tlf(1) amateur radio contest keyer/logging program for


[ -dhnrvV ] [ -f config_file ] [ -s user:password@host/dir/logfilename ]


Tlf is a console (ncurses) mode general purpose CW keyer, logging and contest program for amateur radio operators. It supports the CQWW, the WPX, the ARRL-DX, the ARRL-FD, the STEWPERRY, the PACC and the EU SPRINT contests as well as a lot more basic contests, general QSO and DXpedition mode. From version 1.2.0 onward there is also support for the FOC Marathon. It interfaces with a morse code generator, a number of radios via the Hamlib library, and with a DX Cluster. Tlf can project DX 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-Log compatible. The log can be exported in ADIF or Cabrillo format.

The program was written for console mode on purpose, which allows it to run on smaller machines, or remotely via SSH or a modem link.

Since Tlf version 0.9.21 the cwdaemon 0.9 is fully supported, featuring direct mode for the keyboard and output to parallel and serial ports and speed and weight control from the keyboard, and band info output on the parallel port.

For radio control Tlf works with Hamlib (version >= 1.2.3), you can find it at

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


Options given to Tlf on the command line.
Show summary of options and exit.
-f config_file
Start with non-default configuration file:
tlf -f PA0R
Defaults to logcfg.dat in actual working directory.
-s user:password@host/dir/logfilename
Synchronize log with other node
tlf -s user:password@host/dir/logfilename
Output version information and exit.
Verbose startup.
Debug rigctl.
Start without packet/cluster.
Start without radio control when user wants to start Tlf without modifying logcfg.dat.


Tlf has been written for console mode. If you want to run Tlf from a terminal in X, you will probably get the best results if you set TERM=linux and use a Linux console terminal. Both KDE and GNOME terminals have a facility to start a Linux console in an X terminal as does Xfce.

By default, Xterm will give unreadable colours. You will have to set different colours in the logcfg.dat file. Also F1 does not work in Xterm, which is not compatible with Linux consoles. Other keys (sometimes F4 and F5) may not work in your Xterm, YMMV.

There are excellent results with the latest KDE, GNOME, and Xfce consoles (I prefer vi colours). As Tlf uses ncurses to format its display you must use a proper font. (The Linux font works o.k., Inconsolata does as well). If you have problems, try the linux text console first and work from there.

Normally you start or restart Tlf in fast mode with tlf. During debugging of a logcfg.dat file you can start in verbose mode, to have a look at the startup messages. From Tlf version 0.9.3 you can load different config files with:

tlf -f config_file

If you have the packet cluster enabled you will first see the packet screen. Log in with your callsign and switch to Tlf with :<Enter>. You can come back to the packet screen later with the same command from the call input field.

You can exit and close Tlf with the :EXIt or :QUIT commands or with Ctrl-C, Alt-Q or Alt-X.

At restart Tlf recalculates the score, which may take some time depending on the number of QSOs in the logfile and the speed of your system. Tlf takes the points as they are in the log, and calculates the multiplier from either callsign or exchange field (depending on the contest).


