- Evaluating logging programs using a structured method to choose between them
- Logger32’s features, snags and bugs - the highs and lows of an excellent logging program
- HamQTH lookups - using Logger32’s built in function
- MMVARI - soundcard data software integrates with Logger32
- WSJT-X - automatically transfer your FT8, JT65 and JT9 QSOs to Logger32 as you log
- Check Call - pop-up notes about your pals in the club
- Logger32 hack: highlight arbitrary calls - ‘repurpose’ Logger32’s call-lookup function
- LogPrint - an add-on for printing QSL labels
- Using Logger32 with LoTW - uploading QSOs to LoTW, downloading QSLs and DXCC records
- Using Logger32 with the Elecraft K3 - a few hints for Elecrafty users of Logger32
This page is mostly about computer logging using Logger32 by Bob K4CY.
Evaluating logging programs
Having emigrated to ZL in 2005 and re-started my DXCC hunt with a shiny new ZL callsign, I
decided this was the ideal opportunity to start computerised logging. My paper G4iFB logbooks and
shoe-boxes of G4iFB QSLs are now turning yellow and collecting Kiwi dust on a shelf.
So, how to choose a logging program? I’m used to evaluating software for work so decided to
apply the same process:
First, I determined my requirements and listed them out, taking suggestions from fellow
DXers in CDXC. These became my evaluation criteria. *
Next, since some requirements are clearly more important than others, I prioritised and
ranked them to generate “weightings” for each one. *
I put the criteria into a column of a spreadsheet, adding columns for every logging program I
could find and a column with the weightings.
I obtained evaluation copies of several logging programs and entered the scores for each one
against each of the criteria, adding notes to explain why they scored as they do.
The spreadsheet calculates a percentage rating for each program by multiplying each of the
scores by the corresponding weightings and totalling. Easy peasy.
* Please note that both the criteria and weightings are personal to me. They reflect my priorities,
what’s important to me in how I intended to use logging software. I’m confident the spreadsheet is
of general interest but your requirements probably differ somewhat from mine, in which case you
are very welcome to download the spreadsheet and adapt the requirements and/or adjust the
weightings to suit your purposes. Just because I chose Logger32 doesn’t necessarily mean it’s
right for you!
The evaluation spreadsheet is a useful starting point. If you use or evaluate any of the logging
programs listed on the spreadsheet, or indeed others, and are willing to share your scores and
comments by updating the spreadsheet, please let me know. All inputs are welcome. I’m especially
keen to hear about logging programs that you feel score above Logger32, preferably using my criteria and weightings! I encourage heavy, long-term users and ardent fans of any logging
software to explain why you love it so much. Tell me more!
I have chosen to use K4CY’s Logger32 for my everyday station log and N1MM for contest logging.
Both programs are free
and support the ADIF XML log standard, meaning that after a contest I can
integrate my contest logs from N1MM easily into Logger32. ADIF also lets me export logs to other
programs if Logger32 doesn’t do what I need it to do, although I have noticed differences in the
way some program interpret the ADIF standard so it can be a risky process.
Whatever else you
do, take frequent log backups and check them to make sure all the essential QSO
information is in fact being backed up!
ADIF files are plain ASCII text, so you can open them
with Notepad to browse through and edit. Check that your latest QSO appears at the bottom, and
that the details such as UTC date and time, callsigns (both the DX and you, as operator), band and
mode are all correct.
ADIF or Cabrillo output is essential if you use ARRL’s Logbook of The World, which I heartily
recommend (it’s one of the heavily-weighted criteria in the evaluation spreadsheet). The Web
interface to LoTW is somewhat clumsy and the initial registration process laborious but it’s worth it
in the end to have such rapid and cheap electronic confirmations of QSOs with thousands of other
LoTW users, in a secure manner, and an easier way to claim the ARRL’s DXCC and WAS awards,
plus CQ Magazine’s WPX and WAZ awards.
Back to quick links
Logger32 features, snags and bugs
Logger32 is an
excellent logging program
with loads of useful features such as:
as in free beer not free speech. The author and support team put a huge amount of
work into writing and maintaining the program and expect almost nothing in return (although
understandably they get grumpy if you ask dumb questions that are answered in the help!).
Kudos to them for their true amateur spirit and for responding positively to reproducible bug
reports and improvement requests from users (well some, at least: they have their priorities
It follows the latest ADIF XML standard closely,
allowing me to exchange logs easily with
other ADIF-compliant programs such as N1MM and LoTW.
