AC Log 5.0! New Versions of ALL Contest Programs, CW Encouragement, Antenna Updates and More!

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Hi Gang,

It's been full throttle here at N3FJP headquarters! I have lots of updates and information to share, so please sit back, relax, grab a cup of coffee and read on!

This e-mail covers:

Amateur Contact Log 5.0 is Now Available!

New Versions of All Contesting Software are Now Available!

CW Encouragement for the CW Challenged (including me)!

Side by Side Comparison of a Ground Mounted Vertical to a Dipole.

QRZ Image and Bio Look Up Tutorial


Amateur Contact Log 5.0 is now available!

AC Log 5.0 enhancements include:

- Band map DX spotting zoom scale and rig tracking features added (detailed with tutorial here: http://www.n3fjp.com/news/news2014-11-28.html).

- QRZ Callbook image and biographical display on call tab (requires QRZ subscription, but I think it is well worth it!). You'll find a tutorial below.

- LoTW identification of DX spots (Click LoTW and then the command button that says "ID LoTW Users on DX Spots" to enable).

- Ability to save current rig settings from Rig Interface form (will be in the contesting software in future releases too).

- Ability to adjust CW character spacing for PC generated CW (please use generously for us CW challenged folks!). :)

- Frequency privileges display form remembers last license class selected on next display (will be in the contesting software in future releases too).

- Ability to disable Watch List form display on Call tab (click File > Watch List to adjust your Watch List alert settings).

- Ability to disable list matches on Country field tab for user's country, to speed tabbing through the Country field (click Settings > List Matches for These Fields with Tab to enable).


When you upgrade, please be sure to follow these upgrade steps for AC Log: http://www.n3fjp.com/upgradestepsaclog.html

As always, upgrades are free to registered users. Of course, this includes our N3FJP Software Package users!


New Versions of All Contesting Software are Now Available!

New versions for every contesting program (now totaling more than 80) are on the website! These first three upgrades are new to all the software:

- Band map DX spotting zoom scale and rig tracking features added.

- Spot last button to easily post DX spots on main form (to the right of the Clear button).

- Ability to adjust CW character spacing for PC generated CW (please use generously for us CW challenged folks!). :)


These enhancements were already in the last release of the major contesting programs. They are now in all the contesting software, including all the state QSO party programs!

- Addition of Super Check Partial, which can either be displayed in the Possible Duplicates window, or on a separate floating form.

- Dynamic scale resizing on band map form reflecting range of actual posted DX spots for a given band.

- Option to display band map automatically on start up.

- Resize the main form and the individual controls will reposition after you complete your mouse move.

- Your customized main form dimensions are saved on exit.

- Press Ctrl F to display a small form to quickly change your rig's frequency, band and mode. This form can optionally be set to display on start up from the rig interface form.

- Pressing Ctrl W displays the CW setup form as always, but now, you can also press Ctrl > Shift W to display a tiny version of the form showing your F key strings. This form can optionally be set to display on start up from the CW setup form.

- Press Ctrl > Shift C to display the bearing as a compass point as you type the call.

- Additional DX spotting filtering option to block calls that would be identified as duplicates (Was this ever useful during Sweepstakes and CQ WW!).


CW Encouragement for the CW Challenged (including me)!

Even if you aren't feeling the love for CW right now, or you think your copy speed is too slow, I really encourage you to give CW contesting a try. Believe it or not, you don't have to copy at 30 WPM to enjoy CW contesting, or work guys at that speed! No matter where you start, I guarantee that by the end of the weekend, your CW proficiency will have improved!

My friend Dave, N3HCN and I decided to work the CQ WW CW contest last weekend as a multi operator, two transmitter station, running 100 watts and mostly wire antennas. After operating for a few hours Friday evening, most of the day Saturday and then just me solo, sporadically on Sunday, we wound up with 943 Qs and 110 unique DX entities!

But here's the thing. Dave is a great CW operator, while I can barely copy at speeds in the high teens, but during the time we were both operating, our individual QSO totals and run rates were nearly identical!

For contests like CQ WW and others, where the exchange is basic, with DX spotting, as you click and pounce, all the information is right in front of you. All you have to do is to make sure the call was spotted correctly (many aren't so be sure) and be able to recognize your call when it comes back. Even if your CW speed is really slow, when you have the characters you expect to hear right in front of you, you not only can copy them, but you are increasing your speed and upgrading your CW skill in the process!

But don't just take my word for it. I received several e-mails expressing similar sentiments this week and I'd like to share portions of two of them with you:


Larry, W1DYJ Writes...

Thanks for adding the Band Map with its very recent enhancements. Without them, I would have been lost. Let me explain:

I decided six months ago to get back into CW, a mode I had not used since my novice days 52 years ago! I set a goal of entering the contest this past weekend. I’m a reasonably proficient phone contester, but I have never been in a CW contest. My code copying skills are now around 10 WPM, so I knew the contest would be a challenge at best.

I arrived at my “little pistol” QTH in mid-coast Maine late Thursday after Thanksgiving dinner. The recent snowstorm had taken out power Wednesday night so out came the generator. It finally came back at 9 PM Eastern Friday. Unfortunately this meant I didn’t fire up your logger until around 10 PM. With this late start, I spent most of the time just listening to get my mind around the rhythm of the exchanges and learning how to use the Band Map and the CW “F-Keys.” This is the first time I’ve listened to CW at 30-35 WPM, so it was a bit intimidating!