These commands are entered in the callsign field of the main logging screen. Each command consists of the leading ":" and at minimum the upper case characters of the command name plus any needed parameters separated by <Space>.
Writes the log to an Amateur Data Interchange Format (ADIF) file (*.adif).
Input the number of characters for CW auto-start or 'm' for manual start. Possible values are: '0' (off), '2'...'5' or 'm' (manual). After typing as many characters in the input field or after pressing the enter key in manual mode Tlf starts sending the callsign without further keystrokes. You can type in the rest of the call (but quickly). As soon as the sending catches your last typed character Tlf automatically sends the exchange and the cursor jumps to the exchange field. <Esc> stops sending. This works only in CW contests in RUN mode.
:NOCheck Turn the dupe check window On|Off.
Change CQDelay (in 1/2 seconds, with Up/Down arrows).
No cluster information (non-assisted contest operation).
:MAP Show cluster window or bandmap.
Toggle contest mode On/Off.
:ZONe :MULt Show needed country multipliers, zones, multipliers per continent (depends on the contest).
:SSBmode :DIGimode Switch TRX to CW|SSB|Digimode mode.
Debug routine for rig communication links.
Edit the log with your favourite editor (the editor (vi[m]|joe|e3|mcedit) can be set in logcfg.dat).
:QUIT Exit Tlf (synonym to Ctl-C, Ctl-D, Alt-Q, and Alt-X).
Filter cluster info (announce, dx-spots, all).
Show frequency or band/score information of your other stations.
Show online help (displays help.txt from working directory or from /usr/share if no local one exists).
Show network status.
Edit CW (Morse Code) messages.
Toggle TRX mode (CW|SSB|DIG).
Switch to the packet terminal. Switch back to Tlf with ":".
Reopens the connection to the DX cluster in case it was disconnected.
Recalculates the values in the score window (e.g. after deleting or editing QSOs).
Toggle the RIT reset after QSO On/Off.
:CFG Edit various parameters in logcfg.dat file and reload it.
Enter the SCAN function (return with <Esc>).
Toggle the score window On/Off.
:SCVolume dd
Adjust the soundcard volume for the sidetone (Up/Down). Range: 0-99.
Toggle simulator mode. In simulator mode you can work a complete CQWW CW contest in TR-Log mode. Set CONTEST=cqww.
The SOUND recorder is a utility to record the voice keyer messages and enables you to record the complete contest in chunks of 1 hour to the hard drive. It does this in the directory: ~/tlf/soundlogs. The sound recorder uses a script called soundlog which has to be located in ~/tlf/soundlogs. It can be found in the scripts directory. If your soundcard is different from /dev/dsp you can use the SC_DEVICE parameter in the logcfg.dat file (my soundcard is at SC_DEVICE=/dev/dsp1). The file extension is .au, the Sun ulaw format. The recorder produces < 60 MB per hour. This means you can record a complete CQWW in less than 3 GB. If your disk cannot handle this, FTP the soundfile to a server every hour.
F1 ... F12sc, ... will record the voice keyer message for that key.
1: Start contest recording to
2: Stop contest recording.
3: List contest recordings.
4: Play back contest recording ddhh[mm][:xx].

xx is the offset from the start of the file e.g.:

2110 will start from beginning of the day 21 hr 10:00 file.

21100013:00 will start from day 21, hh 10, mm 00, + 13 minutes: 0 seconds.

To create a new file every hour add a cron job to run the following command every hour:

/usr/bin/pkill -f sox > /dev/null 2> /dev/null

Running the cron job at other intervals will create sound recordings of the interval period in length.

Once started the recorder will run until the lock file ~/.VRlock is removed.
Synchronize the logfile of this node with the logfile pointed to by parameter SYNCFILE=<user:password@host/dir/logfile>. Tlf will wget the logfile from the relevant node, make a dated backup of your local logfile, and merge the 2 files. The score will be recalculated.
:TONe [dd]d
Set PC sidetone frequency in Hertz. Range: 300-900, 0 = Off.
Toggle rig control On/Off. Default is Off (only makes sense with rig control capability)
View the log with less(1).
Write cabrillo file according to specified format (see CABRILLO= statement).


