I have used Logger32 for a long time, it has a decent feature set, and is highly configurable. Relatively complicated to set up, but once that is done, it works pretty flawlessly. There is good documentation by a dedicated team of folks, as well as an active Yahoo group that includes regular participation by the program's originator Bob Furser, K4CY. As a DXer, it does everything I need a logging program to do...not as fancy as some of the programs out there, but the features it has are solid and useful. All business, no fluff.
We converted to Macs at work about four years ago, so I'm fairly familiar with them, and have had my own Mac in my sights for a long time, so I'd done some research regarding logging software already, and knew there weren't nearly as many players as in the Windows world. I also knew based on personal experience and anecdotal reports that I could probably keep running Logger32 in a virtual machine on the Mac, but did not want to do it that way if I could help it. Keeping that as a fall-back solution, I wanted to run a native OSX application, so I began seriously looking for a logging program.
The two that seemed most interesting were RUMLog by Tom Lindner, DL2RUM and MacLoggerDX (MLDX) by Don Agro, VE3VRW. Both applications have user forums online in which the developers participate, but the MLDX forum seems to have the larger and more active user base of the two. There are things about RUMLog that remind me of Logger32, and as freeware, the price is right, so I decided to give it a try. It's not a bad program at all, but I had had many recommendations to try MLDX, so I decided I would.
MLDX is $95, but has a trial scheme in that you can use the non-crippled program as much as you'd like prior to buying, with the only limitation being that the program times out after 15 minutes. Fair enough, I can give it a try before buying. The first thing I noticed is that 15 minutes is a very short time to spend with a complicated program when you don't know anything about how it works! Most software packages I've run across will do something similar, but give you a two-week to 30-day trial period. I can see advantages to both schemes I suppose, but when actively evaluating, the 15 minute sessions are a PITA, but I sat down with the program, manual, and online forum to give it my best shot.
After importing my 5000+ QSO QRP-only log from the past three years, the first thing I noticed is that the QSO entry area is very busy on MLDX. There are fields that, IMO, just aren't necessary to display for average QSOs. For example, in addition to "normal", expected fields such as First Name, State, Frequency, Mode, Reports and Notes, there are questionable fields such as Last Name, Street, City, State, Email, IOTA, SOTA, 10/10, etc. MLDX pretty much assumes the user will be using an online callsign lookup service such as QRZ.com.
Also, the formatting of some items is fairly questionable as well. Particularly, the Time fields are a full timestamp displayed as YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS. That is very busy to look at and needlessly detailed for most purposes. But I figured I could live with it - IMO though, it just detracts from the appearance of the log - a log whose main advantage is it's appearance.
Another problematic item is the Notes or Comments field. It is automatically populated with a bunch of needless "stuff" when doing a lookup on a station. For instance, the following was entered with no prompting from me in the last QSO I entered into MLDX:
Class: E, efdate: 2005-02-01, expdate: 2015-03-17, GMT:-5, qrzloc:user, Uploaded to ClubLog 2013-11-22 02:16
Whew! Now, there may be a flag in the preferences that allows me to turn this off, but I never did see it. But really, why would I want to put in my log when the other station's license is going to expire? Crazy. Just because some information is available doesn't mean you need to log it!
But I kept looking at the program, and while it did do some fairly stupid things, it did some other things very nicely indeed. There is a Stacking register that allows you to keep up with calls/frequencies and easily tune back to them which is nice. There are a lot of map options that are fun. Like most hams I think, I like maps. While the Grayline map was OK (although it should be a vector image like most loggers use, rather than a bitmapped image), especially with the ability to plot spotted DX stations, the map I was most enamored with was the Google Map - the station worked is plotted on Google Maps, which can be zoomed in or out to get an idea of the other station's locale. When I was a new ham over 35 years ago, I remember looking up all my QSOs on a map just to see where French Lick, Indiana was or whatever - great fun, and this automated it. Nice. In fact, this mapping feature is probably the single feature that made me decide to send Don Agro my $95. I figured all the other weaknesses I'd encountered to date were tolerable, and/or were simply a matter of me not setting the preferences correctly yet.
