2019-12-06

Log Upload Trouble, And A Work-Around Solution.

My Electronic log has been updated with more information. The log now covers:
- All QSOs from 2015 - present
- All VHF-UHF QSOs from I received the license in 1973 till the end of 1980.

More is in the works.

For my logging, I use Linux and the native program called XLog. This is a simple logging program with mostly manual entry. The program runs in the Debian based Ubuntu distribution, which installs a version from 2017 as default. I like the simplicity of entering the data, I find it quite convenient in general use.

Recently I uploaded the present 3000 QSOs in the log to QRZCQ, and I made a registration with eQSL The log file must be uploaded in the (amateur radio) standard format, ADIF, and here the trouble starts.
There are different versions of ADIF, the later ones supporting more operating modes (of course). Recently I started using FT8 quite a bit, I have several hundred QSOs in the log already.
When attempting to upload the log to QRZCQ, however, no FT8 QSOs showed up in the log on the website. What happened (?), I had to find out. Did the website log not support FT8? Not likely, others had entered FT8 QSOs. Here is what happened:

I made a test with a short log file having "old modes" and FT8, and looked at the log file. It is a simple text file, easily visible in a text editor, and the file showed all QSOs, including the FT8 one. No surprise there.
Then I exported the file, and looked at the ADIF file. All QSOs **except** the FT8 one were present in the ADIF format (XML) file. Ah! now I knew why it did not upload the FT8 QSOs. They were simply not there. Why?
The version of XLog I am using is not the latest from the developer. It only supported exports in the ADIF 2.x.x format which does not support FT8. Support for ADIF 3.x.x was needed. That takes some time to enter into the Debian/Ubuntu package repository. This leaves two possible solutions:

- Upgrade the program to the latest version. This would entail compiling the program from source, and make sure that the correct dependencies (software libraries) are there. This can get hairy, as I am not really a Linux wizard.
- Make a work-around to edit the files to get the desired result: Uploading the FT8 QSOs along with all the others. A few hundred of those were already in the log file.

I decided to test the work-around, doing the following:

- Edit the log file (*.xlog) to change the mode from FT8 to something supported by ADIF 2.x.x, and a mode that I am very unlikely to use for amateur radio. I decided to use FAX, since it is a "3-letter mode" just like FT8 (this is relevant, because the ADIF format tags contain the number of characters in the data). Here the text editor and the Search-and-Replace function comes in. I replaced every instance of "FT8" (one in the test file) with "FAX" and opened the file in XLog.
Nice! The file was correctly opened.
- Now the log file had to be exported to the ADIF format. All looks good when opening the file in the text editor, and the "FAX" shows up as the mode.
- Another Search-and-Replace in the file replacing "FAX" with "FT8" in the ADIF file, and saving it with a different name. Now comes the interesting moment, see if it works:
- Uploaded the file to eQSL, and the FT8 QSO showed up as it should do.

- Now the above procedure repeated for the full log file (yes, I backed up every file in the .xlog directory before all this).
Voila ! All the FT8 QSOs show up on the eQSL site, the operation was successful.

What to do in the future, until the XLog program is updated? Rather simple:

- Every FT8 QSO will be entered in the log as using the FAX mode in stead of FT8
- export the file to ADIF when I need to update the online log
- run the text editor on the file, replacing every "FAX" with "FT8"
- upload the file

This is, of course, not an ideal solution, but I can live with it, until the XLog program is upgraded in my Linux distribution.

My log, as it is in electronic form, can now be found on the QRZCQ and eQSL web sites.
I will be working slowly through the entering of old paper logs into the computer log, and make updates to the online logs when new stuff is coming in.

Two things remain in my online logging efforts:

- I will get the eQSL certified
- I need to get my logs on ARRL's Logbook of the World

Further, I may have to find a logging program suitable for entering QSOs made on more than one band, e.g. satellite QSOs and crossband QSOs. In my time I have made a substantial amount of 10m/6m crossband QSOs before we got permits extended to 6m transmitting in most of Europe.

I am, indeed, keeping myself busy, this is a long term project, I expect it to take a year or more. After all, I have to do other things than just typing logs into the computer ;)

1 comment:

  1. Hi, the adif file structure has changes from time to time you have to use every time the latest version of your logger (I am using Logger32 as windows user). Updates for new adif versions:
    http://adif.org/
    You can open and check any new extracted adif files with the latest adifmaster (http://www.dxshell.com/adif-master.html) I suppose that it can be run in linux with the help of wine. Or you can find an equivalent software for linux 73

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