Besides the new radio and new radio room I am quite active on FT-8 lately. But because I am a lazy person, I want things to go smooth an not put much time in repetitive tasks. Keeping your logbook up to date is such repetitive task. Running Ubuntu linux as my main operating system in the shack, the search for a good logging program was easy: CQRlog. Once every so many years I try CQRlog again, so I have seen it grew up gradually. Since version 2.0 it now reached the level of pro application IMHO.
I am not gonna bother you with a how to install, since that is explained perfectly on th CQRlog-website. But when you have CQRlog running, there are a few cool thing you can set-up. Bare in mind I wrote this primarily as heavy FT-8-user.
First of all I wanted to create a logging set-up that use a centralized database. The reason for this is I want to run the database on my nas (which has two drives in raid 1) and therefore has more robustness in data integrity. Besides the redundancy, I want protect my logbook from a crashing desktop computer. Of course back-ups are still needed! So I installed MariaDB on my nas and pointed CQRLog to remote logging.
After configuring all the basics it was time to integrate my other programs with CQRLog. CQRlog can support a few programs: TQSL, WSJTX and FLdigi. TSQL is for Logbook Of The World (LOTW). When you have an account for this, you can import your certificate in TQSL and define a location. From there you can point CQRlog to TQSL and from there on CQRlog will handle your up- and downloads to LOTW.
WSJTX is my default application for running FT-8. When you install WSJTX, you can define this in CQRLog. You need to configure some things to let the two applications work together. This requires some explanation. CQRlog talks to your radio via Hamlib. This is a no-brainer since Hamlib has excellent support for many radio’s. In CQRLog there is a running mode called Remote Mode. If you want to run WSJTX or FLdigi, you active de Remote Mode in CQRLog. Now CQRLog moves to the background and only listens for QSO’s to be logged. The program in the foreground (say WSJTX) will be your main program. But WSJTX wants cat-control over your radio too. CQRLog already setup a Hamlib connection to you radio, but uses the Hamlib daemon for this (rigctld). You can configure WSJTX to use the Hamlib daemon on localhost. Now WSJTX and CQRLog both work with your radio. When you work a station in WSJTX, it’s sends a UDP-package with all needed data in it. CQRLog will catch this package and log the QSO. So your QSO’s are now logged in WSJTX but also in CQRLog. No need for updating your main logbook with your FT-8 QSO’s!
Online Log Upload
When you are FT8-ing for a while, the needed DXCC are much harder to find. I got a little tired of looking to the green rules in WSJTX and I wanted some watch dog/alarm when there appears a new DXCC that I didn’t worked before. When I read a blog post of PE4BAS, it sparked me an idea. I created an account at Clublog.org. I connected Clublog to my LoTW-account and configured automatic upload new QSO’s from CQRLog to Clublog. Now Clublog knows my made QSO’s (worked DXCC’s) and also knows from LoTW which DXCC’s I still need. Then I went to HamAlert.org. After creating an account I connected HamAlert to my Clublog-account. Then I created a trigger when HamAlert spots an DXCC from my call (as spotter) on PSKreporter (activate this in WSJTX!) and the DXCC is not yet in my Clublog, send me a message. I have this running for two weeks or so and it works excellent! Only disadvantage is WSJTX uploads every call to PSKreporter it sees. So I also got alerts for calls that have been replied by someone I hear and didn’t gave a CQ. But at least they have seen in my WSJTX.
CQRLog has an excellent DX-cluster integration. Not only can you do some filtering in the config of CQRLog but you can also run a startup-script at the DX-cluster when you connect. Actually that was the reason for me to dive into the ins and outs of the DX Spider software.
The lead developer of CQRLog, Petr OK2CQR, also hosts a few very nice services like HamQTH (an European alternative for QRZ.com what I applaud), HamQTH-online log and a HamQTH DX-cluster (which is also available via telnet.
After digging deep into the manual of DX-spider I have spend some time optimizing my DX-spider experience. Created some filters and other nifty things and everything is activated automatically by CQRLog when I log in into the DX-cluster.