More thoughts on LoTW – Perhaps LoTW-II?

Have had an excellent discussion with Scott NE1RD on the various ways to do multiple QTHs on LoTW,and it is obvious that anything other than a plain-jane single operator at one QTH quickly gets complex.

The TrustedQSL Certificate System is one way to do it – by requesting an additional certificate for each operational situation.

The “Places” under the main QTH seems another.

No idea which is preferred, which takes precedence and given the modest LoTW documentation it seems a question one would have to ask the LoTW staff.

My thoughts after working with the LoTW is that the system needs an overhaul.  The authentication system is clumsy and it is questionable whether any real security gains are to be had after all the bother.

Logging & Ham Shack software manufacturers that fully integrate LoTW (to the point where you never need the LoTW provided software) appears to be a rare few, if not simply nonexistent.

In the end the complexity and operational overhead of gyrating with exporting logs, signing them and manually uploading them, seems to have cut down the number of amateurs who participate in LoTW.

Is it time for LoTW Version 2 ? 

In my take a LoTW-II is overdue.  The lessons learned with the LoTW operations and observation of other electronic QSL-systems could lead to one killer app.

Here is my wish-list and some suggestions:

  • Light encryption PGP-style Public/Private Key System rather than the certificate system (not to encrypt the data, as much as to firmly establish that the sender has the private key).
  • No more stand-alone LoTW software, but rather drivers, modules and code routines as a library for others to develop. (Anyone not wanting to do LoTW-II could for a period continue with the present signing by certificate system).
  • For a Fee printing of Official Confirmation QSL record cards, so that an amateur isn’t tied for life to a remote database and its administrators.
  • Ability to continue to produce a local copy of the data, with the added ability of error checking & reporting errors, and statistical processing at the local (read:  off-line) level.

I know my list is just a start, but until LoTW becomes nearly universally supported directly by logging programs and the amateurs themselves, it is going to struggle to self sustain economically.

What are your ideas?



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