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Author Topic: Field Day Logging Software?  (Read 14664 times)
NN3W
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Posts: 150




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« Reply #30 on: May 30, 2013, 09:28:32 AM »

Two transmitters is reason enough.  One radio is not going to be on 20 SSB all weekend.  Maybe at some point, radio 1 goes to 40 CW and radio 2 wants to go to 20 SSB.  Without a networked system, you'd literally have to swap out files and memory sticks - a waste of time when you could simply network them together.

You can also tell what frequency the other station is on if you want to "pass" a station from one radio to the next.
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N2MG
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« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2013, 09:58:20 AM »

Assuming you are replying to me...

Two transmitters is reason enough.  One radio is not going to be on 20 SSB all weekend.  Maybe at some point, radio 1 goes to 40 CW and radio 2 wants to go to 20 SSB.

I already said it mattered if you wanted to share bands between the stations.  And, why does it matter if station B wants to go to 20 SSB after station A already operated there?  Because...

Quote
Without a networked system, you'd literally have to swap out files and memory sticks

Only if real-time duping mattered (which again I already said).

If not, you could always merge the logs later.  Not saying it would be pretty.

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a waste of time when you could simply network them together

I agree, if one can simply network them together.  Part of the debate was whether it was SIMPLE, and another part was whether it was MANDATORY. The answer is "NO" to both.

FWIW, I will be networking our PCs on Field Day.

Quote
You can also tell what frequency the other station is on if you want to "pass" a station from one radio to the next.
Yup, but IME that's a rather advanced "contester" thought and assumes more than two networked PCs is set-up.
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WB0CJB
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Posts: 38




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« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2013, 08:33:59 AM »

Our club uses N3FJP's FD program. Last year we used the network version as we had 4 stations running. This year, with the new FD logger version 2.0 (due to Ontario being split up) we will be running 6 stations. The backup will be version 2.7.

Everyone has their own favorite logging program. Back in the early 90's there was the WR9R FD logging program which worked for a club I headed up FD for. But I still prefer the N3FJP program. But whatever you go with is strictly your decision.

You want to start World War 3 in your club? Tell everyone they will be using paper logs and dupe sheets!!! I did that for fun last year and boy you should have heard the groans and yells of "NO!"!!!!!

Good luck and see you on the bands!

Paul WB0CJB
FD Coordinator, Maury ARC
W4GGM


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KO7I
Member

Posts: 106




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« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2013, 11:26:08 PM »

As far as for N1MM goes, it is a very powerful program. You better know what your doing with a computer otherwise you will get smoked by it very fast. I did and I immediately dumped it and switching to N3FJP.
My club has been successfully using N3FJP Field Day with 5 computers networked together, it works flawlessly. Last month at our club meeting we set up all 5 pc's and gave each group of members a list 30 qso's in blocks of 10, with previously worked call signs and dupes. The idea is to give everyone a shot at calling the call signs and exchanges while another does the logging. In an open meeting room, the voices become louder and louder (QRM), it teaches the op's and loggers to use standard phonetics. This is a great drill and very helpful in overcoming the computerized logging SW learning curve very fast.
The new version of N3FJP is an improvement over last years version and I highly recommend it. That said, our club is blessed to have an experienced I.T. professional who networks the PC's together for us. We have a mixture of pc's running XP and a couple running WIN7. 
Last year it was fun to watch the station logs as a competition began to develop between the tents. As qso's are logged, everyone could see the master log live. It is really cool to watch and inspires you to do better and up your game. We will have a ball this year and the lines of competition are developing already... CW vs SSB vs DIG. We have a great time and look forward to it every year. Good SW just makes field day all the better.
I hope to work you all this year.
W7PIG 3A WWA

73, Don KO7i
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KASSY
Member

Posts: 167




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« Reply #34 on: June 08, 2013, 10:52:00 AM »

I vote for N1MM and against N3FJP.  Topic by topic...

Learning curve:
* No contest.  N3FJP wins.  it's easy to use.  However, that's also it's downfall.  It's easy to use because it has limitations, some of them significant.