- It competently handles the basics
- things such as entering and storing QSO information,
displaying country info, beam headings, times, previous QSOs etc. Recent changes in the way
Internet call lookups are handled have made the process of logging QSOs much slicker so
Logger32 is now fast enough to keep up with me, even in pileup situations.
- The screen layout
can be customized to show windows such as the logbook, DXcluster,
greyline map, log entry screen, notes and more, all on the one screen (such as the
screenshot above) or spread across several (e.g. I now monitor the band maps on a second
screen while working, catching up with emails, browsing the web etc. on the main screen with
Logger32 in the background until some juicy DX catches my attention). The layout, sequence
and colouring of most windows and the highlighting to show DXCC and QSL status can be
- It tracks our
DXCC worked and confirmed
statistics automatically, and has a handy function
to switch between DXCC stats for all time or just
for the current calendar year. Clicking the top left
corner of the Worked/Confirmed window toggles
between all-time and this-year-only. In the
example shown here, I see that I had worked HA
(Hungary) on all bands and modes over the
years, but only on 2 bands in CW so far in 2015,
neither of which had been confirmed. The toggle
setting also changes the highlighting of DXcluster
spots accordingly. This is ideal for the CQ
Marathon and annual league tables such as those
with several useful third party add-ons written and released by other talented
and generous hams.
It has additional features such as the
Digital Voice Keyer
function. From an icon on the main
screen, I can trigger replay of the voice messages stored in the K3’s optional DVR hardware -
handy for calling DX in an SSB pileup without constantly reaching for the rig or shouting into
the mike like a demented parrot. [The ‘radio control panel’ function lets me send arbitrary
commands to the radio - even better! I can compose and test new K3 macros on the fly.]
Another useful additional function gives
integrated access to MMTTY and MMVARI
combining QSO logging in Logger32 with waterfall/Lissajous display, decoding, memory
replays etc. from MMTTY/MMVARI.Logger32 now uses Club Log’s wonderful DXCC info
database maintained by Alan 5B4AHG, to identify the correct DXCC countries, both in near
real time as we are logging QSOs (using a daily update from Club Log) and subsequently
(checking logged QSOs for their DXCC status at the date and time they were logged).
It can link to WSJT-X, JTDX and other
software via UDP, receiving QSO information
into the log, updating statistics etc.
However, like all software, Logger32 is not totally free of issues. Here are the snags that bother
me the most - a mix of what I consider design flaws, bugs and things it just doesn’t do, in
decreasing priority order at least as far as I’m concerned (your priorities probably differ):
- Pointless confirmation clicks
are annoying, especially in the program functions that I use
frequently (e.g. LoTW updates through the otherwise very useful LogSync utility from N2AMG). Logger32 sometimes pops up a selection panel even when there is only one option. From a
usability point of view, it would be nice for the user to at least have the option to drop
unnecessary confirmations (perhaps a “Do not bug me with this again” option?). And yes I
know that’s another click!
- If a station is spotted on DXcluster but then moves from, say, a busy
to a clear frequency in the same band and is spotted again, the band
map shows the spots on both frequencies
, until the earlier spot
times-out and evaporates anyway. In the example seen at right,
ES2JG was spotted twice on 40m CW: if for some reason I haven’t
been observant enough to notice the sequence of spots, which one
should I go for first? Come on, hurry up with your answer since both
are highlighted as new band slots! The band map configuration option
“Show multiple spots for a callsign” was unchecked in this case, which
I would have thought implies “Don’t show multiple spots for a callsign”
but, no, apparently not. Admittedly the logic is a bit tricky because multi
-op DXpeditions may transmit more than one signal on a band at once,
though almost always on different modes in different band segments.
Logger32 evidently can’t figure out the difference between a single
station that moves and is re-spotted on the same mode, and one that
is simultaneously transmitting on different parts of the band on different
modes. Doh! So much for AI!
The logbook can be sorted
by several fields. The sort happens quickly
but does not leave the cursor and display on the previously-selected
QSO line right after the sort, which is the Windows default. [For
example, with the cursor sitting on a G3SXW QSO, if I sort the log by
callsign, it should finish up with me still looking at that same G3SXW QSO but with the
logbook now in sorted callsign order around it.]
