Logbook of the World
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Developer Information: Digitally Signed Log File Structure

A Digitally Signed Log file is a gzip-compressed text file that contains four sections, each of which employs an ADIF-like syntax to convey information. Its filename extension is .TQ8.

The TQSL_IDENT section begins with a <TQSL_IDENT:n> tag, and specifies

  • the version of TQSL used to created the file
  • the version of TQSLLIB used to created the file
  • the version of TQSL Configuration Data in use
  • whether duplicate QSOs were enabled

The tCERT section begins with a <Rec_Type:5>tCERT tag and ends with an <eor> tag. This section's <CERTIFICATE:n> tag conveys the Callsign Certificate as a base64-encoded DER-format X.509 certificate.

The tSTATION section begins with <Rec_Type:8>tSTATION tag and ends with an <eor> tag. Its fields convey information from the Station Location from which each QSO was made.

The QSOs section conveys the QSOs in standard ADIF format; each QSO begins with <Rec_Type:8>tCONTACT and ends with <eor>, and includes <SIGNDATA:n> and <SIGN_LOTW_1.0> fields.

  • SIGNDATA contains conveys a SHA-1 hash of the normalized QSO data
  • SIGN_LOTW_1.0 conveys the QSO's base64-encoded digital signature

Normalized QSO data is a sequence of ADIF fields in the exact order specified by the tContact definition in the sigspecs section of TQSL's Configuration Data file:

  1. BAND
  2. BAND_RX (optional)
  3. FREQ (optional)
  4. FREQ_RX (optional)
  5. MODE
  6. PROP_MODE (optional)
  9. SAT_NAME (optional)

A QSO's digital signature is constructed by using the private key to encrypt the concatenation of its SIGNDATA with a timestamp.

A Digitally Signed Log file can be used to establish proof of identify: decrypt the base64-encoded digital signature in SIGN_LOTW_1.0 with the Callsign Certificate's public key, and compare the result to the SHA-1 hash of the information conveyed by SIGNDATA.


Example: verifying the signature of a QSO in a Unix environment

  1. Uncompress the TQ8 file into a text file
  2. Extract the <CERTIFICATE:n> field into a new file, called CALL.b64
  3. Decode the certificate using
    base64 -d CALL.b64 >CALL.der
  4. Convert that certificate to PEM format
    openssl x509 -in CALL.der -inform DER -outform PEM -out CALL.pem
  5. Extract the public key
    openssl x509 -in CALL.pem -noout -pubkey >pubkey.pem
  6. Extract the <SIGN_LOTW_1.0:n> field into a file, called SIG.b64
  7. Decode the signature using
    base64 -d SIG.b64 >signature
  8. Extract the <SIGNDATA:n> for a given QSO to file signdata.raw
  9. Remove the extra line ending
    perl -pe 'chomp if eof' signdata.raw >signdata
  10. Verify the signature
    openssl dgst -sha1 -verify pubkey.pem -signature signature signdata