The keymap refers to the Linux text console. It may be slightly different on X terminals. Turn off any key recognition by the terminal for its own purposes (menu access, help display, etc.). Pay special attention to the F1-F12 and Alt-<char> keys. Moreover on some systems you must set TERM=linux or TERM=rxvt. This also works under VNC.
Increase CW (Morse Code) speed (from call and exchange fields).
If field is not empty and CHANGE_RST is set: change RST value.
Decrease CW (Morse Code) speed (from call and exchange fields).
If field is not empty and CHANGE_RST is set: change RST value.
Alt-PgUp Increase Auto_CQ delay pause length (+1/2 sec).
Set Auto_CQ delay to message length + pause length.
Alt-PgDown Decrease Auto_CQ delay pause length (-1/2 sec).
As some terminals, Xfce Terminal is one such, consume Ctrl-PageUp/Ctrl-PageDown, the Alt-key combinations allow for setting the Auto_CQ delay pause length.
If both key combinations do not working try ':cqd' instead.
In CQ mode, send message 1 (CQ message). In S&P mode send message 6 (my callsign).
Send CW, RTTY or VOICE messages 2 through 11.
Start Auto_CQ (sends F12 message).
Switch between call input and exchange fields.
Switch from call input to exchange field.
Erases the character to the left of the cursor and moves it one position to the left. Remaining characters are evaluated for
Toggle between CQ (calling CQ on a frequency) and S&P (tuning and working other stations calling CQ) modes (TR-Log mode) or send F3 message + log QSO (CT mode).
← (Left-Arrow)
Change band if callsign field empty (enter edit mode if callsign present, leave edit mode with <Enter> or <Esc>).
→ (Right-Arrow)
Change band.
Smart key for contest mode: Calls CQ, Calls station, Sends exchange, Logs the QSO.
In CW or DIGIMODE sends the partial call followed by " ?". In VOICE mode sends recorded message 5 (F5).
Insert note in log.
Activate Morse Keyboard. Also Ctrl-K.
Return to call input field, keyboard off, stop CW, reset call and exchange (universal undo).
(Double quotation)
Send talk message to other Tlf nodes.
Delete last QSO (Use :REScore to correct scoring afterward).
↑ (Up-Arrow)
Edit last QSO: Insert, overwrite, and delete; + log view.
Confirm last call.
Confirm last exchange.
(Open brace)
In RTTY (DIGIMODE), keyboard mode switch TX on.
(Close brace)
In RTTY (DIGIMODE), keyboard mode switch TX off (RX).
Log QSO without CW output.
In RTTY (DIGIMODE), keyboard mode switch controller to command mode (back to operating mode with 'K <Enter>'.
Transceiver VFO frequency → mem, mem → transceiver VFO frequency.
Get a new shell. Come back with 'exit'.
(Period) Change bandmap filter configuration. You can filter to show spots from all or own band only, from all/own mode only and if you want to see dupes or not (see the help display).
Add a spot to bandmap and broadcast it on the local network.
Send a spot to the DX Cluster.
Ctrl-D Exit Tlf (synonym to :EXIt, :QUIT, Alt-Q, and Alt-X).
Ends modem capture for RTTY mode in QTC window (started with Ctrl-S).
See doc/README_QTC_RTTY.txt for more information.
Set frequency. Use Up/Down-Arrow for 100hz steps and PgUp/PgDown for 500hz steps. Return to logging with <Esc>.
Grab next DX spot from bandmap.
Keyboard (CW and RTTY).
Reset the screen.
Maximum Usable Frequency (MUF) display.
Open the QTC window for receiving QTCs if QTC=RECV or QTC=BOTH or sending QTCs if QTC=SEND is set in logcfg.dat. Same as Ctrl-S if QTC=SEND.
See doc/README_QTC.txt and doc/README_QTC_RTTY.txt for more information.
Toggle /dev/lp0 pin 14 (Mic/Soundcard switch | trx1/trx2 switch).
Open the QTC window for sending QTCs if QTC=SEND or QTC=BOTH in logcfg.dat. Saves QTCs while in QTC window.
In RTTY mode starts capture from the modem after the window has been opened with Ctrl-Q. End capture with Ctrl-E.
See doc/README_QTC.txt and doc/README_QTC_RTTY.txt for more information.
Show talk messages. In the QTC window shows RTTY lines.
Stop Tlf.
Alt-0 ... Alt-9
Send CW (Morse code) messages.
Cycle cluster window: NOCLUSTER → CLUSTER → BANDMAP → ...
Band up in TR-Log mode.
Toggle display of checkwindow.
Enter QSO edit mode.
Grab first spot from bandmap which has the characters in the call input field in its call. Allow the operator to selectively grab a specific call.
Show help.
Show talk messages.
Show other local stations frequencies.
Keyboard (CW and RTTY).
Show multipliers.
Add Note to log.
Toggle PTT (via cwdaemon).
Alt-X Exit Tlf (synonym to :EXIt, :QUIT, Ctl-C, and Ctl-D).
Toggle score window.
Toggle score window.
Tune your transceiver (via cwdaemon). Activates PTT and Key output for 6 seconds. Stop tuning by pressing any key.
Band down (Change speed in CT compatibility mode).
Set CW weight.
Show zones worked.


