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Author Topic: SIMPLE logging software  (Read 6110 times)
K8AXW
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Posts: 3911




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« on: January 28, 2011, 09:05:38 AM »

Greetings all:

I have Googled for logging software, preferably free, and have tried a couple.  However, I am not satisfied with any of them.  The "buy me" programs are even worse.  The problem?  Complexity! Unbelievable amounts of information to be entered that I don't need or even want.  Many features that I won't use.

I am looking for a logging program, "preferably free," that I can enter the exact same information that one finds in the ARRL logbooks.  In the same order would be a bonus.

The only 'extra' option that would be nice and would be welcome is the ability to search for a call entered in the log to see if I have worked it before.  NOTHING MORE!

I bought a piece of logging software in 1998 and spent 90 hours manually transferring my paper logs to the new software.  All was well until 2000 when it was all rendered worthless!  90+ hours of work, gone!  I haven't considered an electronic log since, until just a couple months ago.  Only because I'm working many stations that tell me "that they worked me before and when"  because of electronic logging and the widespread use of computers now. I'd like to be able to do this.

Does anyone have a suggestion.

73

K8AXW

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KA1DBE
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Posts: 122




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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2011, 09:18:00 AM »

Hi,

Why not use just a simple spreadsheet?  You could tailor it for your needs and a simple ctrl F solves your searching needs.  Just a thought.

73's,
Jeff
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K0IZ
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2011, 09:25:55 AM »

I like N3FJP's AC Log.  Not free but real cheap.  Works great for me, and not complicated.
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KJ4I
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2011, 12:33:03 PM »

I second the one about N3FJP's AC log. It's less than $20 and worth every cent of it. In the past I have tried different log programs and they were all too crammed up with too much junk and it seemed like had to move a mountain just to add a contact. The great thing about AC log is that you can customize it almost any way you want it, move boxes around in whatever order you like, and add or delete items you want or don't want. It's perfect for me. If you want simple software with a minimal amount of effort required to log contacts then AC log is just that. It also allows you to interface it with your rig making logging that much easier. It's not free but heck, its just $20. Seldom find good software that reasonable these days.
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KH2BR
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2011, 12:47:16 PM »

Look at http://www.qrz.com I use the online logging program. its simple and free.
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W8JX
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2011, 09:25:18 PM »

Yes but not only must you have a computer but also must have a internet connection too. I have been using WinLog32. It is free and pretty decent too.
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All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
K9MRD
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2011, 08:41:26 AM »

Try XMLog - it is free.

www.xmlog.com

Easy to install, use and has all the bells and whistles if you ever want/need them
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K8AXW
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2011, 08:50:17 AM »

MRD:

Just downloaded xmlog and will give it a try as well.  Thank you.

K8AXW
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N2EY
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2011, 05:41:13 AM »

I am looking for a logging program, "preferably free," that I can enter the exact same information that one finds in the ARRL logbooks.  In the same order would be a bonus.

The only 'extra' option that would be nice and would be welcome is the ability to search for a call entered in the log to see if I have worked it before.  NOTHING MORE!

Consider staying with paper logging.

ARRL sells their bound log book and printed log sheets. (The log sheets are punched for a 3 ring binder, and cost a lot less per QSO). Or you can make your own.

All you need to add is some 3x5 index cards and a box for them. Each card is assigned to a callsign, as you work them. you put the call in big letters at the upper left corner of the card, date and time of QSO in any convenient format, other info, etc. The cards are kept in alphabetic order in the box, so that if you work someone again it is obvious when you look in the box. As your QSO totals increase, you get more cards and more boxes.

Yes, this paper method costs a little and is not automatic. But it works and is as simple as can be, as long as you follow the rules.

I bought a piece of logging software in 1998 and spent 90 hours manually transferring my paper logs to the new software.  All was well until 2000 when it was all rendered worthless!  90+ hours of work, gone!

How was it all rendered useless? Did you have a hard-drive crash?

