Features you might not know that are available in Logger32

 

Keywords: Logger32, highlight, Logger32 Tips, Telnet Keep-alive, Logger32 quick scroll.

First, you should know that I’m currently using version 3.24.0 but I’m on the Logger32 Beta team and get a chance to see some new things before others get to see them. I’ll try, however, to not list any secrets available in Logger32 that everyone doesn’t have access to. If I do happen to accidentally put in a feature that you can’t access, just wait for a few weeks until Bob releases the newer version of the program that will include what is mentioned. These notes are not meant to replace the Helpfiles included with each download of each new version and should NOT be used in place of a thorough study of those Helpfiles. There are many hundreds of man-hours used to write and edit these files and it is seldom that any question cannot be answered by spending some time studying them. That’s why, when on the Hamlogger reflector, someone asks a question where several people have spent many hours in creating an answer and it is so obvious that someone ignores all that work and asks a question rather than use the tools left for them. The notes in this article are only meant to be a revelation to some of the added features that many folks have yet to discover. Study the Helpfiles ALWAYS to see how to set up any problem you might have discovered.

One note also I should mention is, I don’t plan to go back and find when a particular feature was added so if you see one you like and you don’t seem to have the ability to make your copy duplicate what I’ve listed, check what version you’re using. Logger32 is available free and if your only reason for not updating your copy is that "The old version works for me" or "I just haven’t gotten around to it," then you are the one who is holding you back. Logger32 can be freely downloaded at www.logger32.net.  The program was good several years ago, better a year later, even better with each version. As the little boy said, "It jis keeps gittin’ gooder and gooder!"

If you are one of the folks who say, "No, I don’t need any more updates since what I have now is sufficient," then I suspect you’d be like a child on Christmas morning who screamed, "No! No! No more toys…….. I’ve got enough already."  Yeah, I've got kids and grandkids and I don’t think I ever heard that statement either.

Do you have the most recent copy? If you ask for help on the Hamlogger reflector, probably the first question asked will be, "are you using the current version?" If the answer is, "No" then you’ll probably next be asked, "Why not?" The best support is available for the currently available version so be sure to have the latest ---- and the greatest.

I hope to add to this list as time allows – check back from time to time. It will grow however currently I have listed the following features that may have escaped your notice:

1.    Highlight your Logbook Entry window with color

2.    Don’t let DVK announcements key your transmitter

3.    DX Activity Listings

4.    IOTA Activity Listings

5.    Altering How Award Tables Are Displayed

6.    Using Telnet Keep-Alive

7.    Is your computer communicating with your transceiver?

8.    Is your computer communicating with your rotator?

9.    Do you want to have different set-ups including which columns are displayed on the screen, how the columns are placed, and what colors are used?

10.    How do you know which INI is being used?

11.    Did you know you can scroll through your entries more quickly?

12.    What version of the database do I currently have?

                13. Does Logger32 have something like to "yellow sticky notes" to write notes                   about stations?

 



1.    Highlight your Logbook Entry window with color

Logger32 allows you multiple opportunities to highlight in your choice of colors but one which I thought was particularly nice is the Logbook Entry window which is probably the most often used window.

By default, there are no color highlights added to the boxes in this window but you can customize yours very easily. The default window might look like this:

The customized window can look like this; I use my copy only as a starting point for you. You may not care for my color highlight selections and Logger32 lets you "have it your way" ………….. or is that your Burger King selection? Here’s mine:

Note that I’ve changed all the entry boxes to show a light blue background but the focus box is a light orange color. When I look at my screen, my eyes are immediately drawn to the orange box and I know the program is awaiting data entry in that box.

Here’s how I set mine up:

Right-click on the Data Entry window and the first menu appears. Choose Setup at the bottom, then choose Appearance, and then Data field background. You will be given a regular Windows color selection window.

I didn’t want to use any of the colors shown on the left in the 48 small squares, although there’s nothing wrong with using any. That’s the magic of this program --- they’re your choice. I clicked, instead, on the long narrow horizontal box near the lower-left which says Define Custom Colors>>>. I can then choose an approximate color from the vertical rainbow – in this case, I wanted a light blue so I click somewhere on the dark blue vertical strip. I now have a tall narrow strip on the right-hand side which shows me just about any blue hue I want from very light blue at the top to very dark blue at the bottom. Since I wanted a very light blue I clicked on the strip up near the top. A box in the lower center shows me my color selection. If I want to change it, either lighter or darker, I need only to click the vertical blue bar on the right on a different area. Once I’ve chosen the color I want, I click on OK and I’ve now filled in all the boxes with that color blue.

