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Getting Started with MobileLog v1.5

MobileLog is designed with the mobile ham in mind, placing many of the same features and functionality found in typical desktop logging applications into the PocketPC platform while minimizing keyboard tasks (such as having to enter RST via keyboard). With the dramatic drop in prices of PDAs and increasing popularity of QRP, ham-backpacking and other forms of mobile hamming, MobileLog should provide many users with the satisfaction of computerized logging on-the-go.

This tutorial walks you through a typical installation scenario and the basic features of MobileLog.

1) Install MobileLog

Run setup. During the installation process, you will be asked whether you would like to install MobileLog in the default directory (recommended).

2) Import ADIF log file (optional)

The ADIFImport utility is provided to import logs from desktop packages. There are several considerations with regard to ADIF import. First, larger desktop logs will (obviously) require additional memory on your PDA and take longer to import. A desktop log containing ~2400 QSOs will result in a 680 kb database on a PDA and take ~25 minutes to import (due to database indexing during the import process which improves search and report performance). Secondly, there may be QSOs on your desktop that you do not want to include in your mobile log. For example, you may not want to import 1995 Field Day QSOs in your PDA. If this is the case, I recommend that you use logging software that is flexible in how it creates ADIFs. For example, many desktop- logging apps will allow you to specify a date range. You may want to create several ADIFs (based on date ranges) or dump everything to a single, large ADIF file then manually edit it to remove unwanted QSOs.

To import a log, transfer your ADIF log to your PDA (activesync explorer will work). Launch the ADIFimport utility by starting the PocketPC file explorer and changing to the MobileLog installation directory. Select ADIFimport.vb. If ADIFimport finds an existing log (database file ending with .cdb), it will ask whether to overwrite it (Yes) or append QSOs to it (No) or abort the process (Cancel). If you choose to overwrite the database, all previous QSOs will be dropped from the database and you will be notified that the database file has been created.

File explorer showing ADIFimport.vb and MobileLogADI.adi files
Fig 1.  File explorer showing ADIFimport.vb file.

Fig 2. Selecting an ADIF log file for import.

Prompt asking whether the database should be overwritten (Yes) vs appending
QSOs to the existing db
Fig 3. Prompt asking whether the database should be overwritten (Yes) vs appending QSOs to the existing db (No).

Once the main ADIFImport screen appears, press the Start button. QSOs will then be imported from the ADIF file into the database on the PocketPC.

Importing an ADIF file
Fig 4. ADIF import progress

Several tasks are completed as QSOs are imported (for example, the DXCC awards status is updated, QSOs are indexed, …). As you can see, many of the ADIF fields are reported as the import proceeds. Once the import has completed, use the Cancel button. Although this is a time consuming operation if you are creating a new mobile database from an ADIF, for day-to-day operations, it does not take long. That is, the first time you run this and import several thousand QSOs, it will take quite a while, but once that's done, as you periodically import QSOs from your home PC to your PDA, this operation is tolerable.

Warning, do not repeatedly import the same log file. In this release of MobileLog, the ADIFimport utility does not discard duplicate QSOs.

3) Launch MobileLog

Your start menu should now have a MobileLog icon. Select it.

Start Menu
Fig 5. Selecting MobileLog from the PocketPC Start Menu

If you are still using an unregistered copy of MobileLog, a prompt will appear indicating how many days remain for this evaluation. Note: you should export any QSOs on your PDA to a ADIF file before your eval period expires (should you decide not to register). If you decide to register MobileLog during the evaluation period, simply enter the registration code with your callsign and keep using the product. If the evaluation expires, you must perform a manual operation (as described in the warning message).

Once MobileLog has been launched, the main screen will appear.

Fig 6. MobileLog v1.1 main screen

4) Use the Setup tab to configure MobileLog

The Setup tab (tabs are found at the bottom of the screen) will bring up the Setup Screen. Choose this tab to configure MobileLog.

MobileLog setup screen
Fig 7. Setup tab

Several settings can be adjusted from the Setup screen. Once you have received a registration key, enter it along with your callsign.

