Going Paperless for Radio DXing


Paul Blundell
 

Recently my wife and I have taken on the "minimalism" life style by making the choice to live happily with less. As a part of this we have cleaned out our home and reduced what we own.

My Ultralight Radio DXing hobby has become a real focus for me of late. I am now undertaking more portable sessions and carrying my Ultralight Radio DXing kit with me more. I have settled on my current case and have set this up to suit my needs, it works well.

One area I have never really been that happy with is the method and process I have used to log what I hear, over the years I have used a few different methods:
- Pen and Paper: This started off as an exercise book which I used to log what I heard. Over time I then started also entering these in to a spreadsheet but this meant double handling and the issue with errors being introduced. In late 2018 while still using pen and paper, I developed my own custom database, but I struggled to get this working how I wanted. Based on that I've decided to discontinue the development of the database system and just use a spreadsheet.

Digital: Working IT support, my next idea was to try and log directly in a digital method such as using a small laptop, tablet or smartphone. I tried doing this for a few times however I found that it slowed down at my log process substantially and I also had some issues with particularly tablets and smartphones not working well close to an AM broadcast Band radio, causing interference which made logging stations hard.

Recently I was cleaning out my garage when I came across my old eBook reader, it is a Hanvon n526 which is a very interesting device.  As it uses a passive screen, it only consumes power when it is actually updating the screen information. It also doesn't have a backlight which means that the screen is excellent to use in daytime conditions where you have some sunlight direct on the screen. The most interesting feature about this Hanvon n526 eBook reader is that it has a full qwerty keyboard which allows you to enter notes which save as a text file.

I have now developed a process that I use for logging that I hear. I setup my Ultralight Radio DXing session using my radio, I also have my Hanvon n526 eBook reader. I open up a new notepad file and at top of that I enter the date, the time, the location and what radio I'm using.  I then log what frequencies I hear active and beside them I add any notes on what I hear such as locations, call signs, advertising or anything else that would help me to confirm what stations I'm hearing. Once I finish my session, I plug my Hanvon n526 eBook ready into my laptop. I can then easily copy the text file to my laptop, from here I can add in any further information, make any changes and correct any incorrect information. I then save these text files into a folder on my laptop and I didn't delete the file off my eBook reader.

So far it has proven to work very well, it allows me to quickly log information that I hear in a digital format without having the issues of transferring from pen and paper. I keep a copy of my notes on my eBook reader which helps me to keep a track of what stations I have heard. I have also downloaded a range of PDF files onto my Hanvon n526 eBook reader, including a copy of the latest Mediumwave radio station list off the ACMA website.

One thing that I really love about this eBook reader is the fact that it easily fits in my radio case as you can see in the photos below. It slips in nicely in front of my 7.5” Loopstick equipped PL380. I can have that my other two AM radios and this for easy access when as I need it.

The other great thing is that using the Hanvon n526 eBook reader has allowed me to get rid of a lot of paper out of my Radio DXing kit. I still do keep a couple of pens and one log sheet, just for the off chance that for some reason my eBook reader fails when I need it the most.

In the short time that I using my eBook reader for this, it has been working extremely well. It makes the whole process quicker, easier and it reduces chances of errors been introduced into my logs.

Maybe 2019 could be the year that you move across to a digital logging system? if you are still using paper and pen. While I've only just started using this system, I think that it will work well for me and I love the fact that I can use this near my radios without any issues.

Photos: https://theultralightradiodxer.blogspot.com/2019/01/going-paperless-for-radio-dxing.html
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Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Todd
 

<Recently my wife and I have taken on the "minimalism" life style by making the choice to live happily with less. As a part of this we have cleaned out our home and reduced what we own.>

Similar with myself Paul, I have been a minimalist most of my life, but didn't know it until recently. There has also been an internal conflict between minimalism and sentimentalism. The sentimental part of a person wants to hang on to everything from especially the youth years. This may be acceptable for small items like photographs and portable radios, but it becomes a major problem with large old furniture. Fortunately I was gradually able to sell, give away, or throw out the majority of old bulky large furniture to replace with new furniture. Once that emotional threshold has been overcome, it is a positive experience to experience living in a house with only new furniture and items that are frequently used. I model my house furniture layout on getaway (holiday) rental accommodation, where everything is positioned to near perfection and nothing left to chance.

