Monday, December 22, 2008

Getting ready for the ARRL's LOTW....Logbook of the World program

This post is mainly for my own benefit so that I can keep track of what I have done and what I need to do.

Logbook of the World is the system used by the ARRL in the DXCC program to get electronic confirmation of contacts/qso's. If two stations upload their logs and there is a match for callsigns, date, time (30 minute window I think) and mode then each station gets a credit. There is no need to submit a QSL card to the ARRL to verify the contact if you were applying for a DXCC award.

This has 2 big advantages as far as I can see...
1) It's another method by which you can get some of the rare countries confirmed. Having had countless direct QSL cards not replied to, getting contacts confirmed electronically has obvious attractions.
2) It should/might reduce the number of incoming QSL cards. After all, if someone else works me and needs to have EI confirmed then regular LOTW users won't need to send me a QSL card.

Current status.......22nd Dec 2008
I remember looking at LOTW before but I could not remember when. I had a folder on my PC with files created in March 2005 so it was three and half years ago!
I download the current version of the programme tqsl-111.exe (the version I had was tqsl-110.exe).
Normally, you would run this programme and complete the first step which is to run TQSLCert and create a certificate request. I obviously had done this before as I have the required file (EI7GL.tq5) already in the relevant folder on my PC.

I went to the ARRL LOTW website and uploaded the certificate request. I got the following results....

Certificate request processor result:
Started processing your New Certificate Request.
For call sign: EI7GL
For DXCC Entity: IRELAND (245)
For QSOs not before: 1986-10-03 00:00:00
For QSOs not after:
Your certificate request is accepted and awaiting further processing.
You must mail in (via postal mail) supporting documentation to complete the request.
Details about what to send and where to send it can be found at:
Your certificate request processing is completed.

All non-US radio amateurs are required to send in supporting documentation to obtain a certificate. As luck would have it, buried in amongst all of the packets of QSL cards I found an old envelope with all the required photocopies (passport & EI7GL licence) and I had never posted. Next step is to post it! (Posted letter 22nd Dec 08........Received password by e-mail on 5th Jan 2009)

With the current progress of updating my logbook, I probably won't be in a position to use LOTW until April 2009 at the earliest anyway so there is no mad panic.

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