Why I Chose Log4OM for Logging 12

Log4OM LogoEver since I’ve been licensed I didn’t really have to worry about logging software for use in the shack. I did very little operating in my shack previously and the built in Fldigi logger and N1MM+ were more than good enough. Of course out portable I was using RumLogNG on my iPad and iPhone and this saw a lot more use (and still does).

When I moved into a new house with a dedicated shack I decided I wanted some better logging options. I was quite happy with N1MM+ but because it is dedicated to contest logging it lacks some features I want for general use.

I have tried Ham Radio Deluxe 5 previously, but found it bloated and a bit too heavyweight. I also wasn’t particularly keen to try Ham Radio Deluxe 6, not so much the cost of it, but rather the way they have (in the past) treated their users for leaving bad reviews. The owners had also recently approached me requesting/demanding that I remove the last free release (v5.2) I was offering for download. I duly did this, but it left a bad taste.

I reached out on Twitter and asked what others were using. A couple of options were mentioned such as HRD, Log4OM and WinLog32. The majority seemed to be using Log4OM and were all really happy with it.

This led me to install it on my shack laptop and get to grips with it. After 2 hours I had imported all my logs, setup rig control (via Omni-rig) to my Icom 7300 and had it communicating with ClubLog, eQSL, LoTW and QRZ.com. Not only that but I had started to discover some of the rich feature set that Log4OM offered.

Icom 7300 and Log4OM in my shack

Icom 7300 and Log4OM in my shack

1. It’s Free!

Now, paid for loggers such as HRD don’t cost the earth at $100, but when you look at Log4OM and consider it does the same (if not more) for zero cost – it’s hard to justify.

Free also seems more in keeping with the amateur radio ethos, so thanks to the great development team who give up their skills, time and expertise.

2. Integrates with everything

To be honest I can’t think of any other logger which integrates and plays so well with so many online services!

I’m currently using the following integrations:

  • ClubLog – each QSO is uploaded automatically
  • Log Book of The World (LoTW)
  • QRZ.com lookup
  • SOTA
  • eQSL
  • Fldigi – for data mode operation

It does more, but I haven’t found the need to use them yet! Also it doesn’t have Twitter integration like HRD, which to me as a plus. I don’t really care if you’ve just logged your 50th contact of the day!

All QSO's are automatically uploaded to ClubLog

All of my QSO’s are now automatically uploaded to ClubLog

3. Award Tracking

I’m an award chaser! I’ve always been a collector, so it’s pretty logical this would extend to amateur radio. Currently I’m actively participating in Islands on the Air (IOTA), Summits on the Air (SOTA) and Worked All Britain (WAB).

One of the major plus points of Log4OM was that it supports all of these out of the box! The developers were really clever here, even if your award isn’t supported by default you can actually define new ones inside Log4OM!

On the logging screen there’s dedicated areas to add IOTA and SOTA information. Not only that but it has an up to date list of valid IOTA islands and SOTA summits to select from, all of which are automatically updated regularly!

Selecting a SOTA summit for a QSO

Selecting a SOTA summit for a QSO

 

Now I can see all of the islands and summits I’ve worked and the QSL status (if I’ve kept this up to date!).

IOTA support in the Award Manager

IOTA support in the Award Manager

4. Automatic Log Backup

One of the headaches of other loggers is remembering to manually back up your log periodically. Log4OM does this automatically when you close the software down (in addition to uploading each QSO to ClubLog as I log them).

The ADIF file backup is saved to my Dropbox account. Now I can use it and forget about it! Plus by saving it to Dropbox my most recent log is available from whichever device I happen to be using.

The only downside to this automatic backup is that it takes a few seconds longer to close Log4OM while the backup takes place, a small price I’m willing to pay!

5. User Interface is Pretty Decent

One of my bugbears with most ham radio software is the way it looks and the poor user experience. I’m particularly sensitive to this because I’m involved in this for a living. 

I really liked N1MM+ because it was clean and easy to use for contest logging at least (disregarding the complex menu system), but this simple UI came at a cost as it’s focussed on contest logging only – no bad thing, it does one thing really well. But as a general logger I found it lacking in a few areas.

I wasn’t too impressed by Log4OM when I first installed it, it looked busy and not straight forward, other hams encouraged me to persevere with it. After spending 2 hours with it I felt a lot more comfortable, I worked out where everything was and had all of my various logs imported, rig control setup and the DX cluster integration ticking away.

As I’ve used it more and more it’s become more intuitive and I’m still finding additional features!

Log4OM Main Screen

Log4OM Main Screen – with all my previous logs imported

6. Great Support

Log4OM has great support, there’s a complete user manual, online forums and lots of YouTube tutorials. I’ve found the videos particularly useful for learning how the more advanced SOTA functionality works.

I’ve googled a few niggles I was having and the top results were always the Log4OM forum with someone else who had experienced the same problem and the associated solution. Great!

7. QSL Support

Like most other logging software Log4OM allows you to track the QSL cards you’ve sent and received against your QSO’s. I’ve never bothered to track this before, so it’s now good to see how many DXCC and islands I have confirmed.

With the LoTW integration you can also see which QSO’s have been verified on that system as well.

See worked/confirmed DXCC overview - great to track what I need to still get confirmed!

See worked/confirmed DXCC overview – great to track what I need to still get confirmed!

