Analyzing Contest Logs by W5WZ

So you have your shiny whiz-bang contest logging software installed and configured to interface properly between your computer and your radio.  That’s a great step toward an integrated ham station, as far as logging the time, date, mode, frequency, callsign worked, and the contest exchange are concerned.  Much faster than pen and paper!  But, is that the end of the usefulness of software in the ham shack?  No way!  There are countless software tools available that fill various niche needs. I’ll introduce one of my favorite pieces of ancillary software in this article.

It’s no secret; I really enjoy HF contesting.  To me, there isn’t anything else quite like running stations at rates greater than 125 QSOs/hour.  In many contests, whether single-op or multi-op, the log will have hundreds, if not thousands of QSOs.  A deep-dive analysis of the log can provide insight into propagation patterns, timing of band changes, and even antenna azmituth to the maximum amount of QSOs.  The intent of the analysis is always to improve future contest scores.  Many software tools are available that provide detailed analysis of contest logs, but most only output page upon page of data in text tables, which are useful, but get downright boring to comb through to extract and interpret the real meat.

A few years ago, I learned about a software tool that is the cat’s meow. The tool is called “SH5 Contest Log Analyzer.” SH5 is fast and easy to use contest log analyzer which creates a variety of statistics in HTML format (WEB pages) from the Cabrillo format log generated by any contest loggers (N1MM Logger+, Win-Test, Writelog, TR4W and others). Reports may be viewed with any Internet browser, such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Internet Explorer. The program also allows you to upload this data to your WEB site for public access and to create an archive of your contest results.

You’ll find the SH5 website at:  https://sites.google.com/site/sh5analyzer/

I invite you to check out the reports I’ve generated using SH5 by visiting my contest log and performance archives online at http://w5wz.com/sh5/w5wz/  Go find my log and reports for a contest that you’ve participated in.  See if we changed bands at about the same times.  Did I leave the band too soon?  Too late?  These are the kinds of questions to ask, and a tool such as SH5 can help answer.

See you in the pileups!
73, Scott W5WZ

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