eHam Forums => Computers And Software => Topic started by: NW5Y on January 28, 2008, 08:25:54 AM

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: NW5Y on January 28, 2008, 08:25:54 AM
I am currently using the free DXlab Suite. It seems very nice with lots of bells and whistles. I entered all of my QSO paper log data going back to 1994 into the DXkeeper database and I have been using DXlab for the past 3 months.
I use N1MM for contest logging (free) and very easy to use (also only one I have experience with).

I am slightly frustrated with DXlab because as it is extremely functional it has so many settings to adjust and tweak. It takes me a considerable amount of time to get things done in this program.

So, I do like this program and the way it interfaces with all of its "suite" programs but it is so darn complicated(to me that is and I am a network IT guy).

Heres what I want to do: Keep up with QSO's, track awards, track qsl received/sent, and print out labels - addresses on envelopes, etc. I really like the DXLAB interface with QRZ.

Any recommendations out there? I know everybody has their favorite. I read the reviews here on eham but that really didn't help me. Maybe I need to stick with what I am using which I will do if there is not something better. If I did change the new software would damn sure have to import my current dxlab log.

I don't mind paying if its "worth" it and I don't mind using separate contest software. I did just run into a problem with that recently when I started to receive QSLs after a contest. I go back and enter those in dxlab so I can keep them in my "official" log.

Thank you gentlemen,

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: N8UZE on January 28, 2008, 10:40:42 AM
While I like the N3FJP software, it MAY be too simplistic for your needs.  It does do the things you mention but only in a basic way (i.e. labels only print one QSL per label not multiple QSLs for example).  You can download it and try it though before buying.  The nice thing about his software is that it is very user friendly, almost intuitive.

As far as contests, you will always need to export an ADIF file from your contest when it is done and then import it into whatever you use for general logging.

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: NW5Y on January 28, 2008, 12:06:57 PM
So are you saying that I should import the hundreds of QSO I made in the last contest into my logbook?

Is this standard practice? I keep my N1MM logs with contest date and name so I can refer to them if I need to. Maybe I should import it into my log so I don't have to go back and look if someone wants a QSL.

My log could get big fast.

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: N8UZE on January 28, 2008, 01:45:29 PM
Well that's what I do.  It may not suit you.  But for me  it is impossible to track awards when the contacts are spread over different logging software.

This brings up another feature of the N3FJP software.  He has different programs for different contests.  It is designed with the expectation that you will eventually transfer the contest log to some type of general log.  It's not designed to let you keep the old log when you start the new contest (i.e. 2008 SS does not let you keep 2007 SS).

Even if you don't plan importing into your general log, I would recommend writing the various contests to ADIF files as a precautionary measure.  That way if you ever lose the software that created them, you can always open them in other logging software.

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: WA9YSD on January 29, 2008, 09:14:58 PM
NW5Y, what did you finally settle on?

One of my fears is that if the program is no longer supported or updated, you are going to have to search again.  When transferring log files from one program to another, information has or will be lost depending on the program.   I am getting to old for going back and re-entering data from 40 years ago because of data being lost every time it is transfered to a new program and spending my retirement at the key board filling in the blanks.

I prefer a straight forward no glitter program.  Logging, telnet DXCC, DXCC Challenge and Packet to tell me I need a country on A band for each mode, for at least 9 bands.

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: N8UZE on January 30, 2008, 05:38:08 AM
Just make sure that the program you are using allows you to export in ADIF format.  That way if you need to change logging software, you will be able to transfer your log in its entirety.

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: NW5Y on January 30, 2008, 07:26:45 AM
DXkeeper as do most logging packages exports in ADIF format. I don't think there would really be any issues (although I have never done it)in exporting/importing from one software to another. I don't know you might have trouble with the QSL sent/receive in the database because I notice that some of the software out there is different in how it handles this. I am no expert. I have been using my present software for 4 months. But I have logged over 150 QSO's with about 1/3 being DX.

