Converting TACLog v 1,9xx C W files for use with Tucnak

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Following the (not so) recent developments in linux distributions such as Ubuntu (a Debian derivative) which have taken much of the uncertainty out of installing and operating a linux PC, the opportunity is ripe for TACLog die-hards to consider change.

A modern Linux 'Workstation' desktop is not ~that~ far removed from the perhaps more familiar Windows® environment and has all of the necessary tools available by default, along with a 'package manager' to assist in installing readily available software for all manner of purposes.

When you decide that you need a 21st century TACLog; Tucnak is, inevitably, the way-to-go.

Tucnak maintains the freeform QSO entry style previously unique to TACLog; all of the operational F-key sequences; the Voice and CW keyers; along with many crucial enhancements particularly of relevance to multi-multi V/U/SHF contesting.

These features are well-described elsewhere. With this article I wish to outline the relative simplicity of converting a version 1,9xx TACLog C_W file to work on a Tucnak installation.


The TACLog C_W (callsign) file is incompatible with Tucnak but can be converted so that all that history is not lost when migrating from MS-DOS® to Linux.

Most (all?) TACLog users will know how to update the callsign file (C_W file) with information obtained from a new contest - [MM-4-5-1] `Add C_Ws from data'.
Many will also know that the C_W file is held in a special format (Pascal Record type) which means that it is unsuitable for direct manipulation by simple tools such as a text editor. Some will know that the C_W file can be converted to a pure text format (readable in EDIT or MS Notepad) using the C_W-to-Text converter utility called `C_W.EXE' found in the main TACLOG directory, (commonly C:\TACLOG).

This `HOW-TO' requires some DOS-jockey work and some Linux command line ops and expects some familiarity with the Linux GUI environment and file manager but is safe to use and will not obliterate your data! I will provide some screen shots and a step-by-step description of the process. Those readers familiar with C_W.EXE may skip down to Step 4 directly, as you are likely to already have your C_W data in TACLOG.TXT format.


  • Convert TACLOG.C_W to TACLOG.TXT using C_W.EXE (distributed with TACLog)
  • Copy TACLOG.TXT to the Tucnak linux machine.
  • Convert TACLOG.TXT (CALL LOC LOC2 DATE) to Tucnak format with (distributed with Tucnak v2.13 & later)
  • Copy the output file to the Tucnak directory while renaming it to tucnakcw
  • Run Tucnak with your own, historical, callsign data


  • I expect that you will have installed Tucnak using a 'package manager', the command-line installer tool appropriate to your distribution (yum, apt-get, emerge, etc) or by compiling the source-code available elsewhere on this site. I also expect you to have run it up and maybe played around some - if just for curiosity.
  • A working copy of TACLog or, at least, a valid TACLOG.C_W file (which can be found in the main <Drive>:\TACLOG directory on your DOS or Windows machine).
  • A recent version of C_W.EXE (distributed with TACLog and again found in the main directory).
  • access to `' from an installed version of Tucnak 2.13 or later (/usr/[local/]share/tucnak2/ or the source code of Tucnak v2.13 or later (.../tucnak2-2.13/share/ or a download of from
  • `perl' installed on your Tucnak (linux) machine (usually by default).

OK? Got your toolbox? Let's get to work!

Step by Step

  • Step 1.

On your TACLog machine (DOS or Windows® - your choice) create a 'working directory' so that there will be no confusion about where and what we are doing. We'll call it C:\TACWORK. You will need maximum 5MB of working-space (that's small, but significant on an old DOS box).

  • Step 2.

Find the TACLOG directory. From there, COPY (not move!) the two files: TACLOG.C_W and C_W.EXE into C:\TACWORK.

  • Step 3.

If you are in Windows® start a Command Prompt window (win9x = start | Run | command [Enter] : in Win 2000/WinXP/Vista = Start | Run | cmd [Enter])
Now Change Directory [CD] to your TACWORK directory.

Type: C_W [Enter]

Here is the HELP for C_W.EXE. It is pretty simple. You will see that C_W.EXE has an `automatic' mode that converts TACLOG.C_W into TACLOG.TXT using the '0' command parameter.
C_W 0 TACLOG.C_W [Enter]

A few seconds later you will have a file called TACLOG.TXT which will open in MS Notepad or EDIT.COM and look something like this, format-wise:

	8S6Z           JO67AT            20000605
	9A/IK3UNA/P    JN74FN            20010829
	9A0BVH         JN85JO            20010211
	9A0C           JN75XT   JN75TR   20010825
	9A0DX          JN82IW   JN83JA   20020601
	9A0M           JN86EL   JN86FJ   20010305
	9A0V           JN95MI            20000605
	9A0V/P         JN85OV            19980905
	9A16D          JN83BA            20000605

    • TimeOut!.

