Kendall Amateur Radio Society

KB5TX


Software, LoTW and Club Log

How to get the Confirmation

The DX world is still using QSL cards.  A good way to send a card is to use the ARRL outgoing QSL service to a Country's Bureau for further distribution.  See:  http://www.arrl.org/outgoing-qsl-service. The cost is: $2 for 10 or fewer cards in one envelope.  $3 for 11-20 cards in one envelope, or 75 cents per ounce, for packages with 21 or more cards.  [For example, a package containing 1.5 pounds of cards -- 24 ounces, or about 225 cards --  will cost $18.]  There are no transaction service fees.

But what if the Country has no bureau?  Many don’t and are listed in the Operating Manual.  So then, if you really need the card, QSL direct with a SASE and “green stamps.”  To insure (as much as you can) that the card and money reaches the DX, hide the money, and address the envelope with name only, no call.

ARRL’s Logbook of the World (LoTW) is becoming more and more popular.  I have experienced a 40% return overall since 1975.  The return rate was relatively low in the early years, 75% return rate over the past five.  But if you use Club Log and OCRS (Online  Card Request System.) you should expect a return rate 99%.

Logging Software

You must have an electronic log to use Logbook of the World and Club Log.  Today's logging software makes this easy.  I have used DX4Win for general logging since it first become available in the late 90s.  I use N1MM for contests and many use it for general logging.  I have used Writelog for contesting the past.  See http://www.dx4win.com/www.n1mm.com and  www.writelog.com  Another good choice is N3FJP.  This developer offers individual modules for general logging, and for all the major contests.  These all have what you need and are easy to use.  See www.n3fjp.com.  KARS uses this software for Field Day.  Then, there is Ham Radio Deluxe for general logging.  See https://www.ham-radio-deluxe.com/ and there are others. Give the impressive screen shots of Logger 32 a look at https://www.logger32.net/. Click on "Screenshots" at upper left center of the home page.  Whatever you choose, the program should be fully developed and support by a user reflector.  Look for:

  • Packet terminal

  • Packet spots

  • Band map

  • Call sign information (country, heading, distance, QSL manager, etc.)

  • Use for general QSO’s, working DX, casual participation in contests.

  • Program includes PSK31 utilities similar to DIGIPAN.

  • Program with other digital utilities to work new modes.

  • Program where MMTTY RTTY engine will integrate into program.

  • Uses onboard and/or off board sound card(s).

  • Print labels and manage QSL cards.

  • Upload/download to/from LoTW.

  • Upload/download to/from eQSL.

  • Award tracking

  • Output in .adi format to submit to LoTW and Club Log.

DX4Win

This logging software is supported by an active reflector and updated as needed.   The current version being V9.03xx and contains helpful utilities to import an ADIF file from WSJT-X or N1MM or from whatever into the master log file and then other utilities to submit what are now new contacts in the master log to LoTW along with other QSOs..  A helpful feature is "Reports", where one can quickly see one's status for WAS, DXCC and other awards.  The following screen shots show three layouts using dual-screen.  Being Windows based, the layout options are infinite and completely dependent upon the whims of the user.  The following are mine.

I keep general "nice to have" information on the left.  Logging, historic and packet information are shown to the right.  The first layout shows the setup used for general logging.  The second shows how MMTTY can be added to the layout.  The third shows the layout with the internal PSK utility.

General logging layout from left to right:  Left screen: world map showing gray zone and Country Call prefixes and Log.    Right Screen contents:  Band map showing spots, the logging window, and packet window which tests the spot against the log, the color codes showing priority. These utilities tell one at a glance if  the contact is needed.  For example, red indicates the spotted country is needed for band credit, blue for mode, green for either mode or band.  A new country is shown in yellow.  White, already worked and confirmed.   A user can change these color codes to whatever they wish.  The software is connected by CI-V to the radio. Click on the spot in the band map or spot window and the radio tunes to the spot frequency, the spot call is entered in the log window. The small windows at the top query the log data base for worked and confirmed contacts.  There are many window choices: DXCC, WAZ, IOTA to name a few. At the upper right, is a window that shows directional information from one's location to the DX, along with sunset/sunrise times in UTC at the user's location and at the DX's location.  At the bottom is a CW keyboard and macros,  a window showing previous contacts with the same call, packet terminal with macros and below that, announcements.  There is much, much more.  See https://dx4win.com/.

