DX University™

  A Guide for DXers and DXpeditioners

On-Line Logs and LoTW

The WeeklyDX™ Helpful Hints No. 37 from the DX University™*

The 5X8C DXpedition showed up the other day and definitely started out right. I had their on-line QSL site on the screen, and almost as quickly as I worked them on 15M, there was the QSO listed on the Club Log graphic. I expected that, as it was advertised. (I worked them later on 20M CW and nothing showed on Web. Later, they said that some of the stations weren’t connected to the Internet. I’ll bet that generated some dupes!)

While I expected the on-line log, I wasn’t quite ready for was the word a short while later that the QSL records were starting to show up on Logbook of the World (LoTW). Bravo! All of my QSLs showed up in LoTW in a short time.

When LoTW was turned on in May 2003, we had no idea how it would be received immediately or in the future. We required that recipients of ARRL’s Colvin Award submit their logs to LoTW within a year. As it turns out, more and more DXpeditions are uploading more quickly than that, and even more are uploading almost real time. So, the one-year requirement may soon be obsolete. At that time, the online log was in the works and being implemented, and how LoTW could be combined with online logs was a question. The online log tells you that you are in the log, but a QSL is still a necessity. Would the QSL model remain the same, direct and bureau QSLs with the associated cost?

What some DXers soon realized was that LoTW could provide the same service as an online log and more. If DXers would submit their DXpedition QSO records to LoTW immediately, Logbook would tell them whether or not they were in the log. Moreover, it would also deliver a QSL at the same time. It would also stimulate the use of LoTW. Who could want more?

In many cases now, DXpeditions are uploading their logs both to an online log server and to Logbook of the World. Total instant gratification! It is true that uploading to LoTW is a bit more complicated than simple uploading to a dedicated server. The logs must be signed, and they must be sent to a different location. But, it’s being done frequently. Many logging programs do this for you. Since DXpedition logs are being sent to Club log, perhaps the Club Log server could obtain a copy of the certificate, sign the log, and facilitate the LoTW upload as well as crunching the data. What a service that would be! It would simplify the process greatly.

The question then arises: “Why do we need an online log at all?” Certainly, it accumulates the entire QSO record for the DXpedition, as well as the entire QSO record for each individual who has contacted the DXpedition. But, LoTW and Club combined would do that and more!

What may be more interesting – and popular – is that the individual online log is available for anyone to view at any time. In this sense, the online log presents a sort of entertainment for DXers while they are waiting for the next band opening. They can look at the records of their rivals and plan how to pull ahead in the competition. But, Club Log is already doing that, and more. You can inspect the QSO record for anyone simply by entering their callsign. (Whether all of this is a necessary is somewhat irrelevant. It’s happened.)

So – again – why is a separate online log even necessary? Logbook can verify for the DXer that he is in the log – and provide a QSL – and Club Log can provide the interesting data and entertainment. I suspect DXpeditioners have or will start asking that question of themselves. Why not create software to submit to Club Log and LoTW at the same time?  Club Log also offers a OQRS function, which with yet anotherUS  postage rate increase on international mail, and IRCs going away, OQRS is looking better all the time. It is very likely to become the standard method of QSLing in the future.

This week’s hint: Support a DXpedition’s near-real-time use of Logbook of the World with kind words and a generous donation via OQRS.

*The DX University™ is a series of learning sessions for newcomers and old-timers wishing to hone their DXing skills. Plans are now being made for “DX Academy” sessions at Visaliain 2013. This year, the DX University will consist of two parallel, half-day sessions, covering different aspects of DXing. These sessions will be co-sponsored by DX University and the Northern California DX Club, the sponsor of this year’s International DX Convention. Reservations for are open at www.dxconvention.com Make your reservations now!

These weekly articles published in the WeeklyDX™ are archived in the pages of The DX University. For more information on these topics and on “Best Practices for DXers and DXpeditioners,” see www.dxuniversity.com