Station Design and Documentation Tools – Scapple & Scrivener

Documenting an amateur radio station is very easy when you have one radio running barefoot (no amp or other gear), yet gets very complex quickly with each additional radio/operating station or accessory exponentially adding complexity to the documentation effort.

I am experimenting with using two writer’s tools to plan and document my station:


Scrivener – a multi-file cross-file editor and project writing system.
Scrivener Link:



Scapple – a freeform graphical relationship editor.
Scapple Link:

Both are by the British firm “Literature and Latte” and are truly much more powerful than needed for this task, but as I use them for other writing tasks it only makes sense to keep using them.

Literature and Latte Logo

Literature and Latte Link:

These tools can be configured so very many ways, but what I am doing in Scrivener is putting every piece of hardware and software information I can gather, including my individual settings, into Scrivener “Characters” which can be grouped into operating positions (and reused where appropriate when shared or duplicated).

I’m dumping in spec sheets, operating & technical manuals, receipts, crib notes – basically everything I can gather to do with an item.  Scrivener considers that my “research” and acts like a database/filing system for all that data.

Then the mission critical is brought up into the actual station notes as Chapters & other divisions.

The Scrivener file is a type of archive that can be accessed in various ways, and is inclusive of all the research as well as the product documents.

The Station Notes export document is a flater document distilled down to what I’ve included as actual station notes.

Sounds more complex than it is, and I will do research data entry item by item over a period of time.

Did I mention you can incorporate pdfs and media files in both the research and the product document?

Awesome tool really intended for script writing, novel writing, and other complex major work projects.  I’ve just coopted it to adapt to a technical hobby use.

Scrapple comes into play as the tool to make up the connectivity and other relationship drawings to outline the Station Notes.  I know I could do these sketches on CAD software, but this is slick and easy, and rolls seamlessly into my Scrivener work.  Presently Scrapple is OS-X only, which is fine for my use, but leaves me looking for a similar resource for the Windows Based Scrivener work I do for work.

If there is interest, I can post some samples of the various levels of work to share.

Maybe using these tools (which are the huge total of $60.00 worth of software, which is amazingly inexpensive for their power & utility) is like taking something like a Ferrari to the supermarket.  Yet it is nice to know the product of the exercise will easily meet and exceed every foreseeable Station Notes use.

As a spoiler I do have point out YMMV, as I had already invested the time to learn the basics of Scrivener – without this time spent I would have an extra hour or two of learning curve.




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2 thoughts on “Station Design and Documentation Tools – Scapple & Scrivener

  1. […] via Station Design and Documentation Tools – Scapple & Scrivener | With Varying Frequency – …. […]

  2. dogear6 says:

    Interesting use for Scrivener and a great way to organize so much documentation. I followed this over from the Everything Scrivener reblog. I get a bunch of great ideas from there!


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