To choose the focus color I go through nearly the same steps with the exceptions shown here:

Note that the third menu box over is now on Data field background (focus). Again this brings up a Windows color selection window.

Choose the hue of your desired focus color and you’re there.

The only thing you now need to do is to click on the X (upper right) in the full program’s window to close it. It is when Logger32 is properly closed that it writes all the user’s information and program choices (including the highlight colors we’ve just changed) to the Logger32.ini file. Once closed properly you can reopen the Logger32 program and it will be using all of the user’s personal selections, including the new color highlights on the Data Entry window.


2. Don’t let DVK announcements key your transmitter

You can use the DVK and be confident that an announcement like "New Country" won’t suddenly key up your transmitter and send that announcement out to the world. Logger32 has so many extra features which some folks have not used, simply because they don’t realize that they are available. One of these is the use of the DVK or Digital Voice Keyer. This allows the user to let the program to do a repetitious task, i.e., calling CQ on a near dead band. Perhaps you’d like to continue to make the call but realize that it might take a while and you had another project going on the bench. The DVK will repeat your message such as, "CQ 12 CQ 12 This is K5LAD calling CQ 12"

The DVK icon is the 14th from the left side and looks like a computer monitor screen. Clicking on it will bring up the window:

 

Where you see the buttons with labels here, your original window will be blank with no labels. As you add the info to your own program, you’ll see the information appear on these buttons.

Initially, the 8 buttons will be blank but you can load up to 8 macros with audio files by clicking on Config | Setup Logger32 DVK| Macro setup. You can create the audio files you need by using regular Windows tools like Sound Recorder which is included in all Windows packages. The Logger32 Helpfiles describes the process of setting this up.

The often unknown feature refers to the checkable box on the screen above, "Disable DX Spot Audio Alerts while DVK Window is displayed." The Logger32 DVK will key the transmitter each time it runs so the audio can be transmitted. If you are using the Logger32 feature to audibly inform you of incoming stations announced on the DX Cluster, i.e., "New Country" or "New IOTA" and you have the DVK window open, it would automatically key the transmitter and transmit the message, "New Country" or "New IOTA" Ouch, and certainly not what you want to happen.

By clicking on the box beside "Disable DX Spot Audio Alerts while DVK Window is displayed" your transmitter will not key up each time a new station appears on the DX Cluster. It’s just an added feature that allows you to run two of Logger32’s handy features simultaneously.


3. DX Activity Listings

Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to bring up your browser to search out the latest DX stations and DXpeditions? How about a list of upcoming DX activities? Actually, that feature is also available.

Click on the word Utilities near the top of the screen. The pull-down window lists DX Activity and that list shows data on those activities. The information displayed for you comes from website at 425DX. You do not need to leave your Logger32 screen to pull them up.


4. IOTA Activity Listings

Have you found the list of IOTA operations? In the same category as the hint above, you can also find a list of current IOTA activities.

Click on the word Utilities near the top of the screen. The pull-down window lists IOTA Activity and that list shows data on those activities.


5. Altering How Award Tables Are Displayed

When printing Excel worksheets, you can set your options to show in color. This is a feature built into Excel but you need to modify a program that comes with Logger32 to make this work. For example, in the WAS printout I wanted to show the cells which contained a W (worked) with a blue color, those which contained a C (confirmed) with a gold color and those containing a Y (yes – credit has been given for it) in an orange color. Excel gives you many additional colors so you can add to this many more colors but this is how to set up just these three options. Note that these colors were originally used in the files included with Logger32 prior to version 3.19.

It will be necessary to work with the Logger32-included file called, "doNotDelete"

(Note: This file may be write protected). Go to your Logger32 folder, which if you let the default place it on installation, will be at C:\Program files\Logger32. If you have installed the program in Vista, this will probably be in a different location so you will need to find it. Click on the folder to open it and display all the files within. The one you’ll want to work on will be titled "doNotDelete" and should have the typical icon you (or Microsoft) use for MS Excel. Any time I plan to be working with a file, I like to save a copy of the original and this can easily be done by highlighting this file, right-click and click on Copy. Move the mouse pointer to a space within the folder, right-click again and click on Paste. It should save a duplicate copy of the file under the name "Copy of doNotDelete" Now you should be ready to make the desired modifications.

