January 18, 2013

What is your LoTW QSL/QSO ratio?

We are very enthusiastic about the ARRL's Logbook of The World (LoTW).  It is an excellent concept, easy to use, cost effective, generally fast, and an useful source of interesting data.  Being numerically inclined, one of the things we check from time-to-time is the ratio of our QSO's confirmed via the LoTW.

You have 3,556 QSO records
You have 1,486 QSL records

As we write this on January 16, 2013, there are 54,750 ham registered with LoTW and our QSL/QSO LoTW ratio is at 42%.  Being a glass-is-half-full ham, we do expect with time to see this ratio increase as more hams join in the fun and become LoTW subscribers and upload their logs.

There is a fascinating area of study in economics regarding networks.  One of the important ideas from network economics is that the utility that a single subscriber gains from participating in a network is a function of the size of the network.  The more subscribers, the more utility each subscriber derives from belonging. 

To illustrate, just imagine the early days of telephone networks.  It wasn't too useful to own a phone when there were very few people to call and even fewer that you actually knew.  However, once nearly every home had a phone it was extremely useful to own a phone.

The LoTW is an excellent example of network economics in action.  The more hams that subscribe to the LoTW and submit their logs the more utility each already-subscribed ham derives (in the form of more of confirmed contacts).  An increase in LoTW subscribers thus will increase the QSL/QSO ratio on average for all subscribed hams.

I am looking forward to the day when we see the number of registered LoTW users increase to 100,000 or 200,000 hams worldwide.  How about 1,000,000 LoTW subscribers?  What will the average QSL/QSO LoTW ratio be when that happens?  Pretty darn good I am sure.

So how does your QSL/QSO LoTW ratio compare?  Not using the LoTW yet?  Well come on and join the fun.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

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