Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Logging Software for Amateur Radio contacts - xlog


Something that I have recently been looking into is Amateur Radio logging software available on Linux, in particular Ubuntu and Gnome. One of the things that Ham (Amateur) Radio operators like to do is make contacts with other Hams, exchange details and sometimes, even exchange physical 'QSL Cards', which are postcards giving details of the contact made (Frequency, Equipment used etc.). In general, the more and varied these contacts are the greater the enjoyment found in the hobby. In addition to the adhoc 'CQ' contacts, there are regular contests, where operators try to make contacts in a particular period of time, on particular radio bands. Logs of the contacts make are submitted to the contest manager and points are awarded based on the contest rules. Rules include such things as a point for every contact made, multipliers for contacts made in particular bands and bonus points given for particular types of contacts. The software that I have found and I am most happy with is called 'xlog', which does most of what I want. I would like to be able to get it to do more (see below) and there are a couple of things which if they were done just a little bit differently would make if even more useful and easy to customise. The software is licensed under the GPL v2, so in the words of Jeremy Clarkson - 'How hard can it be?' The plan is to put together a series of posts about my experience with working on this software. Future posts will follow something like the following outline..
  • What do I want to change?
  • Getting the source - and using git.
  • Setting up the development environment - using epkg
  • Making changes.
  • Getting these changes back into xlog.
Watch this space.