The efficacy of LoTW continues to be discussed. Of 7300+ QSOs
I have 1775 QSL records. This represents a 24% hit rate. I a still
do not have DXCC or even WAS with LoTW, though both awards
hang on the wall from paper card confirmations.
If this is indeed the future, then perhaps the ARRL should push it
harder. For ARRL sponsored contests the QSOs portion of the log
could be submitted through LoTW and only the heading part of the
Cabrillo file with the entrant's mode, power, call sign used, assisted
vs. unassisted, etc. would be declared. The question in my mind is:
--> Why should I have to convert my log to Cabrillo when I'm just
--> going to upload the thing to LoTW again as a whole second step?
Why am I doing this twice?! I'm especially curious for why I should
have to give the same organization (the ARRL) my log electronically
twice! Can't they just take the data once and then draw reports, copy
move it, or search that data set as they see fit?
If contesters were required to submit their computer entries via LotW
instead of Cabrillo it would probably increase the QSL rate for
everybody, make the system appear more effective, and save many
of us who are already uploading our logs to both places a step.
This couldn't happen overnight. There is some work to do at the
ARRL and by logging program developers to make this work.
There would need to be some standardization for the way that the
exchanges are captured (ADIF is weak on this), for example,
but that has been a problem in ADIF anyway, IMHO.
If the contesting community pushes back because "it is too hard",
then maybe the ARRL would consider other mechanisms for getting
logs digitally signed that are easier for people to manage such as
hardware keys (USB dongles) or time-based tokens (little key fobs
that give you a new magic number every 60 seconds). The key
management in the PKI system they have in place today is confusing
to some. I make no value judgement; I only make an observation.
I can't help but wonder if there are alternatives that would be
easier for people to adopt and embrace.
I'm not trying to start a fight; I'm just trying to save a step--and
get a better hit-rate on those QSOs I do upload to LoTW. It is
here. We should use it. But we should be also looking for ways
to make it better and more relevant.
-- Scott (NE1RD)
B. Scott Andersen | "Magic is real, unless declared integer."
email@example.com | -- The collected sayings of Wiz Zumwalt
Acton, MA (NE1RD) | http://www.bsandersen.com
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