Tlf can be fully configured by editing the logcfg.dat file. Normally you keep one logcfg.dat file, setting up your callsign, the log file name, the ports and addresses for packet, the radio, the network etc., and a separate rules file per contest.

The logcfg.dat file can be edited from within Tlf by the :CFG or :SET commands (or with any other plain text editor before starting Tlf).

You can set your favourite editor (joe | vi[m] | e3 | mcedit) in the logcfg.dat file.

You connect the rules file by using the statement RULES=contest_rules_file_name in logcfg.dat.

Tlf will first look in the working directory for a logcfg.dat file, and if it cannot find one it will look in /usr/share/tlf for a default one. Make sure you edit the logcfg.dat file at least to hold your call and your preferred system configuration.


Configuration parameters set in "logcfg.dat" located in the working directory (where Tlf is started).
Name of the rules file to load. It helps if you name the rules file according to the contest you want to describe.
File on remote host you want to synchronize with (use wget(1) syntax).
Does not use the TR-Log QSO sequence, but "+", <Insert> and <Enter> to log the QSO.
The default is the TR-Log sequence which uses "+" to switch between Run and Search & Pounce modes, in which <Enter> is the sole key used to call the other station, send the exchange, and log the QSO.
        TLFCOLOR1=23   (Header and footer)
        TLFCOLOR2=67   (Pop up windows)
        TLFCOLOR3=70   (Log window)
        TLFCOLOR4=57   (Markers/dupe colour)
        TLFCOLOR5=43   (Input fields)
        TLFCOLOR6=63   (Window frames)
The numbers are given in octal, FG/BG or BG/FG (some experimentation likely required).
You should only specify these if you do not agree with the standard colours of Tlf. In some Terminals you can set a special profile for Tlf with your own colours. Another way is to define the colours is via an ~/.Xdefault file.
EDITOR=joe | vi[m] | e3 | mcedit
Editor used to modify the QSO log or logcfg.dat.
Your call used in messages and used to determine your country, zone and continent.
Used to shift the Tlf time with respect to the computer clock. Normally 0. Range: 0-23.
This node transmits the time over the network (only one master allowed!).
Adds an IP address (and optionally a port number) to which we broadcast stuff. (WARNING: Only add addresses of other nodes).
Node designator (default 'A'). If Tlf hears its own node ID on the network it will exit and ask you to pick another one! Range: A-H.
Switches on the debug function. Dumps all Tlf net traffic received on this node into a file named "debuglog" in the working directory. This log can be used as a backup log for the whole network, as it is easy to retrieve QSO data, cluster messages, gab messages etc. after the contest. Some users have this enabled all the time.
Switches the CW keyer on. Only the IP networked keyer cwdaemon is actively supported. You may also need the keyer for PTT control or band info output.
Default port is 6789.
Default host is (localhost).
Switches support for the MFJ-1278B multi-mode controller on. The MFJ-1278 supports CW as well as RTTY contesting. Fixed serial port rate is 9600 bps.
Range: 4-69.
Set the dot to dash ratio. Only for the NETKEYER. Range: -45-50.
Delay activation of the Push To Talk pin. Range: 0-50.
Use soundcard for sidetone output.
Set soundcard sidetone volume (default is 70). A value of 0 turns off sidetone output (even for the console speaker). Range: 0-99.
Set automatic CQ delay in 1/2 seconds increments. Range: 3-60. Use a value which is message length + listening time!
Set the PC speaker or soundcard frequency. A value of 0 switches the sidetone off. Range: 0-999.
(Due to a bug in cwdaemon it also turns off the Alt-T tune function. Use SIDETONE_VOLUME=0 instead).
Outputs band information to pins 2, 7, 8, 9 on the parallel port. Output is 1 (160m), 2 (80m) ... 9 (10m). This format is compatible with the standard interface for antenna switches, band filters etc.
Output pin 2 for 160, 30, 17 and 12, pin 7 for 80, pin 8 for 40, and pin 9 for 20, 15 and 10. This comes in handy when you have 3 dipoles and a 3-band beam (...).
This will prevent unwanted band switching when you are not using rig control. Band up = Alt-B, band down = Alt-V (TR-Log compatible).
Use Telnet to connect to a DX Cluster node using a DNS name or IP address, e.g. or
DX Clusters often use a non-standard port for Telnet, e.g. 8000.
You can use /dev/ttyS0, /dev/ttyUSB1, etc. anything that looks like a tty.
Tlf supports 1200, 2400, 4800 and 9600 bps.
The FIFO (First In First Out) interface is used when you want to receive cluster info from the network, or from another source. The FIFO interface uses a special FIFO file in the working directory called clfile. Anything you dump into this FIFO will be displayed by the packet interface.
Switches the radio interface on. The rig interface makes use of the Hamlib library which supports a number of different rigs.
Look at the Hamlib documentation for the rig_number.
Hint: rigctl -l and its manual page (rigctl(1)).
Speed of the serial port for rig control.
You can use /dev/ttyS0, /dev/ttyUSB1, etc. anything that looks like a tty.
RPC rig daemon users should use RIGMODEL=1901 and RIGPORT=localhost. In this case RIGSPEED is ignored (rig model 1901 is deprecated in Hamlib > 3.0 and replaced by rigctld(8) which is rig model 2).
Send rig configuration parameters to Hamlib.
e.g. RIGCONF=civaddr=0x40,retry=3,rig_pathname=/dev/ttyS0
Clears the RIT after logging the qso. This only works if the rig, and the Hamlib routine supports it (tested on the OMNI 6+).
Sets the CW bandwidth of your rig when changing bands. If unset or 0 the default bandwidth (as determined by Hamlib) is used. (a valid bandwidth for the rig must be used).
Sound card device for scan function.
e.g. SC_DEVICE=/dev/dsp0
Audio s-meter calibration values for the scan function.
e.g. S_METER=20,19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
Start Tlf in SSB mode (default is CW).
Start Tlf in RTTY mode (defaul is CW)
Tell miniterm(1) where to get the data.
Tell Tlf where to send the macros.
Show cluster window at startup.
Automatic login for the telnet client.
Write clusterlog to disk.
Shows cluster bandmap on startup. Use '.' to change bandmap filtering.
Show cluster bandmap on startup and set start values for filtering.
<xyz> string parsed for:
       'B' - only own band

       'M' - only own mode

       'D' - do not show dupes

       'S' - skip dupes during grab_next (Ctrl-G)

