VK Contest Log

Version 3.0 Beta

(Version 3.0 Beta1 below.)

 

Over the approximately six months since the Version 3 Preview was 'published', work on Version 3 of VKCL progressed rather more slowly than expected at the time. While the principles are much the same in the new and old versions, the details are very different, and it took quite some time to work out the control structure for the MDI configuration. That has been largely completed and VKCL3 is now reasonably stable, that is, does not crash too often.

Only four contests are implemented is this Beta version: Remembrance Day, John Moyle Field day, VHF-UHF Field Days, and the Ross Hull contest. It is intended to upload the first working version of VKCL3 in late July, ready for the RD contest in August 2011. For all other contests, please continue to use the current version of VKCL. Hopefully it will be possible to use VKCL3 for all contests in 2012.

The current version of VKCL was fixed at 800x600 pixels because a fixed size was very much easier to program for. The new version has no fixed size, but changing the size does not change the controls and text proportionally. They all stay the same size and pretty much in clusters as before. VKCL is probably not useable below the previous size of 800x600 pixels as parts of the window will be chopped off, but it can be made as large as your screen size allows, primarily giving you more "desk space" in the centre, to increase the size of the logging window and/or to display some of the auxiliary windows. The positioning of the various controls around the centre "desktop" has been optimised for a VKCL window size of 1000x700 pixels, as that is the approximate size of the notebook screens used for the field days. The VKCL window at that size looks something like this:

I am about to start final testing of all the contests implemented, to ensure that the implementations conform to the rules of the contest and correctly calculates the points for a contact under all conditions. The Beta version is made available to anyone who has an interest and the time to try it and to report any bugs, crashes, abnormal behaviour, or non-conformance to the contest rules. When reporting an event, please also describe as much as you can remember of what you were doing before the event. If the event is repeatable, please describe the steps needed to cause the event, but even if not, it would still be useful to know that there is a problem and approximately where. (I may not be able to respond to your email immediately, but be assured that all input is appreciated.)

No help file is yet available, but if you are familiar with the current version of VKCL, you should have no problem in using the new version. The main difference is the availability of auxiliary windows on the VKCL "desktop", and their functionality was described in the Version 3 Preview text, which may be useful to read again to refresh your memory. The exact implementation may be slightly different but should be self-evident.

The database structure has not changed from current to new versions so it is possible to view the database of a previous contest with VKCL3. However you cannot just point VKCL3 to a previous contest folder as the contest configuration files are very different. No harm would be done as VKCL3 checks the type of the configuration file and aborts if it is not correct. (However the reverse is not true, so do not point a current version of VKCL to a contest directory created by VKCL3, the contest configuration file could be mangled. This will be addressed in a future release of VKCL if there is one.)

To view a previous database with VKCL3, use the following steps:

  • Create a contest folder under VKCL3 and configure it as it was for that contest under current VKCL. The full path to a contest folder is shown on the Config screen. Close VKCL3.
  • Using Windows Explorer, navigate to that VKCL3 folder and delete the VKCLOG.DBF and VKCLOG.MDX files. Do not touch the contest configuration file VKCLog.CFG.
  • Now navigate to the folder under current VKCL for the contest you want to transfer. Copy the file VKCLOG.DBF only from that folder to the VKCL3 folder created above.

Restart VKCL3. The index file is recreated and the contacts should be visible on all the auxiliary windows and possibly on the logging window too, depending on the contest and time of day etc. You should be able to create the output log too and it should be the same as that created with VKCL. Please report any differences.

The later version of graphical user interface used in VKCL3 provides many more facilities, and it is now possible to check for new version of VKCL3, launch your default Internet browser to visit the VKCL3 web site, and launch your default email agent with destination email address pre-filled from the About screen. It may be useful to make a check for new version from time to time. As bugs are found and fixed, new Beta versions may be uploaded.