- Although Logger32 can check for
program updates automatically as it
launches, those updates do not include updates to the help files
(‘in order to reduce the download
size’ is the support team’s
Every so often, we must remember
to download and install the latest help
file manually from http://www
Download the most recent .chm file
(a compiled HTML file), then move it
to your Logger32 program directory
(usually C:\Logger32). Right-click
the file and click Unblock so you can
open and use it -->
While you are at it, delete any .CHI
files remaining in the Logger32
directory, left over from old versions.
Users who neglect to do this
(generally because they don’t realise
they need to) often complain on the
Logger32 support forum that they
can’t find anything in help about
recently-added/changed functions ...
because their help file is woefully out of date.
Having added the appropriate data entry field to the log entry window, I can enter an
American’s two-letter state abbreviation easily while I’m having the QSO but the method of
entering US states and/or counties
for stations already in the log (e.g. from info on their
QSL cards) is awkward, requiring a right-click on the log line, select “Edit Admin Subdivision
info”, select the state or enter the 2-letter code, then select the county, then click Apply. For
QSOs that already have a state but no county entered in the log, it’s necessary to open the
same “Edit secondary admin info” screen and click the already-highlighted state line to bring
up a list of counties in that state. [Unnecessary clicks again]
In Logger32, it is possible to create an ADIF file listing DXCC countries confirmed by QSL card
but not by LoTW, for
online DXCC applications
. It’s not easy though. See the LoTW page for
While entering a callsign to log it, the entry field expands with a list of partially matching calls
previously worked and in so doing partially
occludes the country info and beam heading
(although that info is still shown in the status line at the bottom of the screen). The
calls’ box can’t be moved, reduced in size or made partially transparent so the only way to
clear it is either to continue entering characters until there are no previous calls to find, or to
turn off the ‘callsign preview’ function completely.
The process for changing the layout and content of the logbook window
does not follow
the Windows conventions. Instead of simply being able to drag columns around on the screen
and hide/reveal them, we have to enter a separate configuration screen, then carefully drag
the relevant fields into the right sequence while avoiding crossing other items already shown.
This is not unlike threading a needle with the mouse, tricky enough for this able-bodied
computer user but must be next to impossible for physically-handicapped hams. On the
upside, it’s an infrequent set-and-forget operation and the screen layout settings are retained
through program updates.
Logger32 won’t let us
select multiple QSOs to make bulk changes
e.g. to fill-in missing
reports, change the QSL status, change the operator, fix busted zones etc. It is a one QSO at
a time program. On the upside, we can only screw up one QSO at a time.
Logger32’s NCDXF beacon tracking facility
is useful as it is but a few little changes in this
facility would be nice. At present, the status of the individual beacons can be manually
configured, requiring us to select the relevant beacon from a drop-down list, then click to
toggle the active status flag separately on every band: since a beacon is generally QRV or
QRT on all bands at once, an option to set or reset all the bands with just one click would be
nice. Even better would be for Logger32 to look up the status info from the NCDXF website
for us and set the flags automatically, maybe when the NCDXF beacon window first opens on
Unlike, say, AClog, there is no automatic function to
download and recreate Logger32’s
log from LoTW
in case you lose your log and have no backups (been there, done that!).
However don’t panic: if you are desperate, it is possible to download your basic log info from
LoTW as a minimal ADIF file and then import it into Logger32 - see my LoTW page for details. Clublog offers a similar download-your-log function.
When synchronizing LoTW confirmations with my log, Logger32 refuses to accept at least
one valid primary administrative subdivision, namely “DC” for the US District of Columbia:
That is part of the list on the official ADIF website so (regardless of whether you believe DC is
truly a state) it is definitive in the context of ADIF, hence should not be rejected by Logger32.
Logger32’s lookup list is evidently incorrect.
