I recently had the opportunity to do a presentation introducing the DXLab Software Suite for several local radio clubs. The idea was to provide a fairly comprehensive introduction to DXLab and to show how it can be used to make Amateur Radio operations, QSL’ing, and Award Management easier and more enjoyable. There are several good DXLab introductory presentations and web pages on the internet, so we decided to do ours with some “live” demos of DXLab in use within our station.
Not all hams have converted to computer-based operation and logging, so we began by covering the motivation for and some of the advantages of Computer-based operation and logging.
The next part of the presentation provided an overview of each of the components of the DXLab Suite and some of the basics of how they work together. This was covered via a set of “live” demonstrations using our station. You can view these demonstrations as videos via the following links:
- DXLab Launcher and Online Help (Launches other programs in the Suite)
- DXKeeper (Logging, QSL’ing and Awards features)
- Commander (Interface to your transceiver)
- SpotCollector (Cluster Spot Aggregator)
- PathFinder (QSL Route Discovery and Online Callsign Info Viewer)
- DXView (Station Location Info and Directional Antenna Control)
- PropView (Real-Time Propagation Predictions)
- WinWarbler (Digital Modes and CW Keying)
Our station is a fairly complex one. It includes multi-operator capabilities from two operating positions with a total of four active radios and a microHAM station automation system. We also operate under a number of different callsigns from different computers. Finally, we do a fair amount of operating portable and from our mobile HF station. The DXLab Suite’s Launcher program, with its multiple workspace capabilities, easily handles the multiple configurations and equipment interfaces that are required for our station and operating style.
The next part of the presentation covered some common DXLab “use cases” that one would likely encounter when making contacts, QSL’ing, and managing progress toward operating awards.
The first demonstration showed the use of DXLab to make casual or “rag chew” contacts. The emphasis here is on using the Suite to automate station configuration and logging tasks and to provide information to enhance the quality of your contacts. This demonstration covers the basics of how the components of the DXLab Suite work together to help you make and log a contact. You can view a video of this demo via the following link:
The next demonstration showed the use of DXLab to find and work DX contacts. This demonstration uses more components of the DXLab Suite, including the spotting cluster and propagation prediction features. You can view a video of this demo via the following link:
The next demo shows how DXLab is used to find and make a DX QSO using Digital Modes. A RTTY QSO is shown, including the WinWarbler component and multiple RTTY decoders (MMTTY and 2Tone). You can view a video of this demo via the following link:
The next demo shows how to use DXLab to QSL and confirm contacts. The demo covers QSL’ing via the Logbook of the World (LoTW) and the eQSL online QSL services, the generation of paper QSLs, and the assistance that DXLab provides to determine QSL route information. You can view a video of this demo via the following link:
DXLab can generate labels to apply to your pre-printed QSL cards, or it can be used to print QSL information directly on blank cards.
DXLab can print QSL cards and address labels on many types of standard label stock. An example of QSL card labels is shown above.
DXLab also generates outgoing and return envelopes for your paper QSLs. An example is shown above.
The final demonstration shows how to use DXLab to track your progress toward and apply for operating awards. Some of the basics of QSL “aging” are discussed as well. You can view a video of this demo via the following link:
The SpotCollector component of the DXLab Suite is very useful as a cluster monitor. It can be configured to alert you via email or text to your mobile when something is on that you need. More information on how to use SpotCollector this way can be found here. The set of operating awards that DXLab knows about and the features that it provides to manage your progress toward earning and applying for awards are some of the strongest features of the suite. We have used DXLab to help us to earn many different operating awards.
The final part of the presentation covers the configuration of the DXLab suite to get it to work with your station. Since every station is different, it’s best to consult the excellent DXLab online help for more information on how to configure the suite.
The presentation includes links to useful tools and information to help you get the most from the DXLab suite. Dropbox is a useful file-sharing tool that can help you keep your logs and DXLab configurations in sync across multiple computers. This allows you to use DXLab to access your current logs or to operate your station from different computers.
I hope this overview of the DXLab suite will encourage our readers to try it. Anita (AB1QB) and I have successfully used the DXLab suite with our station for several years now. It does a great job automating many aspects of our Amateur Radio operations, QSL’ing, and award management. It easily handles the complexities of our multi-operator station, and it also handles logging and QSL’ing for multiple call signs that Anita and I operate under. We also use DXLab for our portable, Field Day, and mobile operations, and it handles all of these scenarios very well.
DXLab was created, enhanced, and maintained by David Bernstein, AA6YQ. He makes this excellent software suite available as freeware for the benefit of the Amateur Radio community. The DXLab suite is available for download here. Here, you can download a copy of our DXLab presentation (without the videos). The DXLab Yahoo! Group provides a good place to seek support and answers to questions about DXLab. I hope that our readers will give the DXLab suite a closer look. For those who already use DXLab, we hope you pick will up some new ideas from how Anita and I use the suite as part of your Amateur Radio operations.
– Fred, AB1OC
An excellent presentation; thank you for creating it and getting it out to your subscribers.
I’m a long-term user of Dave’s great product. Your material is very well done, and professionally prepared. I will use it from time-to-time when my memory is fuzzy on a particular subject.
The DXlab Suite is “feature rich” with many capabilities…..making it both a blessing and a curse. Hi !
Wonder if you’ve asked Dave to integrate your package into his material; maybe to replace some stuff that he has now ?
A new user can get great benefit from your package & how clearly you have organized the information. Wish I had it a few years back.
73, Gary W1EBM
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 20:23:43 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am glad that you found the DXLab information useful. I am planning some additions to this post when I have some more time. I am working with Dave to create links from the presentations section of the DXLab online information to this post. The links should be appearing soon.
Thanks and 73,
– Fred (AB1OC)
Thank you for the excellent presentation.
Does this work with I-MAC Computer?
DXLab is a Windows-based program and it requires a windows environment to work. I have run it on our Mac machines using VMWare/Windows as a host environment. We operated using DXLab and a Mac during our DXpedition to Bora Bora Island.
Here is some more information on using DXLab on a Mac – https://www.dxlabsuite.com/dxlabwiki/DXLabMacintosh
Hello, the links to the videos come up with ‘not found’. Do I have to right-click and download and/or save them in order to view them? 73 Tammie M3ENF 🙂
Thank you for reading our Blog. It looks like the wordpress.com folks moved some things around and broke the links to the videos. They should all be fixed now. Let me know if you have any other problems.