(C) 2001, 2002, 2003 - Rein Couperus, PA0RCT

a free console mode general purpose CW keyer, voice keyer,

logging and contest program for hamradio

under LINUX

This program is published under GPL




TLF-0.9.9 is a console (ncurses) mode general purpose CW keyer, -logging and -contestprogram for hamradio. It supports the CQWW, the WPX, the ARRL-DX , the ARRL-FD,the PACC and the EU SPRINT contests (single operator)as well as a lot more basic contests, general QSO and DXpedition mode. It interfaces with a morse code generator, a number of radios, and with a DX Cluster. Tlf can project cluster data into the excellent Xplanet program, written by Hari Nair.
Contest operation mimics the popular TR-Log program for DOS, the output file is TR- as well as CABRILLO compatible. The program was written for console mode on purpose, to make it run also on smaller machines, or remotely via a modem link. TLF is developed under SuSE 9.0, and tested under SuSE 8.0, kernel version 2.4.1. Beta testers welcome !!!

There is now also a two-floppy version in development called debianham. That version is maintained by the Debian community, and contains a Linux mini-distribution and a copy of tlf (version 0.8.19).

. The cwdaemon-0.7 is fully supported, featuring direct mode for the keyboard and output to parallel and serial ports and speed and weight control from the keyboard.
Two more keyer modules are supported. The cwkeyer from Ivo, 9A3TY with output on either ttyS0 or ttyS1,and the (more flexible) cwkeyer for the parallel port from Eric, PA3FKN with output on LP0. They both work with a cw output device called /dev/cwkeyer,and can be fully controlled by TLF.

As the cwdaemon is now more flexible than the other modules, and easier to maintain (it runs in user mode rather than as a kernel module) focus of the development is on the cwdaemon.

Tlf works with Hamlib-1.1.4., you find it at

Tlf provides full ip networking between tlf nodes, syncing/distributing log, packet data, frequency data,local talk, serial numbers, time sync etc...

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I have been using mostly TR-Log for contesting, or CT when working as guest op in M/S operations. I am especially fond of TR-Log. When you have a DOS computer, you don't need TLF. You should use TR-log.However, I have now removed all WINDOWS and DOS software from my computers and put LINUX on.This means I can't use my favourite contesting software anymore (yes, I have also experimented with DOSEMU, but without great success...)

TLF started as a simple keyboard interface to cwkeyer-0.1 from 9A3TY. When the WPX 2001was 2 months away I had to try to write my own program. That turned out to be great fun. The result of this is TLF,which very much represents my idea of what a CW contest program should do.

Some have asked what the name stands for. The old hands from the days when CW was still hand-crafted willcertainly know. It means Try Left Foot.
On special request TLF will now also log SSB and DIGIMODE qso's.

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Permanent information displays:

  • Keyer output,

  • last 5 log lines,

  • UTC time,

  • keyer speed, delay,

  • keyer status

  • (Keyboard|CQ|S&P|Auto),

  • DX database output for active call,

  • or WWV data if available via packet.

Optional information windows:

  • Dupe check,

  • score,

  • raw cluster output | DX spots only | Band Map,

  • Check partial call with a database of some 28.000 known contest calls,

  • Zones worked,

  • Countries worked

  • Propagation diagrams based on:

    • sun spots,

    • qrb,

    • B>sunup,

    • sundown,

    qtr, etc.



Uses standard cty.dat.


TLF interfaces to the keyers through ip networking (cwdaemon), Both for output on the parallel port and the serial port.
Interface to the radios has been kept modular, since tlf-0.7.0 the hamlib library is supported, which enables control of various popular rigs.

Tlf is now fully networked, with an extremely simple setup procedure... You have to see it to believe it..!

HW Interface to the trx: Parallel port circuit

HW Interface to the trx: Serial port circuit


Install the CW driver

Download cwdemon-0.7.tar.gz and untar it.

