CQ PC – Ham Radio With a Computer

It is no secret that I have a lot of computers, and it isn’t much of a secret that I’m a ham radio operator. So it isn’t suprising that I use a computer for many of my operating chores.

There’s lots of choices for software, but I’ve been very impressed with DXLab. Just like Microsoft Office has a word processor, spread sheet, etc. DXLab has a log book, a rig control program, a DX spotter, and many other features. The user interface is not always the slickest, but the programs work together. That’s a huge feature.

Don’t let the name fool you. The programs are not just for DXing. You can load one of the programs, all of them, or anything in between. Here’s what’s available:

  • Commander – Controls many rigs via RS232 port
  • WinWarbler – Very powerful PSK31 and RTTY program
  • DXKeeper – Log book, interfaces with eQSL.cc and LotW; tracks award status
  • DXView – Displays station locations graphically and optionally control a rotor
  • SpotCollector – Manages DX clusters via radio or Internet
  • PropView – Propagation forecasting and monitoring
  • PathFinder – Locates QSL information
  • Launcher – Launches sets of DXLab program

All of the programs are free and you can download stable or development versions. And they all work together. So if a station is spotted by SpotCollector, its position will show up in DXView. It is very easy to have Commander take your rig there, point your antenna (with DXView) and then put the other station in the log with just a few clicks.

Check it out at www.qsl.net/dxlab. There is also an active Yahoo group at groups.yahoo.com/group/dxlab/.