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Author Topic: What Percentage of DX Stations are Using LOTW ?  (Read 3027 times)
W6DXO
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« on: January 03, 2018, 04:05:44 PM »

Guys,

I'm sure this has been discussed previously but I still would like your opinions...

What percentage of non NA stations do you think are actively using LOTW?

I need some band fills to complete a 6BDXCC and it seems that only about 50% of the
stations I have worked in the past year are committed LOTW users.

I would have thought by now that the percentage would be higher.

What has been your experience?

TIA for any thoughts.

de harry, W6DXO

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WO7R
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 04:22:56 PM »

About 50 per cent seems right.

But, this is better than it looks.

1.  For the rarest places, you eventually get LOTW now.  They all take foundation money and the foundations require that they eventually upload.  It may be a year after the DXped, but it happens.

2.  For the commoner places, you get bailed out by statistics.  If DX1DX does not participate, DX2DX does.  You work both, and you get the credit from one of them almost always.  For the rest, you go direct or wait for DX3DX to show up.

I looked at my own results off and on.  I reckoned that with LOTW only, I would have about 1600 out of my 2000 DXCC Challenge done with LOTW alone.  Of course, that doesn't count the stations I didn't try for because I had a card from before 2004 when LOTW became significant.  I don't do pileups "just because".

But, worst case scenario is that if you 'hold out' you can probably get 3/4 of your credits with LOTW now.

Me, I typically wait a calendar quarter before going direct, especially for band-slots on medium rare stuff.  Surprisingly often, someone else will show up on the same band or mode.  Or, the station in question will relent and, contrary to the QRZ entry, do LOTW after all.  If I waited longer, I might do a little better with this strategy -- my own logging info says that 3 months is a fairly good "sweet spot" in terms of whether the station ever "relents".  Many never do.  At some point, waiting it just. . .waiting.

The real problem is the intermediate stuff.  Something where you need an "in" with the authorities to get licensed but that actually going isn't so expensive it takes foundation money.  Or, it is someone going there for work. gets licensed, and works DX when they wish, but mostly don't.   Those can be a problem vis a vis LOTW.

If your sole objective is 6BDXCC, you should be able to do it with no cards.  But, you might relent on some for (e.g.) DXCC Challenge, though some have made the 2000 level with LOTW only.  I don't have that kind of patience.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 04:27:35 PM by WO7R » Logged
K4HB
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 05:30:37 PM »

According to this info, and don't know how current it is, there's 2.6 million hams in the world and 632,000 of those are in the US. Japan has half of the hams in the world. Subtract the US hams from the world total and that's 1,968,000 DX hams.  http://www.qsl.net/yo5ofh/others/how_many_hams.htm

According to the info at HB9BZA's page, there's a little over 61,000 DX LoTW users. I don't believe all DX users are listed here. ARRL has released a list of users, but I didn't attempt to separate the US and DX hams in their list.
http://www.hb9bza.net/lotw/lotw-dx.html

With 1,968,000 DX hams and 61,000 users, that's 3%. But we are missing a lot of information here. We don't know how many of those hams are active, have HF privileges, or are DXers.

I've found my returns via LoTW are much greater than the math above. If you want to know if a certain station uses LoTW, just log on, use the "Find Call" button, and enter their call. It will let you know the date of their last upload. That's better than yellow lines on cluster spots, which only lets you know they may have been a user years ago.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 05:37:48 PM by K4HB » Logged

WO7R
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 05:55:22 PM »

Those kind of numbers are inflated.

There's a lot of VHF only hams in the world.
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WO7R
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2018, 05:57:08 PM »

As far as "who is and who isn't", I have found the QRZ entry about 95 per cent accurate.

Sure, some slough off and forget to update.  But that is more than countered by those that update their entry when they finally sign up.  I'm more interested in who "is going to upload" than "who used to upload".  For that, QRZ is the best indicator in an imperfect world.
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VA3VF
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2018, 06:57:58 PM »

QRZ is pretty good, I agree. I actually received confirmations that QRZ "told" me I would not get.

I don't know if available in other software, but in JTAlert, you can filter by the last time the station actually uploded to LoTW. I have mine set to 1 year. I would like even more granularity.

As for LoTW returns, mine is around 50% as well.
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KB8GAE
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2018, 08:15:35 PM »

Harry,

I joined LOTW in 2013 and uploaded 5 years of logs which gave me  DXCC on 10, 15, and 20, and around 85 on 40 meters mostly from contest qso’s. 

In January of 2014 I had around 40 confirmed on 12 meters and decided to try and get DXCC while the band was still open.  In 30 days I was able to work and confirm via LOTW the 60 needed entities on 12.

I was able to complete DXCC on 40, 30, and 17 meters in 2015 all via LOTW. 

In 2016 I started to focus on 80 meters. I only run 100 watts and a wire. I wasn’t sure how difficult 80 would be so when I got to 90 on LOTW I also sent direct for any stations I worked that did not use LOTW.  I completed 8BDXCC in early 2017.

