Don't wait until a week or two before the contest to install and test the software - this is one item that you can plan for. Some programs are better suited to CW operation, while others favor voice. Some are equally adept in either type of operation. Some work best in a mobile setting, others are easier to operate from a fixed station.
In a multi-op setup, consider whether the program offers network support - some do. Consider whether you need a computer interface to your radio for mode and frequency automation. This is a very useful feature in a mobile operation, but test it and work out any bugs now. On-the-road interface installation debugging during the contest is seldom successful.
Another important consideration is the computer system you will use for logging. Slower computers may not perform adequately with some of the more advanced programs. Some of the DOS-based programs may not even run on Windws 2000 or XP. If you find a program you are comfortable with, but need to get a better computer to run it, there are still a couple of hamfests to go shopping if you make your choice in July or August. Wait until September and a trip to the computer store may be the only option.
You should also consider your personal preferences and whether you are operating mobile or fixed station. Hot-keys and single-key navigation may be more practical in a mobile environment. If you are more comfortable using a pointing device and are operating from a fixed station, the hot-keys may not be as important. Evaluate and choose your logging solution as early as possible.
Last Updated (Friday, 11 April 2008 19:36)