Logbooks And Record Keeping
What are logbooks?
Logbooks are something every radio ham uses to keep a record of their activities. In almost all countries it is a condition of their licence to maintain an accurate record of transmissions.
Some circumstances are excluded. When using a radio mobile it would be impractical to make a logbook entry while driving, for example.
Why keep a logbook?
The main reasons for keeping an accurate up to date logbook are:
- Legal – In most countries it is a legal requirement to keep a log. A log of all transmissions may also be used to prove innocence in the unlikely event of a complaint that you were causing interference.
- Operational – Having a log of the contacts is essential for completing the details on any QSL cards you wish to send.
- Personal – The log is a personal radio history. You can look back over the different contacts that have been made with other stations.
What information is required?
The very minimum information that needs to be in the log is:
- Time contact started & finished – normally in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC)
- Frequency of transmission / reception
- Mode of transmission
- Callsign of the station contacted
Additional information of the contact may be added as personally required. For example, I also log signal reports, names, locations and comments. Some people also like to record antennas, power, propagation conditions etc.
How Do I Keep a log?
A log can be kept on paper or computer or both depending on your personal preference.
My log is kept as a database on a server, this allows you to search my log and display brief contact details.
When I’m operating at a portable location, I keep a paper log, transferring the information to my main log as time allows.
Latest 10 entries in my logbook
Below are brief details of the last 10 contacts added to my logbook, updated in real time as I enter them into the log.
|16 Dec ON3DFD from Belgium||16 Dec SV5DKL from Dodecanese|
|16 Dec YU7RIM from Serbia||16 Dec SP6IM from Poland|
|16 Dec IV3VJH from Italy||16 Dec F2YT from France|
|16 Dec IZ0CUV from Italy||16 Dec SA0BFG from Sweden|
|16 Dec HB9HVF from Switzerland||16 Dec CT1EKU from Portugal|