Status Line

DX Panel

The DX Panel is optimized for data entry for DX chasing or rag chewing

Field Color codes

Grid (first 4 character), ITU, DXCC, CQ Zone, IOTA, State Text Color:
Red - Not in Log.
Brown - Worked in Log but Unconfirmed.
Black - Worked in Log and Confirmed.

If the click on the call sign in the DX de text field it will look up the DX de spotter's call sign.

Locator

The Locator field in the DX and Contest Panels will tell you what Geolocation method MacLoggerDX has used for each lookup:

MacLoggerDX resolves all call signs to the DXCC country level using the data published in the ARRL Operating guide: "Locator: Country".
Then it resolves specific prefix based locations - "Locator: Call".
QRZ, HamCall or WM7D.net lookup may provide a zip code which can be resolved with the US census zip to post office latitude and longitude data "Locator:Zip".
If the city is known and found the latitude and longitude can be resolved: "Locator: City".
If the call is in your log, that location data is found in a lookup "Locator: Log GS".
If QRZ, HamCall or WM7D.net Internet Lookup is enabled and if there is a grid square or Latitude and Longitude data provided on the Internet this will be used: "Locator: iNet GS", "Locator: iNet LL", this is usually the most accurate since the operator has provided this data himself.

RSTS/RSTR

MacLoggerDX keeps 2 separate sets of persistent values. When you manually change the radio mode or auto tune changes it MacLoggerDX chooses one set based on the mapped mode. If the mapped mode contains "SB", AM", or "FM", then one set is displayed and the other set is used for everything else. When you edit either set the new value is stored for that mode.

If your radio is in CW mode and you enter 599 that will be stored and reloaded the next time the radio is in CW, or RTTY etc.
If your radio is in USB mode and you enter 59 then that will be stored and reloaded the next time the radio is in SSB, AM, FM etc.

This all happens automatically - you just have to enter the values and they will be remembered.

We use the mapped mode so that if your radio is in USB but you have that mapped to a digital mode then the 599 set will be used.

 

Buttons

Look Up Performs a look up on the call sign entered in the "Call" field. MacLoggerDX first resolves the dxcc country identity with an internal lookup of prefixes, dxpeditions and exceptions, then performs a lookup with which ever call book service you have selected in the Look Up Prefs.

The internal prefix, dxpedition and exceptions databases are updated when you select "Update Internet Files" from the File menu, or automatically if you have selected "Check for Updates" in the Station Prefs.


Previous switches to the Log Panel and searches for previous contacts based on the Call entered.

Time On Sets the Time On in the log to the current time (The default is the look up time)
Time Off Sets the Time Off in the log to the current time (The default is the logged time)
Log QSO Logs whatever information is displayed in the fields above to your current log.

Beam If a rotor controller is connected rotates the beam to the currect heading (displayed just above the "Call" field)
R If a rotor controller is connected rotates the beam to the reverse heading.

+ Adds the current call and VFO Frequency to the stacking popup.
Stacking Select any entry to set the call and VFO frequency from the stack.

Contest Panel

The Contest Panel is optimized for data entry during contests.

You can TAB quickly from field to field and <shift> TAB to reverse the tabbing direction or use the menu commands Focus Call Sign, Clear Log Fields and Log QSO and Clear Fields to return focus to the call sign. You can also set your own keyboard shortcuts for any of these commands.

A complete exchange can be completed with a few tabs and then a keyboard shortcut to log the QSO clear the fields and start again with the non-persistant fields cleared.

The Call Sign field automatically upcases your typing and will do a lookup when you tab out of the field.

You can show or hide Contest Panel Fields and Labels based on the Contest Prefs check boxes.

The Map Rcvd popup in the Contest Prefs will automatically fill in some log fields based on the Rcvd field (SRX_STRING).

The Call Sign field will flash red if the call is already in your log as you type.

NE1RD's set of helpful hints for successful contesting:

Make the radio talk nice to the computer
Get a good connection to the rig via RS232C. I'm sure you've done this but I'll mention it anyway. Make sure that the radio and the computer are talking nicely. If you forget to set this up you'll log a bunch of folks in MacLoggerDX and you'll not even know what band you used! [I've done this; yes, it is embarrassing...]

Does anybody really know what time it is?
Set the clock on the Macintosh. I've got mine synchronized off the web so I never really think about it until contest time. Then, I just take a quick glance to make sure my log entries aren't from 1904 (presumably with spark gap!).

Read the contest rules
Read the rules for the contest before the contest begins. Really. Really really. Can you work somebody twice in the same contest? Can you work somebody on the same band if you use different modes?

Understand the exchange
Know what you need to capture for each QSO and how Contests almost always have some fixed exchange information such as RS(T), zone, year first licensed, serial number, etc.

