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Author Topic: LoTW Certificate, why so complicated?  (Read 36146 times)
WALTERB
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Posts: 528




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« on: June 03, 2011, 10:23:31 AM »


I’m new to the whole DX thing and I really enjoy making contacts.  So I signed up for the LoTW DX thing.  First download some software, answer some questions,  then wait for a post card with a password, then fill in the password, then wait for a certificate, then load the certificate.  Huh
I don’t get it?  Is there prize money involved in this at some level?  I mean are they worried about someone cheating?  Isn’t this like cheating at Solitaire?  What am I missing here?  I’ve never seen this level of security, not even for online brokerage accounts.  Smiley
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KC2UGV
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Posts: 387




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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2011, 10:57:45 AM »


I’m new to the whole DX thing and I really enjoy making contacts.  So I signed up for the LoTW DX thing.  First download some software, answer some questions,  then wait for a post card with a password, then fill in the password, then wait for a certificate, then load the certificate.  Huh
I don’t get it?  Is there prize money involved in this at some level?  I mean are they worried about someone cheating?  Isn’t this like cheating at Solitaire?  What am I missing here?  I’ve never seen this level of security, not even for online brokerage accounts.  Smiley


I wondered the same thing.  I finally got the certs, and installed them (Had to request a new one, since I changed computers often)...

It sounds like a system built by someone who just learned about certificates, and decided to implement it.  Poorly.
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KB3LIX
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Posts: 1102




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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2011, 11:14:55 AM »

They are concerned with security.
The steps are necessary to verify that you are who
you say you are. Anyone could open a LoTW accound
with your call or someone elses call, but the postcard step
at least verifies you live at the address listed in the ULS.

Remember, LoTW confirmations ARE valid for ALL the
ARRL awards.

(Except for 160m contacts)
160m cards must either be field checked or verified at
Newington.

Personally, I think the precautions are worth the effort.
I want confirmations from VALID stations.

Using LoTW has saved me BUNCHES of $$$ and BUNCHES
of time to get confirmations.

If you are not willing to go thru the security steps for LoTW,
sign up for e-qsl. It doesn't take anything except for filling
out a simple form and returning it to them.
Of course, e-qsl is WORTHLESS.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 11:19:12 AM by KB3LIX » Logged
WALTERB
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Posts: 528




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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2011, 11:22:17 AM »

They are concerned with security.
The steps are necessary to verify that you are who
you say you are. Anyone could open a LoTW accound
with your call or someone elses call, but the postcard step
at least verifies your address.

Remember, LoTW confirmations ARE valid for ALL the
ARRL awards.Of course, e-qsl is WORTHLESS.



Ok, please don't interpret my comments as been argumentative, or being a wiseguy, but  what are ARRL awards actually worth?   If e-qsl is worthless?  How much is LoTW worth?
If there is money involved then it makes perfect sense, but if this is just to get some plaque (which my understanding is you have to pay for yourself anyway) with no monetary value, then it seems rather silly to me.   Again,  lets say I completely forged who I am,  what’s the point? Who am I cheating other than myself?  Please tell me what I’m missing here.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 11:31:32 AM by WALTERB » Logged
WALTERB
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Posts: 528




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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2011, 11:30:39 AM »


I wondered the same thing.  I finally got the certs, and installed them (Had to request a new one, since I changed computers often)...

It sounds like a system built by someone who just learned about certificates, and decided to implement it.  Poorly.

Thanks.  I want to hold off judgment until I understand the entire thing better.  But it a first glance, you’re explanation sounds closer to what I had guessed.   I can see them sending a post card with a password to your home address that allows you to access something.  Again, I’ll wait for a while before giving my full opinion on the complexity vs. reward factor.
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W7ETA
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Posts: 2528




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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2011, 12:40:36 PM »

Who am I cheating other than myself?  Please tell me what I'm missing here.

If your objective is to set a goal and play by the rules, you do cheat yourself by not following the rules.

Since the rules for ARRL certificates are more stringent than those of others issuing certificates, many people value the accomplishment of receiving the ARRL awards over all other non-ARRL certificates.

I've never looked at non-ARRL awards. So I cannot comment on what rules for the other awards are lacking.  But, to me, I have more respect for other ops accomplishments with ARRL awards than I do for other ops accomplishments with non-ARRL awards.

During the years I've been a ham I've had a lot of FUN trying to knock off all of the ARRL DX countries.  Admittedly, some of the "countries" are head scratchers?

Better HF DXing days are coming.

Some day there will be a licensed ops in Yemen.  Or at least some team will be able to secure documentation that the ARRL will accept.  Who knows?  May be another op will get approval to operate in N. Korea.

If the seas are rising, may be that silly "rocks in the ocean" will be under water?

