The Android logging app VK port-a-log developed by Peter VK3ZPF (VK port-a-log | VK3ZPF Ham Radio Blog) is being used by a steadily increasing number of SOTA activators. When you initially install the app, it creates a new file that will contain operator names associated with callsigns. At first, however, this file is empty. Given that I “occasionally” do some activations, I have over time built up a names file with 7421 callsigns and first names. During a hectic pileup, I find it extremely useful when the app suggests a first name after I enter a callsign. In cases when the app does not suggest a name, that means that I am either working with the call of a new SOTA participant or else I have made an error in entering the callsign. Because the latter case is more likely to occur, I take another close listen to the pileup. In this way, I have been able to significantly reduce the number of error in picking up callsigns.
My names file, using parentheses, might also provide a nickname or shortened name or even a special description (“unknown OM”). In the latter case, I have not yet been able to find a name for the operator in the Buckmaster database, in qrz.com, QRZ.CQ, Google or information provided by the Telecom authorities in the associated country.
Manuel HB9DQM has removed “funny” control characters from my names file and uploaded it to the HB9SOTA website; from the home page, go to the menu items SOTA → TECHNIK UND SOFTWARE → Software (https://hb9sota.ch/sota/technik/). We invite you all to download and install the file. On your Android device, using a file manager such as ES File Explorer Pro, first go to the VKportalog folder, then proceed to the “names” folder where you replace the existing names.csv file with the one you have downloaded from the HB9SOTA website.
If you would like to add a name, please note that you can enter it into VK port-a-log only during a QSO. Further, new names are not arranged alphabetically but rather are simply appended at the name of the names.csv file. Because of an as-yet not addressed shortcoming in the app, once you have saved a QSO, it is no longer possible to enter a name. A practical workaround is to mark a missing name during a QSO with a question mark in the Names field on the input screen, and afterwards replace it in names.csv with the actual name using a text editor.
Bruno HB9CBR has field tested the new names.csv file. Despite this, if you should uncover any errors, I kindly ask you to report them to me at email@example.com. I wish you success in using my names file for VK port-a-log.
73 de HB9BIN, Jürg