Contest Logging software by wulinqing

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									Comparing (HF) Contest
      Software
  CCF Meeting January 2004
  Marko Holmavuo, OH4JFN
       oh4jfn@sral.fi
Raise your hand...now!

• Who are famous with:
  – CT?
  – N6TR?
  – Writelog?
  – N1MM?
  – Other?
Why logging software?

• Not so serious effort: It makes contesting
  more enjoyable
• Serious effort: Maximize your score!
Requirements for Logging SW
• Stable
• Easy to use (at least when the ”heat is on”)
     – Good and logical user interface!
•   Fast enough
•   Versatile + Configurable
•   Post-contest functionality
•   Enough features for ”serious operating”
•   Product support (bug fixing, further
    development etc)
Program development

• Lack of general modules
  – CW Keying, Different kind of algorhytms, Rig
    control etc.
• => Developers start to work with ”must to
 have features” instead of doing new
 innovations
How to support development work?

• Give feedback:
  – If giving bug-report, make detailed instruction
    how to repeat misfunctionality.
  – If proposing new idea/feature, give detailed
    plan how this new feature should work
• Pay license!
Categories
• Two categories:
  – ”Everyday” logging SW (e.g. DX4WIN)
  – Contest software
• Most common differencies:
  – No network support
  – No SO2R Support
  – Limited number of supported contests
  – Raporting&tracking limitations (e.g. awards)
What to choose?

• For contesting:
 CT, TRLog, NA, N1MM, SD Super Duper,
 TLF( for Linux), Writelog, RCKLog,
 N3JFP Contest Logs, AALog Contest
 Module, Genlog + many others
What to choose...Windows?
• Windows :
  – ...requires more from computer
  – ...can be sometimes unstable
  – ...makes soundcard,network + other extension usage
    easier
  – ...gives more possibilities (UI etc.)
  – ...makes possibility to use more than 1 display
  – ...Can cause some timing problems when keying CW
    (Because of multitasking)
      • Special keyers are recommended
What to choose... or DOS?

• DOS:
  – ...Lightweight environment
  – ...Stable
  – ...Even old 80386 is enough for logging
  – ...Restricts e.g. UI development
  – ...Can cause ”problems” when building
    network, installing SW DVP etc...
What to choose...

• For this presentation we selected:
  – CT
  – N1MM
  – TRLog
  – Writelog

  + RCKLog and SD as ”wildcards”
What to choose...why these?

• Must be suitable for serious contesting:
  – SO2R Support
  – ”Enough” supported contests
  – Support for Multi-operation (M/S, M/2, M/M)


• SD and RCKLog doesn’t fullfill all of these
 requirements
N1MM
• Freeware ”open source” logger => No
  license costs
• Makes possible to develop own logger
  based on N1MM
• Window based SW (WIN 95-XP)
• MS Access database
• Visual Basic implementation
• Supports major contests
N1MM...
•   Network support for Multi-operations
•   ”Floating window” – UI
•   Keyboard layout is something like in TRLog or CT
•   RTTY Support
•   SO2R development is just started...
•   CQ and S&P Modes
    – Function key functionality changes
• All basic functionality (Packet, Telnet, CTY database,
    bandmaps, Partials etc.)
•   CT super check / country database format
N1MM...
• S&P Qso Stack
    – Also Remote call stacking in Multi-user mode
• Multiple antennas on same band (Ctrl-F11)
    – Antenna relay control (via LPT)
• ”Full” radio control (Dual RX ,Splits , Filters, RIT
    etc)
•   Built in QSO recording functionality (WAV)
    – No configurable audio codec (e.g. No MP3 support)
N1MM...
• SO2V (Single Operator Two VFO) mode
• Statistics (Max rates, Off times, Runs,
  Suspect calls etc.)
• Auto Master and country db downloads
  – Internet connection required
• Online ”add call to country” feature
• Auto S&P Qso spotting to cluster network
• Time Sync in Multi environment
N1MM...

• Log file resyncronization (Multi)
• User customizable goals for the contest
• Supports Buckmaster or qrz.com website
N1MM Conclusion

• Pros:
  – Free, opensource => Super versatile at least
    if you are willing to do some coding 
  – Much functions
  – Some ”new innovations”
  – Active support group/update
  – Manual is very large and detailed
  – Lot of macros for key function programming
N1MM Conclusion...

