N3FJP Software Rewrite Explanation

Why are there two versions? The short answer is that the latest version is brand new, better, networkable, has additional features and represents the future of N3FJP Software. It is also completely new code - every single line of it!

While the new, C#.NET versions that have been released so far have been tested extensively and work well, I am just now recreating the contest specific applications and this will be the first year of use as applied to this specific contest. It is quite possible a bug or two remain to be found, so I want to give you the option of using the tried and true, VB6 version if you prefer.

For RTTY contests, if you plan to interface with K7RE RTTY (which no longer seems to be available for download), you must use the VB6 version. More details below.

You'll find all the old archived VB6 versions, including Field Day Contest Log and Field Day Network Log here.

The standard explanation for all my rewrites is below, but because of the nature of Field Day, where most folks network and many use older laptops, there are a couple extra things I want to highlight:

- For networking, everyone in your group must all either use the old VB6 version, or the new C# version. You will not be able to mix and match and update a single common data file in a networked environment. The old, VB6 version will not be able to update the .MDB log file used by the new version, and vice versa. If you do run a combination, you'll have to transfer your data via ADIF.

- The new version will not run on operating systems older than XP (Service Pack 3 required for XP).

- The new rewrite screen layout is very similar to the old version, but it was designed with wide screen monitors in mind. It looks okay on the older, narrow width format monitors, but shines on the newer ones. Check it out on all the PCs you plan to use in advance, just to make sure it plays well with your screen size and resolution.

- The new version will key your CW interface by your serial port or USB to serial adapter (or Winkeyer), but since parallel ports are now extremely rare, they are not currently supported.

- If you plan to interface directly with K7RE RTTY (which no longer seems to be available for download), you must use the VB6 version. If you will be using another digital program, you can transfer your contacts to the new version via ADIF, provided your digital program exports all the necessary fields.

- The new rewrite requires Microsoft .NET 4.0 client or later. If you have an operating system later than XP, or if you have been keeping up with Windows XP updates, you likely already have what you need. If you haven't, when you install the software, if it doesn't find .NET 4.0 Client or later, it will install it for you automatically from Microsoft's website, but this will require an Internet connection, so don't wait until you are at your Field Day site, without Internet, to do the installation!

For the longer (but still condensed) answer...

N3FJP software, originally written in VB6, has been going strong since 1997. As operating systems have evolved, Microsoft dropped support for VB6, in favor of their newer .NET framework. While all my VB6 software currently runs on all flavors of Windows from Win 95 through Win 8, there is no certainty that VB6 programs will continue to run on future operating systems.

To ensure our logging programs will continue to run well into the future, I'm in the process of rewriting the software in C#.NET. From March of 2012 through January, 2013, I've been working on the C# template that will be the basis for all the individual programs, and AC Log too. The template was basically completed in January 2013 and I'm now beginning the process of converting it to the contest specific programs, which will be a big job at two weeks per program and about 50 programs to rewrite.

The template has been beta tested extensively by volunteers and the new software has been run in several actual contests with good results, so all is going well. That said, as each new contesting program is released, until it is used in an actual contest, it is likely that a few remaining contest specific bugs will come to light, so new contest programs should be considered a beta on first use.

With that backdrop, I've decided to keep the tried and true, VB6 version of the software on the website until the new version has been tested in the contest it was written for. If you are willing to give the new C# version a try, understanding that it has never been tested in an actual contest before, I would really appreciate it! The rewrites have just about all the features of the old VB6 programs (they are all networkable) and lots of new ones, such as post contest statistics and many others, too numerous to list here, that you'll discover as you explore the menu options.

The new rewrite is free to registered users. Just enter the password we sent you. If you are a new user of this program, you can register the VB6 version and also receive the rewrite free! Of course, all my software, old and new, is included in the low package price that will save you lots!

For my programs that support RTTY contests, if you plan to interface with K7RE RTTY (which no longer seems to be available for download), you must use the older, VB6 version. C#.NET no longer supports the communication protocols we used in VB6 that allow the programs to talk to each other. If you would like to help make K7RE RTTY compatible with the new, C# versions of my software, please contact Brian, K7RE here: briank7re@gmail.com. Brian would love to hear from you and really appreciate your help!

Using the new version for this contest will be a great help and I will really appreciate it! Thanks in advance!

73, Scott - N3FJP