When you open the original "doNotDelete" file from the menu choices, click on Format, then on Conditional Formatting.    It should looks something like this:

 

For our example, you want a cell to be a certain color if it contains the data, W so click on the arrow to the right of the box that says "between" and choose "equal to". Then in the box to the right type in ="W" which tells it to look for a capital W. If it passes that test it will perform the task you have told it under Format…. Currently it shows No Format Set so click on the Format... button and you will be presented with some choices. If you click on the Tab called Patterns you will see the typical Windows color selections and you can choose the color you want it to display in that particular cell. I wanted a lighter blue so I chose that, then I clicked on OK. Your choice is recorded and you’re returned to the Conditional Formatting screen above showing your choice. Since I wanted a couple of other colors, I clicked on Add >> and I get a second condition setup.

You can set up many conditional formatting choices and the conditions and choice are all done the same way as the previous paragraph. I had a total of three conditions but you’re only limited by Excel’s rules. With three choices, mine now looks like this:

 

When you have no more conditions and choices to be met, click on OK and it will come back to the standard Excel screen. Now you will want to save this addition to your file so Logger32 can use it for any of the printouts you want to use for your Awards.

 

 

 

 

 

 


6. Using Telnet Keep-Alive

If you’re using a dial-up connection, many ISPs will stay connected for a limited amount of time before dropping the connection. If you use it periodically (the time period may vary) the connection is preserved. If, however, you get busy doing something else (like working a choice DX site) you might forget to use the connection and it drops. You’re often unaware that the connection has dropped until you attempt to use it again and suddenly you’ve discovered that you must go through the process of reconnection to your ISP. Logger32 has a feature sort of like your own little Leprechaun standing by your keyboard to kick the connection to let it know, "Hey, I’m still here and I still want to stay connected."

The feature is sometimes hard to find but you’ll find your Leprechaun under the bar when you click on ‘Setup | DX Spot | Configure ‘keep-alive’ messages. The window called Telnet / Cluster Keep-alive configurations will display. This window will allow you to set the keep-alive activities to be sent for either Telnet and/or Cluster.


7. Is your computer communicating with your transceiver?

One of the things that will either frighten or frustrate an active ham is when their computer software suddenly stops working with their transceiver. "But it was just working a few minutes ago," is not an uncommon comment made on the software group’s reflector. It often happens at the worst possible time, but then that’s the way life seems to work too.

Logger32 has a built-in feature to allow you to check the communications between your computer and your transceiver. Debug

To use this handy feature there are several ways to reach it. Click on the top menu bar on Setup | Radio and make sure there is a check mark beside the entry for the radio you want to be using. If that looks OK, you can click on the line labeled "Show Radio debug window" but if you want to make sure the setup data is correct, choose "Radio # configuration" making sure the # represents the correct number of the in-use radio.

 

 

 

If all look correct, click a tic-mark in the box beside "Show Radio Debug Window" and click on "Apply"

In either case you should see a box like this:

These poll and response numbers, etc. are common to my Elecraft K3 transceiver. Your radio may poll with other words and/or numbers and receive back different values but Logger32 has the ability to speak the language of your particular radio.

The key to this activity is to look, not at the exact value of the data but to look for a change in the data as you make a change in the radio’s frequency and mode. If the values do not change, communications are not there.

Look, also, to see if L32 is sending info out in the Poll but receiving nothing back. That tells you that the radio is where the fault lies. If the computer is not sending out a Poll, the problem may be in the configuration in L32, may be a problem in the serial port, a USB to serial adapter, or in the actual interface cable. Also, don’t forget to check the plugs and sockets that may have broken leads.

 

<-- This screen is the key to seeing what is happening in your configuration. Several pieces of the setup data shows here: COM in use, CTS, DSR, DTR, RTS, etc.

The "Poll" in red is the message sent by Logger32 – it’s saying "what is your current frequency and mode?"

The radio answers back a string of information and if you dissect it you can see the imbedded frequency and the "2" in the right-hand area says, "I’m in USB" If the number had been a "1" L32 knows it is in LSB.

Different radios use different codes but you just want to be sure that the values are changing.

