In January 1995 when I began participating regularly in the NAC, I used a nice contest program for an ATARI computer, written by my son Arvin, DG3BCU. In autumn 1995, the ATARI was replaced by a LINUX system and Arvin rewrote the program in C++ (Tk user interface). Both programs could be used for various VHF/UHF contests, and they did everything from acquiring qso data to printing the log.
After having lost interest in these terrible 24-hour contests, I am only participating in the NAC, 144 MHz, so there is no need for a general-purpose contest program any more. On the other hand, the need arose for an electronic log to be mailed to the contest manager and to be placed on my web site. Thus, in spring 2002, Arvin wrote a Qt program (Tk was getting obsolete) for acquiring the qso data, and I wrote Perl and PHP scripts for processing the data. All programs are customized for the NAC.
Here is a screen shot of the new Qt program’s user interface. As soon as I enter the callsign, I can see the station's locator, and a dial is telling me how to turn the antenna, provided the station and its locator can be found in a stations list (mentioned below). The program also checks for dupe qsos, allows editing of qso data and shows a preliminary result. For the equations used in this program (and result), see Distance and Azimuth.
The program produces the raw log, see example to the right. The header consists of an identifier, date, callsign and locator (callsign and locator may be set differently from default - useful while portable). The following lines contain the qso data, i.e. time, callsign, rprt tx, rprt rx and locator (no need to save the distance which can easily be re-calculated).
Acquiring qso data and processing is done on different computers, connected by a local network. Transferring data and starting local processing is done by a bash script. Therefore, I am able to place my log on the Internet shortly after the NAC has ended.