To install the daemon, do (as root):

1: ./configure
2: make
3: make install

The program is installed in /usr/sbin, and can be started (as root) with cwdaemon (or cwdaemon -n).

The default output port is /dev/lp0. Be sure to unload the lp module first (rmmod lp).See the provided README for more details.
The manual page will tell you some more about startup options, you could also type cwdaemon -h.

Testing cwdaemon
Install the netcat package and type: 'nc -u localhost 6789'.
Any character typed on the command line will be sent to cwdaemon after you hit enter. You could also use the following shell script which is character based:


old_tty_settings=$(stty -g)
stty -icanon
trap 'stty "$old_tty_settings"; exit 0' INT

echo "Press (CTRL-C) to interrupt..."

while true; do
Keypress=$(head -c1)
echo $Keypress | nc -q0 -u localhost 6789

This only works if your version of netcat supports the -q switch. If you don't have it, you also could try: echo $Keypress > /dev/udp/localhost/6789

Install the Hamlib library

- Get the Hamlib 1.1.4 library
- Unzip and untar the archive
- Go into the top directory
- As root, do ./configure, make, and make install.
- Add /usr/local/lib to /etc/ and run ldconfig (as root).

Install the TLF program.

Get the latest distribution of tlf from the download site (
Tlf now supports GNU autoconf and automake, which automates the installation process, and makes sure you haveall the goodies on your machine which tlf needs..

You have to be root to install tlf.
* Read ./doc/README and INSTALL
* Untar the archive (e.g. tar zxvf tlf-0.9.9.tar.gz)
* cd into the top directory (cd tlf-0.9.9)
* type ./configure (if you want to use hamlib, type ./configure --enable-hamlib, install hamlib first...)
* type make
* type make install

Directory structure

It is good practise to use separate directories for the different contests.
TLF can be started from any directory. to start a specific contest you need to:


E.g. For the cqww2003ssb I made the following structure:

~/tlf/contest/cqww2003ssb/ (the working directory tlf is started from...)




The general commands to configure tlf are in logcfg.dat; the contest specific parameters are in ./rules/cqww.

There are examples in the /usr/local/share/tlf and /usr/local/share/tlf/rules directories. You can use these as templates and edit your call etc...

With tlf-0.9.9 it is now possible to start tlf with different logcfg.dat files for each operator. If you sgtart tlf e.g. With tlf -fPA0R you get the logcfg.dat file for PA0R.

The cty.dat and mastercalls file sit in /usr/local/share/tlf, and they are read from there. You may want to add information to them before the contest. Leave them in place so tlf can find them !! You normally need root privileges for editing in /usr/local/share...
The cty.dat file included in the distribution of tlf-0.9.9 is the one from October 2003.

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    Make sure the cwdaemon runs (start as root)before starting tlf if you want to use the keyer or the voice keyer....

  1. Start the program (tlf).


. / clfile

This is the input FIFO for the DX cluster monitor. You only need it when you use a dx cluster, or any other information you want the program to display, and if you cannot use ttyS0 or ttyS1 (e.g. you have only 1 serial port, which is used for rig ctrl).
There are several ways to get the cluster data into it.
You can use the "call" ax25 tool. .
You can get the info into clfile by starting call with:

 call -r packetinterface | tee 

You can also use telnet. Open a new terminal in the working directory, and start telnet with:
telnet node | tee -a clfile

TLF will pick it up from there (it will look in the working directory for clfile!!).

TLF now also has its own comfortable telnet client and tnc terminal !!You have to set the proper parameters for this in the logcfg.dat file.

Note:When your tlf node wants to receive packet date via the LAN, from another tlf node, the FIFO must also be active.... For this purpose you must set FIFO_INTERFACE in the logcfg.dat file!


This is the DXCC database. It resides in /usr/local/share/tlf.


This is the contest calls database. It resides in /usr/local/share/tlf.

. / .paras

The parameter file. It remembers some parameters for the next session. TLF will generate one for you. It is not necessary to touch this, as all parameters are included in the file logcfg.dat, which can be edited within tlf.