Logger32 also rejects several secondary administrative subdivisions, although to be fair the
official ADIF specification is unclear and ambiguous on some of them - for instance are the
‘independent cities’ in Virginia and Nevada (such as Carson City, NV) valid or not? The ADIF
spec identifies two lists of counties, CountyHunter and FIPS 6-4:
The CountyHunter site is very ambiguous re the validity of the ‘independent cities’, saying
they are “not taken into account” (so: are they valid or invalid?):
And the FIPS 6-4 standard (withdrawn by NIST way back in 2002!) was also ambiguous on
the way to express Carson City (or is it “Carson city” or just “Carson”?):
Similarly, Logger32 rejects Anchorage as an Alaskan secondary subdivision:
but it is valid according to the ADIF site:
and it has the same problem with a few others e.g. Kenai Peninsula and Masanuska Susitna
(both also valid Alaskan areas) and several Asiatic Russian and Chinese areas e.g.:
The LoTW-to-log synchronization process has a useful automatic synch option that updates
logged QSOs to show if they have been confirmed on LoTW. It generates a confusing flurry of
messages about the updates, initially stating that a bunch of records have been updated, then
saying that some of them had mismatches and directing us to check the file LoTW_mismatch
.txt for details. Here’s an example record from the mismatch file:
<QSLRDATE:8>20190422<DXCC:3>291<COUNTRY:24>UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
<GRIDSQUARE:6>EL29LL<STATE:2>TX // Texas<CNTY:12>TX,GALVESTON //
The following data in this LoTW sync record does not match the QSO in your logbook ...
GRIDSQUARE field mismatch: Logbook field = , LoTW sync field = EL29ll
CNTY field mismatch: Logbook field = , LoTW sync field = TX,GALVESTON
LOTW_QSL_RCVD field updated.
That final line is a tad misleading: to me, it implies that only the named field has been updated
whereas in fact others have also been updated - specifically the US state and county and grid
square in this example, the fields noted as non-matching in the previous two lines. All in all, I
find it an unhelpful mess of messages that I would prefer not to see every time since the QSO
records in my log are in fact updated in accordance with the options chosen on the earlier
There’s more on various Logger32 add-ons below, and I’m very slowly compiling a minimalist
‘unofficial’ Logger32 FAQ to which further inputs are very welcome. Meanwhile, here’s a parting
thought from P Williams that perhaps explains how Logger32’s users are perceived by the
program’s long-suffering author Bob K4CY:
“From the programmer’s point of view,
the user is a peripheral that types something
when you issue a read request.”
Back to quick links
HamQTH callsign lookups
Logger32 offers two automated ways to lookup information on stations as you are logging them:
a ‘built in’ function or by calling an external program (such as N2AMG’s utility to handle QRZ.com
The built-in function works nicely with HamQTH.com. To set it up:
- Visit www.HamQTH.com and register. Preferably while you are there, lookup and
check/update the info page for your own callsign/s.
In Logger32, go to Setup > Autolookup and select Auto Internet Callsign Lookup (internal).
Start entering a QSO in the log entry window in order to pop up the lookup results window.
- On the lookup results window, go to Toolbox > Change
lookup URL (as shown here). Insert the relevant URL in
where your_callsign and your_password are your login
credentials for HamQTH.com.
For bonus marks, while you are on the lookup results
window, go to Toolbox > Change Window caption and
change it to something approximating HamQTH.
I prefer HamQTH to QRZ.com lookups for three reasons:
HamQTH lookups are generally quicker;
There is no need to install, configure and frequently update an Logger32 add-on;
Most of all it is FREE:
HamQTH is supported by advertising income and donations from happy
users. QRZ also receives advertising income and donations but charges for XML lookups,
unless you settle for slow and unreliable HTTP screenscrapes.
Back to quick links
MMVARI & Loggger32 integration
MMVARI is an excellent soundcard data program by JE3HHT. While it can be run as a standalone
program, it has the necessary hooks to allow it to be called from within Logger32 and N1MM’s
logging software. The key advantage of doing so is that you can log contacts simply by clicking on
the relevant details on MMVARI’s decode screen. Furthermore, ‘new ones’ are colour coded as they
arrive on the decode screen.
MMVARI works nicely on RTTY, PSK and a few other digimodes.
The cool MultiRX feature simultaneously decodes multiple signals within the audio passband, in
much the same way as DigiPan and WSJT-X.
Having flapped around in help desperately looking for the correct Logger32 macro command to
include the time in a RTTY contest exchange (no, not $time$ - that would be far too obvious!), I
wrote this one-page crib-sheet for some common Logger32 soundcard macros (in MS Word in
case you want to customise it) and here’s the PDF version. By all means send me your
improvement suggestions. There are many more macro commands available - to check them all
out, in Logger32 simply open help then click the Index tab: macro commands start with a $ and so
are listed at the top in alphabetical order.
