LOGGING tools / logging strategy

Dear experienced SOTA activators,
What is your strategy and which tools are you using for logging when operating on a SOTA activation? I still use paper & pen and just again spent an hour or so after today’s activation entering everything manually into SOTA DB (and then to GMA as well) because I did not find any tool yet for android that supports entering the SOTA references.
Thanks and 73,
Alfred, OE1SQA.

for android there are:


for windows here is a very nice tool i use for entering all my qso’s (still using paper & pen as well):

73 martin, oe5reo


Hi Alfred,

My choice is paper and pen. I then enter the QSOs at home with FLE (see link in Martins post).

73 Heinz


Hi Alfred

I use Outdlog for iPhone. The only downside for using my phone to log is that in bright sun light it becomes hard to see the screen. Under such conditions I resort to paper and pen. About 98 percent of the time I use Outdlog though. I am usually able to upload my logs to the Database before I get home when there is good cell service on the way home.

Ariel NY4G

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VK Port-a-Log on an Android tablet.
Still carry the pen and paper as the back up.


I used to go activate then come home and type each QSO in to the database, then each QSO in to my electronic log.

This was too much effort so I wrote an app for Android called VK port-a-log.

I reckon I’ve spent many times the effort at the keyboard making the app better than I would have spent just logging on paper - but coding is something I really enjoy.


I just use pen and paper. I can write faster than I can type on a phone. Never have to worry about the phone running low on battery or having other issues either. Unless I make dozens of contacts, it’s not too much work to type them in at home.


I use pencil and paper. Pencil because it works in the wet.

When home l copy the contacts into a spreadsheet. From this I extract the CSV data to paste into Notepad to produce a .csv file to then upload into the SOTA database.

Attached is an example.

73 de Andrew G4VFL

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I still use SOTALog from Peter@HB9TVK to type in my paper logs

BTW, Congrats Peter@HB9TVK on achieving Mountain Goat on HB/OW-016 yesterday!


Pencil & Rite in the Rain logbook on the summit and then Saisie SOTA software by F6ENO (Alain) on Windows PC to enter the whole log into the database via CSV and into my logging program via ADIF. Both files type are created by Saisie SOTA.

73 Phil

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Paper & ball pen (in winter pencil).
Than hand input to logging programm and export to csv file to upload it to database.

73, Jarek SP9MA

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Dear all,
Thank you very much for all your hints and thoughts! I tested the fle tool recommended by @OE5REO and it works perfektly. I will stick to paper and pen on the summit and with the fle tool I can comfortably digitize the QSOs at home and I need to do it only once, that was the aim and it works great. I can then use the tool then to export files suitable for import into

  • my log software
  • the sota DB
  • GMA DB.
    It works fine, I just t tested it this weekend.
    73 and thanks once again to the great community here.
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Plus one for this approach. I know it sounds like @VK3ZPF is paying me - but his app has really smoothed my activations. From logging, to spotting to checking other spots. I even use it at home as my radio-side logger then use dropsync app to put the log on dropbox. I know @VK1AD also uses dropsync and often uploads logs to dropbox before even leaving the summits.



I use a paper log in the field and write with a mechanical pencil that has an eraser. I find the eraser quite handy at times. At home, I use Log4OM and can type in my activations in ten minutes or so even if I have 30 or 40 contacts. It is then a simple matter to upload to SOTA.

How you log also kind of depends on how you set up the rig and whether you use a mic, CW key, ear buds, or headset. I do a lot of CW, listen on the rig’s internal speaker, and have my paddles attached to my clipboard. For me it easier and quicker to use a paper log as everything is on my lap, minimizing eye and hand movements. I formed a habit many years ago of holding a pencil while sending CW so that I don’t have to constantly lay down and pick up my pencil.

In the end, have fun and do what works best for you.

Ron, KI4TN


My approach is broadly similar to that described by @G4VFL and @G4OBK

Now that a lot of my activations are on FT8 mode, I should really be thinking of exporting directly from the logbook on the tablet, and maybe use that for my non-FT8 activations too - but I haven’t built up the confidence to go with that yet!

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I’ve been using VK Portalog on a smartphone and a Bluetooth keyboard for ages now. I stopped carrying backup pen and paper years ago, the set up has never let me down. Well, the keyboard failed in Iceland this year, but I was still able to log using the smartphone. Overall, I am more likely to forget my battery or antenna or something than my smartphone is likely to stop working. It’s waterproof too.
73 de OE6FEG

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I have been Beta Tester of Outdlog from a Swiss Ham, available for Android and Ios. I’am very happy with it, really easy loging. You may have Sota csv and adif export, nice feature. It has all needed for Sota Aktivation, Copy from Spotlist, Edit, delete …

73 de hb9fvk (ruedi)

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I use the autolog function on the KX2, no pen or paper needed. As long as you send clean CW it records call, time and band of the QSO. I then enter into the manually enter into the SOTALog CSV Editior and then upload to SOTA database and export ADIF for my main log.


Mike AD5A


Hello all,

As much people i use paper and pen, then back home
the soft Saisie Sota by F6ENO.
Nobody noticed you can upload directly ADIF file in the BD (no need CSV anymore)
as long as ADIF file contains the good TaG.
73 Gerald F6HBI


Small flip waterproof paper notebook with a pencil tied to the notebook with string. Works great. I tried using my cellphone for logging. Too complicated to deal with easily. I can log much faster with paper and pencil.