Happy Hunting
Bob
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NI0C
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Posts: 2391




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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2011, 12:51:33 PM »

KB3LIX wrote:
Quote
Remember, LoTW confirmations ARE valid for ALL the
ARRL awards.

(Except for 160m contacts)
160m cards must either be field checked or verified at
Newington.

I've had a number of 160m LoTW confirmations accepted for DXCC-- four just a few days ago, in fact.  Since LoTW confirmations are created by a blind match between your log and the other station's log, they constitute proof that the claimed QSO was made. 

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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AE4RV
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2011, 12:51:53 PM »

The hardest part of getting started with LotW was waiting a few days for the postcard. It's been great since then. My DX spotting and logging software work well with the LotW system and I can even tell at a glance which DX ops use it. I only wish that more did use it.
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KC2UGV
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Posts: 387




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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2011, 01:11:18 PM »

The hardest part of getting started with LotW was waiting a few days for the postcard. It's been great since then. My DX spotting and logging software work well with the LotW system and I can even tell at a glance which DX ops use it. I only wish that more did use it.

And the only way to get more to use it, is to fix the current implementation.  I had this discussion over on QRZ as well.

QRZ's system for log uploads is nice, and has blind confirm as well.  Couple that kind of system to ARRL's LoTW account creation system, and you have a winner.  That was met with complete, and total defense of the system as a whole.

If signed logs are TRULY needed (For some reason, I have to figure out), then signing of uploads can be done through a web app (No client install needed), or just use OS in-built file signing, using the ARRL provided certs.
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WALTERB
Member

Posts: 528




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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2011, 01:18:10 PM »



And the only way to get more to use it, is to fix the current implementation.  I had this discussion over on QRZ as well.

QRZ's system for log uploads is nice, and has blind confirm as well.  Couple that kind of system to ARRL's LoTW account creation system, and you have a winner.  That was met with complete, and total defense of the system as a whole.

If signed logs are TRULY needed (For some reason, I have to figure out), then signing of uploads can be done through a web app (No client install needed), or just use OS in-built file signing, using the ARRL provided certs.

I'm happy to see some others are in the same boat I'm in. That they dont know why the system as implemented is as complex as it is.

again, I'm doing DX for fun, and I am having fun.   Grin
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NU4B
Member

Posts: 2194




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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2011, 01:30:20 PM »

They are concerned with security.
The steps are necessary to verify that you are who
you say you are. Anyone could open a LoTW accound
with your call or someone elses call, but the postcard step
at least verifies your address.

Remember, LoTW confirmations ARE valid for ALL the
ARRL awards.Of course, e-qsl is WORTHLESS.


Ok, please don't interpret my comments as been argumentative, or being a wiseguy, but  what are ARRL awards actually worth?   If e-qsl is worthless?  How much is LoTW worth?
If there is money involved then it makes perfect sense, but if this is just to get some plaque (which my understanding is you have to pay for yourself anyway) with no monetary value, then it seems rather silly to me.   Again,  lets say I completely forged who I am,  what’s the point? Who am I cheating other than myself?  Please tell me what I’m missing here.


If it seems rather silly to you, don't participate. EQSL is worthless for DXCC Awards, however EQSLs are valid for CQ DX awards and of course EQSL has their own set of awards so you have the option of getting the DX awards you want from several different sources.

With all due respect this post seems like a rehash of the endless LOTW/EQSL reviews found in the review section. There are those of us that value and appreciate the DXCC program and the efforts the ARRL takes to maintain the veracity of the program - and there are those of us that could care less. If you are in the second group, as I said, there are other options from other organizations which you may find easier. And actually you can submit paper confirmations for DXCC if you find joining LOTW too difficult.

It sounds to me like you just don't like the process.

Its certainly not difficult. I've never had a problem with anything associated with LOTW - from startup to uploading QSO's and downloading QSL's with my logging program, to changing computers, to applying for awards.

But good luck anyway - if your interested in the DXCC program - its the way to go.



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KY6R
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2011, 01:57:44 PM »

LOTW saves so much in money (especially since QSL-ing direct costs $3 per card for most DX stations) that that makes it worthwhile for me. I also like the DXCC program - I don't bother with any others because all of the challenge that keeps me active in this hobby comes from DXCC.

So - yes, it is a PITA at first, but once you go through the "Spanish Inquisition" with the mailing of the card - its easy. I recently renewed my certificate and moved my log from a PC to a Mac, and the process was very easy, and all done online and via email.

What are the ham radio awards good for? Bragging rights and the satisfaction of knowing you are in a peer group of others who have life long accomplishments. I know many DX-ers who don't need cards and awards to know that they have assembled a fine station and have honed their pileup skills, but I do like looking at the DXCC lists and reports they have online to see how others whom I hear in the pileups have done in their DXCC "standings".