. / logcfg.dat

or other_logcfg_file

(start with tlf -fother_log_file)

The configuration file. It enables you to configure tlf for a specific operator,for normal qso operation, etc. A template is available in /usr/local/share/tlf. You should stick to the format as much as possible. In case certain parameters are mutually exclusive, the last one wins....
As more functions become available in future, new versions of logcfg.dat will become available. Lines starting with '#' are ignored. If there is no logcfg.dat file in the working directory tlf will try to read the one from /usr/local/share/tlf. Be sure to edit your call and the log file name...

. / rules/contestname

The rules file. It enables you to configure tlf for a specific contest, for normal qso operation, etc. A template is available in /usr/local/share/tlf/rules. You should stick to the format as much as possible. In case certain parameters are mutually exclusive, the last one wins....
As more functions become available in future, new rules templates will become available. Lines starting with '#' are ignored. If there is no ./rules/contestname file in the working directory tlf will try to read the one from /usr/local/share/tlf/rules.


The log file. You name it!

. / cabrillo

This file will be generated by the ":write" command after the contest. Rename to YOURCALL.CBR and email....

. / logname.adif

This file will be generated by the ":adif" command after the contest. This file format can be used to post the log to LOTW or import in other loggers.

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For the latest commands, keys and parameters for logcfg.dat and rules please read the README and the MAN-PAGE (man tlf), which are up to date...

CT compatibility mode

CT compatibility has been added to tlf in order to make it easier for those who have been workingwith CT a lot as guest operators during M/S or M/M operations.
Two things have been added to tlf to accomplish this:

The CT compatible commands are active all the time, they are just aliases for existing tlf commands.

By setting the CTCOMPATIBLE parameter in logcfg.dat logging in tlf will behave like CT instaead of TR.This means that:

The log file of tlf is TR compatible, also in CT compatibility mode.

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Logging qso's

All activity takes place in the call input field (and the exchange input field..).
When you enter (part of) a call, several things happen:

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QSO B4 message

Tlf will automatically generate an qso b4 message in case you try to work a dupe. This message is taken from message F7. If you want to work the dupes anyway set NOB4 in logcfg.dat !!

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Deleting qso's

Using the "-" key will delete the last qso from the log (after asking your permission of course).

Editing the 5 previous qso's

You can edit the 5 previous qso's with "Up-arrow". This qso editor is using overwrite mode. Use the cursor keys tonavigate, and leave edit mode with enter, tab or escape.
You can use Insert and Delete. If you use "up-arrow" in the first line you go into LOG VIEW mode.
During edit mode LAN messages are kept in a buffer. You can edit anywhere in the log with the :edit command.

Edited qso's are NOT sent to other nodes in the network. But you can sync the logs with another node with the :SYNC command.


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Changing RST

You can change RST sent when a Call is in the Call Input Field. Page_down will lower the S value and Page_up will increase it.

RST received can be changed by going into the exchange field and using Page_down and Page_up accordingly.


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Changing CW/SSB mode

The commands are :MODe, :CWMode, :SSBmode and :DIGimode .

Changing Bands

When you are in the call input field, use the left_arrow and right_arrow keys to change the band, also with the Trlog commands Alt-v and Alt-b. You can switch off the arow keys by entering NO_BANDSWITCH_ARROWKEYS in the logcfg.dat file.
When contest mode is on, only the contest bands can be reached (160-80-40-20-15-10).

For the WARC bands set CONTEST=qso and uncomment CONTEST_MODE in logcfg.dat

If a radio interface is present, band switching can be done in several ways:

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Contest commands

Some special commands are needed for use in a contest:

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Keyer commands

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Radio control commands

The rig control works with Hamlib-1.1.4.

The radio interface is switched on with the following commands in logcfg.dat:

A Radio Control Interface is available for a growing number of rigs.
The development is done by the active Hamlib group. Info about rig compatibility is available on:

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Log commands

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Change your time zone and location

Set parameter TIME_OFFSET in logcfg.dat when your computer clock does not run on UTC. The parameter can have anyvalue between -23 and 23.

