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Ham Logging Software for Macintosh

MacLoggerDX and the ARRL Log Book of the World...

From: Jim Schnaidt KJ0M
Subject: LOTW
Date: November 16, 2003 11:39:31 AM EST
To: Don Agro VE3VRW

I'd like to relay my experiences in regard to using MacLoggerDX with the new ARRL Logbook of the World.

First of all, let me say, I've been using MacLoggerDX now for about 6 months and think it's a robust, well executed program. Any time I've had any problems or questions, I could drop an email to Don Agro and have an answer to my question, many times within minutes. This level of service is unprecedented in this day and age as far as I'm concerned. When I started using the program, I was running System 9.2 on an older G3 Wallstreet Powerbook and have since upgraded to System X on a 17" G4 PowerBook. Don has been super about helping with any problems along the way and he even went out of his way to help with a speed issue while I was running System 9.2.

Anyway, on with the story.

A couple of weeks ago, it came to my attention that there was a program available for Mac OS X that would allow access to the LOTW. This program, called tqsl, short for Trusted QSL, allows us Mac users to get a certificate and sign our logs so they can become part of LOTW. Once I downloaded this program, I was on a mission to get my log of over 2200 QSOs from the last 2 years on the LOTW.

The first step involved getting a certificate from the ARRL, which allows you to sign your logs in order to verify them. There is a program that is part of the tqsl package called tqslcert. Using that, I entered the data required, received a password from the ARRL through the mail and completed the process of getting a certificate.

The next step involved getting the log entries signed and sent to the
LOTW. I started looking at my log from MacLoggerDX. As any of you that utilize MacLoggerDX know, in order to differentiate between the various entities that have the same prefix in the log, we add a prefix such as ZK1-S or ZK1-N followed by a callsign. To give an example from a recent DXpedition, ZK1/AC4LN on the North Cook Islands, needs to be entered into the MacLoggerDX log as ZK1-N/AC4LN. It will then show up in the log as North Cook Island. Now it occurred to me that this ZK1-N prefix is not going to match exactly the call ZK1/AC4LN, which is required by LOTW.

I wrote to Don regarding this and that began a dialog over the next few days regarding how to handle this particular problem. As usual, Don was hard at it right away. He changed the Export ADIF menu command so that it stripped all these MacLoggerDX specific -S, -N, etc entries from each log entry, leaving a pristine ZK1 or whatever behind, so that the call would match exactly the call that was worked.
In the process, we discovered another quirk regarding calls. As an example, the recent ZM8CW operation from Kermadec would show up as New Zealand, since ZM is currently one of the prefixes for New Zealand. Now this is a special case, as is K8T or K8O for American Samoa from last year or BQ9P from last year and this year. The only way to get these to log as the correct country in MacLoggerDX was to have a prefix, such as ZL8/ZM8CW, KH8/K8T, KH8/K8O or BV9P/BQ9P. Well, you don't see a dash in the prefix, so Don's change to his Export ADIF routine wouldn't strip off those prefixes and the calls as submitted wouldn't match exactly the calls that were worked.

Don then implemented a data file that is included with MacLoggerDX that will have these special DXpeditions entered and when you enter a call like ZM8CW that is a special callsign, it will log as Kermadec Island in this case or K8T and K8O will log properly as American Samoa and BQ9P will log as Pratas Is. This file will be easy to change as new DXpeditions arise.

Now I had an ADIF output file that appeared to be proper in all respects, so it was time to try uploading a signed file to see if in fact everything would work. This involved the other part of the Trusted QSL package, called tqsl.

I selected 4 QSOs from the beginning of my MacLoggerDX log and did an Export ADIF. I then ran tqsl and using the Edit existing ADIF file? command, looked at those 4 QSOs. It became immediately apparent that there was a minor problem. Even though the frequency for each contact showed in the editor window, the band for each one was 160 meters. I did a little checking and found that the band was one of the items that were required to match exactly in order for a QSL to be counted for a given QSO. The 5 required matches are Call, Date, Time (I think within 30 minutes), Mode and Band.

I sent a quick note to Don and within a few minutes, he had rewritten his Export ADIF routine yet again to insert the band information. Using that version of MacLoggerDX, I once again exported the 4 QSOs to an ADIF file and used the editor in tqsl to view the contacts. The band data was now correct. Using tqsl, I signed this small log. I then went to the LOTW site, logged into my account and uploaded the file. A window popped up in the web browser stating that my file had been accepted and was queued for processing. Within 5 minutes, I could view those 4 contacts on my account.

I then went back to MacLoggerDX and did an Export ADIF on the balance of 2207 contacts in my log. I then used tqsl to digitally sign these contacts, which took about 3-4 minutes. After uploading to the LOTW site all 2211 contacts showed up within a few minutes and I ended up with 82 matches or QSLs.

So, there you have it. Don and his MacLoggerDX program did an outstanding job of getting us Mac users on LOTW. Thanks to him, we can now join our PC friends and be a part of the LOTW.

73 Jim

The above changes are in MacLoggerDX v3.6