Back to quick links
WSJT-X & Logger32 integration
WSJT-X is not a Logger32 add-on but a basic program for using the JT and other data modes
invented by Professor Joe Taylor. WSJT-X can generate an ADIF log of the digi QSOs we make but
the logging function is minimalist. There is no way to display the log within WSJT-X, for instance,
and the highlighting of ‘new ones’ respects the mode but ignores the band (e.g. after I’ve worked
A41BK on FT8 on 20m, A4s on FT8 are no longer highlighted on any band, but they are on JT65 etc.). Logger32 is a valuable supplement to WSJT-X, especially for keen DXers like me.
Recent versions of Logger32 can link up with WSJT-X (and JTDX and perhaps others) via UDP in
order to log QSOs as they are logged in WSJT-X, and to generate a kind of band map showing the
stations decoded by WSJT-X.
To set up the UDP log-update facility:
In WSJT-X, press F2 to open the Settings and confirm that you are using the defaults
localhost address 127.0.0.1
and UDP Server port number
There is no need to select any of the 3 UDP options but it won’t hurt if you do.
In Logger32, right click the
option currently in red on the lower status bar, then select
Click to Open UDP socket
. That starts UDP listening on port 2237 by default, turning the
UDP option blue with a popup confirming that it is ready to receive UDP messages.
Right-click UDP on the status bar again, then select Open UDP BandMap to display the band
map. Drag and size it to your liking: find or make a suitable space on your screen to keep an
eye on what’s happening on FT8. This is roughly how the UDP band map will look after you’ve
configured the options (see below):
Configure the UDP band map to
Allow automatic QSO logging
, and set up the other options
(colours, font etc.) similar to your other band maps for consistency and ease-of-use.
I find a 2 minute timeout (under Set decoded callsign visibility)
works well for me when FT8 is busy. I like to see Gridsquares,
mostly to find the rarer American states such as Vermont (grid
FN32, 33 or 34), Maine (FN54, 55 or 56) and the Dakotas
(DN82-88 or DN92-98), and to participate in the ARRL
International Grid Chase.
Enjoy! Having made a QSO in WSJT-X and logged it there as normal, it magically appears in
your Logger32 log shortly after. It uploads the QSO to Club Log at the same time if you have made that connection, and updates your Logger32 statistics in the normal way (provided you
are using a recent version of Logger32, one that understands the new digimodes such as FT8
Back to quick links
CheckCall from JA1NLX is an optional Logger32 add-on
that looks-up a callsign as we are logging it against a data
file, then displays all data lines which start with that callsign
in a pop-up box as shown here. It is useful for things such
as whether the guy uses LoTW, belongs to CDXC, FOC or other clubs, has a QSL manager etc. provided you provide
a plain text file containing the relevant details (i.e. on each
line, a callsign plus whatever notes you want to display as
you are logging him).
Follow the “ReamMe.TXT” (sic) installation instructions provided in the ZIP file to install it.
The program can do lookups against more than one text file simultaneously, saving us the bother
of having to merge the data files.
We can run CheckCall (or indeed any other program) automatically when Logger32 starts by
putting a tick in the box against the program in Logger32’s “Utility program setup” screen. Cool!
I’ve noticed that the CheckCall pop-up occasionally refuses to go away, or at least hide itself when
I’m using other applications. It seems to think I have selected “Always on top”, whereas I haven’t.
Setting and then clearing “Always on top” on the option menu (strictly speaking, it reads “Alwaya
on Top” - close enough!) sometimes does the trick. Otherwise, I either ignore it or close CheckCall
and hope that I remember to relaunch it when I return to Logger32.
[It is also possible to get Logger32 to identify spots for FOC members - instructions below.]
Back to quick links
Logger32 hack: highlight callsigns in an arbitrary list
Logger32 has a built-in function to check whether calls spotted and logged are using LoTW. It does
this by downloading the LoTW user file from HB9BZA, importing the callsigns from that file into
Logger32’s database, doing lookups when spots are filtered and displayed from the DXcluster or
when we are logging a call.
While it quite a useful to know who is using LoTW, I already have that information since VE7CC’s
Cluster User program does the same checks, marking spots for LoTW users with a plus sign in the
comments field. Furthermore, previous QSOs that have been confirmed on LoTW are identified with
a coloured background in my logbook. In short, I don’t need Logger32’s LoTW lookups.