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KF7CG
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2011, 06:24:37 AM »

Use Logger32 here. It is as simple or complex as I want it to be. I only use the direct from the rig frequency input. Logging is straight up log book stuff.  Since I do have internet on my radio computer, I have added and activated a online call sign lookup function to fill in much of the QSL information. This just leaves Callsign, Signal Reports, and Comments if desired to enter.

Pretty slickand also free. It could do more but I don't use the features yet.

KF7CG
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N9RO
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2011, 09:02:50 AM »

Your requirements define a spreadsheet application NOT a logging program.

Tim
N9RO
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NU1O
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Posts: 2708




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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2011, 09:19:06 AM »

Consider staying with paper logging.

ARRL sells their bound log book and printed log sheets. (The log sheets are punched for a 3 ring binder, and cost a lot less per QSO). Or you can make your own.

All you need to add is some 3x5 index cards and a box for them. Each card is assigned to a callsign, as you work them. you put the call in big letters at the upper left corner of the card, date and time of QSO in any convenient format, other info, etc. The cards are kept in alphabetic order in the box, so that if you work someone again it is obvious when you look in the box. As your QSO totals increase, you get more cards and more boxes.

Yes, this paper method costs a little and is not automatic. But it works and is as simple as can be, as long as you follow the rules.

73 de Jim, N2EY



I, too, would rather stay with a paper log.  What can I say?  I am old fashioned and only 51, which by Ham radio standards is young.  However, I am under the same pressure as K8AXW, and all the rest of us.  When those we are talking to can quickly tell us every QSO we have had it is uncomfortable, so we feel forced to get a computer logging program. Conformity is very powerful, indeed.

I tried FLE by DF3CB but it's not really much faster than some of the simpler logging programs and it puts states and countries in a comment section. How will anybody track awards with that?

AA6YQ is a very vocal supporter for his DX Lab Suite and I tried his suggestion to just use DX Keeper but after reading the instructions I still had problems and it asks for a ton of info. I am sure that if I had AA6YQ looking over my shoulder it could be done much simpler but I don't have that option.

So, I move onto this batch of suggestions and see if I can find something. If I were able to write a computer program I would write a VERY simple program because there is demand by people who do not want a program that does everything including answering the telephone and knowing when to make a fresh pot of coffee.

As for keeping every QSO on a file card, there is no way I'd ever do that and looking up QSO's with thousand of cards is going to take a lot of time sorting through the cards, plus I don't have space at the operating table to put thousands of cards in alphabetical order.

I think I will still maintain a paper log even when I find a PC logger I like but I am not going to pay ARRL $7 for 50 sheets of paper. I'm going to design my own log sheet, bring it to Staples and see how much they want to run off 5000 sheets with a secure way of binding 100 at a time.  When I get a price I will post it here.

73

Chris
« Last Edit: January 30, 2011, 09:23:16 AM by NU1O » Logged
N2EY
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Posts: 3895




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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2011, 03:41:41 PM »

I, too, would rather stay with a paper log.

Then just do it.

 
What can I say?  I am old fashioned and only 51, which by Ham radio standards is young.  

I'm 56 but have been a ham since 1967. Most of the hams I encounter haven't been hams that long.

In fact, I figure that only about 1 in 6 of today's US hams have been hams as long as I.

I dunno if that makes me old or young....

However, I am under the same pressure as K8AXW, and all the rest of us.  When those we are talking to can quickly tell us every QSO we have had it is uncomfortable, so we feel forced to get a computer logging program. Conformity is very powerful, indeed.

I still use paper logging for everyday use, and feel no such pressure. None at all.

I do use computer logging for some contests (ARRL November SS, for example). It saves time and effort, particularly after the contest.

But I always print out a copy of the log and put it in the binder.

I tried FLE by DF3CB but it's not really much faster than some of the simpler logging programs and it puts states and countries in a comment section. How will anybody track awards with that?

I like the pushpins-in-the-map method.

Ifwere able to write a computer program I would write a VERY simple program because there is demand by people who do not want a program that does everything including answering the telephone and knowing when to make a fresh pot of coffee.

