I have discovered that my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone has a limit in the number of items retained in the call log, after which the oldest calls are deleted. Having previously suspected that this could be the case, I have periodically taken backups of the phone with Samsung's own backup/restore program, and have the backups on my Windows computer's hard drive.
Today I needed to check the time and date of a call I made almost a year ago, and saw the log in the phone didn't go that far back. I then started Kies3 on the computer, expecting some support to read the call log file (stored as Calllog.scl) among all the other stuff backed up. This was however overoptimistic - it appears the only thing Kies3 can do is restore the data back to the phone - no way to read it on the computer. Years ago I could read the call logs from my old Sony Ericsson "unsmart" phone, but Samsung seems totally unimaginative in anticipating a user's needs.
The format of the Calllog.scl file seems to be random data. I have had no success with trying to uncompress it, or to find any program that can read it.
Of course I could try to restore the old backup to my phone, but I am afraid the result could be a mess, due to the limited length of the log.
It also seems ridiculous that the log length is so limited considering that modern phones have GBs of storage. At least there could be a setting for the size.
I would be extremely thankful for any suggestions on how to extract information from the backup without restoring it to the phone.
Edit: I seems no one knows how to view the logs, which is not surprising, as I had googled extensively before posting this query. So now my strategy is to use a backup app (one simple and good one seems to be "Call Logs Backup & Restore" by Ritesh Sahu, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.riteshsahu.CallLogBackupRestore). It produces human-readable xml files (even with style sheet to provide pretty display in a web browser).
My strategy is:
1. use the app to back up my present call log to an external file
2. restore the old Kies backup to the phone
3. use the app again to back up the old calls to a second external file
4. use the app to restore the latest calls (from step 1) to the phone