I thought it would be more useful to know when my friends from FOC are spotted, so I set about
fooling Logger32 into loading a list of FOC members into its LoTW function, instead of the list of
When I run the “Import LoTW
users” function in Logger32, it
saves 4 files in the Logger32
program directory (though it
should really use a separate
data directory): LoTWUsers.txt,
.isf and LoTWUser32.ism. The
latter 3 files appear to be
database files in which Logger32
saves its lookup info.
LoTWUsers.txt is a plain text file
of calls, as downloaded from
HB9BZA. Simply replacing that
file with a list of FOC members’
callsigns and restarting
Logger32 made no difference to
Logger32 since it was
presumably using its internal
database rather than the text file. I needed a way to make Logger32 import the FOC calls into its
database, in place of its list of LoTW users. The answer was to alter the URL it uses to download
the LoTW users file from HB9BZA’s website.
So, here is the method step-by-step:
- Generate a plain text file listing all the FOC members'
callsigns, one per line, and save it as
C:\Logger32\FOC.txt (on the root directory on C:).
In Logger32, right-click in the main body of the DX
Spots window, select Setup --> Load LoTW users file.
In the Download LoTW users file window that appears
(see right), replace the URL on the top line with file://C:/Logger32/FOC.txt and yes those are forward
slashes because it is a URL not a Windows file
reference. If you saved the data file in a different
directory, good luck figuring out the syntax.
Click "Download from Internet" to make Logger32
suck-in the FOC.txt file, thinking it has just
downloaded the LoTW users file from HB9BZA.
Click "Save file" for Logger32 to save the FOC calls to its internal LoTW user database.
- Make sure Logger32 is configured to identify (what
it thinks are) LoTW users by right-clicking in the
main body of the DX Spots window, then go to
Setup --> Appearance and confirm that "Show
LoTW user" is ticked.
Watch in awe as incoming DXspots for FOC
members are marked with a little bright green bar
in the far left margin of the DX Spots window (see
the screenshot above), and gasp with delight when
a tick appears in Logger32's log entry window while
you are logging an FOC member (see right).
This works great for FOC members whose spots appear in the DX Spots window. However if you
have configured Logger32's spot filter to filter out cluster spots that are not 'new ones', then
unfortunately it will only show and mark spots for our more exotic FOC members identified as 'new
ones'. Logger32 will still show the tick when logging any FOC member on the list.
[The text file it uses for lookups can of course contain any callsigns, not just FOC members. The
same process would work for, for example, lists of friends or club members.]
If you only want to identify a few calls whenever they appear on DXcluster, the audio alerting
function (accessed by right-clicking the DX Spots window, then selecting Setup --> Audio alerts -->
Enable audio alerts) accepts a list of calls. I have used this facility to flag stations in CQ Zone 2.
Back to quick links
Prior to signing up with GlobalQSL, I used LogPrint to print labels for my QSL cards. The program is
a pig to set up by trial-and-error but I found a combination that worked. Rather than start from
scratch, feel free to download and adapt my LogPrint.ini file if your setup is similar to mine. On
Windows 8.1, LogPrint tucks its .INI file away in the directory AppData/Local/VirtualStore/Program
For the Impact LC16 labels (2x8 labels per A4 sheet with no label margins), I use the label size
shown here. The vertical pitch setting is
critical - just a fraction larger and the
last labels on the sheet wrap to the
next sheet. A fraction smaller and the
printing doesn’t align with the label
K5LAD has a helpful web page showing how LogPrint’s “fields” are used to layout the individual
labels. I’m using 14 of the 15 available fields to print up to 3 QSOs per label:
Cards need to be sorted
for the bureau in
alphabetical order of the
whether that is the guy’s
QSL manager or his own
call. LogPrint’s sort
function handles that OK
if set as shown here.
Rather than print directly
from LogPrint to the
printer, I print to Adobe
Acrobat first since Adobe
lets me tell the printer I’m
using label stock, and I
can print or re-print
individual pages if (when!)
they don’t feed properly.
The finished article looks roughly like this (complete with typo on the card - ZM4T is the club’s call
not mine! For some reason the printer decided ZM4G was wrong and changed the call without
telling me, and I didn’t notice his mistake when proofreading. Doh!):
Back to quick links
Using Logger32 with Logbook of The World
ARRL’s LoTW is a robust, secure system for cross-matching electronic QSO details to generate
electronic QSLs. LoTW incorporates controls to minimize the possibility of fraud and [data]
corruption. Logs must be signed using public key cryptography and digital certificates issued by
ARRL. Unfortunately, that makes the manual processes of uploading logs and downloading QSLs
rather laborious - exactly the kind of thing that computers are good at, one might have thought.
