I am looking for links to objective reviews of logging software for general and contest use. Flexibility in exporting to robots is a must. I would also prefer to use one program, but I understand that is a tall order. I just started playing radio and so have a low number of contacts to import or reenter from my QRZ log.
Do you know of objective reviews? What do you use and why? Any sage advice, techie Elmers?
Have you checked out eHam reviews? www.eham.net
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Reviews of logging software is, almost by nature, a very subjective thing and it is virtually impossible to have an objective review of the various packages. That being said, there are some things you should probably consider when looking for a logging software package.
- Operating system: Are you a Windows-only guy, Mac, Linux or all of the above. There are solutions that meet all of these needs.
- Do you prefer simple or more complex: Logging programs range from the fairly simple (Fllog by W1HKJ, for example) to the complex (DXKeeper and Ham Radio Deluxe), with dozens in-between.
- Are you a DXer? Contester? Rag Chewer? All of the above? : Work flows are different in almost every program and depending upon what you want to do, you're not likely to find 1 program that meets all of these needs equally well. Also, if you're a contester, you'll want good support for CABRILLO export.
- Paper or Digital QSLer?: Programs that support automatic upload/download to/from eQSL and LoTW are great, if you are using or may use those tools. If you are a paper guy, then that becomes less important in the scheme of things. If you don't QSL at all, then does it matter?
These are just a few questions that you need to consider. The best way to find out what works for you is to try them all out. Most programs are either free of have a demo version for you to try out. Here are some thoughts about specific packages:
Ham Radio Deluxe and DXLab's DXKeeper are probably on the "high-end" of capability and complexity. Both can seem overwhelming, but can be configured to do as little or much as you want. Both are free, although HRD is going to a pay model with the new v6.
N1MM is an excellent contest logging and BASIC QSO logging software....and it is free. It is quite flexible, is an outstanding contest logger, but isn't designed for QSL tracking.
Logger32, Logic9, and DX4WIN are good mid-range packages....they do a bit of everything. Some are free, some not so much.
ACLog (N3FJP) is a popular "simpler" program...good for basic logging.
Fllog is another simpler logging package that is part of the Fl* suite of multi-platform programs.
All of these are Windows programs. On a Mac, you should look at RUMlog, Aether, MacLoggerDX or Fllog. On Linux, CQRlog seems to be the most popular and I've used Fllog as well.
My basic considerations for a logging program are as follows:
- Support for digital QSLs (LoTW, eQSL) as well as paper QSLs
- Support for importing/exporting standard ADIF and CABRILLO files
- Computer control to track current frequency of my rig
- Interface to work with digital signals software like DM780 or Fldigi.
Most (but not all) of the above packages meet these requirements. I've used almost all of them at one time or another as trial packages. What you end up using is very much a matter of personal preference.