DXtreme Monitor Log 12
Our Monitoring Hobby Continues Its Expansion!
Listening to programs and chasing faraway AM broadcast stations remains popular and is enhanced by less interference. Plus interest in amateur radio and utility station monitoring continues to grow. And these last two activities are just as challenging and satisfying to pursue perhaps even more so! as there are several countries that are difficult to monitor any other way.
Modes are expanding, too! AM, CW, FAX, and RTTY transmissions are joined by transmissions in CHIP, CONTESTI, DOMINO, FT4, FT8, JT65, JT9, MFSK, MIL-STD-188-141A, MSK144, NAVTEX, OLIVIA, PACTOR-III, PSK, STANAG 4285, and more.
So we've released a new version of DXtreme Monitor Log with updated features ... because what we're doing today as radio hobbyists is truly dynamic! We're monitoring, not just receiving.
Here's what's new in this release:
1. Your Choice of Country Formats for New Databases
When starting Monitor Log 12 the first time as a new user, or when creating a new secondary database, you can select the country format you want to use: NASWA Countries or ARRL Entities.
Click Yes to select NASWA countries, or No to select ARRL Entities as countries. Choose carefully because once you start logging it is extremely difficult to change from one country format to another. If you use log variables, note that the station-country-NASWA log variable will return entities if you select ARRL Entities as countries.
The North American Shortwave Association owns and maintains the NASWA Country List. Click http://www.naswa.net to see the list.
The American Radio Relay League, Inc. owns and maintains the DXCC Entities List. Click https://www.arrl.org to see the list.
2. Content Tab Workflow Enhanced
For describing the content of transmissions monitored, we have enhanced the Content tab and retained the resizable Content Editor, making it even easier to compose your descriptions.
When you click or "Tab" to the Content tab in the top row of tabs on the Monitor Log window, focus is applied to the Details box and the Start and End boxes populate automatically with the start and end times specified on the Station tab. In addition, Content Tab 1 is labeled with those same start and end times.
Next, you begin typing your content details in Content Tab 1.
If you want, you can type the content details of an entire transmission on just one Content Tab, or you can spread your content details across two or more tabs, which produces distinct rows of content details per time interval on your reception reports. Field sizes have been increased in this release, too, so you can type up to 10000 characters per Details box. The number of characters remaining displays at the lower right within each tab. In this example, we will spread our content details across two tabs.
When you have finished typing content details for Content Tab 1, "Tab" to the End box and type the end time for the details you wrote (21:10 as shown above). Then Tab to the Quality box and accept or change the signal quality for this time interval. "Tab" to the Language box and accept or change the language of the content heard.
Now click Content Tab 2 (or "Tab" repeatedly until Content Tab 1 has the focus again and press the Right Arrow on your keyboard to move to Content Tab 2). The cursor is now in the new Details box and the following events have occurred:
Begin typing your content details in Content Tab 2.
When you have finished typing content details for Content Tab 2, "Tab" to the Quality box and accept or change the signal quality for this time interval. (Of course, if we were to write content details on another tab, we would have adjusted the End Time as we did in Content Tab 1.)
To generate or compose a summary, click or "Tab" to Summary and double-click the Generate hyperlink. The software inserts into the Summary field keywords summarizing the content you wrote in the Details fields of the previous Content Tabs.
It is likely you'll want to edit the summarized version. You can generate or type up to 5000 characters in the Summary field. The number of characters remaining displays at the lower right. Also, if desired, you can double-click the Keywords hyperlink to drag-and-drop (or copy and paste) into the Summary field keywords from the Content Detail-Summary Keywords Lookup window.
The text in the Summary field populates the [content-summary] log variable, which can be used in scripts of any kind (but especially in those used to create club report entries) to provide summarized versions of the content heard to your recipients. (Other log variables provide the Start, End, Details, and Quality information from the corresponding fields of the Content tabs.)
When you're ready, click OK to save your log entry.
If you had preferred to write content details on the resizeable Content Editor window, you could have clicked the button at the lower right of the selected Content tab.
The Content Editor window would have appeared.
If desired, you can change the look and feel of the Details and Summary fields and the Content Editor by clicking the Option button in one of the toolbars (highlighted in yellow in the following screen shot).
Edit the fields in the Application-Wide Heading Font Attributes area.
3. Frequency: Your Choice of kHz or MHz
The Frequency, Band, and Mode area now has kHz and MHz option buttons and boxes that let you select and type the desired unit of measure for log-entry frequencies. The remainder of the software uses kHz as the official unit of measure. Monitor Log 12 remembers the last option button selected.
When you begin a log entry from the Schedule Checker, or if Monitor Log 12 and your radio are configured to use rig control, the software populates both boxes.
4. Propagation Modes Module
A Propagation Modes Module has been added to Monitor Log 12 to let you maintain a list of official propagation modes and select a mode as the default.
