tabLog

tabLog has been written to offer basic logging when /P and allows for easy import into your Shack-based log via ADIF. Best performance is with a tablet in landscape mode and using a small Bluetooth/micro-USB QWERTY keyboard – QSO entry via this method is simple, and efficient.

The price of tablets has decreased considerably over the past few years (tabLog was initially released in the summer of 2014) what used to be a £100-150 investment is now a £50 “suck it and see” purchase. The addition of a simple leather case with built-in keyboard for an additional £5 makes the whole concept an attractive one.

I took the plunge with a cheap (£42) Prontotec 9-inch tablet which offered a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, 512MB RAM and a 4200mAh battery so quite a reasonable specification and a price that was right.  If I’m honest, it’s a bit slow at the more advanced stuff like surfing and Twitter – but if used solely as a logger, it was great.

As of now (December 2016), I’m using a Samsung Tab A 2016 7″ (with 4G) with an external Bluetooth keyboard.  It’s fast, has a bright display and the real bonus is that it has a mic/speaker “combo” socket (3.5mm 4-pole) so I can use DroidPSK for /P digimodes using a simple audio cable.  The micro-USB charging port also works with my OTG adapter so KX3 Companion works nicely using the standard CAT cable.

tabLog is designed to be simple to use – nothing fancy, just the basic QSO fields and saving to ADIF.  If you type a callsign (in lowercase), and then tab out of the field (or press elsewhere on the screen) the text automatically converts to uppercase – this is the same for the Locator and WAB fields.

tabLog’s QSO Entry and Log View screens

Features

  • Simple logging for Android-based tablets (and smartphones)
  • Basic QSO fields: Callsign, RST, Name, QTH, Locator, WAB plus Frequency and Mode
  • Auto-fills the Name and QTH fields when entering a Callsign
  • Default 59(9) option for new QSOs
  • Basic Contest Serial Number function – increments with each QSO
  • Voice Keyer (long press on button to set the file) – MP3/WAV – using headphone output and radio with “DigiVox”
  • Operator fields for Callsign, Aerial, Radio, Location
  • UTC Offset – Just enter -1 , +3 or whatever your difference is (eg: UK stations enter -1 during BST)
  • Last QSO remembered between sessions
  • Log View showing today’s QSOs
  • ADIF and CSV files updated as you save a QSO
  • Here’s a single entry from the ADIF file that is exported each time you save a QSO:
    <QSO_DATE:8>20140701 <TIME_ON:4>1541 <TIME_OFF:4>1541 <CALL:5>G9ABC <OPERATOR:5>M0PZT <RST_SENT:2>57 <RST_RCVD:2>58 <MODE:3>SSB <FREQ:5>7.125 <GRIDSQUARE:6>JO01FS <WAB:4>TL60 <NAME:3>Bob <QTH:10>Chelmsford <MY_ANT:6>Dipole <MY_RIG:7>FT-857D <MY_CITY:10>Galleywood <TX_PWR:3>100 <EOR>

I’ve investigated the possibility of adding a QRZ XML lookup routine and, although it works, the whole idea of this simple /P logger is to use as little resources as possible so why waste your battery on 3G/Wi-Fi just to fill in a couple of fields? Perhaps I’ll bring out a “Pro” version someday!

Using It
Just enter the Frequency, then tab through (or touch) the fields to enter the information. When you move away from the Callsign field, it will attempt to find the Name+QTH of that station from an existing QSO. The Callsign, Locator and WAB fields automatically convert to uppercase when you move away from them. The CQ audio player supports MP3/WAV files and is simply tap to start/stop – a long press will allow you to select a file from your memory/SD card. The Settings screen is self-explanatory – the CSV/ADIF filenames are date-stamped and are saved to your main storage area (probably the internal memory, depending upon how you have it mounted). Remember to set the UTC Offset (UK stations will need to enter -1 during the summer).

Download and Installation
This software is FREE to use but available “as is” with no guarantee of support. It’s a project for my /P activities and if you find it useful, then that’s great. The emphasis here is on simple logging – a quick and easy way of getting an ADIF log compiled when operating /P or where a laptop is not convenient. The program works fairly well on a smartphone but I strongly suggest a keyboard/case with a tablet.


Download tabLogX v1.0b Android APK [updated 30th December 2016]
This is a test build that was compiled with a minor screen resize tweak to work on my Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7“.

Download tabLogX v1.0b ZIP [updated 21st April 2017]
See description below for how to use the text files in this ZIP archive…


Download tabLog v1.2 Android APK [updated 6th November 2014]
This is the APK file to install on any Android device – it’s probably easier to visit this page on your device and install it direct rather than use a “computer” and faff around with a memory card etc.  Ensure that “Unknown sources” in the Application Settings menu has been ticked. This is to permit direct installation of programs from a memory card.

Download tabLog v1.2 ZIP [updated 21st April 2017]
This contains the Android APK in a ZIP file along with a full list of Callsigns, Names+QTH called CallNames.txt – Place in the root of your main storage and press+hold the “Import Names” button on the Settings screen. This will import a list of Callsigns/Names/QTHs into the database and give you around 8700 Names/QTHs that will appear when you enter a Callsign. This process takes a few minutes to import, so wait for the message box to say that it’s complete! Alternatively, you may just want to import UK/EI information so CallNames G and EI.txt is also included offering around 1400 UK/EI station details – this will need to be renamed to CallNames.txt in order to import. Any QSOs you save after this will be added to the existing database.


In Use
Thanks to Essex Ham, here’s a picture showing my best side and straddling the Galleywood Log to play HF /P with a tablet+keyboard and FT-857D…