Logging contacts whilst portable

I’ve been asked a few times of late, ‘How do you log contacts in the field?’.

Well I still use a good old paper log whilst activating either a park for World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) or the VK5 Parks Award, or a hilltop for Summits on the Air (SOTA).  I have a good supply of the logsheet you can see below, which is A4 in size and sits nicely on a plastic A4 clipboard which I carry.


I like to scribble down information, names, etc.  I also use a technique in the field to run the small VK pileups, whereby I get stations to spread their calls out and I jot down the call signs I hear, and I bring the stations in that way.  I find it works very well to move through the mini pile ups that parks and SOTA activators now often experience.

I must admit that I have not tried out some of the available portable logging apps such as Peter VK3ZPF’s logger.  I have only ever used paper for my parks and SOTA trips, except for those occasions when it has been an event such as the John Moyle Memorial Field Day.  That is when I have used VK Contest Log.

So, paper it is for me in the field.  But, at home, I do run an electonic log, and have done so ever since becoming a licenced amateur back in June 2010.  I have never had a paper log at home.  I am a Mac fan and I use an electronic logging program called MacLoggerDX.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 6.08.45 PM.png

So, what do I do with the contacts from the paper log when I get home?   I use a program called Fast Log Entry (FLE) to rapidly enter my QSOs from my park/SOTA activation, and this creates an ADIF file which I can then use to upload to MacLoggerDX and also WWFF Logsearch, the electronic database for the WWFF program.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 6.24.54 PM

What is an ADIF file?  ADIF stands for Amateur Data Interchange Format.  It is an open standard for exchange of data between amateur radio software packages available from different vendors.  More information can be found at http://www.adif.org/

The latest version of FLE is version 2.8 which was released on August 30th 2016.  This latest version of FLE now not only includes WWFF logging, but SOTA logging has also been introduced.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 6.07.31 PM.png

FLE can be used for:

  • regular logging
  • contest logging
  • WWFF logging
  • SOTA logging

Even though I use a Mac, I run a virtual machine program called Parallels which allows me to run Windows on my Mac.

More information on Fast Log Entry can be found at…..


So for me, at the moment, logging in the field using paper is the way to go.  And now that I understand FLE well, it takes me a very very short period of time to enter 100 QSOs or more.



3 thoughts on “Logging contacts whilst portable

  1. I would second VK3ZPF’s log. If you could add contacts after the event it would rival FLE. Of which I have a few issues.

    If you close a log and reopen another log (park) it will import the last VKFF in the settings drop down…watch that! Also be very careful where it saves the .adf file as this may (will) not be where the text file saves!

    That said FLE is very efficient in allowing logs to be created and uploaded.

    Along with that, and as can be seen from Paul’s numbering down the side, I have added an extra column to insert sequential numbers to allow for a quick cross check when entering into FLE. Cross checking allows an instant check you haven’t skipped a contacy or doubled up a contact, very possible at the end of a long day.


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