You select the desired propagation mode (or accept the default) on the Monitor Log window.
Official propagation modes are maintained by adif.org.
5. What's On This Frequency?
If, when using Direct Tune, you come across a station you cannot identify, you can double-click the What's On This Frequency? icon in the Frequency box to consult a web site for identification assistance.
Search results appear in the web browser identified on the Links tab in Preferences.
The web site must support frequency queries within its URL, and be specified on the Internet tab of Preferences. At publication time, ShortwaveSchedule.com (https://www.shortwaveschedule.com/?freq=9625) does an excellent job!
6. ADIF Import Facility
The ADIF Import Facility lets you import ADIF-formatted log entries into your current database. ADIF stands for Amateur Data Interchange Format, a specification that defines the rules for exchanging data between ham radio applications. Even though there's no equivalent for exchanging non-ham data, Monitor Log 12 lets you use ADIF to import log entries resulting from all monitoring activities both ham and non-ham.
The following new-to-Monitor Log 12 facilities share this window:
As such, some fields, menu items, and buttons are not available in each facility. Update From eQSL.cc Inbox and Batch Upload to eQSL.cc Outbox are described in the "Amateur Radio Monitoring Enhancements" section.
For a desired station class, you begin by producing an ADIF file for import, either manually in a text editor or by exporting an ADIF log from another application, such as FLdigi, WSJT-X, etc. You import log entries one station class at a time.
Here's a sample record in ADIF:
The Import Log From ADIF facility recognizes the following ADIF tags (* denotes required tags):
On the File menu of the Import Log From ADIF facility, click Open and select the ADIF file to import.
In the Class list box, click the station class of the log entries to be imported. You cannot import log entries across station classes.
In the Signal Report box, type the default signal report value you want the facility to write into each imported log record (unless the signal report is included in the source ADIF file).
In the Prop Mode list box, click the default propagation mode you want the facility to write into each imported log record (unless the propagation mode is included in the source ADIF file).
For Ham-class log entries, in the eQSL.cc Account Nickname list box, click the eQSL.cc account for which a QSL request workfile will be created.
Click Execute to begin the import operation.
When the facility encounters information in the ADIF file that is incompatible with the module information in the Monitor Log database, it prompts you to specify the appropriate information.
When the facility completes its work, the log entries are in your database. If desired, view the Records Added During Import or Update on the Reports menu.
Amateur Radio Monitoring Enhancements
1. Update From eQSL.cc Inbox Facility
This facility lets you update your current database with eQSL.cc Inbox records.
The following new-to-Monitor Log 12 facilities share this window:
As such, some fields, menu items, and buttons are not available in each facility. Import Log From ADIF is described in the "Logging Enhancements" section and Batch Upload to eQSL.cc Outbox is described next in this section.
You begin by preparing to import unmatched eQSL.cc Inbox records into your database, just in case there's a monitored and verified station you neglected to log. As part of this process, you configure Update From eQSL.cc Inbox so any imported log entries inherit the appropriate information:
In the Signal Report box, type the default signal report value you want the facility to write into each imported log record.
In the Prop Mode list box, click the default propagation mode you want the facility to write into each imported log record.
Requesting eQSL.cc Inbox Records
In the eQSL.cc Account Nickname list box, click the account from which you will download your eQSL.cc Inbox file.
In the Download Filter Options area, specify a desired date or date-range filter for the download (if you want to download your entire inbox, skip this step).
Click the Download eQSL.cc Inbox File button to request your eQSL.cc Inbox File from the eQSL.cc server. Only confirmed log entries are returned.
If your request was valid, the eQSL.cc Download InBox page appears with an ADIF download link that lets you complete the download operation.
Right-click the .ADI file hyperlink on the page and click Save Target As (or the equivalent). Save the file to your current Database folder with a descriptive name that includes the database you're using, the eQSL.cc Account from which the file came, and the date range applied. Then close your Web browser.
On the File menu of the Update From eQSL.cc Inbox facility, click Open. On the Open eQSL.cc Inbox Download File window, select the eQSL.cc Inbox File you just downloaded from the eQSL.cc server.
Click Execute to begin the update operation. During the operation, the facility sets eQSL.cc verifications as the Official Incoming QSL Type only in those log entries that are not already verified by some other means. (In other words, the facility doesn't override what you've already done.)
When the facility completes its work, if desired, view the reports on the Reports menu.
As far as eQSL.cc images are concerned, you can display noteworthy eQSLs one-at-a-time on the eQSL.cc Web site, and on the Monitor Log window, capture each one into its log entry. (It is not practical to acquire eQSL.cc images automatically from the eQSL.cc Web site.)
