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ARRL Adopts Cabrillo File Formats for Contests

from ARRL on October 6, 1999
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The ARRL Contest Branch has announced that it's adopting a new standard electronic file format known as Cabrillo for all ARRL Contests. Starting with the 1999 ARRL November Sweepstakes, the Cabrillo V2.0 file format will be the standard file format at the ARRL for electronic submissions. Previously acceptable file formats for ARRL contests may be submitted during a one-year transition period, however.

Starting with entries for the November 2000 ARRL Sweepstakes, the Cabrillo format will be the only acceptable electronic file format for ARRL contests. Stations may still use text editors on their home PCs to generate the log files, but these "home-designed" files must meet the Cabrillo file format beginning with next year's November Sweepstakes submittals.

Adoption of the Cabrillo file format resulted from a joint effort by software developers and contest sponsors in response to the proliferation of file formats being submitted to various contest committees. The ARRL Contest Branch reports that several dozen different file formats were submitted in the 1999 ARRL 10-Meter Contest. "While most formats technically fit the requirements under the rules, almost all of the files required significant work by contest staff and volunteers in order to be processed," ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, explained.

Henderson says noted contester Trey Garlough, N5KO, developed the Cabrillo format working with the developers of most major logging software and the sponsors of most major contests. "Major software developers have agreed to incorporate the Cabrillo format into new updates of the programs," Henderson said. He stressed that operators should contact various software developers and distributors for information on upgrades to their specific programs.

The Cabrillo format standardizes the QSO information that appears in each data column. Details on the format appear in the "General Rules for all ARRL Contests" in the November 1999 issue of QST. Specifications for the Cabrillo file format also are available on-line at In addition to the file specifications, there are sample templates for various ARRL contests, a history of any modifications to the format, and some insight into the development of the Cabrillo file format..

For additional information on the technical specifics of the Cabrillo format, contact Trey Garlough, N5KO, For more information on ARRL-sponsored contests contact ARRL Contest Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND,; 860-594-0232.

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