Monday, March 17, 2008

Loggers

As I've stated before, I like to play around with various logging programs. For me, this seems to be the Holy Grail of Ham Radio - finding a logging program that does everything I want it to do. But that goal is like the "Impossible Dream" of Don Quixote. It just doesn't seem to be attainable.

Here are some Pros and Cons of programs I've been dealing with lately:

AC Log - One of the most popular ones out there, evidenced by the number of reviews on eHam and the number of rave comments on just about every radio e-mail reflector that I subscribe to.
It is very flexible, as a good built in Telnet program, and is very intuitive and easy to use. It has one big glaring problem for me (and it's probably me and not the software). When I enter a call sign and navigate the data entry fields, I get this kind of long "hesitation" when I tab over to the State field. It seem like I have to wait 10 -15 seconds for the program to gather that information from my QRZ CD ROM before it will let me proceed to the Comments field. This is the one thing that makes this software very annoying for me to use.

AA Log - Very nice program! I like the way it interfaces and interacts with the DX Atlas and Band Master programs. It is very professional looking and is pretty easy to use. I like how it uses an Excel kind of appearance and how the log entry lines will change color depending on QSL status. The biggest drawback for me is its flexibility in doing searches. You can hunt for QSOs by mode, call sign, time date, etc. Howeber you CANNOT search for strings in the comment field. Let's say I put a note in the comment field containing someone's NAQCC or SKCC number. I cannot to a search on NAQCC and have all my NAQCC QSOs spit out. Also, there's no provision in the data entry fields for power output; and to me, a QRPer, that is critical.

EasyLog - I downloaded and played around with the trial version of this program. It seems to have everything built in including the kitchen sink. It looks fabulous, and will (among other things) allow you to open and keep tabs on 5 different logs at the same time. It has multi Telnet and Packet Cluster interfaces; and it also has a neat grayline map feature. And if you ask it nicely, it will walk your dog for you while you play radio! (Kidding!) Drawback? It's about 95 bucks or so and you have to "subscribe" to get future updates. For 100 bucks you should get lifetime updates for free!

So as always, this brings me back to using Win-EQF. Aesthetically, I'm annoyed by the Unix look to the software. If Tom could get this program to look more modern and Excel like, I'd be an even happier camper. But, it allows me to do all the things I want to. It has plenty of memo space for each QSO for comments. Searching among the fields for whatever is the easiest and most flexible that I have encountered. I can search for example, for QSOs that I have had with anyone who has an SKCC, NAQCC, ARCI membership number or any other criteria I set forth.
It's a super snap to pop out ADIF formats for LOTW or eQSL. When I enter a callsign, the name and address of the Ham I am working pops up almost instantaneously from the QRZ CD that I have in the CD ROM drive.

I guess I've been using Lof-EQF and now Win-EQF for so long that I take them for granted. It's been 16 years since I first started using it. I should just stay with what has worked for me over the years and not get my head turned by a more "prettier" face. Maybe the simpler, "plainer" look is what keeps this program uncomplicated and working like greased lightning.

73 de Larry W2LJ

1 comment:

KG2V said...

Larry,
Take a look at dxBase (which I use) or Logger32 (free, and VERY VERY good)