RTTY from left to right.  Here the log has been put away and MMTTY selected in its place.  The windows on the right remain the same but the user's choice is almost infinite.

PSK from left to right.  Here the log has been put away and PSK window selected in its place.  The windows on the right remain the same but the user's choice is almost infinite.

N1MM

Many use N1MM for general logging.  These are the same screen shots as in "Contesting & DX."  N1MM is described in more detail there.  Regardless of what you use, each will provide what you need to move your contacts into Logbook of the World (LoTW) and into Club Log.  One way to do it and the way I do it is to export the N1MM contest log in ADIF format to file and then go to DX4Win and import the N1MM contest log to the master log.  Then with this, export what are now new contacts in the DX4Win master log to LoTW where they are merged with the user's LoTW QSO file.  My file at LoTW contains every contact (DX or Domestic) made since 1975.

N1MM Setup Example for November SS-CW

N1MM Setup Example for November SS-SSB

So one can see, there are many good choices for general logging and contesting software.  DX4Win and N1MM are discussed here because these two packages are what I use and know.  Go to the sponsors webpage at https://n1mmwp.hamdocs.com/ and read what N1NN offers.  Then download the user manual to see if this will work for you.  Again, there is much, much more.

Regardless of what you choose, you must have an electronic log to use Logbook of the World and Club Log.  Your electronic logging package will have a means (one way or another) add the QSO's from your paper log, to the electronic log. You will want to do this and, if you can, submit your entire QSO record to LoTW.  No way around it, this is drudgery one way or another.  I used "Basic Log Import" to convert my paper log from 1975 through early 1995 to digital format.  Although pure drudgery as mentioned before, this seemed easy enough.  Basic Log Import is a Freeware program, no longer shown on the Internet.  But I have it and will send it to any requestor.  Email me at K5NOF@ARRL.net .

Logbook of The World (LoTW)

The process to join LoTW is not exactly easy but can be done if you pay attention to the instructions.  Visit http://www.arrl.org/logbook-of-the-world and read the entire site to see what is involved and to gain a sense of what must be done.  And then:

  • Download and print the instructions

  • Download and install the software.

  • Request a certificate for your call-sign.

  • Authenticate your location.

  • Load your certificate (TQ6 file).

  • Create a station location.

  • Sign and upload your log files.

Follow the instructions step by step!  Once you are recognized by ARRL, your electronic submissions to LoTW will be merged with all your paper QSL card submissions for a complete record for DXCC and related awards, and look something like this:

Club Log

On-line Card Request System (OCRS) is almost a sure way to obtain a QSL.  Most rare entity operators use the system.  Some simply post a link on their web page to show if you are in their log and if so, a utility to request a QSL and a link to Pay-Pal to pay for it.  Normally the cost is about the same as a SASE, international postage stamp and "green stamps" and far more secure and reliable.  To get started, visit https://clublog.org/loginform.php.  You will be greeted by a screen that looks like this.  Register and then "click around" to see all the features offered by this great utility.  Upload your log in .adi format to Club Log and then update your Club Log record periodically.  I send the same .adi file to Club Log that I uploaded to ARRL to update my LoTW record.  

DXpedition version of FT8

Dave Moore (N7RF) reports the DXpedition mode for FT8 is being widely used.  It allows them to work multiple stations very rapidly with multiple response channels.  You must be running FT8_v2.0 or later.  K5NOF used it to work ZK3A on 160m when the signal was barely audible.

User guide:              http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/FT8_DXpedition_Mode.pdf

Download:                http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/wsjtx.html

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