is in use.

Throw these combinations all together and they throw up their hands.

It is a big overwhelming, and other than admit they have no idea what they are doing, they just don't like that mode. PERIOD.

But the same goes for CW, I know more than one Extra Class ham that wouldn't recognize his call on CW if it was played in both ears, and he passed a code test.

'Nough said.

 
Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by WB7OND on July 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have N1MM hooked up with FLDigi. It integrates right into the N1MM logging program. There is a portion of the FLDIGI graphical user interface displayed which allows you to select the digital mode, select the station via the waterfall. The decoded text is within the N1MM screen display and a double click puts the decoded callsign into the logging program. This is a very popular logging program. N1MM has the ARRL field day, dare I say, contest mode. Oops, I forgot to mention, there is no monetary cost to N1MM logging program.

Dick
wb7ond
 
Digital Mode Logging During Field Day  
by KJ4FSU on July 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Digital on Field Day is great fun. Our club does not get all hepped up on scores. Every year we improve a little, but no one really cares about that. This year I spent as much time talking to visitors--some were old hams-, government officials and curious drop-ins as I did operating. We gained a couple of members and tweeked the interest of a few others. As I said, great fun and no pressure. When we had had enough, we packed up and went home. Some stayed all night. I probably had as many contacts as anyone by using digital only. By the way I use MixW on the field day station. It is easy to export an adif or text file to use for reporting.
 
The whole concept sounds sillly  
by KASSY on July 31, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
As one of our digital ops said this past FD, digital QSO rates are so slow, you'd be faster using smoke signals.

They had the digital software in one window. Logging SW in another window. While RXing digital data, he just reads the call/class/sec from one window and types it manually into the logging SW. Even a 5wpm typist can keep up with digital QSO rates.

- k
 
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