Edit the cty.dat file, and put the data of your qth into the line representing your country. An example:

United States:            05:  08:  NA:   43.00:    87.90:     5.0:  K:

If you are in zone 04, change the 05: into 04:, change the 43.00 and the 87.90 into your location. and the 5.0 (time difference to GMT) at the end to 6.0

This will enable tlf to show the DX time of a station you are working.
Tlf is picky with respect to the exact format of the file; make sure the stuff is in the right columns!

When there is a TIME_MASTER on the network, the tlf clock will be synchronized with the master.
To designate a station as a time master, just set TIME_MASTER in logcfg.dat.

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The score window

The score window is adapted to the contest you are in. So if the contest parameter is set to cqww, you geta special score window for it, showing qso's per band, countries worked per band, zones worked per band and total score.
It also gives an indication of the qso's per multiplier, and the qso rate based on the last 10 qso's.
When you restart the program the score is recalculated from the log file. When a qso is deleted from the logfile the score is not adjusted, neither is the list of counties worked updated. You can correct this by using the :REScore command. With this operation the points are taken from the log, and the mults are recalculated! Through deletion of qso's and node down times the logs on separate nodes may differ after running for considerable time. This is normal, it happens also with CT and Trlog. Tlf can resync the log of a node on the fly by setting the SYNCFILE=<user:password@host/dir/logfile> parameter in logcfg.dat.

By issueing the :SYNC command the local log is merged with the log on the other node.

It is even possible to start a node mid-contest without a log, :SYNC will get the log from the master node.

At the bottom of the window you will see the QSO's/MULT display, and the RATE (qso's per hour, based on the last 10 qso's) as soon as tlf has enough data to calculate it. The RATE display is rather coarse at the moment., as it is based on the time it took for the last 10 qso's....

The format of the display is dependent on the type of multiplier(s). I may be that for a certain combination of points and mults a display is not yet available, send your requirements to the mailing list ( Well in advance of the contest you need it for !!

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The Messages

There are 24 messages. More than I can remember. Some have a special use:

For the messages you can use a number of special characters:

The easiest way to handle the messages is to edit them in the rules file for the relevant contest. You can keep separate rules files for different contests and operating situations.
You can list the messages with ":list" and change them with ":message".
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Dupe checking

With the ":check" command you can open a pop-up search window which will tell you:

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Intelligent exchange input check for the ARRL sweepstakes

In the arrl sweepstakes contest e.g. the exchange is SERIAL-PRECEDENCE-CHECK-SECTION.
Tlf enables you to input these items in almost any order, like 12A 87ORG or ORG 12 87 A.If you set CALLUPDATE in logcfg.dat, the call in the call input field will be updated also. (needs blanks on bothsides, works for US/CANADA only...). The lowest line in the check window shows if tlf has recognized the right ingredients.
If no section is present in the exchange, tlf will ask for it before logging the qso.
This needs some experimenting before the contest to get acquainted with this feature.

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Check partials / auto_complete

The check partials function is controlled via the logcfg.dat file with 3 parameters:

The check partial calls function uses a database derived from the master.dta file containingsome 25.000 known contest calls.
When the USEPARTIALS parameter is on, tlf will complete the call as soon as it is unique in the database.
This can of course lead to strange effects, but in my experience there are far more hits than misses.Sometimes you must edit the call because it has locked on a unique call.... Try it, and switch it off when you don't like it.
Some people find that 9 calls is not enough.... MANY_CALLS will give you many calls.