I have an interest in interior design, both contemporary and archaic. I own a set of interior decorating magazines covering the 1960s to 1980s. The 1970s period was especially unattractive from my perspective. Large dark teak wall units filled with books were truly an eyesore to behold. Given my technical interest in DXing, I have a accumulated a wide range of books over the years, starting with The Radio Handbook by William Orr in the late 1970s. One thing that a minimalist soon discovers is that at least 80% of technical literature eventually becomes both irrelevant and surplus to requirements. Hence most of my DX technical literature has been discarded in order to make more space.

A minimalist DXer's nightmare is to have a dusty room full of old "boat anchor" Collins and Hammarlund type radios from the 1950s, with old radio posters plastered on the walls. I once tried comparing a Collins 51J-4 against the much physically smaller Icom R71E. There was no advantage for either in MW DX performance. Some of the smaller Sangean portables can match my Icom R8500 on MW. This is why the ULR approach suits the minimalist DXer that desires more space and less clutter in the radio room. Women in particular regard geek hobby technical items like large radios and old computers as objectionable. A relatively small ULR and FSL antenna approaches the ideal compromise between contemporary aesthetics and DXing performance.

Out with the old and in with (less) of the new.

Todd
Sydney, AU


Paul Blundell
 

Thank you for the excellent reply. uou sound very like me. We are working on getting rid of as much of our "stuff" as we can.



Sent from my Samsung GALAXY S5


-------- Original message --------
From: "Todd via Groups.Io" <toddemslie@...>
Date: 19/01/2019 10:00 AM (GMT+10:00)
To: main@UltralightDX.groups.io
Subject: Re: [UltralightDX] Going Paperless for Radio DXing

<Recently my wife and I have taken on the "minimalism" life style by making the choice to live happily with less. As a part of this we have cleaned out our home and reduced what we own.>

Similar with myself Paul, I have been a minimalist most of my life, but didn't know it until recently. There has also been an internal conflict between minimalism and sentimentalism. The sentimental part of a person wants to hang on to everything from especially the youth years. This may be acceptable for small items like photographs and portable radios, but it becomes a major problem with large old furniture. Fortunately I was gradually able to sell, give away, or throw out the majority of old bulky large furniture to replace with new furniture. Once that emotional threshold has been overcome, it is a positive experience to experience living in a house with only new furniture and items that are frequently used. I model my house furniture layout on getaway (holiday) rental accommodation, where everything is positioned to near perfection and nothing left to chance.

I have an interest in interior design, both contemporary and archaic. I own a set of interior decorating magazines covering the 1960s to 1980s. The 1970s period was especially unattractive from my perspective. Large dark teak wall units filled with books were truly an eyesore to behold. Given my technical interest in DXing, I have a accumulated a wide range of books over the years, starting with The Radio Handbook by William Orr in the late 1970s. One thing that a minimalist soon discovers is that at least 80% of technical literature eventually becomes both irrelevant and surplus to requirements. Hence most of my DX technical literature has been discarded in order to make more space.

A minimalist DXer's nightmare is to have a dusty room full of old "boat anchor" Collins and Hammarlund type radios from the 1950s, with old radio posters plastered on the walls. I once tried comparing a Collins 51J-4 against the much physically smaller Icom R71E. There was no advantage for either in MW DX performance. Some of the smaller Sangean portables can match my Icom R8500 on MW. This is why the ULR approach suits the minimalist DXer that desires more space and less clutter in the radio room. Women in particular regard geek hobby technical items like large radios and old computers as objectionable. A relatively small ULR and FSL antenna approaches the ideal compromise between contemporary aesthetics and DXing performance.

Out with the old and in with (less) of the new.

Todd
Sydney, AU
--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX


Paul Blundell
 

Following some feedback directly, I have made some changes to this.

https://tassieradiorxer.blogspot.com/2019/02/going-paperless-for-radio-rxing.html

--
Paul - Moderator
UltralightDX