After looking at the free/purchase packages out there I have come to the conclusion that there are more simpler programs to operate one being NF3JP's AC Log. I downloaded AC log and checked it out and it is very simple to operate. I would suggest the program highly if you just want to log contacts. It will track DX but just countries not prefixes. You can install it and start logging with very little effort. It also has several add-ons that you can purchase to expand its capabilities and it is very inexpensive for what it does even if you get the whole package ($39). One thing I did notice that was very appealing is that it has the look and feel user interface of a MS Windows program. This would make most folks very comfortable with it right from the start

But, and this is a biggy, I believe that the DXLab Suite is much more functional. It too has add-ons that you can download or just download the DXkeeper and log QSO's. The add-ons for DXlab are much more robust in my opinion. The printing features are very nice. I have printed my confirmation information on the back of blank QSL cards very easily. The lookup features, now that I have investigated other programs are phenomenal in comparison. The Pathfinder add-on will interface with QRZ, manager lookup sites, etc.... at the click of the mouse.

Like I said earlier DXlab has many bells and whistles and there is a learning curve. In part I now realize that I downloaded the entire DXLab suite and tried to learn it all at once. You must read the manual and help files, you must. Luckily the built in help files actually help and you can just mouse over an item and it gives you a short explanation.

Unless something else comes along or someone turns me on to another logger to try I guess I will stay with the DXLab suite. It is free you know and I have already invested considerable time trying to master it.

So for someone who knows nothing, thats my opinion.


Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: NW5Y on January 30, 2008, 09:30:38 AM
I must tell you that after seeing this post, Dave Bernstein AA6QY DXLab Suite developer emailed me to address any concerns I had with the software.

Now has is that folks? This gentleman HAM is giving the stuff away and emailing me to address any concerns I have?

Unbelievable in this day and age.

I guess thats all the "advice" I need.


Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: NW5Y on January 30, 2008, 10:18:50 AM
Typing error:

Should be: Now HOW is that folks?

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: WA9YSD on January 30, 2008, 04:10:17 PM
Hi Dee

I have used 3 programs so far.  In the last 4 years.  Seams every time I change programs I lose things like Sent/RCVD EQSL, Lotw, QSL Card credits.  Right along with comments, notations, and just lost QSOs from importing my master ADIF for one reason or another.

I visited and just briefly looked at a couple of things there.  Depending who's logging software you use there are slight variations.  Even though ADIF set standards, programmers seam to find a way to do things their own way thus have a small corner of marketing their own program.  Here lays the problem.

Instead of competing with one an other on options, they deliberately adjust parts of the ADIF to make their program more proprietary thus creating issues/problems.

I am looking for a program that does not mess with things and stick strictly to the standard, if there is such a thing.

Keep The Faith, Jim

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: NW5Y on January 30, 2008, 09:28:13 PM
Thats been my concern as well. Thats why I think you find one you like and stick with it. But, it would be nice to know the answer to your question before one manually enters all of his contacts. No way I could do that now. I paid my 17 yr old daughter to enter a few hundred for me and I did many myself. We had to set all of the QSL info for each one from my paper records. She types more accurately than I do and is much more careful. I will never get them all entered but I have the bulk with careful attention to any DX.

You know, I think you should send AA6QY an email and ask him. He has a great reputation of support for his DXLab products. If anyone would know it would probably be him as he has probably seen it all. And after all he is not trying  to sell anything.

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: AA6YQ on January 30, 2008, 11:07:31 PM
QSL_SENT and QSL_RCVD are part of the ADIF specification. There is no excuse for an application failing correctly import and export basic QSO confirmation status.

The ADIF development community is quite diverse, spanning free-ware developers, share-ware developers, and commercial firms. Commercial firms often oppose substantive expansions in the ADIF specification because of the resulting increase in their development costs. Thus the proposal to make LotW and eQSL information interchangeable was defeated because the commercial firms concluded that their costs would not be offset by increased revenues. Since there is no standard in this area, any interchange requires point-to-point solutions. DXKeeper, for example, can recover LotW and eQSL confirmation information from files exported by Logger32. And as of last night's release, DXKeeper can recover LotW confirmation from ADIF files exported by DXBase.