I am not sure of the percentage of hams that use LOTW but in my experience you should do just fine using LOTW only.  I now have 112 on 80 and would not have needed to send for any cards.

73's Rich KB8GAE
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K8AC
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2018, 08:21:11 PM »

I'm running around 50% LOTW confirmations.  Over the past few years, that's added up to 320+ entities confirmed via LOTW. 
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W6DXO
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2018, 08:34:02 PM »

Thanks Guys,

I just wanted a reality check. 

After finally making HR I lost some interest in chasing confirmations. 
I'm back on it now as I try to close out my 6BDXCC.

I still enjoy getting cards so sending out some paper isn't such a chore.

73 es gud dx de harry, W6DXO
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WO7R
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2018, 09:23:44 PM »

There's nothing wrong with paper cards.

The trick is whether a card is a necessity or something you want in some particular case.

LOTW means that you don't have to get cards that you don't really want.  Truth is, LOTW's very success shows we are (on the whole) pretty utilitarian when it comes to cards.

I know I want a card for every Mixed DXCC.  Maybe a few more for other reasons (say, a difficult or memorable QSO).  Beyond that?  Well, there's lots of pretty pictures in the world and many are not obscured by ham call signs.
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2018, 09:30:11 PM »

The ARRL's list of callsigns that have uploaded QSOs to LoTW contains ~112K entries. 8 of those entries are mine: KC6IGZ, N6YBG, AA6YQ, KH6/AA6YQ, FJ/AA6YQ, KP2/AA6YQ, V4/AA6YQ, and 8P9RY, so the number of ops who have submitted QSOs to LoTW is lower than 112K.

Your LoTW confirmation rate will depend on two primary factors: how long you've been operating, and what modes you employ. QSOs made 20 years ago will have a much lower LoTW confirmation rate compared with QSOs made this year. QSOs made using digital modes will have a much higher LoTW confirmation rate compared with QSOs made using CW and Phone.

My LoTW confirmation rate for QSOs made in FT8 - a digital mode that first became generally available in July 2016 - is north of 70%.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 09:33:08 PM by AA6YQ » Logged
WO7R
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« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2018, 01:06:41 AM »

I have always assumed that "users" is some measure of unique people and that "certificates" represent multiple call signs controlled by that user.

If that is correct, then one gets an average of 1.5 calls per user and that 'user' is a slightly better surrogate for DXers than 'certificates'.  A lot of DX stations, after all, are allowed to hold separate contests calls and even in the US, contest clubs are somewhat common, varying from tiny to huge -- and someone is the trustee.  Then there are those that have a lot of DXpeditions and calls and those that have only their own.

Of course, not every LOTW user is keen on DX or makes it a primary activity (as I have long noted, contesters love LOTW as it eases the card burden that they care less about than we do).

But, probably, a high proportion of "users" represent at least "sunshine" DXers that work DX when it comes their way and perhaps have a basic DXCC and no interest in much more.  There is a VHF only crowd in there somewhere (as my 6m activities inform me), but I suspect it is much smaller than DXers.
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K4HB
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« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2018, 07:10:04 AM »

One thing I believe we can agree on is there's over 112K LoTW users on the ARRL list and HB9BZA's list. But not all of these are current users, some are SK. The ARRL list has the date of last upload, and some date back to 2003 when LoTW first started.

I counted 112,320 entries on the ARRL list. My Excel 2003 would only open a little more than 65K lines, so opened in word and counted.  https://lotw.arrl.org/lotw-user-activity.csv

HB9BZA has 112,496 on his list. Robert did an excellent job keeping us informed of users before ARRL released their list in July 2017.  http://www.hb9bza.net/lotw-users-list

The latest info I can find for the number of hams in the world is over 3 million.  http://www.iaru.org/world-amateur-radio-day.html  What I don't know is how many of these are alive, active, have HF privileges, or are DXers. Probably very few are all of the above.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 07:32:26 AM by K4HB » Logged

N3QE
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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2018, 07:12:39 AM »

50% is not a bad start when it comes to HF contest stations. Overall with HF contest stations the percentage is getting closer to 56%.



Digital mode guys can be much more than 50%.

If you start getting into casual phone guys outside contests, the percentage can be far lower than 50%. A lot of those guys aren't keeping any kind of log (even paper).
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 07:16:37 AM by N3QE » Logged
W1VT
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2018, 12:39:21 PM »

Yeah, digital is great for getting LoTW QSLs.  My confirmation rate is 72.7%, including all the uploaded records that will never match.

I just got 160M QSLs from EA9CD and K9FD in BL11.  Good thing FT8 has a manual override--he was only -23 and two other stations called but I was quite pleased to make my first contact using the Hawaiian Sunset Grey line opening! I saw that BL11 and instantly knew he was in Hawaii.  It is normally such a Zoo at that time--it can be hard working strong DX stations with my modest 160M station.

Zack W1VT
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 12:43:55 PM by W1VT » Logged
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