• Cons:
  – UI framework /Ergonomy can be better
  – SO2R Functionality could be better
  – Lack of post-contest statistics
  – Much functions => Many way to do ”same”
    things, can feel ”heavy” to use
Writelog (v. 10.3x)
• Windows 95/98 , also NT / 2000
    – WIN NT / 2000 (no support for LPT Functions)
• 4MB HD Space, 16MB RAM Minium.
• Commercial (license costs $75)
    – Need to request special license for e.g. Pedition
• Floating/”Fixed” UI
• Possibility to produce own modules (C++) for
    not supported contests.
•   RTTY and PSK31 Support (via Soundcard)
Writelog...
• SO2R Support
• Keyboard functionality like in CT
• No different CQ/S&P modes
    – Function key functionality remains same...
• CW&PTT Keying (COM/LPT)
• Antenna relay control (via LPT)
• Radio control support (Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom,
    Ten-Tec, JRC)
•   Support major contests
Writelog...
Networking possibilities for Multi contesting (NetBEUI
  protocol)
    – Automatic log sync.
• All basic functionality (Packet, Telnet, CTY database,
    bandmaps, Partials etc.)
•   CT super check / country database format
•   Soundcard DVK (Same features as K1EA DVK)
    –   Support operator specific recordings
    –   Writelog Sound mixer level controller (picture)
    –   Support for different Audio file codecs (e.g. MP3)
    –   Support ”listen this Qso” functionality
    –   When using SO2R SW based mic ”switching used”
Writelog...
• Possibility to share logbook using the internet
    (needs some extra software)
•   Support up to 4 rigs (SO4R ;)
•   Rotator Control support (COM)
•   Search and Pounce Frequency Mem (1-4)
•   QSL Handling
•   ”Funny” Logging Simulator (ADIF)
•   Support Wheel Mouse (Tune your Rig with
    wheel)
Writelog conclusion
• Pros:
  – ”Configurable” UI, Overall design
  – Versatile: Modules
  – DVK, RTTY
• Cons:
  –   Lack of good post-contest statistics tool
  –   SO2R Functionality could be better
  –   No demo version available
  –   User cannot do all configuration using Graphical UI (if
      INI file editing is needed, manual needed)
RCKLog
• Windows (95-XP) based logging SW by DL4RCK
• License costs 50Euro/US$
    – +5/10 Euro/US$ depending delivery/payment issues
•   Support major contests (inc. e.g. SAC)
•   Cabrillo, ADIF and STF file format supported
•   Online logging using EQSL web database.
•   Radio control support (most brands)
RCKLog...
• CW-Keying (COM&LPT), PTT, DVK triggering
    (LPT)
•   Soundcard DVK
    – can also speak e.g. callsigns from recorded letters
• Supports network (up to 12 stations)
    – Master/Slave architecture
    – Supports clock synchronization
• Support WinKey (by K1EL and G3WGV)
• Support for TNC/Telnet cluster connection
• Support for master file (Call partial check)
RCKLog...

• Support for Callbook CD-ROM’s
  – RAC, HamCall, Buckmaster
• S&P and CQ modes
• Supports Quick Qso Entry functionality
 (ESM in N1MM).
RCKLog Conclusion
• Pros:
  – Basic contest logging sw
  – Basic post contest tool
• Cons:
  – Network architecture, if Master computer fails all
    logging ends also from other stations.
  – No SO2R support
  – Seems to be quite unstable (crashes)
  – Some serious UI Bugs (at least in unregistered 1.38)
TRLog by N6TR
• DOS-software (Programmed with Turbo Pascal?)
    – Windows in Command prompt mode
•   Commercial license ($75 inc. 1 year update subscription)
•   80286 or better
•   Log is based on ascii-file
•   Support over 60 contests, more can be ”customized”
•   All basic functionality (CTY database, bandmaps, Partials
    etc.)
•   Radio control support
•   RTTY Support (with multimode TNCs)
•   SO2R Support
TRLog
• CW & PTT Keying (COM&LPT)
    – Paddle input
•   Antenna relay control (LPT)
•   Packet support (TNC)
•   Network support
•   DVP Support (e.g. W9XT card)
    – SW DVK with external software
    – DVK Triggering via LPT
• CQ and S&P Modes
    – Function key functionality changes
TRLog...

