03-15-2012 Computer Log - Logging - Memory (revisited)
Just had a QSO with someone that I have worked eleven times over that past six years. With my computer log I can instantly see all the QSOs listed including my notes. Things like age, rig, and the fact that 2 years ago he was going to retire soon. I realize that, with a paper log, it is hard to 'remember' these things so I often remind 'our last QSO was December thirteen of 2012' to point them toward their paper log. Some guys take the time to check their logs but the majority just go on as if we had never met before. I guess that is OK but sure doesn't lead to on-air friendships. I'd like to think that our QSOs were more memorable than that.
12-15-2007 Email Addresses and QRZ.com
If you have put your e-mail address on QRZ.com, why not keep it up-to-date? I noticed that many earthlink.net addresses had to change to embarqmail.com when Sprint (Embarq) and Earthlink got a divorce. Consider using the ARRL mail redirector so that your email can stay the same even if you have to change e-mail services (if you are ARRL member). Or, you can use one of the other e-mail services (@yahoo.com, @MSN.com, @Gmail.com, etc). E-mail is a great way to follow-up a QSO or even a failed QSO (QRM, QSB, etc) - almost like an un-official QSL.
9-2-07 Soapbox on QRL?
OK, the only proper answer to a QRL? is 'YES' or 'C' or 'QRL'. If you are just monitoring a frequency, and someone sends 'QRL? - Don't answer - do nothing. Don't send 'GA' or 'NO' or anything - you just confuse the situation.
9-2-07 Soapbox on Computer Logging
After a long QRT of about 8 years, I got back on the air in 2003. In that time period computers and internet access in the ham shack went from being a luxury to commonplace. Computers have become very affordable and a hamshack PC doesn't need to be the latest-greatest. I messed around with writing my own logging software but soon found that it was difficult to improve on some of the logging software that is available and affordable. I use the N3FJP software, but this isn't about which is better, but instead about the concept of computer logging.
Wow, you call CQ, I hear you, enter your call into the log software, and instantly I can see that we've worked 3 times before, last QSO was December 9, 2006, your name is 'CJ' - not Charles as on QRZ.com, you were running QRP with a K1 using a longwire antenna at 20 feet, you're 63 years old and been a ham 43 years. "Hello old friend!"
My standard reply is to immediately remind you that "Last QSO was December 9 of 2K6". Now, if you have a paper log, you can go look it up.
Most software can interface with your radio (if it has a data port) and automatically enter mode, frequency, and band info. If not - no big deal. Some have a DX spotting window that shows DX stations that are being logged live from the internet. Just click on the DX Spot and the radio switches to that mode and frequency - very cool if you can do it. Otherwise - no big deal. The big thing is the instant access to your log.
Just something to think about. Find an old PC. Get some logging software - shareware is available. Then decide if you want to just start logging from this point forward or maybe start entering those old logs into the computer log. My good friend Tom-N9DD has entered ALL of his old paper logbooks - going back to about 1972. It is a lot of fun and it helps to turn random CW contacts into ongoing friendships and conversations.