Came across some interesting observations out in the blogosphere re: LOTW, whether its worth the hassle and such, by VE3OIJ and KB6NU. I shared some thoughts a few months ago not long after I got LOTW working. Some time has passed so I did some logbook analysis on my contacts since getting back on the air (16 June through the 30 November) to see if things got better or worse.
Every QSO in my logbook for this time period (379 total) has been uploaded to both eQSL.cc and LOTW. Here's what I got for my trouble:
- Confirmations via eQSL: 118 (31.1% return rate)
- Confirmations via LOTW: 113 (29.8% return rate)
- QSOs confirmed via both eQSL and LOTW: 55
- QSOs confirmed via eQSL but not LOTW: 25
- QSOs confirmed via LOTW but not eQSL: 58
- DXCC entities confirmed by both eQSL and LOTW: 16
- DXCC entities confirmed via eQSL but not LOTW: 10
- DXCC entities confirmed via LOTW but not eQSL: 14
So what does this prove? Nothing, really, except that more than two thirds of the stations I've worked in the past 6 months don't use either method of electronic QSLing, or simply haven't bothered to upload their logs yet. As for those who do QSL electronically, just under half use both LOTW and eQSL. Unless and until more logging software integrates automatic uploading, I don't see how electronic QSLing will be a viable replacement for the analog method.
I'm sure more electronic QSLs will trickle in over the next few months, but in my experience I've found that most people who use eQSL and/or LOTW will upload their logs pretty soon after the QSO. Therefore, I don't expect the percentages to skew drastically either way. Whether my experience is in any way representative of reality, I can't say. I'm curious to know how other hams are faring. Is my 30% return rate typical?
Meanwhile, I'm sitting on a pile of cards ready to go out to DX stations but I haven't had a burning desire to cough up the $150+ for postage (including the return postage that most DX stations ask for), nor have I sent off any cards to the outgoing bureau. I've been happy thus far to sit back and watch the LOTW verifications trickle in and my DXCC and WAS totals slowly increase.
In a perfect world, the ARRL would accept eQSL as a legitimate confirmation method. But in reality, this would net me very few "new ones" since many of those 10 eQSL-only countries were already verified when I was QRV from New Jersey, years before either LOTW or eQSL.cc were a gleam in their programmers' eyes.