While its true that some supposedly ADIF-compliant applications take liberties with the specification, in my experience this is due to ignorance or intransigence, not some nefarious scheme to achieve differentiation at the user's expense.


      Dave, AA6YQ

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: AA6YQ on January 30, 2008, 11:13:13 PM
In the interest of "full disclosure", I should mention that I serve as the unofficial secretary of the ADIF Developer Community.

The current version of the ADIF specification is available via


        Dave, AA6YQ

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: WA9YSD on January 31, 2008, 04:05:27 AM
Thanks Scott

Most people do not understand that.  It takes time, then you begin to wounder if it is worth it.

Some people do not have a life.  Nice to see you were able to get some help.  Pretty much my same conclusion.

About the latter, some people just do not under stand or get it, I just do not like it.

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: WA9YSD on January 31, 2008, 02:50:30 PM
I think a 4 or a 2 has a conversion software from Cabrillo to ADIF and/or ADIF to Cabrillo.

I heard from a friend that DXBase2007 when it converts its files using ADIF 1.

No one has the balls to create a program and make it public domain, that converts files from ADIF 1 to ADIF 2 and vise versa,

or DXBase DXLab DXKeeper ADIF to DXBase ADIF 1 and vise versa,

or from XXXX ADIF to YYYYY ADIF and vise versa for every logging program out there.

This would help every one to choose the logging program they want and give hams fair chance to use the program of choice with out, hopefully, loosing data.

Keep The Faith, Jim

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: AA6YQ on January 31, 2008, 04:04:30 PM
WA9YSD wrote: "No one has the balls to create a program and make it public domain, that converts files from ADIF 1 to ADIF 2 and vise versa."

ADIF 2 is an upward-compatibile extension of ADIF 1. Any ADIF-compliant application should correctly import an ADIF 1 file; if it fails to do so, its defective.

Since ADIF 2 both extends ADIF 1 fields and defines new fields not supported by ADIF 1, it is not possible to convert an ADIF 2 file to ADIF 1 without loss of information.

What is possible is to extract the ADIF 1 subset of information from an ADIF 2 file. DXKeeper  provides an "Export ADIF 1.0" option for this purpose.

There are two more serious threats to "interchange without information loss". The first is the use of proprietary tags and encodings to convey information. To overcome this, DXKeeper can import ADIF files containing proprietary tags and encodings exported by DX4Win, DXBase, Logger16, LOGic, MMTTY, WinLog32, and WriteLog.

The second more serious threat to "interchange without information loss" is that ADIF is silent on the topic of field capacity. If program A is limited to a 16-character QTH and program B is limited to a 32-character QTH, then a QSO logged in program B and exported to an ADIF file that is then imported by program A will not arrive with its QTH intact if that QTH exceeds 16 characters in length.

A proposal to mitigate this problem by specifying a minimum capacity for each ADIF field was defeated because the commerical firms were concerned with the cost of implementation.


      Dave, AA6YQ

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: WA9YSD on February 01, 2008, 02:40:14 PM
Al, as we talked on the phone the other day, is it true that a program that takes the log data and compiles it to and ADIF 1 file has these field definitions QSLMSG, QSLRDATE, QSLSDATE, QSL_RCVD, QSL_SENT, QSL_VIA?

Assuming they are, after exporting an ADIF 1 file to another program say one that uses ADIF 1 or 2, why would a program, with LOTW credit from DXBase, interpret it as QSL_RCVD? There was no card.  Now the LOTW credit and Card credit are mixed with the LOTW credit and there is no way to seperate the 3000 cards that I have from LOTW credit unless it go through all those cards again.  Not doing it.  All that work wasted.  Why did that happen and  is it a standard practice?