N1MM takes some getting used to.  I'd say 30 minutes.  That's all it took me, and I'm not much of a computer nerd.

Contest-worthiness:
* No contest.  N1MM wins.  In one characteristic alone, N3FJP banishes itself from the ranks of serious contest software.  It won't let you log duplicate contacts.  Ask ANy serious contester "what should I do when a station calls me and the software says he's a dupe?"  The answer: Work him!!  EVery time. 

Why?  In most contests, the QSO won't count for you unless it's in BOTH logs.  If the other guys software is not telling him it's a dupe, then you are NOT in his log.  You need to get there.  So, work the dupe.  Assuming his software is working right, then your first QSO will be busted because you're not in his log - it will be busted anyway.  It's the SECOND QSO that counts.  Contest-worthy software MUST allow you to work dupes - it should be the default condition.

On the other hand, if the other guy's software is not networking across stations, it's possible that you really ARE a dupe, but because he's switched his 40 CW station to 20SSB, and it had been a different station running 20SSB yesterday, then you might really be a dupe.  No matter.  It's faster to make the QSO than to debate, on air, if you're a dupe.

* Speed:
No contest.  When our club tried N3FJP a few years ago, it choked when we got past 2,000 QSOs.  When we hit "enter" to log a QSO, it took enough time before the software responded, that we missed making the next QSO.  We reverted to paper logging and had some poor schmoe doing after-the-fact data entry.

As far as networking, this is not needed - unless there is a chance that some band/mode will be activated, during the weekend, on more than one station.

Say you are 4A and two are CW and two are SSB.  The only way to ensure that you never need networking is to guarantee that one CW station will be 80 and 40 only, the other is 20/15/10...or some other aggressively enforced band splitting.

If you're going to be 2A and guarantee that this station is SSB only and that one is CW only, then you could get along without it.

But why would you want to?  If a contest is to be a learning experience, why not learn networking?


When it comes to contesting software, there's N1MM.  And every other package that compares itself to N1MM.  At some point, a contester WILL learn N1MM.  Why delay?  Start now.

- k
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K0JEG
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Posts: 679




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« Reply #35 on: June 08, 2013, 07:41:07 PM »

Our club is going to try networking the 4 stations we're operating this year. It's actually generating a bit of interest to see how it goes.  We have a lot of experienced contesters who are all very familiar with N1MM, so that's what we'll be using. However none of them have experience running in a networked environment so it should be interesting.

I do think one feature that will be useful is knowing what band everyone is on without having to run between tents. Also will be nice to IM between stations too.
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N2MG
Administrator

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« Reply #36 on: June 09, 2013, 06:57:45 AM »

Contest-worthiness:
* No contest.  N1MM wins.  In one characteristic alone, N3FJP banishes itself from the ranks of serious contest software.  It won't let you log duplicate contacts.  Ask ANy serious contester "what should I do when a station calls me and the software says he's a dupe?"  The answer: Work him!!  EVery time. 

The author goes through some trouble to explain his philosophy about logging dupes for which I have some sympathy.   At the relatively slow pace of FD, his ideas have some merit - even if they are old school.  That said, I agree one MUST be allowed to log dupes and N3FJP allows you to do so.  It's a setting in the (current) program's Settings. No, it's not the "default" but it's easy enough to change.

Quote
* Speed:
No contest.  When our club tried N3FJP a few years ago, it choked when we got past 2,000 QSOs.  When we hit "enter" to log a QSO, it took enough time before the software responded, that we missed making the next QSO.  We reverted to paper logging and had some poor schmoe doing after-the-fact data entry.

This is troubling.  I'd like to test this. My club runs a rather small effort so logging a lot of contacts is not of immediate concern.  But overall, the idea that the program loses itself somehow when there are a lot of QSOs disturbs me at a fundamental level.

Quote
As far as networking... If a contest is to be a learning experience, why not learn networking?

