I typically paper log my Parks on the Air contacts during an activation. After I get home I will transcribe and edit the log with Fast Log Entry. Here’s my workflow for processing the POTA logs for submission.
Fast Log Entry:https://www.df3cb.com/fle/
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Let’s talk a little bit about logging and I’ll take you through my workflow for logging a Parks on the Air activation. Before I begin, though, I must say that any type of contact logging is as individual as the person doing it, and what I prefer may not work for you. But my hope is that this will give you a bit of direction in how to log your contacts.
Many hams like to use computers to aid in their logging and there are many different programs and apps available to assist you in that. But with a couple of exceptions, I do almost all of my logging on paper. I really haven’t been able to find a logging program that I like for casual operation and I find that paper has some unique advantages, especially when out in the field.
First off, in the shack, I use a steno book logging contacts. If I participate in a net, make a contact as a Parks on the Air Hunter, or casually operate in a QSO party, I’ll write the information down in my book. Since data entry can be free form, I have plenty of space to write notes and technical information. If I notice a change in how my station is operating, I can write it down in the book. Since the book is spiral bound, everything is also kept in sequential order so it isn’t difficult to find a piece of information if I need to verify a contact for a QSL card. My current Steno book is almost full, it has about two years worth of information in it, so it’s also kinda fun to go back and look at past contacts.
Next up is Parks on the Air contacts. My steno book stays on the desk, so when I’m out in the field I’ll take a legal pad with me. The pad has more space to write information, again in a free form style, and when a page gets full, I can quickly turn the page and continue writing down contacts.
At the top of the page I’ll write the park name and number as a reminder. I can tell you, that in the moment, you may blank on the park number and writing it down on top is really helpful.
One advantage of paper is that when I have a bit of a pileup I can write down two or three partial callsigns and then go back and work those stations directly. This increases my throughput as I can acknowledge multiple stations without having to constantly pause, say QRZ, and decipher the pileup.
The second advantage of using paper is that there is one less electronic device that I have to worry about keeping charged out in the field. I enjoy the simplicity of paper and don’t feel a big need to switch.
So after the event, how do I get my logs submitted. Parks on the Air won’t take paper, so I will need to transcribe the contacts into something that I can email to the regional coordinators. I use a computer application called Fast Log Entry. Fast Log Entry is a super simple logging program that you can use to track contacts and make the necessary .ADIF file for log submission. Links to download Fast Log Entry are in the video description below. Let’s switch to the screen and I’ll quickly take you through the Fast Log Entry process.
After the log is created, you will need to edit it a bit before it can be sent in to the Parks on the Air regional coordinator. Specifically you will need to edit two fields: My Sig Info and Sig Info fields. The My Sig Info field holds the park number that you are activating and the Sig Info field holds the park number of the other station if the contact was a Park to Park contact.
Since Fast Log Entry supports the World Wide Flora Fauna program, it is easy to do a search and replace using a text editor to change the WWFF references to POTA references.
First save the file in ADI format. You’ll find that under File, Export to ADI. When you name your file, you should use the following information: your call sign, park number and activation date.
Next we are going to open the file up in Notepad to do two quick edits. We need to change the WWFF identifers to K identifiers. The easiest is to use search and replace. First we’ll change the WWFF- to K- for the Sig Info and My Sig Info Fields. This is the bit of text that shows up in front of every parks on the Air number. Go Edit and select replace. In the first field type WWFF- and the second field type K-. Then do a replace all.
Next we’ll change all the WWFF references to POTA references for the Sig and My Sig fields, so again in Find all you’ll type WWFF in the first field, leaving the dash out this time, and POTA in the second field. Then click on replace all. If everything looks good, press the save button.
Remember to do these changes in order, first the WWFF- to K- and then WWFF to POTA. Otherwise the search and replace will mess up. If you make an error, discard the file without saving, open it up again and start over.
Once your ADI file has been properly edited, you can email it to your regional coordinator. To do so, you will send it to K number @ parks on the air . com where the number is your callsign district. Since I have a 9 call, I send the logs to K9@parksontheair.com. Your regional coordinator is based on your callsign region, not your location. For example, if you live in california and have a 2 in your callsign, your logs go to k2 not k6.
When I send my logs I put my callsign, park number, and date in the subject line and include a short message in the body. Then attach the log to the message and send it off. You can attach multiple logs to the same message. The coordinators are busy people, some get the logs uploaded in a day or so, and others may take longer, so please be patient. If you wait longer than 30 days to receive a response, give them a followup message.
Now I mentioned that occasionally I do use computer logging. If I’m doing a contest or a QSO party, I will use one of the N3FJP logging programs. The nice thing about his programs are they all have a consistent user interface, even though you need a separate program for each contest. But the program handles the dupes and does the scoring for you, which is nice.
And that’s it. Do you have questions or comments about how I log contacts? How about any tips you have to make the logging process easier. Please leave it in the comments below. I’ll filter through the comments and follow up with them. Who knows, you may end up on my next Your Questions Answered livestream. For more articles and information, please check out my blog at www.jpole-antenna.com