From an ADIF 1 file after exporting, I find some QSOs that had QSL received get dropped off and lost when transfered.  What would cause that in eather program?  clock timeing?  Compiler incompatability, corruption, interuption in data flow or Murphy's Law?

I received from the ARRL my complete upload of LOTW submissions in a ADIF file.  What ADIF 1 or 2 I had no time to look at it.  Just spent the last 32 hours snow plowing.

Any ways, with the complete upload copy from the ARRL, I do not know, nor do I care right now cause of the hours I put in push that white SHXX around. I do not know if they have CARD and LOTW Credit separated or just said Card Credit.  What else can I do with the copy.  Please do not confuse this copy with the LOTW Credit file.  2 completely different files.

I would like to know vy looking at my loging program what ever it is, if I need to look for my card in the file or go to LOTW and look for it there.  With them merged and by down loading my LOTW CREDIT to the program I have about a 50-50 chance ok 75-25, what ever in looking at the card file and finding it.  With DXBase I knew where it was by looking if it was lotw, card or both were cause the program showed me.

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: KA1MDA on February 03, 2008, 06:56:22 PM
<< It's not designed to let you keep the old log when you start the new contest (i.e. 2008 SS does not let you keep 2007 SS). >>

I use N3FJP's VHF contest log along with his AC LOG program. True, there is no option to save old contest logs in VHF LOG. However, there is a simple workaround. Before starting a new contest in VHF LOG, I just rename the log file. I have saved every log from every contest I have worked under N3FJP VHFlog using this method. That way they are always available for future reference.

The log file in VHF LOG is your call sign with a LOG extention. So in my case, it's KA1MDA.LOG. I just rename it to something like 2004_Jan_VHF.LOG before starting  new contest. Perhaps this technique might work with the SS log program?

73, de Tom, KA1MDA

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: NW5Y on February 04, 2008, 06:26:21 AM
Well this seems to be a hotter topic than I imagined.

I have only been in one contest where I used a logger.
On Jan. 19th I participated in the NAQP SSB contest. This was my first contest in several years and the first at my new station. After reading some positive reviews I downloaded N1MM a few days prior and learned how to run it with some fake qso's. The program worked great and was very easy to use. Yesterday before the big game I went ahead and made an ADIF file and imported into DXkeeper. It worked perfect. My NAQP log contained call, name and state/province.
DXkeeper imported the ADIF file, interfaced with QRZ during the import and filled in the blank fields.

Not one error. I was very impressed. I was only able to work a few hours of the contest but import of 400+ contacts wit no hiccups was cool. I set DXkeeper to default all of the QSL fields blank on import and that worked just fine.

Now I am trying to get started with LOTW so I can start using that upload feature of DXkeeper as well. The more I use this software the more I like it as I rack up some experience.

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: NW5Y on February 04, 2008, 07:24:16 AM
Oh yeah, I made a backup of my DXkeeper log before import just in case. Always!

Title: Logging Software Advice
Post by: KB0FHP on March 04, 2008, 06:57:57 PM
I use DXLabs Suite of software - it is excellent.  It does have its drawbacks - for instance it is not really set up for chasing grids on VHF and tracking them.  But that is a smal portion of what I do.  One thing that excels is Dave's (AA6YQ) support.  I do not think he ever sleeps - I can pose a question and usually within minutes I have an answer from him - or from someone else in the user group.  

For contesting, I use the N3FJP programs.  Scott (N3FJP) is also VERY fast on responding to questions.  The programs are also very good - I use them for contests because they work well on a network, and easy to set up.  When the contest is over, I export to an ADIF file - open up DXKeeper and with a couple of key clicks - import all the log.  Then once I add those QSOs, I make two! additional key clicks and upload them to LOTW or print out needed QSL cards.  Very fast and seamless.

Personally I would recommend DXLabs for general logging and record keeping and the N3FJP logging programs for contesting.