• Separate Post-utility for statistics
• Macros for function key programming
• CW simulator for training
• Footswitch Support
• Telnet support available with external
 software (Windows SW)
TRLog conclusion
• Pros:
   –   Very configurable and flexible
   –   Post-Contest tools (statistic etc.)
   –   SO2R Support
   –   Support/development is working actively
   –   Manual is good
   –   Free version available (based on 6.69)
   –   Long history
• Cons:
   – At first configuring might be confusing
        • Hard to remember all config. parameters (Manual needed)
   – External SW needed for DVK
CT by K1EA
• Has been one of the most famous logging SW
    since 1985.
•   Nowadays Freeware
•   Both DOS & Windows (Character mode SW)
    versions
    – Website indicates that WIN95 is not supported
• Binary based logfile format
• Support major contests
CT by K1EA
•   Radio control support
•   Network support
•   Packet support (TNC)
•   Voice Keyer control (LPT)
•   Support for K1EA DVP card
•   CW&PTT keying
•   Rotator support
•   Antenna relay control (via LPT)
CT By K1EA

• All basic functionality (CTY database,
  bandmaps, Partials etc.)
• Telnet support available with external
  software (Windows SW)
CT Conclusion
• Pros:
  –   Easy to use and learn
  –   Freeware
  –   Long history
  –   Support/bug fixing is still alive.
• Cons:
  – SO2R support
  – Feedback indicates that it can be quite unstable in
    some environments (CTWIN+Multi operation)
SD
• EI5DI has made a collection for Logging
  – 9 Different programs
• SD/WIN for windows (Character-based)
• SD/DOS for DOS
• Many different programs for other purposes
  – SDI for IOTA, SDU for UBA, SDI for RSGB Common
    wealth etc...
• Inteded for Single OP Unassisted classes
SD...
• All basic functionality (Dupe check,
  Multiplier check, Partial check, Beam
  headings)
• Supports master.dta for super check
  partial
• Support some of the most known contests
• Radio support for Icom, Kenwood and
  Yaesu
SD

• CW-Keying via serial ports
  – parallel in DOS
• Cabrillo/ADIF support
SD

• Pros:
  – Simple
  – Screen space is efficiently used
  – Demo version available
• Cons:
  – No support for packet/network
  – No SO2R support
Feature Comparison
                  CT N6TR WL N1MM RC   SD
                                   K
    DOS SW         x   x   -   -   -   x
  Windows SW       x   -  x    x   x   x
  Multi support    x   x  x    x   x   -
 RTTY Support      *   x  x    x   ?   -
  TNC Support      x   x  x    x   x   -
 Telnet Support    *  *   x    x   x   -
 SO2R Support      x   x  x    x   -   -
Sound Card DVK     -  *   x    x   x   -
Audio Recording   -   -   x   x   -    -
Feature Comparison
                         CT   N6TR WL N1MM RCK S
                                               D
   Rig Control           x      x   x   x   x x
    CW+PTT               x      x   x   x   x x*
  LPT Interface          x      x   x   x   x x*
 Cabrillo Support        x      x   x   x   x x
 Rotator Control         x      x   x   x   -  -
External Keyer Support   ?      ?   x   x   x  -
CQ / S&P Modes           -      x   -   x   x  -
   Free Demo / full      x      x   -   x   x x
       version
Feature Comparison
                CT   N6TR WL N1M RC SD
                              M    K
 Paddle input     x    x   -  x*   -   -
    Price       Free $75 $75 Free $50 £25
Overall conclusion
• My personal opinion:
  – For serious SO2R operating, N6TR is so far
    best choice (let’s see how N1MM SW will
    ”grow”)
  – For SO1R(Assisted) + Multi operations there
    are not ”solid” answer: Check N1MM first to
    see if it could be your choice, if license cost is
    not problem, get familiar with Writelog and
    compare it against N1MM and CT.
Future:

• Electronic QSL service support (LOTW,
  eQSL)
• SW Based SO2R audio switching (using
  Soundcards)
• Put more focus for smooth SO2R
  operating
• Real-time ”analyse”/support functionality

								
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