ARRL's Logbook of The World Reaches New Milestones
Since its inception on September 15, 2003, more than 30,000 hams have signed on to Logbook of The World (LoTW), ARRL's online logging program -- an increase of more than 7000 hams since 2008. These 30,000 hams have made upwards of 250 million QSOs -- more than 58 million QSOs in 2009 alone. In 2009, there was an increase of more than 24 percent for both the number of registered users and the number of QSOs over 2008.
The LoTW system is a repository of log records submitted by amateurs from around the world. When both participants in a QSO submit matching QSO records to LoTW, the result is a QSL that can be used for ARRL award credit. While US amateurs do not need to be members of the ARRL to use LoTW, only members can use LoTW to apply for ARRL awards, such as DXCC and Worked All States (WAS). Some awards, like the Triple Play Award, only use LoTW credits instead of traditional QSL cards (foreign amateurs do not need to be ARRL members to apply for ARRL awards).
When an amateur uses LoTW to apply for an ARRL award, the award is processed much faster than if they sent in traditional cards. According to Administrative Manager for the ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Department Sharon Taratula, an award applied for via LoTW can be processed in 24 hours versus sending in the cards. "Cards could take anywhere from 6-8 weeks," she explained." It is definitely much quicker to apply for awards via Logbook of The World."
Logbook of The World Specialist Kathy Allison, KA1RWY, said she answers more than 500 questions and inquiries each month from amateurs, ranging from replacing lost certificates, obtaining additional certificates and getting started in Logbook, as well as guiding people through the directions on how to enter in their QSOs. In November 2009, Allison answered 532 questions that came in via e-mail (no statistics are kept on the number of phone calls concerning LoTW, but Taratula estimated that it's "at least several hundred a month").
"One of the more common questions we receive has to do with using LoTW on multiple computers," Allison explained. "Now that a lot of people have a desktop computer and a laptop computer, we get this question a lot. We also get a lot of questions about what to do when a computer crashes." There are step-by-step instructions -- with pictures -- on how to navigate Logbook on the LoTW Web page.
"Logbook is not only for the serious DXer or contester -- it's for any active amateur," said ARRL Membership and Volunteer Programs Department Manager Dave Patton, NN1N. "Even though we knew that Logbook of The World would explode in its popularity, 250 million QSOs in roughly the first six years of its existence show that LoTW's concept and ideas have worked beyond our expectations as we continue to improve and expand the system."
Yaesu is the Principal Sponsor of the LoTW Web site.