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Checking propagation

The propagation screen is invoked with ctrl-p.
The calculation actually uses the SSN value which is derived from SFI. If you are connected to a cluster, the WWV values will automatically be stored, and the last value used.Clfile is periodically checked for this, and the value stored in wwvfile.
Starting with version 0.4.4 it is now possible to include the value of R or SFI in the logcfg.dat file.
The value will be picked up within a minute, and will be used for subsequentcalculations. The calculations are quite simple, but you may compare it to e.g. minprop 3. and see that it really comes quite close. This may be enhanced in the future, to influence the multiplier map...
All timing is related to UTC.
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DX cluster connection

From version 0.6.1 onward, tlf has three methods to connect to a DX Cluster:

You get to the packet terminal with :pac.

Telnet internet connection

To enable the telnet interface set the following commands in logcfg.dat:
TELNETHOST=internet address
TELNETPORT=8000 (most of the time)

e.g. the following lines to connect to port 8000:


TNC or Modem connection

To enable the serial terminal interface set the following command in logcfg.dat:

TNCPORT=/dev/ttySx or /dev/USBx
TNC_SPEED=2400 (the default is 2400 Bd)

This will open a tty for packet at 2400 Bd

Terminal operation

The terminal commands are:

FIFO connection via the file system

To enable the filesystem interface set the following command in logcfg.dat:


Tlf then regularly looks into a fifo called "clfile" in its working directory. It is your responsibility to get the info into it. Some examples:

As the FIFO_INTERFACE overrules the other ways of connecting, be sure to switch it off when using the tty or the telenet client!!

Relevant commands:

Spots younger than 10 minutes are marked!!
Double spots are sorted out...

The bandmap sorts the frequencies and flags the ones you don.t need (yellow).
You can also switch this display to NEEDED,
so you will see only those countries you still have to work!!

You can use Hari Nair's Xplanet program to show the spots in their location on the globe.To show azimuthal projection centred on Eersel the Netherlands you start Xplanet with:
xlanetbg -wait 10 -window -geometry 300x300 -markerfile /home/rein/tlf/test/tlfmarkers
-projection azimuthal -longitude 5 -latitude 51
(see the xplanet documentation for an explanation).
set the following line in logcfg.dat:


to show the calls spotted on the cluster (your directory may vary, here it is the directory you run tlf from....)
The display will now update every 10 seconds...

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LAN connection (M/S and M/M operation)

The tlf  network interface uses the udp/ip protocol. It can handle as many nodes as the network bandwidth supports,but is limited to 8 nodes at present. (Address space is 64, so recompilation with MAXNODES=64 will handle 64 nodes).

The udp protocol is used for minimum protocol overhead. Tests with several tlf nodes have shown that using the tcp protocol does not cure a network problem, it just adds protocol overhead. The tlf protocol uses short messages,which will not exceed the limit where fragmentation sets in. (udp buffer length is 256 bytes). A :SYNC command will synchronize the log on your machine with the log on another specified node if at all necessary (e.g. If a node has been down for some time, or started up during the contest).

Each node has 1 receiver on udp port 6788, and sends the data it generates to the destination nodes.The list of destination nodes is defined in logcfg.dat of every node.

The message format is very simple: < THISNODE > < MESSAGE TYPE > < string...>

THISNODE is a character(A to H) and message type is also a character (1 to 9).

TLF network functions

The following message types presently exist:


Log data


Packet data from cluster


Add spot data to bandmap ("DX de TLF: ...")


Frequency data


Talk data


Present serial number


Present utc time

Log data
Every tlf node has a copy of the complete log database. This has several advantages.
First, having the log at several places in the network reduces the risk of loosing it...
Second, it allows using the full power of the log search function (exchange recall and multiplier search).

Packet data
Packet data is available on all nodes, enabling quick spot access. This also means that only one node needs a packetconnection...

Add spot data
Enables local spotting and bandmap preload from any node on the network, even remotely on the internet...

Frequency data
Every 60 seconds the node broadcasts its operating frequency (if trx control with Hamlib is used), or theband it is on. This greatly  simplifies passing mults to a different band !! A display window shows what qrgthe nodes are working...(:FRE or ALt-J)

Here you see that station A is on 7010 kHz and Station C (no trx control) is on 20 meters.

