Michigan QSO Party

Format For Electronic Entries

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The Michigan QSO Party supports (and encourages) the submittal of electronic entries.  While the logchecking team will accept an entry in almost any ASCII text format, the preferred format for these files conforms to the Cabrillo file format standard which was developed by Trey Garlough, N5KO in 1999 at the request of the ARRL, and which has been adopted by many of the major contest sponsors (ARRL, CQ, NCJ, etc.) as their required format for electronic logs.  The full Cabrillo file specification can be found at http://www.kkn.net/~trey/cabrillo/.


The Cabrillo specification offers many advantages over other formats.  A complete Cabrillo file contains all of the information necessary for a contest entry; no separate summary or other supporting files are required.  It is an ASCII file, so it can be viewed with a simple text editor (i.e., the original logging program is not required).  And because it is an independent specification, contest sponsors can write software to process entries with confidence that the specification is stable and will not change.


These notes are intended for writers of logchecking software to clarify certain portions of the Cabrillo spec as applicable to MiQP.  The MiQP logcheckers contributed to N5KO's original development of the Cabrillo file specification.  The entry processing tools we use are the same we use for processing logs for the ARRL in their 160M and 10M contests.  These tools strive to be as flexible and "smart" as possible in terms of interpreting Cabrillo files.


Shown below is a sample MiQP Cabrillo log file.  The portions with specific MiQP implications are highlighted in red:


CREATED-BY:    NA Version 10.55
CLUB:          Mad River Radio Club
NAME:          David Pruett
ADDRESS:       2727 Harris Road
ADDRESS:       Ypsilanti, MI 48198
QSO:  7000 CW 2002-04-20 1822 K8CC    0001 AREN K8DX      76 OH 
QSO:  7000 CW 2002-04-20 1824 K8CC    0002 AREN N8CQA     48 WASH 
QSO:  7000 CW 2002-04-20 1826 K8CC    0003 AREN W9MSE     23 WI 
QSO:  7000 CW 2002-04-20 1827 K8CC    0004 AREN K8KIC     20 LENA 
QSO:  7000 CW 2002-04-20 1827 K8CC    0005 AREN AD8J      29 PA 
QSO:  7000 CW 2002-04-20 1827 K8CC    0006 AREN K9CW      12 IL 
QSO:  7000 CW 2002-04-20 1828 K8CC    0007 AREN K9PL      25 IL 


The "Contest:" line shows the official MiQP Cabrillo identifier, which is typical of other state QSO parties.  Our logchecking does not mandate this be present, since we only get entries for one contest per year.  However, it is useful for determining the log type if the QSO data cannot be checked.


The "Category:" line is important because this defines the entrant's entry category.  The Cabrillo spec identifies four items in the Category line: operator-category, band-category, power-category, and mode-category and gives permissible choices for each.


For operator-category, the HF choices apply to MiQP for the most part.  MiQP does not have a single-op-assisted category; our logchecking software will automatically translate this to "multi-single".  MiQP also does not have a multi-two category, so this is translated to "multi-multi".


MiQP has categories, which Cabrillo does not support.  For these MiQP categories, the appropriate operator-category choices are "MOBILE-SINGLE" or "MOBILE-MULTI".


MiQP does not have band-restricted entries so band-category should either be "ALL" (per the Cabrillo spec) or it may be omitted.  Similarly, MiQP does not have mode-restricted entries so mode-category should either be "MIXED" (per the Cabrillo spec) or it may be omitted.


Power-category is required for single-op entries.  It may be included or omitted for others.  As per the Cabrillo spec it must be "HIGH", "LOW" or "QRP".  If this field is missing for single-op entries, high power will be presumed.


The other highlighted area of the Cabrillo file appears in the QSO records, which begin with "QSO:".  The first four items are the frequency, mode, date and time of the QSO.  The formats for these items are clearly spelled out in the Cabrillo spec.  Following these mandatory items is the contest-specific items, but even then the sequence is typical of most (if not all) Cabrillo implementations.  First is the entrant's call, then their sent information, the station worked, and the received information.  Each item is separated from the others by "white space" which can be a tab, space, or null, but a space is recommended.  The MiQP logchecking software parses the QSO line based on these "white spaces" rather than looking at specific column positions for fields.  Parsing on white space is very flexible and forgiving, however it is important that the information be presented in the correct order as shown and no extraneous data be inserted.  Some programs insert an asterisk somewhere in the line to indicate a "second radio" QSO, while some programs insert RS(T)s (which MiQP removed back in the year 2000!).  This is the most prevalent problem we experience with non-complaint Cabrillo logs.


Some observations about field width may be in order.  MiQP serial numbers regularly break the 1000 mark, so the sent and received number fields should be four digits wide.  (This will not impair our ability to import the file into the logchecking process, but it prevents the entrant/user from accurately logging QSO numbers above 1000.)  Also, the sent and received location fields should be four digits long, which is necessary to accept the official four-digit county abbreviations.  We highly recommend that logging programs translate the operator's county entries into these abbreviations, which have been carefully chosen to prevent ambiguity (examples: Montana/Montcalm/Montmorency, Missaukee/Mississippi, Kalamazoo/Kalkaska, etc.).


Finally, the official file name extension for Cabrillo files is .LOG, not .CBR, .TXT, or whatever.  Using the correct file extension and using the entrant's call for the base filename makes managing the volume of incoming logs a lot easier for the log checker, and is consistent with the Cabrillo specification.



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