<number> livetime for new spots in seconds (number >=30)
Show the score window (same as Alt-R).
Show the country/call check window.
Show a list of possible contest calls.
Use the auto-complete utility (takes some practice...). 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.
Put frequency (kHz) into QSO number to enable logging of frequency (only QSO and dxped mode).
Enable to allow multiple QSOs in a contest with the same station (considered a good idea these days as contest bots will take care of dupes).
Set the sunspots value which is used to do a rough calculation of the MUF. If the cluster interface is used the SSN will be updated by WWV or WCY messages.
Set SFI used to calculate SSN. The SSN value is used to do a rough calculation of the MUF. If the packet interface is used the SSN will be updated by WWV or WCY messages.
If set in logcfg.dat, PgUp and PgDown will change RST instead of CW speed if field is not empty.
Default is Off.
Do not send automatic "QSO B4" message. Default is On.
No automatic CQ when pressing <Enter> or F12.
Generate marker file for Xplanet. Xplanet will show the last 8 spots on an azimuthal map. See the relevant Xplanet documentation. Use azimuthal projection and center the map on your QTH.
Use this value to multiply the final points. If the contest rule allows one to use the power multiplier (e.g. Stewperry, ARRL-FD), you can pass that here.
NB: The type of POWERMULT is a float, e.g. POWERMULT=1.5, but the final score will rounded by the C library floor(3) function, which gives the largest integer value that is not greater than multiplied score.
Sends a "DE" word before your callsign, e.g. "DE W1AW". There is a special case: if SEND_DE is present in logcfg.dat, and Tlf if is in DIGIMODE, then the other station's callsign will be sent before "DE", e.g. "DL1A DE W1AW".


The contest rules can be put into separate files. Tlf will first look for a directory called "rules/" in the working directory, and a file named for the contest, "<contest_name>". If Tlf cannot find such a file, it will look into the directory /usr/share/tlf/rules. A rules file contains contest specific parameters like multipliers, scoring rules, CW and voice keyer messages, etc.

NB: The rules file overrides settings from the logcfg.dat file!

WARNING! It is your own reponsibility to try these rules well BEFORE the contest. The authors of Tlf cannot possibly check all rules for all contests :) and during the contest there is normally no time to fix it.

