VK Contest Log
The home of VK Contest Log (VKCL)
specializing in Australasian contests
but also covering some international ones too.
VKCL Version 4.15
8th August 2021
This version of VKCL revises the logging for the Portable Operations Challenge contest, which was first run last year, and has been extensively revised. There is basically no change to any other contest supported by VKCL.
Portable Operations Challenge (POC): A new and rather interesting HF contest was first run in October last year, and has been extensively revised and will be run again in first week end of September. The scoring system is especially designed to promote portable operation, low power, and long distance contacts, with the idea of making it a "level playing field" for all home and portable stations of any power.
The contest itself runs over 12 hours, subdivided into three 4-hour sessions, separated by a 4-hour free time between the sessions. You may participate in only one session or all three. Each session is scored separately, and there is a score for the whole contest. All bands from 80m through to 10m may be used (except WARC bands) with all bands having equal value. The exchange is very simple, just the 4-char Maidenhead locator. No RS(T), no serial numbers.
The distance between you and the station worked is then calculated using the centre of the 4-char locators, and divided by your transmitter power used to make the contact to give a kpw (km/watt) value. There is a QSO multiplier, being 2 for home to home stations, 3 for home to portable and portable to home stations, and 4 for portable to portable stations.
Modes that can be used are Digital, CW, and SSB, with one contact on each mode on each band and each session. There are score multipliers for modes too. For Digital, being easiest mode to make a contact with low power (set up is another matter), kpw is multiplied by 2, for CW it is multiplied by 3, and for SSB, being the most difficult for contact, it is multiplied by 4.
All stations may use one, two, or unlimited transmitters, but there is also a transmitter multiplier, being 4 for a single transmitter, 2 for two transmitters, and 1 for three or more transmitters.
The rules and scoring for the POC contest can be viewed at Fox Mike Hotel web site
New users of VKCL are strongly advised to read the help pages, displayed by clicking on the POC Help buttons on all POC relevant pages. Perusal of all help pages may also be helpful, displayed by pressing the standard <F1> help key.
Remember the philosophy behind VKCL; it allows you to create a log in conformance with the rules, but it does not constrain you to follow the rules. Therefore READ THE RULES CAREFULLY. If anything is unclear, contact the relevant contest manager.
Always check for VKCL updates for all contests close to the contest date.
Quick Guide for Installing VKCL for POC contest.
Download the install file onto, say, the desktop, and double click on it to start installation. Install VKCL in the recommended folder, C:\VKCL4, overwriting any previous installation of VKCL in that folder. On starting VKCL, double clicking on the shortcut, if it is a new installation, the Config page will open automatically, but if previously used, VKCL will open on the previous contest, ignore that and click on the Config button to also open the config page.
Click on the Browse button, and in the folder browser, find and highlight "VKCL4\Contests\2021\P O C" folder, and click on OK. That will bring you back to the Config page, with the selected folder in blue at the top.
From the Contest pull down menu, select "Portable Opr Challenge", fill in the other required information, and click on Save Config.
You are ready to go! While waiting for the contest to start, peruse the help files as suggested above.
Note on Logging Digital Contacts
In manual operation, digital contacts may be logged by selecting DIG on the radio buttons in the Mode: control box. When using OmniRig, for newer radios, check the OmniRig web site to see whether a configuration file is available for your radio that supports digital modes. Older radios often do not have didtal modes or do not always report them correctly. Iin those cases, the Dig check box on the right above where the OmniRig frequency and mode are shown can be checked to override the mode that the radio is reporting and log the contact as digital. The background colour of the entry fields is pink when logging digital contacts. In VKCL when required, the signal strength reporting system that must be used for logging digital contacts is RSQ as described at this web site. The default is 599 if not specified.
The following enhancements based on user feedback are repeated from the previous VKCL release (these are primarily intended for the VHF-UHF field days)
It is very common for a pair of stations to work each other consecutively on a number of bands, and previously it was necessary to enter the call sign on each band, which then recalled the corresponding worked locator. Function key F3 has been programmed to recall the last call sign in the database, but unlike F2, the database is not modified. If the F3 key is pressed before the band is changed, all entry fields background colour will change to red implying a duplicate contact, but ignore that, change to required band and the red background should clear. If you log a contact with another station before QSYing, you will have to re-enter the previous call sign as normal after you QSY, since F3 only recalls the last call sign in the database and that would no longer be the right one.
