ARRL’s Logbook of the World has gotten mixed reviews from the ham community. KB6NU asks Is it more trouble than its worth?, while VE3OIJ says he will probably never use it. On the other hand, K2DBK says you really should use it. The biggest beef seems to be around the level of security (and hassle) built into the logbook system. Someone said “LoTW has more security than my online bank.” Probably true.
I have been loading my ham radio log data into the Logbook of the World for QSOs back to 2002. Although I’ve seen quite a few QSL matches via LoTW, it has not provided any real benefit to me.
Last week, that changed. The ARRL turned on support for the VUCC award. Lately, I have been on the air for most of the VHF contests and not much else. So when I logged into the LoTW web page, I found that I have 123 grids confirmed on 6 Meters, which would qualify me for 50 MHz VUCC. (Actually, I had already qualified for this award years ago, the hard way, with paper QSLs.)
I am still working towards 144 MHz VUCC and have been working on getting QSL cards for these contacts. To be honest, I have turned into a QSL Slacker. I manage to respond to every request for a QSL …eventually, but I have been a slacker on pursuing QSLs that I need for awards. You know the reasons: it takes time, it costs postage, it is a hassle.
The answer is obvious: we need to confirm QSLs electronically. Push a button, upload your log and receive the instant gratification of a confirmed QSO. Life is too short to mess around with cards. Not that I don’t like getting The Real Thing in QSL cards…there is nothing like receiving a well-designed card and holding it in your hands.
The challenge is also obvious… the ARRL needs to turn on support for more awards (way beyond DXCC, WAS and VUCC) with the goal of providing a benefit back to the users of LoTW. Otherwise, the number of people bothering to submit logs will remain low, limiting the success of LoTW.
73, Bob K0NR