Notice (above) that there are two locators on the same line for some of the calls, followed by the ~most recent~ date that that call was changed in the file. This format is not the same as Tucnak uses and so it must be converted to look something like this:

		8S6Z           JO67AT 20000605
		9A/IK3UNA/P    JN74FN 20010829
		9A0BVH         JN85JO 20010211
		9A0C           JN75XT 20010825
		9A0C           JN75TR
		9A0DX          JN82IW 20020601
		9A0DX          JN83JA
		9A0M           JN86EL 20010305
		9A0M           JN86FJ   
		9A0V           JN95MI 20000605
		9A0V/P         JN85OV 19980905
		9A16D          JN83BA 20000605

This is where the program comes in.

You'll now notice that there is an extra row for each callsign that had two locators in the TACLog list. You'll also notice that the new lines for the second locator have no date. The perl program called will fill in this date with 12 December 1901. Why? The line needs a date for Tucnak, there is no information available about the true date and Well, what happened on 12/12/1901? It is as good a 'default' date for a "radio" program as any I can think of ! And because it is so long ago, it also makes sure that the first locator retains its place-precedence when displayed on the Tucnak input line - just like TACLog.

		9A0C           JN75XT 20010825
		9A0C           JN75TR 19011212
		9A0DX          JN82IW 20020601
		9A0DX          JN83JA 19011212
		9A0M           JN86EL 20010305

    • TimeOut!.

A note about Linux "users": You may know that linux has the notion of "users" with names and passwords who are allowed to log in and operate the machine - this is like Windows NT or XP or (gulp!) Vista. You may not know that more than one user can log in to a linux machine at the same time to do work and each user has their own working space on the disk for data and (by choice) programs. These working spaces are known as HOME directories.

When you install a linux distribution it will (usually) ask you to enter a user name (and password) for the "usual" user of the machine. There will also be a user root created. This is the SuperUser or Administrator account and with modern 'workstation' linuxes is not usually directly used. You can also create more users after the installation is done and the box is up and running. I often create a user called radio and run all my live contest operations in that guise. This means that I can mess-around or experiment in my personal user account and working space and not damage or disturb the proper 'contest' logs.

So, I suggest that TACLOG.TXT is copied to your personal home directory - not 'radio' - so that you can experiment in relative safety. may be copied there as well. You might like to make a directory tucwork here to use for any conversions or other experiments with Tucnak data. Please do not put the conversion files into the tucnak directory if there is one there already or you are tempted to make one. /home/<user-name>/tucnak is where the Tucnak program ~itself~ will write files - we do not want to confuse ourselves or the program!

  • Step 4.

On the linux machine, logged in as your normal user, create a directory tucwork [ you can use the GUI File Manager or the Command line: mkdir tucwork ].

  • Step 5.

You must now find a way to get the file C:\TACWORK\TACLOG.TXT from the DOS/WINDOWS machine on to the Linux machine. Floppy disk; USB 'stick'; network copy; can each be used. I will leave the choice of method up to the operator!

  • Step 6.

On linux, open a terminal window. Usually you will already be in your HOME directory, so Change Directory - `cd' - to your tucwork directory where you copied TACLOG.TXT (Step 5) and where you should copy, however you have obtained it. See: Prerequisites

$ ls [Enter]

Check the Letter CASE (upper/lower) of the file TACLOG.TXT. In some instances it will remain in DOS-like 'UPPER' case, on others it may be converted to 'lower' case or possibly 'Camel' case. Linux file names are case sensitive so it is important that you know how to type:

$ perl TACLOG.TXT [Enter]

Do it!.
A few seconds later there will be a file called waiting to be checked. You can open it in the Linux GUI Text Editor (gedit) or with a text-mode editor (vi or nano).

  • Step 7.

I would do:
$ cp (where these letters represent Y-ear, M-onth and D-ay) This retains a safety copy in your tucwork directory.
$ cp ../tucnak/tucnakcw
This makes a copy in the current user's local tucnak directory
and if you already have a `radio' user on the PC

$ sudo cp /home/radio/tucnak/tucnakcw

The sudo program allows you to become `superuser' for just that one copy command and write the file into another user's `home' directory. It will ask for a password - this is your own (logged on user) password not that of the superuser nor the `radio' user.

  • Step 8.

Now, start up Tucnak, create a test contest and enter a known callsign on the input line plus [Enter]. Observe the appearance of the relevant locator(s), in reverse video, just like TACLog! You will also see the partial-call lookup feature in operation (just enter prefix-number-first letter). Now try entering just a locator... (checkout the Tucnak Hot-Key listing here ).

You are done! CU in the contest....
--'OGY 00:12, 12 September 2008 (UTC)