Its just personal preference, and no right answer . . .
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WALTERB
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Posts: 528




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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2011, 02:35:02 PM »

Ok,
From the responses I’ve gotten, my initial theories have pretty much been confirmed.  
A long time ago,  I learned that I could get a black belt in Karate for about $150 US, instead of spending the 5 years, sweat and pain it took to get it from someone reputable.  The $150 would buy me a nice “OFFICAL” certificate from the “Grand Master” and an actual black belt.    
At the end of the day I would have “bragging rights” to having a black belt.  I could compete in tournaments with other equally “qualified” black belts and win trophies, etc.  However,  I wouldn’t know anything more than I did and nothing changed other than I would be $150 poorer, but I would have an “OFFICAL”  certificate.  
Again,  I’m doing DX for fun. If LOTW is the best place to keep track of my contacts then I’ll use it.  If not, then I’ll just keep using QRZ’s log book which seems to work fine.  I just found the initial set up for LOTW world way too “secure” for what is actually worth protecting.

thanks to all.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 02:36:48 PM by WALTERB » Logged
W5DQ
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Posts: 1209


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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2011, 03:28:45 PM »


Ok, please don't interpret my comments as been argumentative, or being a wiseguy, but  what are ARRL awards actually worth?   If e-qsl is worthless?  How much is LoTW worth?
If there is money involved then it makes perfect sense, but if this is just to get some plaque (which my understanding is you have to pay for yourself anyway) with no monetary value, then it seems rather silly to me.   Again,  lets say I completely forged who I am,  what’s the point? Who am I cheating other than myself?  Please tell me what I’m missing here.


To paraphrase and old saying .... "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", so it is with operating awards, ARRL, CQ or others. IMHO the reason for the level of security implemented is so that there is a level fair playing field for all those that WANT to earn an award. If someone isn't interested in earning ARRL awards, then the usage of the LOTW is probably a waste of time for them in the long run. Yes you can get confirmations via LOTW but without actually using those confirmations towards award qualifications, they are simply lines on a report. I could create a similar report on my computer using a word processor but it would not be very interesting. But by implementing a double blind matching system for QSOs (neither side know the others entries until a match is detected by the LOTW software) and making the requirements to gain use of the LOTW a little stringent, the QSLs generated by LOTW are worth something to those of us who chase awards. Not so much in direct monetary income (I can't take them and sell them for money) but by buying credits to enable me to use the LOTW QSLs I save alot of money versus sending for each and every card in my LOTW list. Credits are only a few cents each when purchased in bulk where each card can run up to a few dollars depending to whom and where I send them. I do still send paper QSLs when needed or desired for a new or rare DX.

The argument that some hams don't need LOTW (or eQSL for that matter) because they know who they worked and that is good enough for them is ok I guess but personally I like having some nice certificates and plaques to line my shack walls with. Call me concided or whatever, but that is just my desire. Those that want to fill photo books with QSL cards, that's what they want. I have a few of those too.  And those that like to print cards form eQSL, so be it. My problem with eQSL (I do upload my QSOs for those that want them) is I seem to get way too many bad QSO entries sent to me for contacts I never had. And if I get a notification I got a QSL sent to me from someone not in my log, I could go into my log and enter it, but that would not be right to do so as I feel that is cheating to myself and to the other guy.

Keep in mind LOTW was designed to be associated with ARRL awards and not a online logging program so it has some peculairities that are unique to its usage. Security is a big one.

LOTW, eQSL, papre QSLs, friendly letters, whatever ..... to each his or her own but most of all, have fun doing it!

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
KB3LIX
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Posts: 1102




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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2011, 03:49:22 PM »

"Again,  I’m doing DX for fun. If LOTW is the best place to keep track of my contacts then I’ll use it.  If not, then I’ll just keep using QRZ’s log book which seems to work fine.  I just found the initial set up for LOTW world way too “secure” for what is actually worth protecting."



Sounds like you have missed the entire purpose of LoTW.
It is NOT designed as a place to "Keep Track of my (your) contacts"
It is NOT a log as such.
It is a repository of logs submitted by thousands of amateurs worldwide.
The LoTW software takes your entries and matches them to the other logs that have been filed. When a match is found, a confirmation is issued to
your account. The confirmations can then be used to file applications
for ARRL awards.

You can search for callsigns within your entries (it will display your contacts)
but only one call sign at a time.
You can check other callsigns to see if they have submitted logs to LoTW, but
you cannot access or look at them. It will also tell you when the other operator
submitted his last log.

The ONLY use for LoTW is for application for ARRL awards.
IF you are not interested in filing for ARRL awards, save your time, because
LoTW is NOT for you.

« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 03:50:57 PM by KB3LIX » Logged
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