Cabrillo Specification Notes

This page is intended to answer common questions and provide information for developers that are creating software to output or read Cabrillo format log files.

  • The goal of the Cabrillo summary sheet information is for the contest participant to describe the nature of his participation in the contest. It is the responsibility of the contest sponsor to assign a valid contest category based on the attributes of the operation.
  • Cabrillo V3 is intended to be backwards compatible with previous versions of Cabrillo. Therefore if people submit logs that were created by Cabrillo v2-compliant loggers, their logs will still be accepted by Cabrillo v3 email robots.
  • The Cabrillo format for Sweepstakes looks like this:
    QSO: 14042 CW 1997-11-03 0101 N5KO       1211 B 74 SCV KA5WSS/VE3 1071 A 74 ON
    QSO: 14042 CW 1997-11-03 0102 N5KO       1212 B 74 SCV NJ2L       1122 B 81 WNY
    QSO: 14042 CW 1997-11-03 0102 N5KO       1213 B 74 SCV K9ZO        902 A 69 IL
    

    You will note the examples use fixed columns and are space delimited. This is to make it both human and robot readable. However, in the case of a field overflow, the information should be truncated so that it fits into the field and doesn’t disrupt data in other columns, so a call like KA5WSS/ARRL-JUBILEE would appear like this:

    QSO: 14042 CW 1997-11-03 0101 N5KO       1211 B 74 SCV KA5WSS/ARR 1071 A 74 ON
    QSO: 14042 CW 1997-11-03 0102 N5KO       1212 B 74 SCV NJ2L       1122 B 81 WNY
    QSO: 14042 CW 1997-11-03 0102 N5KO       1213 B 74 SCV K9ZO        902 A 69 IL
    
  • While the specification implies fixed columns for all data, this is not an absolute requirement.  Most contest sponsors accept any space or tab character as a delimiter between data. The major contest sponsors such as CQ and ARRL do accept space or tab as a delimiter. I.e., data does not need to be in specific columns.
  • One goal is to make the logs and summary sheets easy to read by both humans and by computers. The most appropriate non-printable characters in a log submission should be SPACE and the appropriate text end-of-line sequence for the platform the logging program runs on, such as CR/LF for DOS.
  • CLAIMED-SCORE is included so that a High Claimed Scores report may be generated. Line score data such a QSOs, QSO points, multipliers, on-time and off-time will be computed during the log checking process.
  • CLUB, OPERATORS, SOAPBOX, and ADDRESS lines may appear multiple times with different data, as shown. Please limit the number of ADDRESS: lines to a total count of four so that the name and address may be fit onto a standard mailing label.
    NAME: Trey Garlough
    ADDRESS: 7375 Oak Ridge Road
    ADDRESS: Aptos, CA 95003
    ADDRESS: USA
    

    Other types of lines may only appear once.

  • If no soapbox is entered into the logging program, please write out something like
    SOAPBOX:
    SOAPBOX:

    so that people will get the right idea if they decide to edit the file by hand. Same thing applies to NAME, ADDRESS, CLUB, and OPERATORS.

  • The OPERATORS field is a space-delimited list of operator callsign(s). You may also list the callsign of the host station by placing an “@” character in front of the callsign within the operator list. KH6ND operating from KH7R’s QTH as KH7X could describe this situation in his Cabrillo file like this
    CALLSIGN: KH7X
    OPERATORS: KH6ND @KH7R
    

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: There is no QSO or multiplier data in the summary sheet part of
Cabrillo. Why not?

The QSO and multiplier data will be computed automatically as part of the log checking procedure.

Q: There is no way to assign point values to QSOs in Cabrillo. Why not?

The point value of each QSO will be computed automatically as part of the log checking procedure.

Q: There is no way to indicate new multipliers as worked in Cabrillo.
Why not?

The multiplier count will be computed automatically as part of the log checking procedure.

Q: There is no way to indicate duplicate QSOs in Cabrillo. Why not?

Duplicate QSOs will be assigned a value of zero points automatically as part of the log checking procedure.

Q: I’m a logging program author. Because the Cabrillo format doesn’t
provide for indicating duplicate QSOs, new multipliers as worked and
various other vestiges of the paper log era, should I create my own
special set of extensions to Cabrillo and implement them in my logging
program?

No. The Cabrillo specification includes all the information the contest sponsor needs. Generating files that are not Cabrillo-compliant undermines the automation process, thus causing extra work and greater potential for human error on the part of contest sponsors.

Q: What should I name the file?

Experience indicates that a filename like CALLSIGN.LOG or CALLSIGN.CBR (where CALLSIGN is the call sign used during the contest) is the most effective name for the contest sponsors.