Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Changing With The Times

Recently, I started to shop for a new logging program. My most favorite logging program for years (still to this day) was LogPlus. This, in my humble opinion by far, was the best and it was a sad day when Bob Winters threw in the towel on that program. He left, returned briefly, and then jumped ship for good. It was a program you had to pay for but well worth every cent. The reason I liked it? It had it all! You could track awards, add fields, print QSL labels, user update DXCC countries, and the list goes on. It was such a program that I could still be using it today but the advent of Windows based programs, it made me move onto something else. My first disks of this program were on 5 1/4" floppy disks. Yep, that's been awhile.

The 2nd logging program that I decided to try was ACLOG. A very good program especially for the beginner. There are several things I like about ACLOG but once again, I was looking for something that was going to go to the next level. And from the comments and chatter on the reflector, it was obvious that ACLOG was going to stay "as is" for quite awhile.

I'm not a programmer but it's nice having a program where user input is considered when upgrades are written. As things change like; bands, rules, and modes, so does software requirements. How many of you are still using Windows 95? Probably not many and if so, you have old programs that may not run on a new machine so it's forcing you to lag behind. But I wanted a program that was "alive" now with what appeared to have lots of support. That took me to HRD, or Ham Radio Deluxe.

I operate mostly CW and digital, so I wanted a program that was all inclusive. I was getting tired of having two programs running when doing digital. Granted, I am looking forward to HRD supporting FSK RTTY operation so until that time, I will continue to use MMTTY, but it supports most of the other digital modes available all in one nice package. There are so many other "bells and whistles" that I won't even go into them here (not to mention I have yet to discover them). But, this program won me over. I have supported the author financially however, it's free to download. Who can't afford that?

Before importing my ADIF file from my ACLOG export, I used the ADIF checker available through the e-QSL website. I'm glad I did that first as it found several problem areas. Now my log is not that big but I have made nearly 27 thousand contacts since moving to Alaska. I wanted to make sure that HRD imported all my QSO's without any issues especially having so many. After correcting some problem areas, I exported my ADIF log file again and imported it into HRD. Come to find out, HRD also examines the file and identifies problems before you select to import it! In they went and the only issue I had was my custom fields did not import but that is suppose to be addressed in a future update.

So, I'm not going to get into a "Ford vs Chevy" debate when it comes to logging programs but this has what I'm looking for at this very moment in time. In twenty-one years in the hobby, this is only my 3rd logging program. I can only hope that this will be my last but I thought that with LogPlus V4. Either way, I'm converted and logging once again, learning something new that will help me track my thousands of contacts I make each and every year. When I have to pay for a program, I do expect a certain level of support and updates. But when I found that HRD was free and you still get all the advantages and updates, that's another selling point. Again, I donated money to the author and if updates keep rolling out, I'm sure it won't be my last donation. I will support it as long as it supports me.

***** UPDATE *****

Sean, KL1SF assisted me with doing a bit of renaming fields in the ADIF file I exported from my old log and with that, my custom fields in HRD now keep that data that I wanted.

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