TLF on a Raspberry PI

Contesting software for the RPi

For more than a year I'm using a Raspberry PI as my desktop machine in the shack. It started with a Raspberry PI3 that was connected on the back of a 1080p screen, and since a few months I've upgraded to a RPi4 with 4GB memory and a 64GB SD card for storage.

This solution drives 3 radios (FT950, FT991 and FT817) that are used for digimodes (FLdigi and WSJT-X) from 80meter frequencies up to 70cm. For Logging contacts CQRLog is in use. And to make sure my data is secure, Another Raspberry PI in the home network is configured as a NAS, that contains all my backups.

Even for receiving the SSTV signals from ISS in 2019, I was able to use gPredict with qsstv to get nice pictures from space.

Overall I'm very satisfied with my RPi solution. In general setting up software may take a bit more time than with a PC/Windows solution, but once it is up and running, it's rock solid. In case I encounter trouble setting up a specific piece, troubleshooting issues in the Linux space is so much more transparant than Windows.

Not perfect

The only software I have no good alternative for in the Linux space is N1MM(+). For logging contest results, N1MM is well designed and stable, and so far I have not found a similar user-friendly equivalent in the Linux world.

That said, a good contesting tool for Linux is available: TLF. It is just not as userfriendly as N1MM, and takes a longer learning curve.

K3NG keyer with TLF

Setting up TLF is easy. Downloading the sources for both Hamlib and TLF from github, configuring, making and installing goes very straight forward. Using the default versions available through the Raspberry PI repos, didn't work for me, as TLF, Hamlib and my FT-991 didn't play nice together. This was easily fixed by using the latest versions from github though.

To get my keyer (an Arduino solution running K3NG software) working was a bit of a challenge. The K3NG keyer is connected to the RPi on a USB-serial connection. This cannot be configured through cwdaemon, which is the default for TLF. The closest alternative is winkeyerdaemon, which is a perl script that connects to TLF using a socket, and talks to the keyer using a serial port. Unfortunately, the keyer assumed is the K1EL design.

It took me a good bit of a Saturday afternoon to modify this perl script for my K3NG keyer. As nothing similar is available on the interwebs, I thought I might want to post the results on my web-page. In case you're interested feel free to download the result of my efforts here.