Exactly, but be prepared to have some issues. Networking is NEVER for the faint of heart (unless maybe you own a Mac!)

Quote
When it comes to contesting software, there's N1MM.  And every other package that compares itself to N1MM.  At some point, a contester WILL learn N1MM.  Why delay?  Start now.

Well, we all know FD is NOT a contest. ;-)
I'd venture that over 90% of the participants are not and will never be contesters. If any want to become one, N3FJP is a perfect introduction to computer logging. If anything its simplicity can be used in a comparison with more capable programs.

There's nothing noble about forcing casual ops to learn something far more capable (difficult) than they need for its own sake.
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WB0CJB
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Posts: 38




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« Reply #37 on: June 09, 2013, 11:12:34 AM »

To network or not to network is up to each individual person. Everyone has their own way of doing things. I've been FD coordinator (read "guru") in our club for 4 years. I remember the first year I tried to get everyone to stay on a particular band. That was like shutting the barn door after the horses got out. Not to mention someone decided to take their laptop home during FD which no one had any idea of who that station had worked prior to their leaving.So the next year I decided that we would network all computers. That way everyone could roam from band to band as desired but it was up to the stations to be wary of who's on what band and mode. It has worked for us the past 2 years so again we will be running networked N3FJP again.

A couple of years ago I had to miss FD and the turmoil we had was mainly interference between stations (the networked computers ran fine). The antennas were too close together and the interstation QRM was really bad from what I gathered. Last year with the exception of the 20m CW getting into the 20 phone station there was no QRM whatsoever and we made over 200 contacts more that the last year. This year should be interesting with 6 stations. There may be some scrambling between stations to keep the QRM down but got to keep the troops happy. It makes for a LOT better FD when someone doesn't get all mad over QRM.

Good luck and would like to know how your FD turns out.
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KASSY
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Posts: 167




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« Reply #38 on: June 09, 2013, 02:00:00 PM »

As far as learning, N1MM just isn't that hard. 30 mnutes is all it took me, and I stink at learning software. 

I'm glad to hear that N3FJP can be set to allow working dupes.  We specifically asked him years ago when we wanted, and were told no, that was not a feature that he intended to add.

N1MM networking: I am advised by our networking guy that N1MM has become very forgiving about the network losing lock, routers going down due to generator refueling blah blah.  However it DOES expect all computers to be operated the entire time that FD is "a contest".  So, do not allow anybody to bring a computer late.  N1MM will insist on copying the ENTIRE log to that computer, and it will take a LOT of network resources to do so.  Further, if a computer is removed early, then N1MM will repeatedly attempt to re-connect to it, again using network resources and slowing things down.

Field Day does not have to be a low-rate contest.  Our CW station last year made 2200 Qs, between two radios.  One of them was on digital 2/3 of the time, too.  Our phone ops don't do as well, but there are more newbies.

For some of us, FD is our one chance per year to have good antennas high on top of a hill.  I can never get good rates from my home station.  So, I, and others, will use this as our one contest per year when we really can make rate!

- k
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KO4XJ
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #39 on: June 14, 2013, 01:55:40 PM »

We have used N1MM for FD for many years and networked for the last 5 years or so. While a few of us are "hard core" N1MM users, meaning we dabble in contest more than others it was easy, but everyone in the club that used a station (3A here) had no problems with N1MM. Even our GOTA station is on N1MM but it's not networked. Someone just had to show the the users a few basic keys and off they went. As far as networking running 3A we are spread out in a park with park pavilions or in a RV we can see who is operating/band/mode and we can send a messages to the operators (NO ONE HAS 2m HT's IT SEEMS). Networking is not that hard and while I never have never use N3FJP but we will be sticking with N1MM..........W4NJA 3A KY...........See ya on the radio
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N2MG
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« Reply #40 on: June 14, 2013, 02:21:27 PM »

By the way, I discovered the other night that the newest version of N3FJP (required for the new Ontario sections) no longer supports parallel port CW generation.

I've kept a couple of diehard laptops around with parallel ports for just this reason. Sad
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