Within a Box, El Capitan Brings an Old Logger Back to Life

The Ontario QSO Party (OQP) will be on the air the coming weekend, and I had been looking for a logger program suitable to keep the log during the contest.

The OQP website lists several programs that follow the specifications of the contest: http://www.va3cco.com/oqp/software.htm. However, I prefer to use a MacBook Pro laptop (running OSX El Capitan), and none of those listed would run in a Mac OSX environment.

One of the recommended programs is a DOS program: the “OQP Contest Logger” developed 17 years ago by Kevin VE3SYB. The latest version (v.1.07.1), dating from 2007 can be downloaded as a .ZIP file (“oqp1_071.zip”) from http://www.ve3syb.ca/software/oqp/download.html

I may still have around some old machine able to run DOS, but I decided in favour of a different approach: the DOSBox (http://www.dosbox.com). This is an x86 emulator program that simulates an IBM PC compatible computer running a DOS operating system.  Further than that, its latest version (v.0.74) can run in several different environments, including the Mac OSX.

Interfacing the DOS OQP logger with the radio from within a Mac, if at all possible, may be a difficult proposition. However, I like to do all my CW exchanges manually and will not need any of the keying functions in the DOS OQP Logger.

First, using OSX commands, in the local directory of the Mac HD: /Users/[my_name]/, I created a new directory called “dosprogs”: /Users/[my_name]/dosprogs/, and within it another called “oqp”: /Users/[my_name]/dosprogs/oqp/, inside of which I unzipped the oqp1_071.zip file.

When installed and run in the Mac environment, the DOSBox App shows a DOS window with the once familiar DOS prompt pointing to the Z: DOS drive: “Z:\>”, which contains all the DOSBox files.

Next, I let the DOSBox identify ~/dosprogs (in the Mac) as the C: drive (in DOS):

Z:\> MOUNT c ~/dosprogs [RET]

DOSBox responded with this answer:

Drive C is mounted as local directory /Users/[my_name]/dosprogs/

I logged the C: drive:

Z:\> C: [RET]

C:\>

And then I logged the OQP subdirectory:

C:\> CD OQP [RET]

C:\OQP>

Next, I ran the Logger’s CONFIX.exe file:

C:\OQP> CONFIG [RET]

This runs the configuration program, which also creates a subdirectory using the year as its name, in which all files pertaining to the OQP of that year will be output.

Next I ran the actual logger program:

C:\OQP> OQP [RET]

OQP
Using the Logger is quite intuitive. Also pressing Alt-H brings a useful help window. Only glitches to solve in the Apple were that the “fn” key needs to be pressed to operate “up” and “dn” to change bands.

After exiting the OQP.exe program, the program POST.exe needs to be run to output all logs and summaries in their different formats:

C:\OQP> POST [RET]

The .CBR, .ADI and .SUM files are named using the county abbreviation transmitted during the contest and are output to the C:/OQP/[YEAR]/ subdirectory. Hence,  they can then be directly accessed within the Macintosh environment at:

/Users/[my_name]/dosprogs/OQP/[year]/[County].CBR
/Users/[my_name]/dosprogs/OQP/[year]/[County].ADI
/Users/[my_name]/dosprogs/OQP/[year]/[County].SUM

TextEdit can then be used to adjust the heading and change its name its name as required for submission to the contest authority.

GL in the OQP Contest! – you too, Maclubbers (…Mac lovers?).

 

Notice: the above short article is not intended as a tutorial for running DOSBox in a Mac or even on the use of the “OQP Contest Logger”, but merely to celebrate the fact that DOSBox does readily permit the use of such venerable DOS program in a Mac modern environment.

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