More on that later.
Before you can use LoTW, you need to obtain and install your digital certificate from ARRL HQ. This
is done as follows:
Download and install ARRL’s Trusted QSL (TQSL) software.
Run the program and create an automated certificate request, a .tq5 file. You do this by
following the instructions that appear if you have not previously loaded a certificate, or by
using File --> New Certificate Request. Answer a bunch of questions about your callsign, the
“DXCC entity” for that callsign, the start date and optional end date for QSOs, your postal and
email addresses, and optionally a password that will be needed to unlock the certificate each
time you sign your log. You are then invited to sign your certificate request using a LoTW
certificate you have previously obtained, or to submit an unsigned request. When you finally
get to click the finish button, TQSL creates the actual certificate request file and offers to save
it somewhere on your disk. It can go anywhere but pick somewhere obvious so you know
where to look for it.
Either upload the .tq5 file using the Upload Certificate Request button on the LoTW page or
email it in as an attachment to ARRL HQ.
Wait for ARRL to validate the request. If this is your first request, ARRL will check your name
and address against the FCC records and post you a password to the registered address that
you will need to enter into the Enter Postcard Password button on the LoTW page (if you are
a US ham) or else will email you asking for a hardcopy of your license documentation and
some other official document such as a passport or driver’s license to confirm your name.
Post this to ARRL HQ by registered mail or courier to reduce the chances of it being stolen and
used for identity theft.
ARRL will email your new certificate to you as an attachment - it’s a .tq6 file.
Load the new certificate into
, either by double-clicking the email attachment [be very
careful! This is how viruses spread!] or by saving the attachment on your disk and then using File --> Load Certificate File in TQSL and locating where you just saved it.
will attempt to match up the certificate with the corresponding certificate request. If it
succeeds, the red circle and crossing bar will turn into a gold ribbon on TQSL’s display,
meaning that your certificate is ready to use. If it fails, contact ARRL for help.
Now make a backup copy of your certificate in
using Certificate --> Save. This will
create a .p12 file. Save it to your favourite offline backup media (USB memory stick, CD/DVD
ROM, floppy disk etc.) and store it somewhere safe. If your hard drive dies, the computer is
stolen or wrecked, or if you buy a new one, you will need this .p12 file to reload your
certificate on another machine.
You are nearly ready to digitally sign your ADIF-formatted log using the new certificate and submit
it ... but first you need to set up a “location” within TQSL:
- Run TQSL
and select Station --> Add Location.
Enter the required information including your locator, CQ zone, ITU zone and IOTA reference if
you are on an island.
Here are the lucky 13 steps involved in
extracting, signing and uploading your log
from Logger32 to LoTW:
Export your log from Logger32 as an ADIF file. Save it somewhere memorable on disk. [You
can either export the entire log, or just the QSOs marked to go to LoTW. The former makes
sure all QSOs will reach LoTW and is what you do the first time, and perhaps again every few
months just to be sure none are missing. The latter is quicker for subsequent updates.]
- Run TQSL
. [See below for a shortcut for steps 2 through 9]
- In TQSL
, go to File --> Sign existing ADIF or Cabrillo file.
prompts you for the certificate (called "location") to use. Pick the correct one
(probably the only one but unfortunately not the default!) and OK it.
- Now TQSL
prompts you to find the ADIF [or Cabrillo] log file. Go to the directory where you
saved the log, select and OK it.
asks where to save the signed log (a .TQ8 file). I normally use the same directory
as I used in steps 1 and 5.
offers you the chance to sign a part of your log file between 2 dates. Normally, I just
click OK with no dates in the boxes, for the whole thing.
Enter your certificate password if prompted.
then reads the QSOs from the input file, writes them to the .TQ8 output file and signs
the result cryptographically using your certificate password, the certificate and a little crypoto
magic. [This is necessary to prevent someone forging or altering your log.]
Close TQSL. It's job is done until the next LoTW upload.
Now login to the LoTW site at www.arrl.org/lotw (click the LoTW User's Login button, then
enter your LoTW user ID and password).