Plan on using Cab-converter(tm)
If you are sending serial numbers, check out the item in the Contest preferences panel for auto incrementing the serial number. My program Cab-converter is a FREE program that can take an exported ADIF file from MacLoggerDX and translate it into a Cabrillo file for submission. You must read the contest-specific notes in the Cab-converter documentation to know where to put the exchange information and how that information should be formatted. Each contest is different and Cab-converter depends on having the exchange information stored properly for that particular contest. If you don't put the exchange information in the right place (and in the right form), Cab-converter won't be able to create a Cabrillo file for you.

Decide if you will use a separate log
Should you use a separate log file for a contest? MacLoggerDX can be a little more nimble if you start with a fresh, empty log. Merging this log back into your main log after the contest is as easy as importing an ADIF file. If you decide to try the fresh log approach, practice this well before the contest begins!

Check for duplicates during the contest
Use the "Previous" panel to check for repeats. Assuming you don't have this OM in the log 8 times, a quick glance will let you know if you've worked them this contest. This is where a fresh log really helps since you'll only see the QSOs that matter for this contest (and not the other twenty times you worked that OM in contests last year).

Listen
Going to all the trouble of making the QSO and then misunderstanding the exchange costs you points and costs points to the fellow you just worked. Listen and record the information carefully. Read and review your entry before and after you push "Log QSO". Here I must admit I don't always follow my own advice and, on those occasions where I didn't proofread my work, I've regretted it (and it cost me a couple of points). Here's my thinking: it is better to make fewer contacts because you spent a bit of time proofreading than to make 5 more QSOs with a buggy log.

After the contest is over
Extract the portion of your log relating to the contest and create an ADIF file. Run Cab-converter to generate your Cabrillo file. Send it off. You might also wish to peek in the file at the "Claimed score:" line. I've worked hard to try to accurately compute your score for the submission. While the contest sponsors have the final say on your score and might deduct points for broken QSOs, bad exchanges, etc., the "Claimed score:" line should give you an idea of how well you did.

Watch the web and those magazines
The lead time for contest results is mindbogglingly long in this age of instant information. Some contests don't report the results for nearly a year after the event. Still, it would be nice to see postings to the MacLoggerDX reflector with scores (or claimed scores) after contests so we MacLoggerDX users could see how our fellow contesters faired.

Look Up

A Look up is triggered when a call sign is entered in the DX Panel or the Contest Panel and return is pressed or you tab out of the Contest Call Sign field. A look up also occurs automatically if a DX Spot comes in on the DX Cluster and Auto Lookup is enabled, or if you triple click on a DX Cluster spot, double click on a History Panel list item or double click on a 2D or 3D Map item or click on a Bands Panel entry.

The Suggest IOTA check box will suggest IOTA values based on the call sign in the absence of call book IOTA data which is always used. False positives can occur. Must Be Verified in QSO.

The Suggest CQ Zone check box will suggest CQ Zone values based on the call sign in the absence of call book CQ ZOne data which is always used. False positives can occur. Must Be Verified in QSO.

The Suggest ITU check box will suggest ITU values based on the call sign in the absence of call book ITU data which is always used. False positives can occur. Must Be Verified in QSO.

How MacLoggerDX determines IOTA, ITU and CQ Zones

  1. If the data is contained in the QRZ or HamCall lookup, MacLoggerDX assumes it to be correct and uses it.
  2. If you have Suggest IOTA, Suggest ITU Zone or Suggest CQ Zone enabled MacLoggerDX will try and determine them from the prefix but obviously this will not always produce accurate results and will sometimes produce a list of suggestions separated by commas.
  3. If you have previously logged the call and the Call Book values are blank MacLoggerDX will assume that the logged data is correct and use it for the new QSO.

If the call is in the log, the logged First Name will override the call book first name and will be displayed in italics.

With portable call signs there is no algorithmic way to ensure the correct zones are logged. If the station you are logging has not included his zone data in QRZ or HamCall then you must verify while in QSO or not log the zone data.

The Include Comments check box will include comments from the call book server and the dx cluster spot.

The Local Filter text edit box will set the distance away from you that spotters reports will be filtered out if you check the Local filter in the DXClusters Panel.

The Call Book popup determines which call book service is to be used for look ups.

Make sure to set your Call Book to None in the Lookup Prefs if you are contesting unassisted.

If you are having a problem with your look ups, please check your Look Up Preferences to make sure your call book service is selected in the Call Book popup.

If this is set to “None” cached lookups and your log will provide some stored data for some calls but lookups for totally new calls will only provide DXCC info.

After repeated network problems MacLoggerDX will set your Call Book popup to “None”, this is done to limit timeouts due to thrashing a dead connection. If this becomes necessary you will be presented with an Alert to tell you what has happened. When the network connection returns you will need to remember to set your Call Book popup back to your Call Book choice.

