I recently discovered a very useful piece of software. Fast Log Entry (FLE) is a small text editor that lets you quickly get your QSO information from paper logs onto your computer. I originally installed FLE about a month ago but I didn’t immediately see its benefits. After taking a closer look at it, I have now added into my logging utility “toolbox.” FLE is a free download from DF3CB, although donations are welcomed. It is a Windows application but it runs great on Linux under Wine.
Here’s a typical use case for me. Quite often, I’m operating portable and logging my contacts in a small notebook. If there’s a small number of contacts, I could just enter them into N3FJP’s ACLog, which I use for my main log. However, entering into ACLog can be a little tedious if I have a significant number of contacts to deal with. This is where FLE comes into play.
FLE provides a simple, keyboard-only, way of entering the information. It uses a very simple format for the information. To get started, you enter the date in the format YYYY-MM-DD. Then, enter the band (e.g., 40m, 20m, etc.). Similarly, for the mode, you can just enter it (like “CW” or “SSB”). See the screenshot below for an example.
You can now start entering your contacts. Once you enter a contact at a particular time, you only need to enter the portion of the time that changed for the next contact. For example, let’s say you worked a station at 1510 and another at 1511. After you enter the contact at 1511, you only have to enter “11” (i.e., just the minutes) for the next contact. If you run a string of stations, you only need to note the time periodically in your paper log (say every 5 or 10 minutes). FLE will interpolate the time for your contacts after you enter them if you like. Also, there’s no need to worry about capitalization; FLE takes care of that. You can enter RST (send and receive) information, or let it default to 599 or 59. You can populate the “comments” field by enclosing the comment in angle brackets <>. You can also add grid square information by prefacing it with a pound sign, like “#FN20.”
After you have finished entering your contacts, you can easily export an ADIF (Amateur Data Interchange Format) file for ingesting into your logging program. FLE will also let you create a Cabrillo file for contest submissions.
My brief attempt at describing FLE probably doesn’t do it justice. I recommend going to the author’s website to download a copy and taking it for a spin. Be sure to check out the step-by-step instructions on the website. Another great resource is a video by VK5PAS. He gives a very thorough introduction to FLE and explains it much better that I can. Although his video is targeted at the WorldWide Flora and Fauna program, it is a great tutorial on using FLE.
So, if you do a lot of portable operating with paper logs (think SOTA, NPOTA, IOTA, WWFF, etc.), take a look at FLE.
72, Craig WB3GCK