Logging and Managing QSOs

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DXKeeper allows you to capture and manage more than 100 items of information about each QSO. Some, like the station's callsign or the QSO's start time, will always be of interest. Others, like the station's grid square, may never be utilized. The awards for which DXKeeper provides progress reporting have differing requirements as to what items must be recorded with a QSO in order to properly determine credit; a table describing the requirements for each supported award is provided here. The Main window's Log QSOs tab provides access to all of these items, for 

Since your hands will generally be on the keyboard while logging QSOs, DXKeeper provides keyboard shortcuts for rapidly navigation from item to item.

The distinction between logging new QSOs in "real time" as they're made, and logging already completed QSOs is important. When you log a QSO in real time, the QSO's frequency, band, and mode can be obtained from your transceiver if Commander is running. When you're logging QSOs from a paper logbook or from notes taken during an operating session, the frequency, band and mode should be set to the frequency and mode of the last logged QSO; these won't always be correct, but even if you QSY'd between QSOs its often easier to "adjust" the frequency than type it in from scratch. Similarly, when you log a QSO in real time, the QSO's start time is now, but when you log an already completed QSO the QSO's start time will be after the last logged QSO's end time. The  Log QSOs tab of DXKeeper's Main window can be optimized for either logging new QSOs, or for logging already completed QSOs, as described in logging new QSOs and logging already completed QSOs.

Given the importance of having the correct date and time, DXKeeper informs you on startup if based on the last date and time you started DXKeeper, the current date and time might not be correct.

New QSOs can also be logged via the Capture window, a smaller window that can be used to record the most commonly-used items; keyboard shortcuts are provided for rapid navigation among Capture window items.  By logging via the Capture window, the Main window's Log QSOs tab is available for viewing previous contacts with your QSO partner, or for mining other information from your log while you're in QSO.

If the first letter of the callsign you enter is an exclamation point, DXKeeper assumes that you are logging a CQ, an unsuccessful call, a test, or some other transmission that you wish to record but does not represent a QSO. Such log entries are not assigned a DXCC entity, do not initiate a Callbook database lookup, and are not included in award tracking statistics.

On the Main window's Log QSOs tab, DXKeeper organizes items into 9 groups, each associated with a panel:

The QSO panel is always present; you can independently control the presence of the Auxiliary, QSL, Online QSL, Award, Contest, Propagation, Details, and User-defined panels using the Log Panel checkboxes in the Configuration window's Log tab or using the eight checkboxes to the right of the QSO panel. Enabling the Display panels in two columns option will display these panels side-by-side in two columns rather than stacked in a single column - a format more suitable for widescreen monitors. All information items are stored with each QSO, whether or not the panels displaying them are visible. This allows you to adjust DXKeeper's consumption of screen real estate to meet your needs.

Located at the bottom of the Main window's Log QSOs tab, the Log Page Display contains one entry for each QSO in the current Log file. Each entry in the Log Paged Display corresponds to one QSO in your log. The visibility of each entry is subject to settings in the Filter panel; for example, you can filter the Log Page Display to show only QSOs made with Albania during 2003. 

Clicking an entry in the Log Page Display selects its associated QSO; the panels above the Log Page Display will show the items recorded for that QSO. The QSO panel's caption displays the name of the selected QSO's DXCC entity; if the selected QSO's duration is non-zero, the QSO panel's caption parenthetically displays the QSO's duration in mm:ss notation; the QSO panel also displays the full name of the station's DXCC entity, as well as the DXCC prefix and country code assigned to this entity by the ARRL.  These items can also be shown in the Log Page Display; the caption at the top of each column identifies the information item in the cells below it. 

Receiving and Tracking QSLs

On receiving a QSL card, you can use the Call filter to quickly locate its associated QSO, and then click the QSL panel's CFM button to set the QSO's QSL Rcvd item to 'Y' and set its QSL date received to the current UTC date; keyboard shortcuts for these functions can be used to rapidly process a stack of received QSL cards.  If a newly-confirmed QSO's is needed for DXCC and the DXCC Submission reminder option is enabled, DXKeeper will display a dialog box suggesting that the card be submitted to the DXCC desk.

You can optionally assign the QSL card a unique QSL number, and record this in the QSO's QSL# item. Rather than risk defacing the QSL card by writing the assigned QSL number directly on its surface, the use of post-it notes or equivalent is suggested. Storing received QSL cards sorted in QSL number order makes it easy to locate them for award submission. Assigning a unique QSL number to a QSO also enables DXKeeper's Create Card Record Sheet function to automatically sort QSOs having identical QSL# items at the end of the generated report; if this is the only reason that QSL# items are being assigned, then they only need be assigned to QSL cards that confirm more than one QSO.

Generating Log Reports

The Report button generates a log report with one entry for each QSO in the Log Page Display, and places that report in a file in DXKeeper's Reports subfolder. This report's sort order and layout are those of the Log Page Display with one exception: if the Log Page Display includes the country code, the report appends the full DXCC entity name to the country code. You can create a layout optimized for this report and save it in a file for later recall.

Checking the Include Entity name with DXCC prefix box will expand the Log Report's DXCC Prefix column to include both the DXCC prefix and full DXCC entity name for each QSO.

Plotting QSOs

If DXView is running, the Plot button conveys all QSOs in the Log Page Display to DXView for display on the world map(s) it manages. Depressing the CTRL, SHIFT, or ALT key while clicking the Plot button filters the Log Page Display to contain QSOs made during a specific time interval, and directs DXView to display them:

Modifier Key Time Interval
CTRL last 24 hours
SHIFT last 7 days
ALT last 30 days

Log files

QSOs and their information items are stored in a log file. When you run DXKeeper for the first time after installing it, you will be prompted for your callsign. DXKeeper uses your callsign to create a log file in the databases subfolder of its DXKeeper folder, and automatically opens that log. If you installed DXKeeper in the folder c:\DXLab\DXKeeper and your callsign is AA6YQ/KH6, for example, DXKeeper will create and open the file c:\DXLab\DXKeeper\aa6yq-kh6.mdb. 

One log file may be all you ever need. DXKeeper assumes that all QSOs in a log are valid for ARRL DXCC, RSGB Islands On the Air (IOTA), CQ DX Marathon, CQ Worked All Zones (WAZ), and CQ Worked All Prefixes (WPX) awards -- so if you operate from multiple countries, you should use a separate log file for the QSO made from each country. Controls in the Configuration window's Log File panel support this mode of operation by enabling you to

A log file also contains realtime award tracking information for the DXCC and Top List awards. You can configure DXKeeper to maintain realtime award tracking information for IOTA, Marathon, ARRL VHF/UHF Century Club (VUCC), ARRL Worked All States (WAS), WAZ, and WPX awards.  

If you start DXKeeper with a command line argument that specifies a valid pathname, DXKeeper will attempt to open the designated file as a log.

If you operate from multiple QTHs and wish to automatically generate QSL cards or labels that correctly reflect the QTH from which you were operating , DXKeeper allows you to specify the details of each QTH (e.g. city, country, state, grid) and assign each QTH a unique identifier that can be logged with a QSO

While most of DXKeeper's settings are stored between operating sessions in the Windows Registry, some settings are for convenience stored in the current log file's Settings table, for example Club Log settings, eQSL settings, LoTW settings, and user-defined item settings. You can optionally configure DXKeeper to maintain the Station Callsign, Operator Callsign, and Owner Callsign settings in the current log file's Settings table. When a log file is opened, DXKeeper's settings are updated with the settings maintained in that log file's Settings table.

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