So, I paid my 95 bucks and started using the program. Don Agro was very quick to issue me a registration number and I was off and running. The first thing I noticed after the program had been running for an hour or so was that my display of DX stations in the Spots window was not showing much in the way of useful spots. Almost all the spots were countries and band/countries I'd worked before. So, I started digging into the preferences, the manual, and researching old posts on the Yahoo group, but I could not figure out a way for the Spots window to display only new countries or new band-countries. Instead, it was showing every DL, G, I, etc. that had been spotted, which cluttered up the Spots window tremendously. While the spots were color coded, each of several columns had to be reviewed for each spot to determine whether or not it was a spot of interest. So, I posted a question about this to the Yahoo group and was quickly answered by Don Agro, who basically said that the filtering I was looking for was unavailable. I then asked that a feature request be considered to allow such filtering, as without that, the Spots window is very difficult to use. At that point, I was quickly admonished by Don Agro that it was an inappropriate use of the Yahoo group to post feature requests, and that any posted in such a manner would be ignored. And, fair enough, that information is included on the group's "About" page and I'd missed it. So, I apologized and sent a feature request directly to Dogpark Software and Don Agro.
And that is when the shit hit the fan.
Via a rapidly-deteriorating exchange of email between me and Don Agro, I was told that I was the only one who had ever made such a request, that my request was "nonsense", and at one point "Feature bloat is the single worst thing a Mac application can be accused of". Which is really pretty funny if you look at the program on a whole and see all the useless things that it does do in an attempt to be pretty vs. functional. At one point in the exchange Don Agro, to his credit, offered to refund my money, which I thought was more than fair, and a bit surprising actually. This was after he had said he wouldn't add the filtering capability that seemed so basic to me. So, I decided to see if I could successfully install a virtual machine and get Logger32 running acceptably on my Mac, and if I could, I would probably take him up on his offer.
A few hours later, Don Agro sent me an email stating "Version 5.50 Beta 64 has worked and confirmed filters added but I would still be more than happy to issue you a refund. I don’t need your $95.00". Wow, what a class act! That pretty much made my decision for me - I would put up with the limitations in RUMLog (which really is a good program and not all that limited) before using MLDX! Hell, I would resort to a pen and ink log before using MLDX! (OK, that's not much of a stretch - except for contests, I still keep a paper log - I'm a fountain pen user/collector!)
I had been warned that Don Agro was a bit of a curmudgeon. Bob Furser is too, and so am I. But I think it's more than curmudgeonliness in Don Agro's case - I think he may have some issues that could use professional attention. He certainly does not know how to address customers. To his credit, Don Agro did rapidly refund my purchase price when I accepted that offer.
So, I downloaded Parallels and installed Logger32 on the Mac, and am working along very nicely indeed, with all communications between the radio, keyer, and software working exactly as they should. Parallels works well with OSX's new full-screen mode, and I've got my smaller monitor off to the side with full-screen Logger32 and the big monitor used for Mac stuff and everything is working great! No, it's not as pretty as MLDX, and doesn't have quite the same feature set, but it does what it should do, and does it well. And the developer isn't an asshole to me to boot! Life is good.
MLDX may be a good choice for you - I will warn you to test it fully before buying. Oh, and one more thing: I wanted to leave my install of MLDX active on my machine until I finished this review, before deleting it forever. So, when I started writing the review, I cranked up MLDX to review how it did some things, and after 10 minutes, I got the familiar "this trial will stop after 15 minutes" pop-up. Wow, Don Agro has the ability to rescind MLDX registration even after you've purchased the program. So, if you really piss him off, be warned, he could disable your registration at any time.
A little addendum:
OK, so I saw nothing in the manual or discussed in the Yahoo group about uninstalling MLDX, so I decided to post a final message to the Yahoo Group to make sure I was getting everything removed properly. Well, I already realized this was a private group and thought all posts were moderated by Don Agro himself, but figured I'd ask anyway. Here is the automated response I got:
We are unable to deliver the message from <ME>
You are not allowed to send email to this group. There are two possible
reasons for this:
1. This group may only accept postings from moderators.
2. The moderator of this group may have removed your ability to post to
To contact the group moderator, send mail to macloggerdx-owner@yahoogroups.
For further assistance, please visit http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lee Hiers <ME>
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2013 12:50:30 -0500
I did not see any instructions in the manual referencing removal of MLDX, nor in any of the messages here.
Other than deleting the application file, I see there are four dogparksoftware entries in the Library/Preferences to remove, as well as the log and some associated files in a directory in my Documents directory.
Is there anything else to remove/do to delete MLDX from my Mac?
Having previously posted a few messages successfully to the group when evaluating and installing the program, I can only surmise that number two is the reason my message was not accepted. Nice.