2. Batch Upload to eQSL.cc Outbox Facility
This facility lets you batch-upload Ham-class log entries (eQSL requests) from your current database to eQSL.cc. Use it when eQSL.cc does not contain all your Ham-class log entries.
The following new-to-Monitor Log 12 facilities share this window:
As such, some fields, menu items, and buttons are not available in each facility. Import Log From ADIF is described in the "Logging Enhancements" section and Update From eQSL.cc Inbox is described earlier in this section.
To begin, in the eQSL.cc Account Nickname list box, click the account into which eQSL requests will be uploaded.
In the Upload Filter Options area, specify a desired date or date-range filter for the upload (if you want to upload your entire Ham-class log, skip this step.)
Note: We do not send duplicate requests to eQSL.cc. When Monitor Log 12 prepares a batch upload, it does so only once.
Click Execute to begin the upload operation.
The Batch Upload to eQSL.cc Outbox facility creates a file of eQSL.cc requests and indicates in your database that you will upload this file right away using the eQSL.cc Web site, or will do so before running another batch upload.
Click Yes. The eQSL.cc Web site appears in your browser. Use the eQSL.cc web site to upload the file.
Monitor Log 12 sets batch eQSL.cc requests as the Official reception report type only in those log entries where a reception report has not been sent. In other words, the facility doesn't override what you've already done.
The following screen shot shows the upload notification:
The Batch Upload to eQSL.cc Outbox facility populates the following ADIF tags:
3. Amateur Bands Module
The Amateur Bands module lets you enter and maintain a table of amateur bands, complete with their designations, frequency ranges, representative QSL images, and default rigs, antennas, and accessories per band.
Monitor Log 12 uses the Amateur Bands data to validate ham radio frequencies and select the appropriate rig, antenna, and accessory when you're performing ham-class ADIF import operations using the Import Log From ADIF and Update From eQSL.cc Inbox facilities (described earlier).
4. Country Identification and Selection Improvements
To support the country identification and selection enhancements in Monitor Log 12, DXtreme Software recommends using QRZ XML Logbook Data or HamQTH.com because those call sign subscription services (CSS) return the DXCC Entity Code for ham stations most often, thereby increasing country-selection accuracy.
When Logging Ham-Class Stations
When identifying the country of each Ham-class log entry, Monitor Log 12 polls the CSS (QRZ XML Logbook Data or HamQTH.com) to determine the DXCC Entity Code. The software then uses the code to obtain the country from the Countries module.
If the CSS does not return the DXCC Entity Code, you must select or enter the country manually. The Country field on the Monitor Log window displays the DXCC Entity Code number when the code was used to determine the country.
When Importing ADIF Files
Here's how the Import Log From ADIF facility and Update From eQSL.cc Inbox facility (for unmatched records) find the country of each imported station:
Note: DXtreme Software is not responsible for the accuracy of information supplied by call sign subscription services.
Rig Control Enhancement
1. SDRuno Added to Tested Application List
DXtreme Monitor Log 12 has been tested with SDRplay's SDRuno for rig control of supported radios. Our official list of tested SDR applications follows:
When SDR Application rig control is configured on your computer:
1. Report Appearance Enhancement: Web Report Viewer
We've replaced the antiquated, HTML-based method of customizing the appearance of Performance, Stations, and Log Entries reports in the Web Report Viewer...
... with a modern, styles-based selection, preview, and edit/creation process.
Which produces more attractive reports because you're no longer limited to a single font and stale text-color and text-size selections.
You can now select, edit, and create styles that determine the look and feel of your reports.
Each style resides in its own file, stored within subfolders by report type (Performance, Stations, and Log Entries). To get you started, Monitor Log 12 ships with three style files in each report-type subfolder: Dark, Gray, and Light. You can edit and create as many style files as you want.
Here's a Countries Performance report displayed using the included Dark style in Mozilla Firefox:
And here's a Ham-Class Stations report displayed using the included Light style in Mozilla Firefox:
On the Reports tab in Preferences, for each report type you can click:
To select the style you want.
To see a sample report in the style selected (before clicking OK to finalize your selection).
To edit an existing style, or to create a new one.
When you archive or upload reports, Monitor Log 12 archives and uploads the styles you select automatically.
Show Report Image Controls
The Show Report Image controls remain unchanged from previous releases to let you specify whether a report image should appear at the top of each report and to set its size.
Style Edit and Creation
To the right of the desired report type (Performance, Stations, or Log Entries) you can click the edit button to:
Then double-click the style file upon which you want to base your new style. Next, on the File menu of Notepad, click Save As and save the file to the current folder using a new, unique, descriptive file name with a .txt extension.
To preview a new style based on a selected or different style file
In Preferences, click the browse button for the report type you're working on and select the new style file you just Saved As. Then click the corresponding preview button . Do not click OK on the Preferences window until you are satisfied with your style edits and want to select your new style file for use.