Name of the contest (same as the file name "<contest_name>" referenced above). Some contests, like CQWW and WPX, are pre-programmed. Look for the relevant rules file in /usr/share/tlf/rules.
Specify the name of the cabrillo format to use (see doc/
Sets Tlf into contest mode. Do not use this parameter for normal QSO logging!
Do not use RST in contest (e.g. for CW Open or ARRL Field Day). Use '---' as placeholder instead of RST in the logfile and the main display. If you want to write a Cabrillo log you must provide a conforming format definition without RST values.
Put the node ID into the logline (just after the QSO number) to support Multi/2 operation where the station logging the QSO must be in the Cabrillo file. This can also be used for M/1 and M/M, to enable post-contest analysis of the nodes.
Macro characters in the messages
% = your call, @ = hiscall, # = serial number, [ = RST, + = increase cw speed, - = decrease cw speed, * = AR, = = BT, < = SK, ( = KN, ! = SN, & = AS, > = BK, ! = his serial (eg: confirm exchange of station in DIGIMODE).
F1=cw message 1
CQ message, (e.g. CQ de PA0R TEST).
F2=cw message 2
S&P call message, (e.g. @ de %).
F3=cw message 3
Exchange message, (e.g. @ ++5NN--#).
F4=cw message 4
TU message, (e.g. TU 73 %).
F5=cw message 5
Call of the other station (e.g. @).
F6=cw message 6
Your call (e.g. %).
F7=cw message 7
QSO B4 message (e.g. @ sri qso b4 gl).
F8=cw message 8
Again message (e.g. AGN).
F9=cw message 9
Query message (e.g. ?).
F10=cw message 10
QRZ message (e.g. QRZ?).
F11=cw message 11
QRZ message (e.g. QRZ?).
F12=cw message 12
Auto-CQ message (e.g. +++TEST %---).
CQ_TU_MSG=cw message 13
Auto Exchange message in CQ mode (TR-Log mode), (e.g. TU %).
S&P_TU_MSG=cw message 14
Auto Exchange message in S&P mode (TR-Log mode), (e.g. TU 5NN #).
S&P_CALL_MSG=cw message 25
Custom call message in S&P mode. Allows replacing the auto-generated S&P call message.
Alt_0=<...> ... Alt_9=<...>
Up to 10 additional messages.
Uses short form for serial number (599=5NN, 001=TT1).
Uses long form for serial number (default).
VKM1=voice message file name 1 ... VKM12=voice message file name 12
Use F1 ... F12 keys to send recorded messages for phone.
Auto Exchange voice message in CQ mode (TR-Log mode)
Auto Exchange voice message in S&P mode (TR-Log mode)
One point per QSO.
Two points per QSO.
Three points per QSO
Points per SSB QSO. SSBPOINTS and CWPOINTS need to be set for both to work!
Points per CW QSO.
Points for working your own DXCC entity (often zero (0)).
Points for working countries in your own continent.
Points for working a station in other continents.
Deprecated. Use MY_CONTINENT_POINTS and DX_POINTS instead.
Points for countries in country list.
Score zero points for countries not in the list.
COUNTRYLIST=comma separated list of prefixes starting with colon
e.g. Scandinavia:SM,LA,OZ,OH.
File with a list of prefixes.
Multiply points x2 for portable stations (e.g. R1 field day).
Double all points for lowband (40, 80, and 160m) QSOs (can be combined with any other value). (Will be deprecated in future! Use BANDWEIGHT_POINTS instead.)
Exchange is multiplier, per band, whatever you enter. Tlf builds its own list of multipliers.
Exchange is multiplier, whatever you enter. Counts once for the whole contest (not per band).
Multiplier is the CQ zone (per band).
Multiplier is the ITU zone (per band).
Multiplier is prefix (PA0, DA2, VE7, etc.). Counted once per contest, not per band.
Same as WPX, but the WPX only used CQ-WW-WPX, and there a single prefix multiplier only once, not all band. With this option, the PFX counts as multiplier on all band. This usable on AA-DX.
Multiplier is the DXCC entity (per band).
Name of multipliers file (often sections, provinces, states, counties). May contain comment lines starting with '#' in the first column.
Multiplier is section from multipliers file.
Exchange is serial number and section, multipler is section from multiplier file. Mults count per band.
Exchange is serial number or section. This option is similar to SERIAL+SECTION, except the exchange could be a serial OR the section. The options was introduced for HA-DX, where HA stations gives the shortest form of its county, other stations gives serial.
Exchange is serial number and grid (e.g. JO21QI), multipler is 4-character grid (JO21). Mults count per band.
Multiplier is DXCC country or section from multiplier file.
Exchange can be recycled, will be filled into exchange field when it is known (see also INITIAL_EXCHANGE).
