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Logbook of The World Now Supports VUCC

01/14/2011

ARRL’s Logbook of the World (LoTW) -- an online system for amateurs to confirm two-way contacts that can be used for various ARRL awards -- has been upgraded to support awards based on Maidenhead grid squares, such as VUCC and the Fred Fish Memorial Award.

To take advantage of the new features, you need to log in to your LoTW account. (Don’t have an LoTW account? It’s easy to sign up.) VUCC is an open-ended award in that hams can work on throughout their lifetime, just like DXCC. But, like the Worked All States (WAS) award, the VUCC rules require all the contacts to be made from a defined area. For VHF and UHF QSOs on 1296 MHz and below, this distance must be within 200 km on 1296 MHz and below. For SHF awards, contacts must be made from a single location, defined as within a 300 meter diameter circle. As such, the VUCC support in LoTW allows you to make the rule -- or rules -- necessary to find the QSLs in LoTW that satisfy the VUCC rules.

Getting Started with VUCC on LoTW

When you log in to LoTW, click on the “Awards” tab. Besides finding the buttons for DXCC and WAS, you will also find a VUCC button. If you wish to use LoTW for VUCC, click on “Create New VUCC Award Account.” When you do, you’ll see a box where you can name your account. You also have the opportunity to make this your default VUCC account. Click “Save account changes.”

At this point, you can manually add QSOs by clicking on “Add a QSO Set to this VUCC account.” If you click on “Add rule to QSO Set,” this will add a rule that will select current and future QSOs to this VUCC LoTW account.

You do not need to create separate accounts for each band which was used from any geographic location; LoTW will manage your band awards in each account for you. For example, your “home” location is grid square FN31, but you also operated portable from EL97. You will have to create two separate VUCC accounts so that the QSOs you made from EL97 are not credited to FN31. For detailed, step-by-step instructions, click here.

Beyond these set-up procedures, the VUCC support functions operate much like the way the WAS support in LoTW works: You are allowed to have multiple VUCCs, as long as they are from areas too far apart to be counted as one area. Most people will likely have one “home” or “primary” VUCC area.

What is Different?

  • No “hybrid” awards: You can make as many LoTW applications as you want and you can make separate applications with paper QSLs. We will keep track. It is not necessary to have 100 grids confirmed in order to make an application, but of course, it is necessary to have 100 grids confirmed and applied in order to be awarded a certificate for 6 or 2 meters.
  • Payment rate structure: Paper applications will cost more than LoTW applications. There are lower prices for ARRL members, but US stations must be ARRL members. There is no “range of prices” for LoTW credits (what you pay to use a QSL inside LoTW). The LoTW per-QSO fee is 16 cents for members and 20 cents for non-members. You will see all the prices when you go to apply for an award.
  • Credit for adjoining grid squares: It is possible to give credit for up to four different grids using LoTW. This option is available for those who operate from “grid lines” and follow the rules for this set forth in VUCC and the Fred Fish Award (see VUCC Rules # 4.E).

It is possible to “link” your ARRL-affirmed list of grids -- those grids that have already been accredited to your VUCC award. This means that you have already received a VUCC award and want that data to appear in LoTW. This is very similar to what you can do with DXCC in LoTW. Unfortunately, some of the older VUCC applications exist only on paper and will need to be entered into the system by ARRL staff. If you have not made a VUCC application since 2000, you may be in that group; please have patience as staff will not be able to enter that data for a while.

Additional guidance about VUCC support is currently being prepared and will be announced on the LoTW home screen shortly. Daily automated listings of VUCC standings by band -- similar to the DXCC standings -- will also be online soon.

We invite you to take your time and enjoy the new tools. If you see matched QSOs and they are showing grids that you do not believe are correct, please let us know. We do check submitted grid data for accuracy, but there may be errors. You have final control over which of your confirmations you apply to your VUCC. If you believe someone has submitted QSO data with an incorrect grid square, please let both us and that station know. The originating station can fix his geographic data and resubmit the logs. Please have patience with our rollout of VUCC support. There is no hurry -- it is going to be here for a long time. Questions can always be sent via e-mail to lotw-help@arrl.org.



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