A note about nomenclature. This is still VK Contest Log (VKCL), but because it cannot be used to view contests logged with the current version and must be installed in a separate folder, when necessary to distinguish between the two, VKCL3 is used to refer to the new version. The folder it would install into by default is C:\VKCL3, although as previously that can be changed during the installation process. The executable file is called vkcl3.exe. The shortcut on the Windows desktop is also labeled VKCL3, so that both versions of VKCL can be installed at the same time on the same computer or notebook.

If you previously installed VKCL Preview1 version, you should delete it from your computer. Go to Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel and select and remove "VK Contest Log Ver 3Prv1". Since no files were actually created or modified by this version, the removal of it will be complete irrespective of where it was installed.

 

When VKCL was first distributed in 2003, there were sometimes problems in emailing a ,EXE file, with either the fire walls or virus checkers complaining and rejecting the file. Hence .EXE and .ZIP file distributions were provided for VKCL, with percentage of .ZIP downloads being anywhere from 15 to almost 50%. The percentage is significant, but the spread seems to indicate that not everybody is consistent as to what type of file they download. Considering that today fire walls and virus checkers are 'smart' enough to open a .ZIP file and check inside anyway, is there any real reason for maintaining the dual distribution? Would anyone have problems if the .Zip file distribution was discontinued and VKCL3 was only available for downloading as an .EXE file? The latter seems to be the standard for self installing programs. However, it is not a serious problem to provide both options. Please let me know if you would like to have the ,ZIP distribution continued.

Page last updated: 29/05/2011


 

Version 3.0 Beta 1

 

More development has been done on the Worked Stations List auxiliary window display, trying to identify the call signs which have been worked less than two hours ago, in the current block, or today, as the case may be for the various contests. Another complicating factor is that for some contests multiple modes are also possible, and it may well be that a station may not be worked again yet on SSB, but can be on CW, FM, or a digital mode. Providing separate columns for each mode is not practical, as even with a larger window, one quickly runs out of room. The mode of interest therefore must be either manually selected, or preferably automatically.

What is on display is controlled by two sets of radio buttons, Bands on Display and Mode on Display, although they are not entirely independent. The bands radio buttons start with an All button which allows all bands on which contacts were made to be included on the display. Then there may be one or two contest specific buttons, for RD for example, HF to limit bands to HF only and VHF+ for VHF and above bands. Following those there is an Except button, which allows all bands to be displayed except the one selected for logging. (I am not sure how useful that will be in an actual contest, but it seemed potentially useful when I first thought of it.) The last radio button in the bands group is Selected, which when selected brings up a series of check boxes allowing selection of specific bands to be included on display as desired.

The mode radio buttons group selects what modes are displayed or what modes are highlighted by the contact count being put in brackets to indicate that for that mode, another contact now would be a duplicate. For All button selection in this group, the counts are for all contacts, but the counts in brackets are for the mode selected for logging.

The following three images show the effect of changing the logging mode on what is displayed in the Worked Station List when the All buttons are selected in both groups. (If the images are made usefully smaller, then it is not possible to read the text in the display.)

All bands are selected for display, in case of the RD Contest, both HF and VHF+. However, in this case, the bands can be limited by selecting HF or VHF+ if desired

Contacts for all modes are counted in the figures for each call sign. Since the logging mode is set to CW, the counts in brackets mean that at least one of those contacts was a CW contact, and worked less than two hours ago, and therefore would be a duplicate if worked on CW again now.

(For John Moyle and VHF-UHF Field Days, the bearing to the station from your location is also shown, if known, after the contact count.)

Here SSB has been selected for logging, and therefore the counts in brackets mean that one of those contacts was a SSB contact less than two hours ago.
Similarly for FM logging mode, the only contacts on FM less than two hours ago was on 2 meters.

The Log selection in the mode radio buttons group is similar, except that the bands displayed are limited to those in which contacts for the specific logging mode have been made, and bands on which no such contacts were made are omitted. The counts are also for the selected logging mode only, in brackets again if one of them was less than two hours ago.

The remaining buttons in the group are somewhat contest dependant, and in this case would display much the same as the Log button, but independently of what is selected for logging.

 

Page last updated: 06/06/2011, 09/06/2011