Why do many (MOST?) EU and JA hams seem to avoide it like the plague? I wonder what percent of active hams who QSL on a regular basis actually USE LOTW? 10%?
If you count "active hams" as "the ones who appear in my log" (30,000 QSO's in past two years), then about half use LOTW.
There are pockets where LOTW participation is near zero, sure. Then there are pockets where LOTW usage is very high. Big whoop.
I would guess that one major roadblock to higher participation, is that the log has to be in the computer file. For a contester in the past decade+, that's completely trivial. But it's not so trivial for huge swaths of the ham population.
Even disregarding the problems it has now, I dont think it will EVER become what ARRL had in mind when they developed it. I mean how helpful is it, when only a small percent of hams use it???
Wow, when I got 5BDXCC using 99.4% pure LOTW credits, you don't think that's what they had in mind?
PLUS: I ran up on a couple hams who will NOT send OR receive via the buro
. They said dont waste my time. One says he will send via the buro, but only DIRECT mail for his incoming
cards. Go Figure
Remember... outside the USA, to get bureau cards you have to belong to your national radio society. If you don't choose to belong... your bureau cards go in the circular bin. Just like some choose not to join LOTW, others choose not to join their national radio society. Their choice. (Or not... in some cases there is no bureau, or no bureau to some parts/segments of a country.)
All that said... for me what LOTW did, is become the central organizing point for all my QSL'ing. Without it, I doubt I ever would have marshalled the recordkeeping to get beyond a pile of thousands and thousands of paper QSL's. Sure, others are more organized than me and were on top the whole time. But for the first 30+ years of me being a ham, it was all "get the card and put it in the pile". Only with LOTW did DXCC, then 5BDXCC, and now 9BDXCC seem like quantifiable goals where I could watch my daily progress... which just pushed me on to make more progress.
It doesn't hurt that a dozen or so hours in any major DX contest will get many folks almost all the way to DXCC, and (thanks to high contest LOTW participation) almost all the way to confirmed DXCC.