How to digitize your paper log with as little effort as possible?
If you like portable operations as I do, you will find yourself more than once typing in info from a paper log you made during that particular trip you could not take a laptop (or the battery died, or..).
If you are like me you do want to get the info logged accurately in your digital logbook but you also really hate this job.
Complaining about it the other day to the WCA coordinator Andrew RN1CW he pointed me to an interesting piece of software: FLE - Fast Log Entry.
This simple little program lets you create a complete ADIF from a text file with the minimum amount of data you can imagine. DF3CB who wrote this application must have been a logging fan like me. He considered what data actually changes between the lines of your paper log. Only these changes are information relevant for the logging software.
For example, a piece of your paper log might look like:
13:12 PH0NO 57 59
13:13 NO0PH 59 59
13:20 HP0ON 59 56
13:22 ON0HP 56 58
If you want to enter this directly in HRD Logbook (the program I use), it takes you quite a few keystrokes / mouse clicks to get the job done. Even if you tell the program not to update the time stamp automatically (a feature that is very nice when logging live, but not so much when logging offline), it still takes an effort logging 150 calls.
This nifty little program lets you type the following in a simple text file (e.g. Notepad):
DATE 13/09/2012 (you define this once)
BAND 14 (you define this once, unless you changed bands somewhere of course)
13:12 PH0NO 57 (you only add reports <> 59)
3 NO0PH (you only add time info that has changed: in this case the minutes)
20 HP0ON @56 (again only the <>59 is added, the @ specifies this as a report received)
2 ON0HP 56 @58
At the end you have a text file containing less than the info on your paper log (incomplete timestamps, not all reports) and the program creates a complete ADIF file from it. In stead of clicking/typing more you click/type less than you wrote.
Not rocket science by any means but I found that it saved me quite a bit of time entering my last paper log.
Thanks to Andrew for the tip.
Lars / PH0NO