The file must contain a comma-separated list of exchanges, if e.g. the exchange is the name of the operator:
If RECALL_MULTS is set, Tlf will look in this list for the exchange and fill it in for you. There are various contests which have a standard exchange, like e.g. the FOC Marathon. The module also recognises embedded calls (CT3/PA0R/QRP).
Exchange is continent (NA, SA, EU, AS, AF, OC).
Exchange is serial number (formats exchange field).
Station can be worked both in SSB and CW.
Start Tlf in SSB mode.
For the "Stewperry" contest, this option is used to set the QRA, e.g.: JN97, or the full form: JN97OM. In Stewperry, the points are calculated based on the distance between the stations.
If you want to send or receive QTC's on contest (usually on WAEDC), put this option to logcfg.dat. This needs a parameter, which could be one of these: RECV, SEND, BOTH - note, that currently just the RECV works. For more information, please see the README_QTC.txt file.
QTC_CAP_CALLS= list_of_qtc_capable_callsigns.txt
If you want to help yourself to indicate, the station is a QTC capable, you can see it on your bandmap or worked window. Put the callsign of stations to a file, one callsign per line, and put it to as argument to this variable.
If you use QTC feature, and you are on EU station in CW/SSB modes, then you can only RECEIVE the QTC's. Most sender station send their QTC's as a most short form, example, after the first line it doesn't send the first two characters of time field. If you set this option, then when you fill the first QTC line, then Tlf will fills the other time fields, only the first two characters. Of course, if you change the hour (eg., if there is a time: 2059, and the next one is 2100), then all next time fields will be changed.
CONTINENTLIST=comma separated list of continents
Valid values are: SA, NA, EU, AF, AS and OC.
Points for stations from continents in CONTINENTLIST
Score zero points for station from continents not in the list.
Allow a point weighting factor for different bands. E.g.
can be used for AADX contest. It will multiply all QSO points by 3 on 160m, by 2 on 80m and 10m and on all other bands only by 1.
Bands not in list are weighted by 1.
Allow a weigthing factor for multipliers on different bands. E.g.
can be used for WAEDC contest. It will multiply the number of multipliers on 80 by 4, on 40 by 3 and on 20/15/10 by 2.
The multiply operation is executed after any other multiplier modification.
Bands not in list will be weighted by 1.
On WAEDC (and maybe on another contest too) the multipliers are the different countries. But there is an execption: in case of some country the different prefix number is a different multiplier. On WAEDC these countries are: W, VE, VK, ZL, ZS, JA, PY and RA8/RA9 and RAØ. Now with this option, you can list the affected countries: PFX_NUM_MULTIS=W,VE,VK,ZL,ZS,JA,PY,UA9. Then Tlf will reads these items, makes a lookup in a countrylist for a country code, and that code will be used. So, if you placed UA9 prefix, then Tlf will looks the UA9, which is Asiatic Russia. If you made a QSO with a station from Asiatic Russia, then the PFX number will evaulated with a new multiplier - but Europien Russia will not.
Some contest has a special multipliers list, which is easier to write with a substract of two predefined set. For example, the main set could be COUNTRY_MULT, and you need to substract from that just a few countries, than SAC test uses (then the scandinavian stations aren't multiplier for each other). In that case you can use this config:
  EXCLUDE_MULTILIST=COUNTRYLIST Another useful example at WAEDC RTTY contest: then all stations can work with each others, for EU stations only the non-EU stations are the multi's, and reverse: for non-EU stations only the EU stations are the multipliers. In that case the EU stations can use this config:
  EXCLUDE_MULTILIST=CONTINENTLIST Now all country are multi, except the EU stations. In this contest the non-EU stations can use this config:
  EXCLUDE_MULTILIST=CONTINENTLIST In this example all countries are multis, except from SA, NA, AF, OC and AS continent, so only the EU stations left as multipliers.
If set, with RADIO_CONTROL and BANDMAP (mandatory) options, Tlf will grab the callsign from bandmap, if the TRX frequency is equal with bandmap freq.
If set, with RADIO_CONTROL and BANDMAP (mandatory) options, Tlf will add the callsign from callsign field, if its length is 3 character at least. Use 'S'kip dupes in BANDMAP settings to control if it should also grab dupes.