Set your timezone offset (hours from GMT). For example, to set MobileLog for Central Standard Time (six hours behind GMT), enter "-6".

Set your latitude and longitude (in decimal format) using the lat/lon fields. lat/lon values in hours, minutes, and seconds format must first be converted. Use negative values to represent east and south. The lat/lon values are used to calculate distance to the DX station.

The bands, modes and counties fields are comma-separated values that control the combo boxes displayed on the QSO entry screen. Do not use spaces in these fields .

Modify the bands and modes fields to your typical operating habits. You may want to re-sort the fields to place your most used bands and modes at the top of the combo boxes. For example, if you frequently operate 20m-CW, make sure those are listed first. Note that renaming bands and modes to uncommon names will prevent the reporting tools from working as expected. For example, if you rename the "10m” band to "28mhz", the report will not credit those QSOs.

The Counties field modifies the "cnty" field on the QSO entry screen. This value (if set) will be added to the notes field when ADIF log files are generated. Of course, if there is anything else that you'd rather track in "notes" and lends itself to a combo box (your rig, power, etc.) the feature will be handy.

Use the Metric field to indicate whether you'd prefer distance in km.

Colors can be easily optimized for your PDA.

5) Add QSOs to your database

Fill in the necessary fields to log a QSO.

  • Callsigns should be entered in the "Call" field. If the station is operating portable (in another DXCC country), prepend the call with the appropriate prefix. For example, if NŘHR is operating from VP5 (I wish!), enter it as: VP5/N0HR.

  • RST fields can be modified manually (as you would modify any other field) OR by using the RST arrows. To use the RST arrows, click once in either the "RST Sent" or "RST Rcvd" then use either the left arrows to adjust Readability or right arrows to adjust Strength.

  • Frequency is entered in the "f MHz" field. As long as valid MHz (not kHz) values are entered, the "Band" field should reflect the frequency.

  • The band can be set with the Bands combo box. Some ops prefer to enter only the band (as opposed to the exact frequency), which is fine.

  • If applicable, set the Cnty box.

  • Enter any notes that apply to this QSO.

  • If you would like to track the other operator's county or have a lengthy note, use the ".." button after the notes field.

  • If the operator's DXCC prefix is incorrect, change it. Be certain to use the valid prefix representing that DXCC entity. If unsure, the prefixes are shown on the DXCC reports.

  • Once a valid DXCC entity is displayed, the ".." button may be used to get country information (heading, distance, zone, latitude/longitude, timezone, ...) .

  • The WAS combo can be used to set the state.

  • The QSL-R flag indicates whether the QSO has been confirmed.

  • The IOTA fields can be used to track IOTA awards.

    Now enter the QSO using the "+" button.

6) Explore your log

If you do not have QSOs in your database, create a few (above). Use the <<,<,>, >> buttons to scroll through your QSOs.

7) Delete a QSO

Create an invalid QSO by following step 5 above (use today's date for this example). Scroll through the log to "lookup" this invalid QSO. Select the "Del" button to delete the QSO from the log.

8) Search for previous QSOs

searching QSOs

Use the Clear button to clear any data on the QSO entry screen. In the "Call" field, enter the callsign or partial callsign of a QSO in your database. For example, if you have worked "W1AW" enter that call. Note that the search process looks for partial call matches. That is, a search for "W1AW" could pull up contacts with: W1AW, KW1AW, and W1AWA which all contain the string of characters "W1AW". Because of this, if your log contains thousands of QSOs, narrowing your search by providing as many characters as possible will be beneficial, as opposed to simply entering "1" which would return every QSO containing a "1".

Search result columns are resized or hidden by moving the bars that separate the column headings.

Select “Cancel” when you are finished viewing the results. If you would like to view a particular QSO on the main MobileLog screen, click on it.