 Often, once you get past the frustration in not being able to see communication between your computer and your radio, the "fix" is not as hard as it might first seem. Logger32 has the built-in tools to help you to an easy repair of a difficult problem.


8. Is your computer communicating with your rotator?

Not everyone who uses Logger32 has the ability or, perhaps, even the desire to control their antenna rotator via their logging program. It is, however, a really neat feature built into Logger32. Generally, the information in the previous piece (Is your computer communicating with your transceiver?) is the same information needed to troubleshoot a rotor/L32 communication problem.

 

 

 

 

The primary difference is how you arrive at the debug tool. Click on the top menu bar on Setup | Rotor and that should bring up the Rotor Setup window. You can confirm that all the setup data is correct, then click a tic mark beside "Show rotor debug window." This, in turn, will bring up the Rotor debug window.

 

Just like the radio communications in the article above, you’re looking for a poll going out from the computer (Polled:), and a response coming back from the rotor communication device (Received:). To most users it won’t make as much difference as to what it says but the fact that there is data flowing both directions and that it can change as in when the rotor is turned.

If data is going out but seeing no return, the problem is probably on the rotor side. If no data seems to be even going out, check the configurations in Logger32, the serial ports, any USB to serial adapters, and the cable, plugs, and sockets between computer and rotor control box.


9. Do you want to have different set-ups including which columns are displayed on the screen, how the columns are placed, and what colors are used?

You may not want to wear the same color clothes every day of your life and you probably have several different choices. By the same token, you may not want to see the same display, or the same colors, the same information or, perhaps even the information displayed in the same order every time you use your logging program. Logger32 easily lends itself to displaying any way you want it. You can also save these color/order/configuration setups to use at your choice of times. For instance, you may want to have your screen display one way for "regular operation, a different way for a contest, another for when you’re operating a particular mode such as CW or PSK31. You might even want to have multiple contest screen configurations for different contests.

The Helpfiles have, for several years, demonstrated how this can be set up. Under Installation in the Helpfile Menu you’ll find an entry for "Setting Up A Second Logger32 .INI file." This note is not to explain how it is done, because that is well covered in your Helpfile section, but to remind the reader that it can be done. Also, to let you know that not just a second .ini file can be created but many can be created, each with your own personal variation to fit a particular type or mode of operation.

How many can you have?  The sky’s the limit.


10. How do you know which INI is being used?

Should you choose to avail yourself of the information shown in the previous entry (Do you want to have different set-ups including which columns are displayed on the screen, how the columns are placed, and what colors are used?) and in the Helpfiles, you might create so many custom .ini files that you lose track of which one you’re currently using. Perhaps you get a call from a broadcast radio station asking you to quickly tell them (for a $100 reward) what .ini configuration you are currently using for your Logger32 log. With only seconds to answer, and with the reward money at stake, did you know you can find which .ini file you’re using with only a single mouse click?

To accomplish this (and win your money), click on the Help tab at the top of your Logger32 window. The last entry on the pull-down box is "Configuration" – and to the right of the word, it gives the name of the .INI file currently in use. If you only have one .INI start-up file or you are looking for just a vanilla-type run, it will show – "Configuration – default".

Note in the example on the left, the .ini file I was using was the one I use after a contest (Post contest) to clean up my log entries.


11. Did you know you can scroll through your entries more quickly?

Often on the Hamlogger reflector, a user will ask that since this is a Windows program the scroll bar should conform to standard Windows procedures, i.e., the user should be able to navigate to any place within the database of QSOs by just moving the vertical scroll bar. It you want a QSO about 1/4 way through the total database, why not just move the scroll bar down to about 1/4 way from the top or 2/3 through the database then move the scroll bar about 1/3 up from the bottom and shouldn’t you be able to move to the necessary site in the database?   Well actually, the answer is "NO" and there’s a good reason that does not work.

The database engine used by Bob Furzer, Logger32’s author, is an amazing device. It allows excellent indexing, lots of space for multiple fields, and the more entries that are made to the file, the quicker it becomes. If there is any disadvantage in using this engine it is that it does NOT conform to the Windows standard for the scroll bar. Regardless of how many requests and pleas made to Bob for a true Windows scroll bar, it probably can't happen unless some of the base software changes.  We can only hope but I agree, it sure would be nice.