/usr/share/tlf/logcfg.dat is a recent example of the configuration file Tlf needs to know what to do. Tlf won't start without one. Copy it into the working directory and edit it before use. You should do your experiments well before the contest. It contains, amongst other settings, your call, name of the log file, info about ports for CW keying, packet or rig control, contest rules, points, multipliers etc.

/usr/share/tlf/rules/contestname contains the rules of the various contests. You can easily write one for your favourite contest making use of the various multiplier and points capabilities. Check it before the contest and send a message to the Tlf development list if anything is wrong.

/usr/share/tlf/cty.dat contains a flat ASCII database of info about countries. This is the same file as used by CT or TR-Log.

/usr/share/tlf/mastercalls contains a flat ASCII database of known contest callsigns.

section files contain a flat ASCII database of multpliers like states, sections, provinces, districts, names, ages, etc. Some are available at the Tlf project download site They are invoked by including MULT_LIST=section_file_name in the rules file.


An operation manual (a little bit outdated) is available in HTML format at the old Tlf project page

Please send bug reports to the Tlf development list


Tlf was written by Rein Couperus aka Rein Couperus but maintained from 2009 onward by Thomas Beierlein Lots of valuable contributions from PG4I (Joop PA4TU), PA3FWM, LZ3NY, VA3DB, OM4AA, OK1RR, DH5FS, G4KNO and various other contributors. (See the AUTHORS file for more). Thanks to all for improving Tlf!

Beta testers and feedback are always welcome!