Logbooks and Logging of your ham radio contacts

Started by WA4STO, October 04, 2012, 11:57:31 am

Previous topic - Next topic


Keeping a record of your ham radio contacts can be a VERY beneficial task!

There's a number of ways to accomplish those records, of course; here's two:

1.  A paper-based logbook.  This used to be the only way to create a log of your contacts and given that most of us here are preppers, paper logbooks may be the only way of the SHTF future...

2.  Database or "digital" logbooks.  There are a fair number of software-based logbooks.  You can find a listing of many of the available ones at


There's a couple of "gotchas" you need to be aware of, particularly if you're new to amateur radio or to logging.  First, some of the logging programs are fee-based, and if you're not precisely sure which one you're going to be sticking with, you should really consider the free ones.

Second, one of the purposes of the truly good software is the ability to export the logbook entries to external or online databases, such as e-qsl, clublog, LOTW and several others, depending on what your ultimate goals are.  The fields that will be exported are complicated (just in naming conventions alone!), numerous, and must be exported in a very specific format.

Can you create your own database-logbook?  Sure, I've done it lots of times.  But it's very difficult to get it right, and you should only consider it if you're never going to be uploading it elsewhere; see preceding paragraph.

Here's a screenshot example of my logbook, which has been filtered (try doing that with a paper log!) to show only the Russian callsigns I've worked:

Who would've thought that "Russia" encompassed TWO continents?  Hmmm...

Questions?  Comments? 

73 de WA4STO


Just so everyone knows-

A logbook is not required by the FCC any more as far as I can tell.

I do agree that a logbook could be useful and beneficial.


Since the logbooks are no longer required, I generally only keep a short term 'log' type entry of my contacts, having made a short QSO log that I print onto scrap paper to keep notes during the chat.  In my case, I do not pursue awards, but if I did, logging is absolutely essential to receive an award.  There are OTHER reasons why logging software may enhance the hobby aspect as well.

There are times when I wish that I had logged all contacts, especially when someone in particular proved to be a nice fellow to chat with. I'll rarely remember a callsign from a week ago, much less a month ago, but it IS nice to be able to quickly call-up previous contacts and have notes like: 'collects old Vibroplex bugs, builds QRP, lived in Colorado for 15 years as aerospace engineer...  ' because it allows you to pick-up on the previous conversation, rather than to start from scratch.  Of course, that's for me, because I enjoy a few long conversations, rather than a large number of contacts, though that is also a popular aspect of hamming for many people.

Post TEOTWAWKI there might be only ONE award:   W.A.S.  (Worked All Survivors)     ::)

73 de RadioRay ..._ ._
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry


Quote from: RadioRay on October 04, 2012, 12:32:25 pmPost TEOTWAWKI there might be only ONE award:   W.A.S.  (Worked All Survivors)     ::)

73 de RadioRay ..._ ._
I see you & STO are in competition to see who can make me cover my monitor in coffee first.

I keep very few log entries; there are some special ones written down, e.g., QRP CW to the Seychelles. I'm just using a steno pad (sometimes two) and logging stations, lined through when done. I do have a 3-ringed binder old-time mil-style station log I keep if actually doing a relay for someone with traffic or, say, relaying a maritime on MMSN & they want their stuff put into ShipTrak.

I can't recall the specifics accurately but I think the only logging required would be you need to be able to demonstrate how you got at your ERP value when operating on 60m, since it's 100w ERP, not PEP, relative to a dipole, not the freespace dBi measurement.
(FYI: The last ARRL color band "chart" is incorrect for 60m in terms of that and says PEP vice ERP.)

Worked All Survivors, indeed.  LMAO


October 08, 2012, 11:24:55 pm #4 Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 11:26:36 pm by Sunflower
In my early studies so far (not sure if from my study book  or else where on the internet.). I think it was from a KB6NU video. Anyways, I thought that the FCC could technically show up and ask to view the log. correct or outdated?