 

How MacLoggerDX determines QSL Via

  1. If the data is contained in the Callbook lookup, MacLoggerDX assumes it to be correct and uses it.
  2. Otherwise, if the call is in the HB9BZA list MacLoggerDX will indicate it with "LoTW." (Note the period).

The Local Time Server popup will show the local time of the QSO looked up in the DX Panel Local field. The accuracy of this time depends on the accuracy of the location data for the call looked up.

Live lookups require an internet request of the geonames.org or earthtools.org server so you may want to turn this option off if the dxcluster is busy and you have AutoLookup enabled. A period "." after the date and time indicates that it was calculated from a cached GMT offset result rather than a live lookup. If you want to force a non-cached (live) local time lookup select the call sign and press return. An "e" after the date and time indicates a server error and the time zone has been estimated from the longitude.

Lookup Sequence

MacLoggerDX separates the call into prefix/base call/suffix and then resolves all call signs to the DXCC country level using the data published in the ARRL Operating guide subject to special issue call overrides in it's internal dxpedition database and discards non identifying prefixes and suffixes like "MM" etc..

Then a lookup is done in the user selected call book QRZ, HamCall, WM7D or QRZ CD ROM and in the case of the QRZ XML Service a QSL Image is downloaded, cached and displayed. You need a username and password for the QRZ XML subscription service distinct from your QRZ.com username and password...
http://xml.qrz.com

Finally MacLoggerDX looks for the call in your Log.

Call Book Options

Service QRZ CD-ROM/Download QRZ XML HamCall.net Online WM7D.net HamQTH QRZCQ
Speed Fastest Faster (depends on Internet bandwidth) Faster (depends on Internet bandwidth) Faster (depends on Internet bandwidth) Faster (depends on Internet bandwidth) Faster (depends on Internet bandwidth)
Cost

2 x $29.95 USD/Year + S&H -Discontinued

$29.95 USD/Year $52.00 USD/Year $0.00 $0.00 €12.99/Year
Updates 6 months instant instant instant instant instant
Detail Good Excellent Excellent Good Good Good
QSL Images Yes Yes No No Some Some
Other Considerations Does not require Internet connection for portable operation. Requires Internet connection. Requires Internet connection. Limited lookups. Requires Internet connection. Limited international content. Requires Internet connection, Registration Requires Internet connection. No email field shown.

Mode Mapping

The mode popup in the VFO Panel reflects what mode the radio is actually set to.You can change the mode mapping of USB to PSK (or anything else) with the Modes mapping pref and when you select USB from the mode popup it will display and log as PSK. If you decide to work USB, then you just change the mode mapping from PSK back to USB with the mode mapping pref and when you select USB from the mode popup it will display and log as USB.If you want to assign specific modes to specific bands or sub-bands then edit the sample band plan delivered with MacLoggerDX and add the actual radio modes desired for each sub-band and select it in the Station Prefs.

Editing the Mode text in the DX Panel will automatically adjust the mapping so that your change will "stick" until you edit it again or change the Mode Mapping in the Prefs.

 

DXCC Prefix update process

MacLoggerDX resolves all prefixes to DXCC country using internal databases for mapped, exception, ambiguous and dxpedition call signs. Using a customized version of MacLoggerDX, we lookup all dxcluster spots world wide continuously and compare MacLoggerDX's prefix result against QRZ and HamQTH DXCC Lookup.

If a discrepancy is found we compare the call sign with Club Log's historical data to determine if the prefix is mapped correctly or is an exception.

Sometimes MacLoggerDX is wrong, sometimes QRZ is wrong, sometimes HamQTH DXCC is wrong and sometimes the DXCC has changed (as with non-continental U.S. stations moving to the mainland or some European/Asiatic/Kaliningrad Russian stations since 2010 etc.) If MacLoggerDX is incorrect we update the dxcclist.dat file and/or the dxpeditions.dat file and upload them to our server.

The next time you run MacLoggerDX with Check for Updates enabled in the Station Prefs or select Update Internet Files from the File Menu, your copy of MacLoggerDX will reflect the change in future lookups.

Please note that MacLoggerDX maintains a mapping to current DXCC entities - if your log contains a QSO with a DXCC entity which has changed or been deleted in the past you may have to edit the DXCC fields manually.

If you have logged a call with incorrect DXCC name or numeric value - set the DXCC numeric ID to 0, clear the DXCC Country field to blank and then Update Selected Log Entries with the new call and the new DXCC and DXCC Country will be entered automatically. This will never overwrite existing data - only fill in empty string or zeroed numeric fields.

If you find a call that maps to a different DXCC than the operator identifies with or receive an error from one of the online log books please let us know so that we can update our databases.