by Michael Wells
It’s now been 10 years since the first few features of Club Log were put together. This feels like longer than I expected – probably because thew hole story of Club Log has rushed by. They say that time flies when you’re having fun! I wanted to share a few reflections and say a few thank-yous, to mark this decade.
In the early days, where about 2 million QSOs (all from members of UK DX clubs) were stored in Club Log, you could expect quite a bit of difficulty with DXCC mappings, as we just had the main prefixes at that time. Alan
5B4AHJ was just starting to propose some exceptions via email. These were small beginnings and a great deal of head-scratching and trial and error was needed to get past the practical issues. But, if we fast-forward totoday, Club Log has grown to half-a-billion records, under more than 75,000 callsigns (held by 55,000 users) and is dealing with 2,300 uploads every day. Expedition logs have been searched 43 million times, and the amazing OQRS facility that Marios, 5B4WN wrote has processed $2 million (and €327,000 – plus other currencies another $50,000 or so) of requests for cards. Given that each OQRS transaction has halved the postage and material costs for the card requested, we can begin to guess how much money has been pulled back into the hobby by this step-change in how QSL requests are typically made. Not only did Marios write these wonderful tools, but he contributed the amazing expedition log search, propagation and activity tools as well. It is a huge privilege to work on Club Log with Marios, who is so passionate about inventing new features. Thanks, Marios, 5B4WN!
Looking at the record now in November 2018, there are 530 million QSOs stored, each of which passed through the upload logic of Club Log in the blink of an eye. Every callsign is studied to make sure the date and time and the callsign are accurately mapped to an entity. To get those callsigns assigned to DXCCs needs 4,320 prefixes, and an incredible 22,700 exceptions – all of which have been painstakingly curated and managed by Alan 5B4AHJ, by hand.
Bear in mind, in 2008 there were no exceptions, that’s equivalent to adding 6 new pieces of research every day of every year – for a decade.
I’d like to make a special thank you to Alan for this amazing contribution. Making a DXCC database has needed ongoing support of some very well-learned DXers, who have made this feat more achievable, but still represents an extraordinary personal undertaking of time, effort and focus.
Almost all modern logging software now relies on and uses the Club Log database to get DXCC mappings right, not only today but over all of the dates of modern amateur radio (right back to 1945). Although the software and features in Club Log are a prominent part of the DXpedition world (and many individual DX clubs who use it for leagues, propagation and even funding and grant decisions), it’s true to say that all of those features – every part of Club Log – is resting on the foundation of the research in the DXCC database. Thank you so very, very much for your tireless work, Alan, 5B4AHJ.
I must also mention our helpdesk service. As you know, anyone using Club Log can ask for some assistance with features, queries about DXCCs or other matters. The Helpdesk is staffed by people you’ll know – like Joe,
WL7E, our resident LoTW expert, and Jim KE8G who gives friendly backup to anyone struggling with getting Club Log to work for them, along with Alan, Marios and me. Like everything in Club Log, it’s all about ham spirit and we get a lot of satisfaction from being able to help. We use a tool called Freshdesk to manage the volume of queries we get. In fact, between the five members of the team, we’ve dealt with 2,200 pieces of correspondence in the last 12 months – quite a bit more than I thought it would be, when I looked!
That brings me to the most important thing I have to say. I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who saw what we were doing and gave us a donation to help make it possible. Ten years has seen the Club Log equipment repeatedly get upgraded, with only donations to unlock each new bit of outlay for bandwidth, and all the other parts involved. Today, running on servers that are right at the limits of modern storage capabilities, things are really in great shape. While Club Log is in the middle of so much of what we do as DXers, it can still exist without any advertising. We’re able to confidently keep this service going this way.
Our supporters made this happen, and on behalf of all five of us (and the many others who’ve also been able to enjoy Club Log), please accept my heartfelt thanks and appreciation.
If you’re settling down for Thanksgiving, or if you’re just about to take a shift at CQWW, may I wish you a happy and peaceful end to the year 2018, and here’s to another 10 years of Club Log and ‘big data’ in
With best wishes,
Michael G7VJR – https://clublog.org/
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