It’s obvious with the scroll bar on the right-hand side of your Logger32 Logbook Entry window, that there are several ways to move through the database entries of QSOs but there are also some quicker ways to which you may not be aware. Most users realize that the outer marks are placed to take them in either large, very large or single line jumps:

 = move down one line

 = move down one page

 = move to end of file

 = move up one line

 = move up one page

 = move to top of file

Now the good news --- Bob has programmed a way to move through the database fairly rapidly, not quite as quickly as the original Windows scroll bar system but a pretty sweet work-around.

The key to this is literally the "shift key." When the shift key is held down and the mouse’s scroll wheel is turned, you can move through the database quickly where one wheel click moves one full page. The action is available in both forward and reverse and allows the user to go up or down when the wheel is move forward or reverse. It’s not quite the regular scroll bar like you’re accustomed to seeing on many Windows programs but it’s a very handy and easily done to accomplish essentially the same operation.

The movement via mouse scroll wheel may not start when you first try it but all you need to do is click on one of the line up - or line down marks and you can then go immediately to the shift – mouse scroll wheel operation.

Perhaps you should plan now for what you’ll do with all the extra time you save using this helpful tip.


Update Note: Shortly after this article was placed on the website, (and just in time for Christmas), a miracle happened.  The author of Logger32, Bob Furzer, (a master programmer) discovered a way to add the vertical scroll bar to the database windows and allow Logger32 users the ability to scroll these windows, just like those on standard Windows programs.  This new addition came with the updated version 3.24.0 released the week before Christmas, 2009.  Many of the same speedup procedures (such as holding down the Shift key while rotating the mouse's scroll wheel) are still in effect.   With this addition, you have the best of both worlds.


12. What version of the database do I currently have?

There are several internal databases within Logger32 and if your logbook program is to be totally current and up-to-date, you must have the most current and up-to-date databases. These internal databases include a list of IOTA (Islands on the Air) locations, counties within each state, and current countries counted for DXCC.  Since some of these DXCC entries are political, if a country is overrun in a coup de grace or they are reorganized for some reason, then the DXCC list of countries must be updated. This is most easily accomplished by staying up-to-date with the newest version of Logger32 since any database changes will have been made by the Logger32 Beta Team and included with the latest version of the program. That’s another good reason to always download the new versions as they’re announced and become available.

But what happens when a new DXpedition appears on the bands and your information seems to be out of date, what can you do?  The first thing you need to do is find what version you currently have.  It might seem to be a difficult procedure with a time-consuming search through your Logger32 folder. 

 The author of Logger32 has made this activity so much easier, more convenient, and quicker.  You only need to type the word “DATA” into the box titled “Call” on the contact input window where you usually type in the station you want to log:

L32 Call input field.jpg (70960 bytes)

As that last "A" is typed in, the information will suddenly appear --- the date for your current countries database is displayed in the lower-left corner.  The data looks like this and includes both the version (actually the Logger32 version when it was released) and that version’s date:

L32 Database version info.jpg (57878 bytes)

There are also provisions built into Logger32 to allow you to update your own internal databases if you find additional information on an entry and a new version of Logger32 is not scheduled for a soon release.  The Helpfiles will give you the information on how this is done.


13. Does Logger32 have an equivalent to "yellow sticky notes" to write notes about stations?

Have you ever heard a station on the air (perhaps DX, domestic, or local) that you wanted to note but didn't want to try to work them right at that time?   Perhaps you hear a DX station on 21.345 MHz but you're currently on 21.275 MHz awaiting the DX station to get around to your call area.  In the "good ole' days" you might write the station's call and frequency on a yellow sticky note and stick it on your monitor or some other surface.  Then, once you've made your original contact, you'll know where to look for that other station.

Perhaps, on a different time, you heard a station on your local repeater and you didn't have time to talk to them right then but you wanted to write down their call to note when you first heard them.  In this case, that yellow sticky note might get lost before the next time you needed the information.

Logger32 lets you write yourself a note about a station like these.   You would enter their call just like you were actually logging a contact with them but by the simple addition of an equals sign after their call (for instance: K5LAD=) it stores all the information about the station. It will note the station call, the frequency, and the time you heard them but won't include them in your Awards or QSL records.

It's really a pretty handy feature.

 

=============================================================

animail2.gif (3164 bytes)Email to: k5lad@arrl.net

Created December 4, 2009

Updated 12/23/09 12:01 PM

Click to return to Home Page  home.gif (1310 bytes)