October 6, 2011

Hunting LoTW Stations

The advantages of the Logbook of The World (LoTW) were apparent immediately when we first learned about the system.  The promise of matching QSL's (a confirmation of communication between two hams) instantly, instead of waiting months or even years for paper QSL's, is compelling by itself.  Automating QSL administration with electronic logging meant more time operating and less on paperwork.  Avoiding the cost of postage, paper, and ink meant more money for other things in the shack.  From our view the LoTW promised a win-win-win.

The challenges of the LoTW became visible only after having adopted the system.  The primary challenge is to find contacts that also participate in the LoTW.  Fortunately, the ranks of LoTW users continue to grow every day making it easier and easier to find and make contacts and LoTW QSL's.

Our approach in the beginning was a shotgun method - making contacts without concern if the station was a LoTW user or not.  As a result, LoTW QSL's were a minority and our progress toward WAS (Worked All States) and DXCC (DX Century Club) proved to be somewhat slower than we would have liked.

Our next strategy was to call and indicate we were looking for LoTW stations.  This seemed to improve the LoTW contact rate somewhat.  Again the progress toward WAS and DXCC was slow.

Over time, we learned of several resources on the web that can help identify, target, and locate LoTW stations.  Armed with information our LoTW contact rate improved greatly which ultimately help us earn the ARRL WAS and Triple Play (#464) awards.  Here are three excellent sources on the web for finding LoTW stations:

K3UK LoTW Sked - This is a really great site for meeting and making skeds with other hams using the LoTW.

LOTW Online Users Cluster - The purpose of this site is to locate stations who are registered in the LoTW.

HB9BZA LoTW User List -Compilation of information from many different sources identifying LoTW users.

QRZ - QRZ, is a wonderful source of worldwide call signs and data about hams including if they use the LoTW (or not).  How did we hams live without qrz.com back in the days before Al Gore invented the Internet and global warming?

QRZ Forum - SKED - QSO Scheduling - The QRZ SKED forum is a good resource for finding hams looking for a sked or to post your own request for a sked.

Interestingly enough, the ARRL does not provided a comprehensive list of the LoTW users or a database to query for this information.  That makes the above sources positively essential for hams attempting to make LoTW contacts and earn awards though LoTW QSL's.

As the saying goes, information is power.  Armed with the above you are now empowered to focus your search for LoTW stations on the air and hopefully rack up some serious LoTW contacts, QSL's, and awards.  These sites can help you enjoy the full benefits provided by the Log Book of The World.  If you don't use the LoTW, we hope this article will motivate you to get started with the LoTW today.

Stay tuned for the next articles in this series where we discuss various ways to leverage each of these websites to improve your LoTW contact rates.

Be sure to check out our related article, "Chasing DX The Easy Way with HRD DM780".



Related articles:
HRD DM780 - variations of the 73 macro 
HRD DM780 Macros: Curse or Blessing?
HRD DM780 Calling Macro 

© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.