How Many Online Logbooks Do We Need?

I recently commented on the ARRL Log Book of the World when they turned on support for the VUCC Award. This was a long time in coming and is a great addition to the program.

About a week later, I was poking around my qrz.com page and found that there are 32 QSOs sitting there waiting for me to confirm them. What? QSOs on qrz.com? It seems that they have added a “logbook” feature which supports keeping a log of radio contacts and verifying these contacts with other radio amateurs. I participated in the ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes and some of the contest participants uploaded their log to qrz.com, which caused these QSOs to show up in my logbook.

So now there are at least 3 online amateur logbooks available: eQSL, LoTW and qrz.com. So far, I have only paid attention to LoTW, uploading all of my contacts made since 2002. I have ignored eQSL since these contacts do not count towards ARRL awards. Yes, that does mean I am old school and think that DXCC, VUCC and WAS from the ARRL are the real deal and anything else is an imitation. CQ Amateur Radio is accepting eQSL confirmations and has a decent awards program, but I haven’t focused on any of those yet.

You can see what is going to happen…the amateur population will split across these different logbooks and it will be difficult to transfer “credit” between them. You’ll have a mishmash of confirmed QSOs that include the good old paper variety and several different electronic logbooks.

I am not sure what to do about this but I’ll probably just focus on LoTW. What do you think?

73, Bob K0NR

4 thoughts on “How Many Online Logbooks Do We Need?

  1. LoTW is the only one I worry about. eQSL has had some shady operators in the past, received awards but were never on the air. One ham intentionally set up an account on eQSL with a bogus call and log and had 50 confirmations with in days. They may have fixed those kind of issues, but loTW is the only one I care about.

    NG9R

  2. Exactly. Stick with LoTW. I find it hard to see that one going anywhere, and it should be the de facto standard if there is one. I won’t knock the other ones, they’ll be good inspiration for the ARRL to keep quality high, but no one is going to get my bulk QSLs otherwise.

  3. LoTW has the potential to absolutely bury all the others (and there are several more active eLogs beyond the listed three – would guess around 10 all told).

    But LoTW remains a kludge system that when it doen’t work right away is a hassle beyond consideration.

    You couldn’t conduct ecommerce with LoTW mindset and technology – your competition would eat your lunch.

    The ARRL consistantently half-adopts web technology, holding unwarranted loyalties to early implimentation foibles – somehow missing the need for continued improvement in the use technological.

    One need only look at how they drove their website from being the leader in Amateur Radio websites to a weak equal to other efforts – instead of improving the breed they killed their traffic.

    It is also a good idea to always – yes ALWAYS – have a paper logbook, even if just a printout…..

    Call it a hedge against a “Cloudless Day”….

    73

    Steve
    K9ZW

  4. After using all three, I ran into the following issues:

    1. eQSL doesn’t match QSOs that differ by one minute on each side.
    2. QRZ only allows subscribers to upload logs.
    3. LoTW takes a while to process uploaded logs, and doesn’t give you any feedback about your status in the queue.

    Of these issues, #1 and #2 are non-starters for me. That leaves LoTW. While #3 is inconvenient, it isn’t a fatal flaw.

    However, since it seems that many others use eQSL, I may continue to upload logs there, but probably won’t take the time to correct one-minute offsets.

    -Chris KC2SYK