Talk data

By just typing

Alt-g please 2 beers for 80 meters

,  this message is broadcast to all nodes on the list. A display window shows the last 5 messages received... (with ctrl-t or Alt-g)

Present serial number

Used when a serial number is used for the exchange (SERIAL_EXCHANGE is set in logcfg.dat), e.g. in the wpx contest.As soon as a serial number is sent, it is blocked on the other nodes.... This bridges the time between sendingthe exchange and actually  logging the qso, mostly preventing that serial numbers are given out twice!!

Present utc time

When TIME_MASTER is set in logcfg.dat the station broadcasts the actual utc time to the other nodes.
When you do this, the other tlf nodes will use this time. The time receive function has a smoothing filter,so one wrong number will not kick the node out of sync.

Setup for the LAN functions

To use networking with tlf is not difficult.

First step is to provide ip connectivity between the nodes that you want to communicate with. It is not important whether you use an ethernet link, ppp, or whatever.In my shack I use a 10 Mbit coax ethernet, with a ppp bridge to the house via a 56k modem. This allows meto remote control the OMNI from the living room...
For tlf, the word is: "if you can ping it, it will communicate".

There is one thing to remember: there must be connectivity for port number 6788. So if there is a firewallbetween two tlf sites, make sure it passes traffic to port 6788. (Just in case you would want to include theinternet in your routing...)

Second step: Provide a short form unique address for the node, so tlf can seewhich node generated the data. For brevity this address is a character from A...H (for an address spaceof 8 nodes). If tlf hears it's own node ID it will ask for another one!!

Third: Edit logcfg.dat for each node. The only data tlf needs are the short form address of its node,and the ip addresses (the addresses you use for the ping) of the nodes it wants to communicate with.
You can optionally suppress the logging function, e.g. for nodes  which only provide spots for the bandmap...
During the communication setup phase it is possible to write a logfile (debuglog) of all messages the node receives to disk.




To receive packet information from the network, the FIFO input should be activated.


That's all....

switch the debug file on with:



With :info you get a screen showing the node addresses, packets received, packets sent, and numberof send errors per node. A send error occurs when a node cannot be reached, e.g. if tlf is not yet running on it.

If you set the LAN_DEBUG command in logcfg.dat you get a dump called "debuglog" in your working directory, showing all raw messages received on this node. It can be very valuable to have 1 node on the LAN listening to, and recording all messages. It will enable you to restore the log after a catastrophic failure, or post-analyse cluster messages etc, etc...

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Working with the CW simulator

The CW simulator is switched on with ":sim".
Set the contest to CQWW (CONTEST=cqww in logcfg.dat)
After your CQ with F1 the run begins. If it stops, call cq again.

The simulator is meant to work in TRlog mode. It uses the PC speaker for output. This means you can not switch off the speaker with :TONE in simulator mode!

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Making a contest qso in CQ Mode (TRlog compatible)

1: Press ENTER to start the F12 message ("CQ TEST YOURCALL...") or F1
HC8N: "HC8N"
2: Type HC8N
3: Press ENTER (YOU: "HC8N 5NN14") (message is in F3)
4: Press ENTER (YOU: "TU YOURCALL") (message in CQ_MESSAGE)
2: type K7RAT
3: Press ENTER

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Using the keyer
the keyer is started with Ctrl-K or with "," (comma). The comma will only work when the callinput field is empty (and if trxmode is CW of course.
The following special cw characters are supported on the serial interface:















Stop the sending with ESCAPE.

The cwdaemon features direct mode, so every character ist sent to the keyer immediately...

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Making a contest qso in S&P Mode

1: find a station to call
2: Type HC8N to enter the call into the input field
3: Press ENTER (YOU: "YOURCALL") or F1
4: Press ENTER (YOU: "TU 5NN14") (the message is in SP_MESSAGE)

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Making a normal qso

- Switch contest mode off
- Use the check window to see if you have worked the stn. before, and
to remember his/her name :-))
- Tab into the exchange field for comments (name, qth)
- Use ; (notes) for further comments
- Reprogram the key saying SRI QSO B4 to contain the local WX.
- Use , (keyboard) to tell your story, nice and slowly...

