I Hate Logging

Bob, VA3QV recently opined about “back to basics” along with some commentary about his paper logbooks. Something about that dredged up a few of my own thoughts about logging. I despise logging.

Face it, if you were to “log” every conversation you had at church or the supermarket, you would be considered insane. If you do the same thing with conversations via radio, you’re just a radio ham.

In the Land of Ago when the FCC told us station logging was no longer a requirement, I took them serious about it and stopped living life like a neurotic bean counter. Years later I came to realize that if you wanted to get anywhere in this hobby (DXCC, WAS, etc.) logging was probably one chore you couldn’t avoid.

While my happy absence from the practice left a big hole in my early operating history record, I’ve begrudgingly been logging electronically for many years.

The root of the issue for me isn’t so much the chore, it’s the computer — I don’t like needing to have a computer in the shack. But there it sets, tethered to my HF transceiver just so data from the rig can automagically appear in my logging program.

This does make it easier, and considerably more useful in maintaining a log. With just a few clicks I can upload contacts to LoTW for confirmation and award credit. The workflow is logical, I simply don’t like it. I’ve often considered a return to paper logging so I can eliminate the shack computer, but I’ve come to accept the fact that at some point, contacts logged are going to have to be entered electronically if they are to be uploaded to LoTW and it seems kind of silly to log contacts on paper and then manually transfer those to a keyboard. Or is it?

What hadn’t occurred to me is the option to only log select contacts. Having been trained to maintain a log when it was a requirement, I’ve always logged each and every HF contact. Even if the station worked was just down the street and I worked him every single day, those contacts are individually recorded. The exception being contacts made via repeater or internet linking, which I’ve never logged.

The notion of returning to a paper log and only recording DX or special contacts is intriguing. I would eventually still have to move these from paper to the computer, but there would be far fewer entries and that would eliminate the need for a computer to perpetually reside in the shack.

The downside is that not everyone worked would receive confirmation of our contact, and perhaps there is someone in Peoria who needs a QSL from Muncie, Indiana? It seems decidedly one-sided for me to log K1N because I need him — but not W0XXX because I don’t need him.

I don’t want to be the lone holdout for what you need in order to realize WAS CW on 40 meters — so I guess I’ll just keep logging them all.

But I don’t have to like it. I hate logging.

Author: Jeff Davis