In the LoTW site, click the Upload file tab, then find the .TQ8 file you saved at 6. Be sure to
select the .TQ8 file, NOT the ADI file (LoTW will accept any file as input but can only process
signed logs i.e. .TQ8 files. It won't warn you if you pick the wrong one, your QSOs just won't
Now wait a while for it to process your log. If the queue is busy and you have just uploaded
tens of thousands of QSOs, it may take some while, perhaps an hour (I'm guessing).
Normally, for a few tens of QSOs, they are processed before the next screen loads.
Click the Your QSOs tab in LoTW, then check your log has been uploaded. It shows the last
QSO date on that page, I think: I usually just click the Show latest QSL button to check if I
have any new confirmations, especially those with ticks meaning lovely new DXCC
Now the remaining 9 steps to
download the QSL records
from LoTW to Logger32:
- On the Your QSOs tab, click the Download Report button on the left.
Enter a starting date, or leave blank for all. LoTW seems to default to the last date you used
the system - I normally go back a few days, and sometimes right back to the start of my log
just to be sure I've captured all the LoTW QSLs. [I've noticed that LoTW seems to send all the
QSLs anyway i.e. I'm not entirely convinced this starting date option works.]
- Check (select) the box marked Include QSL detail.
The additional info is useful!
Click the Download report button. LoTW then sends you an ADIF file with QSL info on all
confirmed QSOs. The file downloads to your browser's default download location - I don't
know where yours will go. You might have to go looking for it using Windows search, or
check the browser configuration options. It is called lotwreport.adi (the first time) and
lotwreport(1).adi next time, incrementing by one each time unless you delete previous
In Logger32, select File --> Synchronise LoTW.
Find the downloaded QSL file from step 4, and OK it.
A selection box pops up, asking you what to do with QSL records that don't match existing
QSO records. I normally select just the Manual update... option.
Logger32 asks you about the LoTW mismatch file, just click Yes (muttering “Get on with it!”).
Logger32 now opens the new QSL file and compares each QSL record to the corresponding
QSO record. It prompts you to check and accept/reject different (normally additional) info in
the QSL record, such as Maidenhead locators etc. You can accept most things but it refuses
to accept some entries, mostly in my experience “PQ”, “NF” and “AK” plus locations such as
“St. Louis” (which usually comes through from LoTW as SAINT LOUIS).
There’s more on LoTW here including tips on synchronising Logger32’s DXCC statistics with LoTW.
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Using Logger32 with the Elecraft K3
Logger32 will communicate quite happily with the Elecraft K3 and other radios via their serial ports.
Elecraft radios emulate the Kenwood command set, but choose the right radio type to get the full
range of commands. There’s a K2/K3 section in the Logger32 help file that tells you how to
configure the radio comms.
There is a small drawback to the K3, for me anyway. It defaults to the ”wrong” sideband for CW
and digital modes when QSYd using Logger32. I prefer tuning from the bottom of the band
upwards, hearing successive CW tones going high-to-low as I go, which requires CW-REV mode on
the K3. That's fine, until I click on a spot in Logger32: as well as QSYing the rig for me, it
automagically resets the radio mode to [normal] CW. :-(
A simple workaround nearly solves this annoyance. Simply tell Logger32 to use mode CW-R in
place of CW in its band-mode table, and likewise use FSK-R instead of RTTY. The table is accessed
from the Tools menu (select "Setup Bands & Modes"). Open the table, find a CW entry, edit it to
read CW-R and hit return to finish editing that line, then go to the next ... and finally click the Apply
button. Now whenever you click a CW spot, the radio QSYs to the frequency and sets itself to CW
-REV. The workaround doesn’t fix Logger32’s NCDXF beacon-tracker QSY function though, which
still insists on putting the K3 in CW mode. For the very few times I use it, I can live with that.
N1MM has a setup option to use CW-REV. Easy.
Logger32 can send arbitrary command strings to the K3 through the ‘radio control panel’ function.
I use this mostly to trigger the K3 to send my callsign from its DVK memories in DX pilesup, using a
handy function key on the PC keyboard. There’s a config option that lets me use the function key
even while I am running some other program (such as when I am working in Word or Excel): the
trick is to pick function keys that you rarely if ever use in any program, such as F6, F7 and F8 in
my case. I have F6 configured to send the K3 “RX;” command which aborts sending the current
message if I trigger it by mistake - tapping the rig’s PTT footswitch achieves the same end but first
I have to duck under the desk to find where the footswitch is hiding ...
There’s more on the Elecraft rigs here.
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