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Command Overview

This overview is out of date; for the last version see the tlf manpage (man tlf) or the internal :HELp command....

Most commands start with a ":", and you need to type only the first 3 characters.





Show online help


switch trx mode (CW, SSB, DIG)


switch trx mode (CW)


switch trx mode (SSB)


switch trx mode (DIGIMODE)


list and set parameters.

the following contests are supported (many more possible):

  • CQWW

  • WPX

  • ARRL-DX (both sides)

  • PACC (both sides)

  • NRAU


  • EU HF Championship

  • R1 Field day

  • ARRL Field day


  • Other (wysiwyg mults)

  • DX-pedition

  • General qso


Up-Arrow: Increase CW speed (3wpm)

Down-Arrow: Decrease CW speed (3wpm)



Set weight (-5 ... 5);


If call field empty:
    Increase Auto_CQ delay (1 sec)
If not empty:
    increase RST


If call field empty:
    Decrease Auto_CQ delay (1 sec)
If not empty:
    decrease RST




Start Auto_CQ


Send CW message




Set sidetone frequency (200-900 Hz) or OFF (0)
A value between 2 and 20 will add weight to the cw elements




Switch between call input and exchange fields


Toggle CQ/S&P mode


Send F3 + log qso


Toggle CW simulator (run) mode (TR only)




Change band if callsign field empty
(enter edit mode if callsign present, leave edit mode with ENTER or ESC)


Change band




Smart key for contest mode

    Calls cq
    Calls station
    Sends exchange
    Logs the qso



log qso w/o CW;



Insert note in log



Keyboard on. This works only when the call input field is empty. use ctrl-k if it isn't.


Return to call input field

    keyboard off
    stop cw
    reset call and exchange


Propagation info



Last 5 talk messages



Send talk message to other tlf nodes"


Delete last qso


Edit last qso
Insert, overwrite, and delete; + log view


Confirm last call

_ (underscore)

Confirm last exchange




trx qrg -> mem
mem -> trx qrg


Grab a dx spot


Add a dx spot to the spot list or bandmap


Send message to cluster


Change TRX frequency with up_arrow, down_arrow (100 Hz at the time)


goto packet terminal



View the log with LESS


Edit the log with JOE (ctrl-K H = help), vi or e3


List CW messages


Edit CW messages

:set, :cfg

edit logcfg.dat configuration file


Write Cabrillo file (for selected contests:


Get a new shell


Alt-X, Alt-Q

Exit the program

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This overview is out of date, for the last version see the tlf manpage (man tlf) or the internal :HELp command....


Alt-M, Alt-C

Toggle remaining multiplier display


Toggle contest mode on/off


dupe check window on


dupe check window off


Alt-S, Alt-R

Toggle score window on/off





Show cluster window or...



Show Band Map or...



Show last 10 spots or...



Show frequency or band info...



No cluster info (non-assisted contest operation)


network status



Show country multipliers per continent



Toggle zones/sections worked display


toggle trxcontrol on/off (default off, only makes sense
with rigcontrol capability)


rit reset on/off

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Logcfg.dat file

This overview is out of date; for the last version see the tlf manpage (man tlf) or the internal :HELp command....


CT compatible qso logging (default TR)


choose your favourite editor for :edit and :set


don't forget to change this one !!

#CONTEST=any (you name it) #

CQWW_M2 is set togetherwith CONTEST=cqww if you are working in the M2 category. This sets the station info into the cabrillo file (stn1 or stn 0).

Use CONTEST=qso for general log use.


don't forget to change this one !!


time offset to utc in hours if your system clock does not run on utc.