More Information About Style Files
Despite its .txt file extension (a convenience when working with Notepad), each style file is actually a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) file. When you click OK on the Preferences window to finalize the selection of a style, Monitor Log 12 copies the style file to the appropriate report subfolder and gives it a .css extension.
Style files consist of selectors, each with their block of property:value pairs enclosed in braces. If desired, click https://www.w3schools.com/css to learn more about CSS files.
Working with style files is easy. Each selector is associated with an HTML element in the report. Its block of property:value pairs applies the defined style to the content rendered by the element. A colon must appear between properties and their values, and all property:value pairs must be terminated with a semicolon.
In the following example, all HTML elements of the type <p> (the paragraph element) will have a:
To make a change, simply edit the desired property:value pairs. For example, to change the font size to 10 points:
2. Report Appearance Enhancement: Variables-Based Stations Report (HTML Version)
We have added alternating row styles to the Variables-Based Stations Report (HTML-version). New Alt1 and Alt2 attributes (assigned to the <TR> [Table Row] tag) provide the functionality, and appear in new style files shipped with Monitor Log 12. Users can also add the Alt1 and Alt2 attributes to their existing style files to use this enhancement.
You design reports by creating and editing script files on Monitor Log 12's Script Editor window. Variables-Based Station Reports give you maximum flexibility to choose the fields you want ... in the order you want ... with the appearance you want. When you run a report, you simply select the desired script file.
To make it easy to edit your script files, each level of the Variables-Based menu provides access to the instance of Script Editor that deals with its associated report, the Editor opening files from and saving files to the appropriate folder on your PC. As you'd expect, several script files come with DXtreme Monitor Log 12 to get you started.
Here's the above report displayed in Microsoft Edge with a black report background, black background on all rows, and alternating teal and white foreground colors on every other row:
And here's the same report showing a white report background, alternating blue and red background colors on every other row, and white foreground colors on every row:
Finally, here's the same report showing a white report background, white background on all rows, and alternating blue and red foreground colors on every other row:
Style files are fairly easy to edit. The Procedural Help system explains how to create and edit script files and there's lots of documentation about cascading style sheet (CSS) files on the Web.
Here's the style file that dictates the content of the last report shown. Note the use of Monitor Log 12's log variables to establish the fields of the report.
Monitor Log 12's Log Variables Lookup window makes it easy to discover and insert the log variables you want, each providing information from several windows in the software. The database contains 132 log variables from which to choose.
Here's a portion of the style file that dictates the appearance of the white, blue, and red report. Note the new Alt1 and Alt2 attributes
Other Product Enhancements
1. Schedule Checker Import Enhancement
Advanced users can download new Aoki or EiBi schedules more quickly now by clicking the URL of the most recent [A|B##] schedule file.
This action enables users to:
To use this feature, users must be familiar with the schedule-import workflow, accessible by clicking From the Aoki Web Site or From the EiBi Web Site under I Need the Schedule File.
To enable this feature, when semiannual Aoki and EiBi schedules change for the season, users must locate the URLs of the new seasonal files on each Web site, copy each to the Clipboard, and paste each into the appropriate fields on Schedule Checker's Properties window:
This action makes a hyperlinked URL appear on the Import New Schedule dialog box for quicker downloading and importing of updated schedule files.
2. Thunderbird Support
To increase your MAPI e-mail options, we have added support for Mozilla® Thunderbird®.
A Mozilla Thunderbird option button has been added to the MAPI E-Mail Client area of the Internet tab of Preferences. It lets you select Mozilla Thunderbird as your e-mail client for all MAPI e-mail operations performed in Monitor Log 12.
If you select this option button, Mozilla Thunderbird must be installed on your PC and the folder where it is installed must be specified in the Thunderbird box. Mozilla Thunderbird does not have to be set as your system e-mail or MAPI default.
3. "HTML-Based Edge to Windows 10 Mail" Renamed to "Default-Browser-to-Windows-Share"
Because Microsoft® is developing a new version of Microsoft Edge (based on Chromium) and is likely retaining the current Microsoft Edge® (based on EdgeHTML), there could be two Edge browsers on Windows 10 PCs in the near future.
To eliminate confusion, all Monitor Log 11 functions that include the text "HTML-Based Edge to Windows® 10 Mail" have been renamed to "Default-Browser-to-Windows-Share" in Monitor Log 12 because the Windows Share interface has always been involved in the HTML-Based-Edge-to-Windows-10-Mail workflow and we assume the Windows Share interface will eventually be included in the new Edge browser (and possibly others).
Any browser, set as the default in Windows 10, that supports the Windows Share interface may also be used to send electronic, HTML-based reception reports and Club Report Entries via Windows Share to Windows 10 Mail as well as to any other target application appearing within Windows Share.