I finally took the plunge Saturday morning around 9 AM. It took a long time for each Q as I listened far more than I hit “F4.” But slowly I figured out the rhythm of a CW contest. Although a small score of only 31K, it was a blast and I think I actually like CW contesting better than phone! Once I zero beat my rig, everyone pretty much sounded the same – not like phone contests where I often have a difficult time understanding the many “ESL” hams. AND CLICKING ON THE BAND MAP TO S&P WAS WONDERFUL!!! Your SW made operating FUN and easy.

- Larry, W1DYJ


Charlie, WA3PFA writes..

A couple of things struck me about the contest.

First, CW is alive and well. Big Time. I'm glad for that.

Second, I've never been involved in contests. Last time I was involved in a contest was 1974, and I wasn't really paying attention. Working this contest this weekend has changed my whole perception of propagation. I always thought propagation was a narrow and intermittent phenomenon. Plus, I always thought 40 meter DX was only for people with big fancy antennas and lots of patience. This weekend I only operated an hour or two now and then, but 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters were jam packed with DX signals the whole two days!

I could plop down on 20 or 40, make a contact with one country, tune a few KHz, make a contact with another country, tune a few KHz, contact another country. Unreal! And then there's the spotting where you can zero in on multipliers.

But my goodness, I contacted 20 countries on 40 meters in two days without really working hard, and many more on 20 and 15.

So my new perception of propagation is that propagation is "in" far more often than I had thought, especially on 40. It's just that when I'm on the air, people overseas are asleep.

And it's very exciting when you call a station in a rare country or zone, and hear your callsign coming back from a remote speck on the big, wide world. My wife is not a particularly technical person, but she's amazed by the whole thing - communicating with people in all these different countries in a short period of time from our little ham radio station in the basement.

And thirdly, I am struck by the good manners. Oh, sure, you have the rare station that tunes up in the blind, or sends a stream of dits while tuning across the band, but no more so than we had in 1974. But what I'm struck by is the patience of an operator who is calling CQ, maybe there's a small pile-up, he hears me but doesn't have solid copy on me, and will try over and over to get my callsign right. I experienced that many times during the contest and I thought, how sportsman like. Those operators could easily have moved on to another caller after the second try. And when a station calling CQ responds to one station in the pileup, 99% of the other stations remain silent to let the QSO complete. There are people from all over the world, all walks of life in that pileup, but they all agree to back off and let each QSO complete before calling again.

-Charlie, WA3PFA


Enjoy CW gang! Learn CW now if you haven't already and jump into CW contesting! There's tons of fun to be had and you will be very glad that you did!


Side by Side Comparison of a Ground Mounted Vertical to a Dipole.

I'm really happy with my wire antenna farm, but I've always wondered about how well ground mounted verticals perform, so I decided to do a side by side comparison, with and without ground radials, to my dipoles and loops. If you decide to install a ground mounted vertical, or you have one already, you definitely want a LOT of ground radials! All the details are here: http://www.n3fjp.com/antennas/verticals.html


QRZ Image and Bio Look Up Tutorial

I am really excited about this new QRZ image and bio look up feature. It requires a QRZ XML subscription, but in my opinion, it is well worth it! What a thrill to see the image of anyone you are working, who has uploaded their image to QRZ! Some of the images, particularly scenes from some DX locations are breathtaking!

Implementing this new feature in AC Log 5.0 is easy. To display QRZ images or navigate to the QRZ bio information when you tab from the Call field:

- Be sure your QRZ XML subscription is in good standing (QRZ only returns the name after expiration).

- Be sure your PC is connected to the Internet and that your Internet protection software is allowing AC Log access to the Internet.

- From AC Log's menu options click Callbook > QRZ Internet Lookup.

- Check the check box that says Open Image & Bio on Call tab.

When you tab from the Call field, if the user has an image on QRZ, you will see a form like this appear with the person's image and an option to navigate to the bio page:

Otherwise, with the feature enabled, AC Log will navigate to the users QRZ bio page.


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And in response to the questions we always receive when we neglect to include the following in our e-mail announcements...


Package Upgrade Information...

If you have registered one or more individual programs and would like to upgrade to N3FJP's Software Package or N3FJP's Software Package and CD for full use of all our Amateur Radio software, we would be glad to apply the amount that you have registered so far as a credit towards that purchase. Please send us an e-mail directly and we'll let you know your balance.

N3FJP's Software Package includes approximately 50 programs for contesting, net management, general logging and other Amateur Radio related applications. In addition to full use of all these programs, registered package customers are also entitled to receive free passwords for any new software that is added to the package and free upgrades to existing programs. You'll find all the details on the Register Now page at www.n3fjp.com.


Donations are Gratefully Accepted!

And in response to the often asked question for which Kimberly and I are very grateful...

"I know your upgrades are free, but I also realize how much time and effort coding these enhancements and new programs take and that your pricing policy doesn't fully reflect that. Can I send you something to show my appreciation for your continued efforts?"

Yes, thanks so much, your continued support in any amount is very welcome and deeply appreciated! You can use this page:

http://www.n3fjp.com/donations.html

or send your contribution by mail, payable to Affirmatech Inc., to:

G. Scott Davis
118 Glenwood Road
Bel Air, MD 21014-5533

Thank you so much for your continued support!


Thanks!

As always, thanks for your kind words, support, linking to our web site and spreading the word about our software. Kimberly and I really appreciate it!

73, Scott
N3FJP
http://www.n3fjp.com

Serving the Amateur Radio community with contesting and general logging software since 1997.

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