[WriteLog] Digital mode differentiation in logs?

James M. Galm, W8WTS jim at w8wts.com
Sun Dec 27 00:56:40 PST 2009

jim at w8wts.com wrote:
> An increasing number of digital contests consider different digital
formats to be separate modes for scoring purposes.  Similarly, LoTW
recognizes PSK31, PSK64, Olivia, MFSK16, etc., as different modes.  
> WriteLog appears to lump all digital modes together as RTTY in ADIF and
Cabrillo files, as well as in the internal log.  This is clearly not
> Does anyone have a work-around to that causes WriteLog to save the actual
digital mode identifier and export the actual identifier in output files?
If not, this might be a useful addition to the WriteLog development list.  

This is an excellent point to bring up and a good time to highlight 
Cabrillo's QSO mode specifier supports just four possibilities in v.3.0: 
CW, PH, FM, RY as described here...


On the other hand ADIF appears to be trying very hard to support the 
various Digital types and Writelog may in time support this as the ADIF 
developers release new versions of their specification.  This should 
help solve LoTW issues in time.

I would not propose Writelog, or any other logging program, support 
anything other than RY for all Digital contacts when exporting Cabrillo 
until and when Cabrillo decides to support more digital mode 
identifiers.  After all the whole point of using Cabrillo is to flow log 
data to the contest scoring engine and both need to speak the same language.

Since your original point is digital contests are starting to 
differentiate digital types and since Cabrillo is a good contest 
submission format, we should lobby the ARRL keepers of the Cabrillo 
format to expand the MODE to include more digital types or add a new 
sub-mode identifier so the original MODE field remains backwards compatible.

It is funny isn't it that Cabrillo makes a distinction between PH and 
FM, but lumps all digital into RY.

Some logging software authors often make up their own attributes for the 
MODE field in the QSO lines such as DG instead of RY for digital 
contacts.  Sometimes revolution has its place.  However, let's all lobby 
the ARRL to make v4.0 (or v3.1) of the Cabrillo format include more 
digital formats in the two character QSO mode attribute.  If they do so, 
the Software authors will have a uniform document they can program to.

Here is one possible redo of the Cabrillo v3.0 mode attributes...

P3 = PSK31
P6 = PSK64
OV = Olivia
O1 = Olivia 1000/32
O5 = Olivia 500/16
O2 = Olivia 250/8
M1 = MFSK16
F4 = FSK441
J5 = JT65

Obviously with only two letters, this list can get very cryptic, but 
software can handle this easily so long as it is codified in the next 
Cabrillo standard and programmers (logging software authors and scoring 
engine software authors) design to this standard.

The unfortunate reality is until the ARRL comes up with a contest that 
needs to differentiate digital modes, they have little need to change 
the Cabrillo format to support other contests.  Perhaps a maverick 
version of the Cabrillo format is in order.  Revolution?  Anyone... Anyone?

Thanks for bringing this up Jim.



I agree with John's assessment.  The most important point is to treat
Cabrillo versus ADIF differently.  Both output formats need to conform to
their respective standards.  Until the Cabrillo standard is improved (and I
think John's suggestion for utilizing the two letter mode code is
excellent), Cabrillo output will be stuck sending RY for the digital modes.
So be it.  

ADIF is a completely different animal.  It has excellent flexibility in
handling the mode designators.  This capability is very important and handy,
especially for LoTW.  It's also critical for the modes to be accurate when
ADIF files are imported into an award tracking system like DXLab.  

The real need that could be met right now is for WriteLog to start capturing
the proper mode designators and storing them in the .wl files.  Ideally, the
list of modes and abbreviations would be in the writelog.ini file, so that
the list could be expanded when necessary.  Exported ADIF would then be
complete and accurate within a release or two of WriteLog.  The digital
modes would need to be mapped to RY in Cabrillo output until the Cabrillo
standard is updated, but that's trivial to accomplish.  


Jim, W8WTS.  

More information about the WriteLog mailing list