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LOGic updates overwrite the prefix table. Is that a problem?
vk4iu
#1 Posted : Friday, February 14, 2014 10:49:29 PM(UTC)
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G'Day,

I have recently fielded several emails assisting others about prefix table updates. For the benefit of all, restated here is much of the detail of those emails. I always answer all emails, but much prefer my assistance with LOGic be provided on this LOGic forum for the benefit of all members.

DXCC and Prefix information is contained in the Prefix table. A list of DXCC entities is included in the Lists database for the purpose of Awards processing.

How does one know whether updates for the DXCC awards list, or the Prefix table are actually up to date and reflect the official lists? What happens if I update and the DXCC/Prefix lists are out of date?

In short, one does not know if they are current. The latest official DXCC list is at the ARRL in text form here. But that list is not in a format that anyone can use - regardless of the logging program. Human intervention is always required.

When I update to that list supplied in DBF form on the Forum here, I lost the Pacific Island of Niue - E6 - it appeared as an exception on Update Awards Progress. The DXCC list changes slowly. But, I confess my knowledge in this area is only starting - I may be missing others but am blissfully unaware - because I have never worked them. I am surprised that I have received no comments to my post on the forum re Niue.

I have made a note to write a routine that compares the official ARRL list to the DXCC award list. At first look - too hard!

Unfortunately the old adage about old trucks and tractors - if it ain't broke, don't fix it - is bad advice with IT components and software. After 40 years in the business, that philosophy only guarantees that the problem slowly gets bigger and bigger, and solutions, harder, and harder.

The DXCC list in the lists table is not strictly necessary for LOGic to log QSOs - it is just for award processing. The real DXCC data for logging is actually in the Prefix table. If you update the DXCC list, your QSOs don't change. Exceptions, missing DXCC award entries for QSOs you have logged, are reported when you Update Awards progress and you can correct the DXCC list in the awards list quite easily. Dennis never updates the DXCC award list in a LOGic update. That list, and any others in the Lists table are our responsibility.

The Prefix table is the heart of the issue - the source of DXCC and Prefix information when you log a QSO. And, this is the data that is potentially updated when you apply a LOGic update. These days I see LOGic updates have a flag "Update Prefix Table?", yes/no.

Dennis depends on us to post to the Prefix and Awards Tables Discussion & Updates any changes or additions that are needed. I note W7OO Bill does this often, as do a few others. My contributions are usually about technique rather than the data itself - which correctly reflects my low level of knowledge in this area. I had expected more would be active with information on this area.

In LOGic9, update 9.0.59, Dennis has included the ability to have "user entries" in the Prefix table, and they will be preserved across LOGic updates of the Prefix table. The changes are in the latest update 9.0.61. There are no longer any updates being produced for LOGic 8 - Prefix tables updates in LOGic 8 overwrite all data in the Prefix table

The latest LOGic9 updates include the latest Prefix data Dennis had at the time. But until one creates user entries, as compared to modifying the original entries, there is still the problem of losing data - your modified system entries will be overwritten when you apply a Logic Update that includes a new Prefix table.

But - that is not really a problem.

The data in your old QSOs are untouched by any change to the Prefix table. You will only notice a change when you log a new QSO and the Prefix table does not have the correct entry. Any old QSOs will be untouched and retain their values entered when you logged it with your personal updates to the old Prefix table.

With few exceptions, the DXpeditions are not coming back. Most official updates are in the Prefix table. As you work QSOs and log them, one DXCC/Prefix at a time, you can get up-to-date, and with every update you are assured of not losing any personal changes - provided you make them as a "User Supplied Entry".

Personally, I check my user entries after each official LOGic update, and remove them if they have been included in the official Prefix entries. Bill W7OO is usually way ahead of me, so I make user entries when he posts updates to the forum, if and when I see them. I want to my keep personal changes to the Prefix table to a minimum.

A backup is a good thing before any big changes are made. Remember - the Logic backup at Tools, Backup/Restore Log Data, does NOT include the Lists table, nor the Prefix Table, nor anything else. Personally, I take a complete copy of everything in the LOGic folder, and folders below, to an external USB disk before any major changes, including the official updates. I backup my LOG Data every day - sometimes multiple times a day. LOGic9 has an automatic mechanism to name the backup file by date and time. I keep the backups forever. So far the score is LOGic Nil, Peter 11. I have never needed the Logic backup because of a problem with LOGic, but I have made 11 mistakes from which I needed the backup to recover.

Good DXing.


Peter VK4IU
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WN4AZY
#2 Posted : Monday, February 24, 2014 4:02:28 PM(UTC)
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Thanks Peter.

To clarify, we do support and update the DXCC list, usually before the ARRL updates theirs. It is a separate update, however.

Here is why it is not included with the updates: Usually, a new country becomes active before the ARRL assigns a number and prefix to it or accepts it for credit. The "clean" way to log this is to leave DXCC blank, and go back later after the official DXCC list is released.

We have in the past taken the best guess of the experts and released an update. Sometimes it is a correct guess, other times it is not. If people start logging DXCC using a wrong prefix, any data logged against it must be corrected. When we have released a wrong guess, we have a downloadable update that includes a program to correct the QSO data.

Also note that the prefix table is not needed to track DXCC or any other award. All you need to track DXCC is the DXCC list in tools/setup/list of valid values. The prefix table maps the callsign to the country, automatically logging DXCC for you and telling you where to point your beam. So, you may enter a special event callsign in the prefix table, or just log the DXCC field manually.
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