QSO search

9) Reports: Using the "DXCC by mode" button


The "DXCC by mode" button is located on the Reports screen. Choose the Reports tab and select it. This screen can also be used to determine the "primary prefix" of various DXCC entities. The scroll-box in the center of the screen contains the country report itself. Each column is "sortable" and "resizable". To resize a column, click the dark line behind the column name in the header and drag it until the columns are the desired size. To "hide" a column, resize it until it virtually disappears.

To sort the report based on a column, click on the column heading. For example, to sort the report based on CW worked/confirmed, click on the CW heading. Column sorting can be either ascending or descending. Click on the heading again to toggle. For example, to display countries that have not yet been worked or confirmed on CW at the top of the report, click on the CW heading a second time.

Statistics for the various modes are displayed at the bottom of the report.

Use the "Cancel" button to revert to the previous screen.

10) Using the "DXCC by band" button

This report displays DXCC status on a band-by-band basis and is similar to the "DXCC by mode" report. Running this report requires slightly more processing time than the "by mode" report.

Band totals are presented at the bottom of the report with "Worked" totals on the left and "Confirmed" totals on the right.

Use the Cancel button to exit the report.

11) Tools: Temperature conversion

Open the tools screen using the “Tools” tab. Use the slider to quickly convert degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius.

12) Display the ARRL bandplan using the "Bandplan" button.

13) Recalculate awards status and resort DB

As new QSOs are added to the MobileLog database, the awards status is automatically updated. That is, if the QSO is for a new country, that country's award status is changed. However, to optimize performance, as a QSO is deleted from the log, the country award status does not change (which would require MobileLog to perform additional time consuming operations to determine whether the sole QSO for that country, mode, band combination was deleted). Also, if times and dates for QSOs are changed, the navigation buttons may not pull up the expected QSO. Recalc will correct for this.

14) Export Log to CSV

Choose the “Export -> CSV” button. The program will prompt you to determine the scope of the export.

To export only the new QSOs (since the last export action), choose Yes. To export all QSOs in the database, choose No. If you frequently add QSOs to the database will on the road, choosing Yes will allow you to create a small log of your recent QSOs to resync with your desktop logging application (via CSV format).

The “Save As” dialog will then prompt you to store the file on the PDA.



To export only the new QSOs (since the last export action), choose Yes. To export all QSOs in the database, choose No. If you frequently add QSOs to the database will on the road, choosing Yes will allow you to create a small log of your recent QSOs to resync with your desktop logging application (via CSV format).

The “Save As” dialog will then prompt you to store the file on the PDA. As the export proceeds, the status bar will indicate progress.

15) Export Log to ADIF

This feature is similar to the “Export -> CSV” utility except that it creates a file in ADIF format.

16) About screen

The About screen displays the build and registration information.


17) Maintaining the countries database

Over time, prefixes will change and the ARRL will recognize different locations as official "DXCC entities". As new versions of MobileLog are released, these changes will be integrated into the product. However, if you can not wait for the next release, there is a manual process for maintaining this file yourself. Caution though, it is possible to completely hose up your countries database if you are not careful - so be sure to have a backup of everything before proceeding.

The process is as follows:

  1. Acquire the latest "cty.dat" file
    This file commonly found file contains prefixes and country data. It can be found on the net in various locations, for example http://www.k1ea.com/cty/. Look for the file called "cty.dat".

  2. Transfer the cty.dat file to your PDA
    Place this file in your /Program Files/MobileLog directory. Replace the outdated cty.dat file.

  3. Launch the program called "ctyImport"

  4. It will ask whether it's ok to overwrite the countries database. This is fine. Note that this will not harm your actual QSOs.

  5. Completed cty.dat import

  6. Now open MobileLog and use the recalc


If you want to grab the latest MobileLog country database and install it in your existing MobileLog installation:

  1. Download the file from the MobileLog downloads page

  2. Extract the database file from the zip

  3. Make sure that MobileLog is not running on your PDA. Check this with Settings->Memory to see what's running.

  4. Copy the database file into the /Program Files/MobileLog directory.

  5. Launch MobileLog and use Recalc (as shown above)








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