Keeping a daily record of what you hear is vital for the DXer or even the more casual listener. It’s more than just a listing of the different stations you hear, but a journal of your short-wave travels, and a history of your reception techniques. It provides detailed information you can recall for reception reports, research on particular stations, reception conditions over a period of time, or proof of your receiver and antenna’s performance.
What should your logbook include? Some DXers use form sheets to remember all the important information, but this can restrict your record keeping by not allowing enough line space for details you consider vital. There is no law that says you have to use a particular form or make up your logs a certain way. As long as you include certain key elements in your report then the format is strictly a matter of personal choice. Those items which should appear in every report include: The date, time, station, location, signal and interference, plus programming heard.
To begin your log, record the date, your address, and a description of your receiver and antenna. Remember to log any changes in your listening setup that may occur. Now you are ready to begin logging. Keep a checklist handy for those basic points for each station logging, which again are: The date, time, station, location, signal and interference, plus programming heard.
Multiple loggings of the same station aren’t necessary unless there is something unusual you’d like lo record. For example if you listen to KNLS frequently, you don’t need to stop and log it each time unless there is something unusual in the broadcast worth noting. Also allow yourself to log general observations without a separate logging for each station, such as a notation that broadcasts from a certain region are good on a particular night.
It cannot be stressed enough that log keeping, once all the important points are included, should be a matter of personal choice. There is no right way or wrong way to keep a log. Soil you prefer to comment heavily on the programs or news events you hear, do it. If you’re more interested in the DX value of a station, go into detail on the signal, band conditions, and the antenna being used. Don’t just keep records. Make your log book a personal journal, and it will make interesting reading for you in years to come. Alter your writing style from time to time lo keep things fresh and don’t be afraid of writing too much.
One other bit of record keeping that might prove handy is the cross-reference. This is easy for computer users, but 3 by 5 file cards will do just fine. Every month, or maybe at the end of the season, go back through your log and make up a card for each station you heard. File the cards alphabetically by continent or country. Put the station’s ID and location at the top and include other station details, like power, address, who operates it, or station history. Then, the rest of the card can be made up of the date and time of each logging for that station. This system will allow you to locate a particular log entry without having to leaf through your journal page-by-page.
Basic Entries For A Log
- Universal Date & Time
- Station call sign
- Broadcast frequency
- Signal strength
- Signal interference
- Program description