The Ugly Home Page for W1JQ and JL

I hate to say it, but I can't be bothered to put together a fancy, pretty home page. However, I want to get my logger out into the world, and you can't do that without a home page, right? But at least I can sneak my QSL card on; and I've even added some pictures of the shack and my nearly invisible antennas.

The JL Logger

JL is a contest logger written entirely in Java. The current version is 1.06. It runs on just about any modern operating system on which JDK 1.4 (or better) has been installed. That includes almost any version of Windows, plus Linux, Solaris, and MacOS X. It supports ALL of the major contests, writes logs in Cabrillo format, includes a voice keyer and CW keyer, and rig control (for the Icom transceivers). I am PARTICULARLY proud that JL supports WAE.

Most, but not all, of the contests that JL supports are:

More contests are added whenever I feel like operating in another one! Unfortunately, contest support is biased towards the US and North America. There's support for general-purpose logging, but that's not really JL's strongpoint.

JL is reasonably full-featured. It doesn't do partials (I don't like partials, and don't find them useful), nor does it have any support for DX clusters (I think clusters should be turned off during major contests), but otherwise, it has just about everything you'd expect to find, and perhaps some things you wouldn't. I think it's easy to use, but of course, I'm going to say that. Here's a screen dump of the user interface.

Best of all, it's free. Download it and try it. (NOTE: you'll probably have to shift-click to download this file correctly.) Here's a list of changes.

Getting Started

Here are some VERY rudimentary installation instructions:

Note that the download contains a fair amount of cruft that shouldn't be there. The logs directory contains a nice pile of contest logs. Some are real, some are just for testing. I've left them because I thought you might like to play with some fake logs before getting started for real. Of course, you'll eventually want to delete these.

Since this is an open source project, the source code is included with the distribution, as well as an Ant build file. The source code all lives under the com directory. (You'll need to follow it down to com/loukides/jl.) If you don't care about the source code, you can delete this stuff. If you do care about it--well, just don't laugh at it.

Why JL?

Since you asked...

I have several computers, running Windows, Solaris, Linux, and (in the future, I hope) Mac OS X. I don't want different logging programs for all of them. I wanted one, and I wanted a good one. And I wanted it to have a nice, modern user interface.

N1MM's logger is a GREAT program, but it only runs under Windows. N1MM also requires you to use MS Access as a back-end database, and I prefer avoiding Microsoft products wherever possible. TR and CT are the gold-standard in logging software, but they're DOS programs with ancient user interfaces. And none of these were going to run on my UNIX/Linux boxes. Still, I can only hope that JL ends up as feature-rich as these three programs. It's not there yet, but it's much closer than I ever thought it would be.

Logging software in the Linux/UNIX world was a bigger problem. Maybe I missed some really wonderful, perfect piece of software, but the Linux logging programs I found and tried were, well, poor. I recently found the HA1AH Contest Software, which is another Java logger; it looks interesting, and if you try it, I'd like to know how it compares.

So I came to the conclusion I had to write my own logger. I started in 2001, in the middle of October, and had something working in time for CQ WW DX Phone. I then ripped it apart and rebuilt it, using a much more general framework, for ARRL Sweepstakes. That was JL 0.1. And I've used it for all my contest operations since then. With the exception of serial support (which I'm working on), it runs on ALL of those operating systems--very well, thank you, and with no cross-platform bugs. "Write once, run anywhere", they say, and it's really true. The only cross-platform problem I'm dealing with is getting the serial interface stuff to work on Linux.

Why isn't it JQ? Don't know. JL are my wife's initials. But that's just a coincidence. I don't think she's particularly proud that a contest logger is named after her.

The JL Project

I feel bound to say a bit about this. JL is an open source project. All the source files are shipped with the JL distribution. But I don't have the time or energy to run a real open source project with CVS archives, web pages, committers, mailing lists, and whatnot. So, take it and run with it. If you do anything interesting, let me know. I may eventually set up a mailing list.

I am PARTICULARLY interested in:

Despite my professed indifference to running a large project, I intend to continue hacking on and maintaining JL. Some features I might add are REALLY GOOD multi-multi support; real-time score reporting to a central score server; DX cluster support, band maps and the like. I'm getting interested in SO2R; if I ever make the leap, you can expect SO2R support. (What, you think I'm going to use someone else's logger just to do SO2R?) The feature list is determined by the intersection of features I need for my own operations, and features that I think will be fun to implement. (As I said above, I think DX clusters should be turned off during major contests, but I also think adding cluster support would be fun. So you'll probably see cluster support in a year or so.)

More About W1JQ

In real life, I'm Mike Loukides. I'm married to Judy; we have a twelve-year-old daughter Alexandra. Judy doesn't get what this radio stuff is about, but she doesn't mind it. (She does say that I'm always in a bad mood when I'm hacking on my program, and I suspect she's right). Alexandra used to be fascinated by CW, but now she's 12. Still, someday you may hear her on the air cruising at 40 WPM. (Did someone say "multi-single"?) I first got my license when I was in Junior High School; I've been a phone operator almost exclusively, but back in November '02, I suddenly got interested in this weird CW stuff.

I'm an editor for O'Reilly Media (lots of books on networking, sysadmin, and Ruby, Java, and lots of other programming topics). I've written a couple of books of my own. I'm interested in antenna design (an article on my dipole curtain appeared in August, '03 QST), and a fairly serious amateur pianist. If you twist my arm, I'll add a few links to some of my recordings that are online.

I'm a member of the ARRLand the Yankee Clipper Contest Club.

Oh, yes. I make the half-serious, completely bogus claim to have be the World Champeen in the non-existent low-power, mediocre antenna category. But seriously--I've got decent contest results (this page is out of date, and I'm too lazy to update it more than once a decade or so), particularly for a station with no beams, no amps, just wires in trees. I'm fairly committed to the idea of wire antennas. All things considered, though, some fairly nice wires. And I wouldn't mind having an amp. If someone wants to send me a nice Alpha, I wouldn't mind at all. "It ain't radio if the lights don't blink."

Almost forgot. Is it possible to write a page like this without some description of the station? The rig is an Icom 756 Pro III. No amp. I use an external MFJ antenna tuner when necessary, but it usually isn't; the tuner in the Icom is great! The ant farm consists of a rogue's gallery of wire antennas, with more to come:

The curtain is the main antenna on the upper HF bands. And I've wanted for some time to make a 2 meter yagi out of a broomstick and coathangers. I think that's a project for this winter.

Copyright (c) 2003, Michael K. Loukides