Problems

It’s not all great… I’ve had a few problems along the way as you might expect. This is typical of all software and some of the problems were with my own lack of knowledge rather than the software itself.

  1. Slow Cat Control – Rig control was initially very slow with my Icom 7300 taking 3 seconds to move to a cluster spot after clicking it. After Googling the issue I discovered this was a problem with the Omni-Rig default setting, reducing the polling time to 200ms resolved the issue.
  2. DX Cluster – I’ve not gotten to grips with the DX Cluster yet, the display looks too small and clunky. I’ve continually kept DXHeat open in my web browser. I suspect I need to spend more time working with and configuring it within Log4OM, as it certainly seems fully featured.

Conclusion

I feel like I’m still discovering everything that Log4OM does, it contains a great deal of functionality and takes some learning. I’m really happy with it so far and it’s really enhanced my enjoyment when operating in the shack.

Very well done to the development team behind it, they’ve made some great software for the rest of us to use and done it in true amateur radio spirit!

12 thoughts on “Why I Chose Log4OM for Logging

  1. Reply Jim K9YC May 27,2017 20:24

    I’ve been a ham for 61 years, with several long periods of inactivity, thanks to pressures from work and family. When I got back on the air in 2003, I discovered a wonderful logging program called DXKeeper. It does ALL of the things you outline in this post, and it is also FREE. It is also part of a suite of applications, all of which work independent of each other, but which also integrate nicely with each other. DXKeeper runs in all versions of Windoze — I first started using it on a Win95 laptop, and I’m now running it on a Win7-64 Pro laptop.

    DXKeeper is very well supported by it’s author, who established an email reflector that he reads several times a day. The suite is called DXLab. The author is Dave Bernstein, AA6YQ. Among other things, he’s one of the team who helped clean up the mess with LOTW several years ago.

    Over the years, I’ve recommended DXKeeper to many hams, nearly all of whom adopted it and love it. https://www.dxlabsuite.com/

    73, Jim K9YC

    • Reply Tom - KQ5S Jun 15,2017 10:53

      I agree with Jim, K9YC, about DXLab. Could not ask for more. It also includes a digital mode module that lets you do PSK, RTTY, and CW without the need for additional software.

      —-
      73
      Tom – KQ5S

  2. Reply Richard May 28,2017 20:20

    Do you use it on CW?

    • Reply James Stevens May 30,2017 08:44

      Hi Richard,

      Sadly not used it on CW yet. I don’t know CW yet so rarely use it except for brief forays into machine generated morse.

      73, James M0JCQ

  3. Reply KQ8M May 29,2017 02:43

    I totally agree with your assessment. I have been using Log4OM for nearly 2 years along with Logger32, ancient DXBase and HRD. The last to last 2 paid apps. The only thing I find useful that is not in the other apps from HRD is the DM780 with all of the different digital modes supported. Other than that, as you said, the owners turned me of in there attitude. However, I still use the remaining three I mentioned. Just can’t decide. But DXBase will never be updated and it’s 10 years old.

    73 de Tim, KQ8M

    • Reply James Stevens May 30,2017 08:38

      Hi Ted, yes the DM780 support in HRD is really handy. I mostly used Fldigi for my digital mode operations before and Log4OM does integrate with this, I just need to spend some time getting this working!

      73 James M0JCQ

  4. Reply OK3AR May 29,2017 07:09

    Hello James,
    Try RumlogNG too, its (for me) the No. 1 (of course on the Mac)

    73!
    Richard

    • Reply James Stevens May 30,2017 08:36

      I use RumLogNG on my iPhone and iPad for portable logging and have tried on my Mac as well. It’s nice and simple to use but my main shack laptop is Windows based 🙂

      73 James M0JCQ

  5. Reply Mitch - M0BIW May 29,2017 09:53

    Hi James,

    Firstly congrats and thanks for your efforts in putting together a great ham blog! I just discovered it. Entertaining reading about some of your windy SOTA activations 🙂 . Very inspiring.

    Anyway thanks for this post in particular – very relevant as I’ve been wondering whats best to use for logging for a while, but its one of those tasks that I never quite get round to :). Keep up the great work!

    • Reply James Stevens May 30,2017 08:34

      Thanks for the kind words Mitch!

      Give Log4OM a go, I’d put off choosing a logger for a while but really happy now 🙂

      73 James M0JCQ

  6. Reply Colin Hall GM4JPZ Jun 11,2017 16:23

    Hi James,

    Thanks for this blog. I was initially interested in your assessment of the IC7300, but then saw this post on Log4OM and thought I’d give it a look. I’m going to try it on my other PC and will see how it compares with WinEQF, the ancient but still useful program I’ve been using for about 20 years now.

    I was also interested to see you mention DX Heat (why had I never heard of this before?!), and have given it a look too. If I can manage to set the filters right, I think I’ll go over to it rather than carrying on with DX Summit, which has an older style interface and just looks a bit faded now.

    Thanks again for the time you put into the blog, it’s really useful as well as making an interesting read.

    73 Colin GM4JPZ

  7. Reply Dan Evans Jul 21,2017 17:18

    Sounds nice. I’ve been using N3FJP logging software for the last several years. Lots of features, and easy to use. It’s not free, but it’s very cheap.

    No affiliation, just another happy user.

    73
    Dan
    K9ZF

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