Logging tips for visually impaired activator?

FCC certification costs? Or limited engineering resource and the fact the lack doesn’t affect sales to justify the effort.

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Hi Paul,

What I have but use not often is the audio recorder TASCAM DR-40 very good device, but uses a lot of battery.
May be you could get somewhere an old casette recorder type Walkman??
Another idea, may be the following website is something for you:
This HamRadioAndVision Web site has practical information for blind and vision-impaired amateur radio operators
Patrick ON4BCA



yes I do. The capacitor in the RTC only keeps it running for 4- 6 hours, long enough to take the battery out and charge it but not much more.

In my case I have two batteries, I leave the semi discharged battery in the KX2 until the evening before my next activation. I charge the other battery, then swap them round. That way both batteries spend most of their life semi discharged, which is the correct way to store Li-Ion batteries.

73 Gavin


Gavin, it looks like a good [backup] logging solution for my usual pen and paper [should a strong gust blow the log sheets all over the hillside]. But at £85 here in the UK I can’t justify buying a KX2IO. Will just have to continue to glance at my £9.99 Casio watch.

The logging feature on my KX2 is permanently on [no matter how often I try to turn it off in the setup menu]. Without the RTC and internal battery it gives relative time from power on. So, as someone suggested earlier, if one noted the time at power-on at the summit, you could work out the actual QSO timestamps when back home.

That’s a good tip to use the text memories for CQ, etc. to save on logging memory.

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Thanks, everyone, for your comments and suggestions. I will have to give some thought to the IC-705, although it wuold break my heart to give up on my KX2. As for the KX2, I was not aware that using the preprogrammed memories does not take up memory spacenwhen recording QSOs, nice tip, tnx. A talking wristwatch is a good idea. And thanks also for the lead about blindhams.com, seems to be lots of info there worth checking out. I really appreciate all the info.

The solution I’m looking at for right now is this: A buddy is loaning me his old Zoom H1 audio recorder (now discontinued), looks very interesting. It accepts audio from the KX2 headphone outpuot and has a line-level control (even autoset control). It also has a headphone jack for monitoring, with its own volume control. I’m still playing with optimal settings for those input/output levels. With the SD card, I can record about 50 hours, and I’ve never done an activation that long! I can then move the .wav file to my PC if desired.

For timestamping, after every several QSOs I’ll transmit key info such as band and UTC. “40/1115”. It goes out on the air, but it’s also recorded on the H1. Chasers will quickly figure it out. That device allows me to set markers and jump back and forth among them during playback, so if I have a pause or change bands or hunt an S2S, a marker will prove helpful.

In the evening, I’ll go on my desktop PC to sotadata and enter each QSO by hand. With control-scroll I can blow up the entry fields to the size of abillboard (the way I’m typing this text), and I’m able to still do that work on the screen for the momment. It’s far less convenient that uploading my VKPortaLog files as before, and logging will take time, but that’s the price I have to pay to get the log entered.

Let’s see how it all works. The first couple of activations I’ll still do paper logging as a backup for enough QSOs to get the points.


Hi Paul,
Have you seen this?

73 SA4BLM/ Lars

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Hi Lars,
No I didn’t see it – he uses exactly the same equipment as I have. Will be interesting to learn about his experiences.

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This is exactly what I do during 2m activations with the FT3DR recording so I don’t have to worry about logging.

Got you in the log at 2155

Sony makes a recorder with similar features to the H1. I have one and it works great recording CW activations. Line/Mic in level select, headphone jack, and volume control.

Thanks everyone for the tips. I did try using my H1 recorder for a half dozen activations. It connected FB to my KX2. But I found two big disadvantages. First, it took as long to do the logging as it did an activation. Second, sometimes I would forget to send a timestamp between CW contacts, so I had to guesstimate the QSO time. Logging was becoming drudgery, but SOTA should be fun,right?

My current solution:

My eyes have meanwhile stabilized somewhat, albeit at a low level of vision, but the solution I am now using is a tablet (Galaxy Tab A8, 10.25 inch diagonal screen) running VK port-a-log. The keys on Gboard (which allows easy voice entry for other apps) are many times larger than on my smartphone, and I can just manage. To better see what I have entered, I use the Magnifier app and set it up so that I can enlarge the callsign entry window. And the Save button is still accessible. Except for the frequency, which I sometimes forget to change, all the other settings remain the same. Entering a callsign can take me a few extra moments, so I hope the chasers bear with me. Best of all, as before, I can simply upload my log after an activation.

One disadvantage is the extra weight for the tablet, just over 500 grams, I just have to accept that. And in strong direct sunlight there is not enough contrast, so I need to cover my head while using the tablet. But good choice of the operating position can eliminate that problem in many cases.

My eyes continue to deteriorate, so I don’t know how long this will continue to work, but for the time being it’s the best solution I’ve found after trying many other things.



Hi Paul,
Have to admire the effort you are making under difficult circumstances to get those contacts logged.

One thought - the screen will be more visible if you put a little shade tent over it. I mused over this possibility with Andrew VK1AD and without any further discussion, the next time I saw him he gave me a little frame he had made from wooden dowels and garden irrigation connectors. Add a shopping bag and the result is a sunshade for the radio and the logging tablet. I think I have photos of it on some of my activations. It all rolls up and is carried in my backpack for a very small increase in weight. The dowels and connectors just go in the plastic shopping bag. It isn’t elegant but it is very effective especially in strong sunlight (which we get here) and with the right placement, the rig and the logging tablet are both in the shade, protecting both and making them easier to use.
Hope this helps.
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2DA

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Some pics.