You don't need to write software. Just use a spreadsheet, such as Excel. Customize it as you see fit. If you format it right, you could have it print out on 8-1/2x11 sheets and put them in a binder for paper backup.

As for keeping every QSO on a file card, there is no way I'd ever do that and looking up QSO's with thousand of cards is going to take a lot of time sorting through the cards, plus I don't have space at the operating table to put thousands of cards in alphabetical order.

Hmmm....maybe you need a bigger op table....

How many QSOs do you actually make in a year? How many different callsigns?

The system I described uses one card per callsign, not one card per QSO. If you get ten little cardfile boxes, one per call district, you're all set for thousands of QSOs.

I think I will still maintain a paper log even when I find a PC logger I like but I am not going to pay ARRL $7 for 50 sheets of paper. I'm going to design my own log sheet, bring it to Staples and see how much they want to run off 5000 sheets with a secure way of binding 100 at a time.  When I get a price I will post it here.

I've been using the ARRL log sheets for longer than I can remember. They are three-hole-punched 8.5 x 11 and the current price is $4 for 96 sheets. That's about 4 cents a sheet, so there's a baseline for cost.

What I like about using individual sheets and 3 ring binders is that you can mix in whatever you like - contest logs and printouts with dupe and summary sheets, station pictures for historical record, or whatever else you want, all in chronological order.

You can even get 3 ring CD/DVD holders and put computerized log record backups in the same binder.

To each his own. Heck, FCC hasn't required that we keep logs at all for quite a few years. I do it out of habit and to preserve a record. And because it's fun!

--

I think one of the greatest things about Amateur Radio is that we have so many choices and options. Bands, modes, kinds of QSOs, technologies, and much more.

The only thing we hams are really required to do are to be kind, courteous and in compliance with FCC rules and good amateur practice on the air. Everything else is optional.

For example, as long as my signal is clean and within the band, there's no requirement that I be able to determine my frequency within X Hz. Nor is there a requirement that I use or not use a specific technology. Or have a certain kind of QSO. Etc.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3911




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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2011, 09:03:25 PM »

OK....OK.... very interesting reads here. 

I'm now 75 years old and have been a ham for 54 years.  I think this takes me from a 1 in 6 to some other level.  The bottom line on all of this is:

I maintain a paper log and have done so for all of my ham career.  I still have ALL of my logs.

I prefer the ARRL logbook, no matter what they cost because I really don't use that many.

I still maintain a logbook even though the FCC no longer requires time.  It has gone from "old school." or  "old habits" to a matter of pride.  The log is great for thwarting imagined RFI complaints when I prove that I wasn't on the air at the time of the complaint!

I simply cannot stand the look of an Excel spreadsheet and to add insult to injury, I have never been able to work with Excel.  Just too damn dumb.

I really don't feel "pressure" peer or otherwise, from working hams that know if and when they worked me last but I do find it embarrassing that I've worked them before but simply can't remember it.

I've encountered something in recent years that I find disconcerting.  Several of these guys that I work the second time simply don't want to talk with me again.  They want to move on to "new" contacts.  Uh-huh.... have considered BO and bad breath.

But since they're usually DX contacts I figure the reason is they're probably limited in their English.  However, it would really be nice to be able to pull up a previous contact with just a few key clicks, read any comments and pick up on a previous thread or start a conversation on subjects I know they are interested in.

As for awards, not interested.  In 54 years I've never competed WAS!  I might have WAC but never even checked.  DXCC... ain't got a clue!

To  answer the "lost all my data" question.  I got burned by Y2K!  The software I was using crashed on 1/1/2000 and the company was out of business.  My only option was to reset the computer clock to some time in the past.  Not acceptable.

Thanks for the help guys..... I'm still working on some of your suggestions.

K8AXW
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NW0M
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Posts: 24




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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2011, 11:32:38 AM »

Try AC Log as others mentioned.  It has a free trial and it is only $20 to buy.  I also just wanted a very basic logger and have been very pleased with AC Log.  Good luck.

73,
Mitch
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