Log4OM Logger in the shack 2013

Main screen, showing cluster info.

While my current shack logger is UR5EQF and I’m very happy with it, I also like to keep current. When there’s something new on offer and available free to all of us, I simply must have a look.I spend a lot of time working digital modes; UR5EQF has a digital mode interface which I just have not settled into. I often change to the last free version of DM-780 in the Ham Radio Deluxe package, because I’m so familiar with it. But as this has no update path without paying a fair amount of money. I wondered if there was a better option. I’m all in favor of paying for or donating to software I use but I have to draw a line somewhere about what I can afford at this time.

Another point of interest is modern software based on newer technologies (Log4OM is written in c# for the .NET FRAMEWORK ) will probably be around a while, so from the user point of view we are not forced to change as often. The portable version of Log4OM, holds some interest for me as well, although I have not yet looked into this, I’ll get back to you. Lastly on the list of reasons to have a look at this new logger, was a desire integrate the logging of all modes I’m interested in. When I started testing Log4OM I was drawn to the idea of it’s integration with DM-780, and I did get this all working well. But later I tried Fldigi and I was most impressed with how it decodes weak signals on PSK31 etc. so have stayed with that combination for now. Using JT65-HF Comfort 3.3 by Matthias DL3VCO & JT-Alert 2.1.2 by Laurie VK3AMA (Both excellent & free tools you should investigate). It took a bit of setting up but I ended up with one system (comprising of a few programs running) that allowed me to work/log SSB, JT65 HF, PSK31, RTTY etc QSO’s watch the Dxclusters, handle my eQSL’s and other QSLing even labels. And just to boost my ego I can look at a nice world map of all my QSO’s sorted by just about anything you can think of.

Main screen, showing recent QSO's.

Log4OM version 1.11.5 is a pretty amazing offering by Daniele Pistollato - IW3HMH and others at Pisto.it. The list of features is quite long and I’ll only list a few. Please do yourself a favor and check out the web site.

Interface to QRZ.COM & HAMQTH.COM.
Graphic DX Cluster management.
Real time world map with CAT.
Super Cluster data from HRDLog.net.
Can use MySQL for large databases or multi operations.
CAT support via Omnirig or HAMLIB.
Integrated E-QSL, LOTW, ClubLog and HRDLog.net support.
Great log searching features.
NET CONTROL support.
SO2R support.
And the list just goes on & on.

Setting up was not all that hard, but there were a few things to get sorted out along the way. The computer I was using was a Toshiba Satellite 1.6 Ghz with 1 Gb of memory running Windows 7 32 Bit. I wanted to connect Log4OM to OmniRig for rig control, I have plans later for this combination. JT65-HF Comfort 3.3 uses OmniRig and Fldigi can use either OnmiRig or HamLib. As I wanted everything to be operational at the same time, It was time to investigate Virtual Com Ports. On the Log4OM forum I read some info about using the eterlogic VSPE software to setup split com ports, this program was a breeze to install and setup. I use one of my physical ports for rig control and another for the PTT, So I just created a splitter for these ports to higher numbers. You can; using other software run VSPE as a windows service, but I just put a shortcut link in my windows startup directory. Whenever the pc starts it creates the split virtual com ports ready for when needed.

eterlogic VSPE, main screen.

Log4OM has SQLite and MySQL database options, for this installation I used the standard SQLite log, further down the track I may look into setting up the MySQL interface. Using the above computer the performance is not bad, with about 5000 QSO’s imported there is some lag when doing some searches updates etc. Over all though there has been no crashes or problems, remembering this pc is on the lower limit of what you should run Windows 7 on. Recently I was talking to a mate, who has some extra memory that will fit this laptop, after I drop some extra memory in it I’ll let everybody know how much difference it makes.

When setting up fldigi, I did run into one problem. I had to set Fldigi to use HamLib for rig control of my Icom 718 on the virtual com port. Not sure why it may be just a Fldigi thing, I have heard of some problems with Fldigi on Windows. However once changed to use HamLib so far no problems. I really like the way Fldigi decodes weak digital signals. I have no hard and fast scientific proof; just a feeling I’m seeing better decodes especially when conditions are bad.

Fldigi - Main screen.

Fldigi - Rig Control Setup.

Fldigi - PTT Setup.

Just a quick outline of how this all works.

Lets say we have two real com ports.
Com4 and Com5.
Com4 is rig control.
Com5 is PTT for the rig.

We create two split virtual ports Com8 and Com10 using the VSPE software.
Now we can have more than one program use these virtual ports.

Log4OM using OmniRig on Com8 for rig control & Com10 for PTT, doing the logging and watching the Dx Cluster etc.

Fldigi using HamLib on Com8 for rig control & Com10 for PTT for digital work PSK31, RTTY etc, it’s log file is being monitored by Log4OM for changes, when a qso is added in Fldigi it also gets added to Log4OM.

JT65-HF Comfort 3.3 using OmniRig on Com8 for rig control & Com10 for PTT. When a QSO is logged in JT65-HF Comfort JT-Alert adds the QSO to Log4OM.

Simple really!

Setting up the services area in the settings of Log4OM, was easier than I thought. (Hint: Read the help file) And JT-Alert’s QSO forwarding to Log4OM is a walk in the park. I want you to have the fun of learning so there will be no step by step, just some images. But as always if I can help email me and I will try my best.

JT65-HF Comfort 3.3 & JT-Alert 2.1.2

Some Tips:

1. Settings->Options->Services.
Tick the Enable File Monitor Box. Monitor ADIF file for new QSO.
This watches the Fldigi log for new QSO’s. Because you could have multi logs in Fldigi make sure you are pointing to the right log.
On the Left hand side of this window. Tick Auto Start and Use TCP.
And don’t forget to press the big green START button.
Save Config before you close the window.

2.Settings->Options->External Logs.
EQSL settings are case sensitive watch your QTH nickname etc.
If nesssary log into eQSL and check it.

3. Log4OM 1.11.5 requires the .NET framework 4.0 FULL to be installed. If your computer is regularly updated you probably already have it, if not the installer will take care of this for you.

Thankfully this all works a lot better than I can explain, It is nice to have everything under one roof so to speak. Will Log4OM become the only log in my shack, I’m not sure yet; for now I will be running both it and UR5EQF. I like UR5EQF's speed on modest equipment. But the lure of staying current with technology is there; so who knows... I think It’s great that I can write about being spoiled for choice between so much fully featured software. We should support all the developers, I urge you to do so. But if money is in short supply we can have the best now and give something later when we can afford it. We enjoy our hobby in wonderful times, made better by the generosity of these developers. Don’t forget to say thanks.

The links.
eterlogic VSPE
JT-Alert 2.1.2
The JT65-HF-Comfort-3.3 setup program

73 AL (VK4BL)

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