[CQ-Contest] Competing in the Daylight [was:UBN/Log disclosure...]

Doug Smith W9WI w9wi at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 10 11:28:43 EDT 2005

On Sun, 2005-10-09 at 20:50, fhdez at vox-tel.com wrote:
> IM in for CQWW, what do I have to do to have my score live?

Depending on your level of computer experience it may not be a trivial

I used the N1MM program for this contest.  N1MM Logger logs QSOs in a
table of an Microsoft Access2000 database.  

My hamshack computer is on a LAN with (among others) a Linux computer in
the den.  The Linux machine is attached to the modem I use for Internet
access.  (I'm too cheap to spend $50/mo. for a cable modem<grin>)  

I installed the "mdb-tools" package on the Linux box. 
http://mdbtools.sourceforge.net/  Among other things, this package
includes a program "mdb-export" which will export a table in an Access
database to a text file.  

I wrote a program (in Perl) that calls mdb-export on the N1MM log table,
then parses the resulting text file, collects the desired statistics,
and outputs them as a HTML (Web) file.  

I then used the Linux "cron" utility to trigger my Perl program once a
minute, and FTP the Web file to the Earthlink web server.  

Don't forget to put a "<HTTP META REFRESH..." tag in your HTML file,
otherwise the file on the webserver will keep updating but the users
will never see the updates...
If your setup is different...

- First, you need to be able to access your log on a computer that can
run a conversion program during the contest.  If you're using a DOS
contest program (CT, NA, TR) this may be a problem.  You may have to run
your contest program under Windows 95 or 98.  (in a phone/RTTY contest
newer versions of Windows will probably work)  Maybe you could use the
RS-232 multiop networking function to get the log data into another
computer for conversion?

If you're using a Windows contest program then Ethernet networking will
do nicely.

- Next, you need to be able to convert the logfile to HTML.  mdb-tools
only exists for Unix.  (maybe cygwin will allow it to run on Windows?) 
Probably the *easy* way to handle the conversion is with Microsoft
Access2000 and a VBA program, or with Visual BASIC 6 or better. 
Unfortunately both options are rather expensive.  Once you figure out
how to parse your log file the rest is pretty easy.

- Then, you need to send the logfile to a web server.  Windows comes
with a command-line FTP program that's more-or-less similar to the one
that comes with Linux distributions, and it'll do nicely.  

- Finally, you need to have some way of triggering the whole process on
a regular basis.  Linux comes with "cron".  Windows 2000 and XP (maybe
older versions too?) includes a "Scheduled Tasks" function -- but it
won't work.  Because you can't schedule a task any more often than
*daily*.  Ports of "cron" for Windows are available.  Or, I suppose, you
could run a timer within your conversion program.

Doug Smith W9WI
Pleasant View (Nashville), TN  EM66

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