PA3FKN keyer (not preferred)
Serial port keyer from 9A3TY not preferred)
cwdaemon (preferred !!)
daemon udp port
daemon host address ( for this machine)

##---speed (6 ... 60 wpm)
##---weight (-5 ... 5 ms)
##---txdelay (ms)
##---sidetone (200...800, 0 = mute)

set the keyer parameters
most (except speed and sidetone) are only available for the parallel port keyer


telnet host address of cluster

port number of cluster (8000 for pi4tue)


file system interface


short form address of this node
ip network address of other node
ip network address of other node

log LAN messages recvd by this nodein file debuglog

set time difference to system time (hrs)

This station is time sync master


rig control on
rig port is ttyS0
rig port is ttyS1
rig speed is 9600 Bd
clear RIT after qso
show large freq. window


switch information windows on/off


switch partial call function on
auto_complete function
see many calls :-)


set initial value for muf calculation

F1=CQ CQ DX DE % % k
F2=@ DE %
F3=@ ++[--
F4=TU 73
F5= @
F9= ?
F10= QRZ?
F11= PSE K
F12=TEST % %

% = call
@ = hiscall
# = serial
[ = RST

+ = increase cw speed
- = decrease cw speed
(works only with parport
F12: auto_cq message

contest mode: TU message in CQ mode
contest mode: TU message in S&P mode

e.g. TT1 instead of 001

relict from TRlog


Don't send QSO B4 message in F7, work the dupe!


Contest mode


Update call in exchange window (arrl ss and cqww only)


Mixed mode


used in "other" contest mode when exchange does not change between bands


Points per qso for scoring. In this example, a qso with SP will get 10 points, a qso with your own country 1 point, another country in your own continent 2 points, and any dx qso 3 points.
If USE_COUNTRYLIST_ONLY is set, the countries in the list get COUNTRY_LIST_POINTS, and all others 0.
The first 3 parameters override all others, i.e. ONE_POINT gives 1 point to every qso.


2 points for own continent, 3 for other continents (same as MY_CONTINENT_POINTS=2 and DX_POINTS=3)


exchange is serial number (formats exchange, and does a lot of other weird things. Sometimes useful to switch it off...)


multiplier is CQDX country


exchange is section, mult is section from MULT_LIST file


exchange is serial nr. + section, mult is section from file


exchange is section or country, mult is section from file or dxcc country


name of multipliers file


tlf makes its own mult file, counts per band


tlf makes its own mults file, counts once per contest (untested)


power multiplier for qrp contests or e.g. the arrl field day
the qso points are multipliedby this fixed amount, depending on output power


Multiply points x2 if /P stn


generate markefile for xplanet (dots + calls)


generate markerfile for xplanet (dots only)


generate markerfile for xplanet (include last line of cluster output)

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It is possible to make your own combination of points and multipliers and make your own rules file for a specific contest. E.g.:

If you are a G-stn and you would want to program the EUHFC contest you could use:

This will take care of the "license year" multipliers, which count as a multiplier on each band, and give you one point per qso. The score window will show the proper data, and the contest will be rescoredevery time you restart tlf.

If you are an OH-stn and you would want to program the NRAU contest you could use:
In the working directory you place a file called "nrau" with the multipliers, e.g.:

If you are in the USA and want to take part in the PACC contest:

CONTEST=pacc _dx (NOT pacc_pa, that is for the PA stns...)
In the working directory (e.g. ./tlf/pacc) you place the logcfg.dat and a file called "pacc" with the multipliers, e.g.:

A new (theoretical) contest called BENELUX-TEST could be programmed as follows:


This would give 11 points per qso with PA, ON or LX, and no points for working XW8AA. The multiplier could be a province or section abbreviation, your age, year of licence or the name of your cat.

The CQWW 160 m contest would need the following commands:


Include a file usa_canada_states in the working directory.

More multiplier capabilities will follow...

With time, more basic capabilities can be developed to provide a "menu" to program morecontests....
This is a matter of time and priorities.


If you find any, or have suggestions for TLF, send comment to

Licence and copyright

Copyright 2001, 2002 Rein Couperus (PA0RCT)

This program is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA