|Topic||ARRL’s Logbook of the World|
|Equipment Required||Computer + Internet|
|Costs||Nil unless applying for Awards|
|Document last reviewed and updated (reviewed each year)||31st December 2022|
As you get more involved with Amateur Radio, you start to get more involved in logging QSO’s and taking part in Contests or Award Schemes. You might have even settled on Call logging software such as Ham Radio Deluxe, or Log4OM or one of the other capable products out there….
A couple of Award Schemes you have heard of like DXCC (DX Century Club), WAS (Worked All States) utilise LOTW extensively and provide some benefits over its use for submitting your QSO’s logs via LOTW. To Quote the ARRL Website (http://www.arrl.org/dxcc-and-lotw-faq)….”One of the main features is it will allow DXCC, WAS and VUCC program participants to claim credit without the need for having a QSL card in hand”
LOTW utilises a certificate based approach to reduce the possibility of Fraud or a more palatable wording and greater possibility….poor record keeping.
This actual presentation PDF from ARRL does explain it well without being over technical and well worth a read in conjunction with this article http://www.arrl.org/files/file/LoTW%20Instructions/TQSL%202_0_x.pdf
You are probably thinking by now, why do I need another logging program, and LOTW needs an internet connection which does not suit my SOTA or POTA/WFF. The LOTW does not replace your current logging software, rather it supplements it.
Let’s take and example, you as an Amateur prefer Log4OM as your primary logging application. One of the features of Log4OM is its integration with LOTW, where it will synchronise your logs with your logs on the LOTW site (providing you have configured Log4OM with your LOTW details). So lets look at these advantages with just these tools
- Every QSO log line from Log4OM will be placed on LOTW
- Other users of LOTW will see that get their confirmation (even though LOTW may not be your primary log).
- LOTW also can serve as an online backup of your QSO logs (just be aware only minimal logs are kept) but if you have completely screwed up your logs, then its not bad as a last resort backup.
- LOTW becomes your entry gateway to entering into and obtaining your DXCC and WAS – and you had to do almost nothing to keep your logs up to date
- Other Awards systems may accept LOTW logs as acceptable proof for awards (always check first)
This is what you will find with many of the logging applications, which is the ability to interface with several other systems. So when you settle on a logging application, look at what it interfaces with. Spend the time setting all these interfaces up. Generally once setup, they keep working and LOTW is one of those.
What LOTW is and is not
First of all, LOTW is not a replacement for sending manual QSL Cards nor Electronic QSL cards like eQSL.
Secondly, it is not a replacement for a “Good” logging program. LOTW strips out many of other non-essential fields like QTH, name, reports, notes etc.
What LOTW is very good at, is keeping track of QSO’s that contribute to the various awards. As long as you are submitting your QSO’s via your logging software, and others are confirming the QSO as well, LOTW will look after the calculations and points that contribute to the awards that you have chosen to apply for.
Setup of LOTW
So you have now decided it is worth setting up a LOTW account. What this means is that you need to do the following in order
Download the TQSL Software
Go to the URL http://www.arrl.org/tqsl-download and just download for your operating system)
You do not need to register on the site at this stage
Install the TQSL Software on Windows / MacOS or Linux operating system
Hopefully you will be all quite familiar with installing software on your operating system
Open the TQSL Software
A screen will pop up as soon as you start the application it asking if you want to apply for a TQSL Certificate
Click on Yes here and it will present the next screen
Commence a Request for a TQSL Certificate
Fill it out based on your details, but just one thing to note, make sure the date is the date (or very close) to the first QSO you had using your Callsign that you have listed. This is important if you have logs you want to import e.g.some from 20 years ago (e.g. you took a break from Amateur Radio)
Now enter your location
Click on Next and fill in your email address
Finally click on Finish
Now as an International Operator, you will get an email requesting further identification documentation.
In simple terms, they require
1) a scan of your Drivers licence or Utility document (you can blank out the Licence number) ; and
2) A copy of the your Amateur Radio Licence (so that they can see correlating details – same name, same address etc)
I chose my drivers licence with blacked out Licence number and a copy of my ACMA Licence. These details are the same details that you have already provided for the certificate, so in terms of privacy, you have not provided more than you need to. Send to this into the address accessed via this web page https://lotw.arrl.org/lotw-help/authentication/#hqaddr, but wait until you get the email requesting these details from LOTW.
Waiting for Approval and certifcate
Wait for to be approved and the certificate to arrive back in your Email
Your email will look Similar.
Download/Save the certificate from your email client to your local hard drive
Save it to place you can remember as you will be using the TQSL App to load this file
Load the certificate using TQSL software
If you exited the TQSL Software whilst waiting for the approval, open the TQSL Software again and select the LOAD Callsign Certificate from File (as shown below)
Select the Cerfiicate file and click on LOAD
Confirm you have installed the TQSL Certificate successfully
If you look around your TQSL Application, you will now see that the certificate is loaded into the application generally under the Active usable Certificates.
The final part – Accessing LOTW
Access LOTW Website https://lotw.arrl.org/lotwuser/ . You will need to setup a registration
Your login will be the callsign which you created a certificate for. Once completed, login to the LOTW Website
and now access the following URL
And you should see something very similar if every thing is working
Finally – Configuration of your Logging software to use LOTW
Now the image you will see is from Log4OM, but realistically if your logging software supports uploading to LOTW, then it will be be very simlar.
You will see the main settings you need to add are
Your LOTW username – normally your Callsign
Your LOTW Password (the one you made up when you registered on the LOTW Website
Your TQSL Path to the TQSL.EXE file
A Valid temporary path (anything as long as it is a valid path)
Now if the interfacing is workng, you will be able to perform drop down and it will show you the location that is attached to the Certificate
The TQSL Private pass (if you set one on the certifcate file (in most cases leave blank)
My Call is optional
I leave the ticked items as they were, but I have ticked Automatic Upload on Application Close
So that’s all there is to setting up an LOTW Certifcate and Website login. It might seem like there is a lot to it and some shy away from setting it up, but it actually is quite simple.
This will add one more Service in your enjoyment of Amateur Radio. It truly is a well oiled machine when these various services / applications all come together. In many cases, you question why you had done it sooner.
Now be aware, one of the first things to do is to perform a backup (under the TQSL Software backup menu). Whilst it’s not impossible to be re-issued a certificate (an experience I have had), it’s much easier to just reload the TQSL software and perform a restore of the Certificate file. Furthermore, if you have a couple of computers that you use for logging (or just want a backup computer), you can load TQSL onto another computer and restore the backup TQSL certifcate on that computer as well
Further Reading and Expansion
ARRL LOTW Presentation – http://www.arrl.org/files/file/LoTW%20Instructions/TQSL%202_0_x.pdf – worth reading
Important Required Identification Documentation for Operators not in the U.S. – https://lotw.arrl.org/lotw-help/authentication/