The are still occasions when there are large discrepancies in time stamps at each end for the same contact, and it has been suggested that it could be because some operators have so much time on their hands and that they start chatting about other things, forgetting to complete the logging of the contact. The Log QSO button does blink green as a reminder, but that is only when all information has been entered. The blinking of the Log QSO button has been revised to start blinking in a light colour as soon as entering a call sign begins, changing to green when all information has been entered. Hopefully that will remind the operator to log the contact while chatting about poor propagation conditions, weather, etc. You do not have to wait for the Log QSO button to blink green before logging the contact. If the worked locator is not available for example, you can log the contact without it (and add it later, otherwise the contact will not be worth many points). (You can turn off this blinking on Config page.)
Paper logs are still in use by many people, and it is easy to skip or duplicate serial numbers. Neither is a problem for log checking (although using the same number every time could be) and if you are using VKCL in Post-Contest Entry Mode, there is a facility to set the next serial number to use so you can skip or repeat serial numbers. Also you may find it easier to use separate log sheets and serial number sequences for each band. Again if you are using VKCL to create your log, enter all the contacts from one band, then reset the serial number and wind back the time to enter the contacts from another band, etc. (confirming that you want to continue even though the next date/time is earlier than a previous entry- if you select 'Cancel', further checking is disabled). No "cover sheet" is required when logs created by VKCL are submitted.
VHF-UHF Field Day Log Uploads
(For other contests, follow instructions given in the rules for the contest, but submission of logs direct from VKCL also implemented for most.)
Thanks to Marc, VK3OHM (yes, he is on the cover of the 2017 Call Book, and yes, he is also on the cover of the March 2017 Amateur Radio magazine), who wrote and installed the necessary software at the WIA web site, VKCL can now directly upload your log(s) to the WIA web site without you having to find the log files on your computer.
After creating a log and returning to the Contest Log Output dialog window, a large button on bottom left appears labeled Upload Existing Log. Pressing that button opens the following upload dialog;
After entering a description of the log being uploaded (optional), press the UPLOAD button to perform the upload. More information is available in the help files. Please use this facility, and if you do not care about the results, just describe your log as a 'Check Log' as in the example above. It will help in cross-checking other logs and give the contest manager a better overview of what happened during the field day. (Add "No report" if you do not wish to receive a Log Check Report either.)
Please submit your logs! You didn't really participate if you didn't submit your log!
VKCL Version 4 Installation
The installation process for Version 4 is identical to the previous versions but the new version must be installed into a different folder, C:\VKCL4 by default, and a shortcut labeled VKCL4 appears on your desktop. Both versions can co-exist in the same computer, and if necessary, run at the same time without interference to each other. (The shortcut image is the same as before, only with a new label. To avoid confusion it may be useful to delete the VKCL3 shortcut. You can always activate Ver 3 by navigating to the installation folder C:\VKCL3 and double clicking on the VKCL3.exe there.)
The help files for Ver 4 are reasonably complete and should be perused as time permits or when in doubt how to proceed. If a satisfactory answer is not found, email to the author as above. Suggestions as to what else should be included in the help files, or what parts could be elaborated, are welcome. (No promise that every suggestion will be implemented, but it will be appreciated.)
After several requests, a very simple "station log" has been implemented in VKCL. The page here describes what was implemented in VKCL3, but it has been extended in VKCL4 and better described in the help files.
As always, please report any problems in installation or use of VKCL.
Voice and CW keying for VKCL
Currently an omission from VKCL is any form of voice or CW keying facilities. Many transceivers have such facilities built-in, but for those that do not, Greg, VK3VT, has developed a comprehensive keying system for both voice and CW using additional free utilities.
The setup of the keying is written specifically for the Remembrance Day contest, but can be adapted for any other contest. You can download the setup instructions and the required scripts from the NERG web site. (According to the web site, "It has been tested with Version 4 of VKCL and it works great.".)
The ContestRadar web site has been upgraded to accept 8-char locators. Distance calculations in VKCL are always made using 6-char locators, but use and exchange of higher accuracy locators is useful to give better accuracy for where to point your antennas.
Contest radar may be updated from VKCL when configuring the VHF-UHF Field Day, or directly at ContestRadar map before the contest.
There has been some interest in the use of transverters with VKCL. Since it is no longer possible to determine the band from OmniRig input, additional input is required to VKCL for that purpose. The page here (revised Aug 2016) describes what will be implemented in the next major version of VKCL, Ver.4, that will be 'released' when the rules for the VHF-UHF Field Days are finalised and implemented.
Among other enhancements, Ver. 4 will use a much more reliable, albeit a bit slower, database, SQLLite3, which can be fully networked so that multi-operator stations can log all contacts to one database.
A slash-0 font is distributed with VKCL which is easy to install and differentiates letter-O and digit-0 more unambiguously. (The font file is also distributed withVKCL4.)