Monthly Archives: October 2008

LoTW Certificate Renewal – Makes eMoney Look Easy

Received an email from Logbook of the World (LoTW) that one of my certificates is set to expire.

Of course there is a finite timeframe to renew – something like eight days.

So like a good team player I clicked on the renewal link to find the chaos & mess that had confronted & frustrated me when first setting up LoTW is magnified at renewal with masses more silliness:

In order to renew your certificate, just follow these easy steps:

  1. Run the TQSLCert program and ensure it is the latest version. Some earlier versions will not work! Use the TQSLCert “Help” menu’s “About” selection to check the version. It should say “TQSLCert V 1.11” (followed by other letters and numbers). If you do not have the latest version, download and install it before proceeding.
  2. In TQSLCert, highlight the certificate to be renewed by clicking on it.
  3. On the Menu bar, click on “Certificate,” and then select “Renew Certificate” in the box. Click “Next.”
  4. On the “Generate Certificate Request” page, fill out the date boxes. You should use the same start and end dates that you had on your old cert unless it was incorrect. For current callsigns, leave the end date blank. This will give you a full one-year term. Click “Next.”
  5. Enter your address information and email address on the next two pages and proceed.
  6. On the next page, you are given the opportunity to enter a password to protect your private key. You do not need to do this, but it is recommended. If you do elect to enter a password, keep in mind that the password is case sensitive. Note that you must be able to enter this password when signing a log or using your certificate for any other purpose. If you can not recall your password, you will need to obtain a new certificate.
  7. At this point, you will be prompted to indicate where you wish to save your certificate request. Remember where you save it, as you will need to find it in order to email it or upload it to Logbook.
  8. Submit your renewal request. You can either send the renewal request as an email attachment to or upload it via the Upload File area on The Logbook Web site.
  9. When your renewal request is complete, you will see an additional line on your TQSLCert program screen. This will look the same as your existing certificate except that it will have a red circle/bar over the seal. This is your renewal request. When your renewal .tq6 file is returned and loaded, the red circle/bar will go away as will the original certificate, leaving only your renewed certificate.

As always, understand that any request (with red circle/bar) contains a unique private key. If this request/key is not present when the .tq6 file is returned, you will not be able to load it. Do not delete or attempt to modify any request once you have submitted it to Logbook.

Renewing a certificate is an almost automatic process. Renewals are automatically approved, but they must be signed by ARRL in the same manner as all other requests. Certificate signing will be done within hours during normal working hours.

IMPORTANT! Once you have renewed your certificate and loaded the new .tq6 file, save your certificate into a .p12 file using the TQSLCert “Certificate” menu’s “Save” command. Copy the saved .p12 file to an off-line medium (floppy disk, CD-R or other permanent storage) for safekeeping. Then, if you have loaded your original certificate into any other computers, you must also load that .p12 file (not the .tq6 file!) into each of the other computers using TQSLCert.

“Just follow these easy steps”- really??!!  What a load of codswallup!

I guess renewal is suited to someone with time on their hand, and a disposition to put up with the LoTW “dance on the head of a pin” silliness.

I can do eMoney so much easier than fussing with LoTW – I can check my 401K, move between funds, go check my banking, manage by checking, credit cards, bills and even buy a new $3400 transceiver on-line with not even a ruffled feather – each with at most a couple sets of password/ID numbers – but come to LoTW ……

Is LoTW a “soaring eagle” or some sort of “lumbering albatross” ?

From the user interface end, it sure comes off as a turkey.

I’ve a lot to do with family the next few days, visiting, a pair of Halloween Parties with costumes already rented, a bit of traveling, of course work, and more of the pre-winter chores to get done.  There is a local club board meeting and a couple evening rehearsals for various music groups to squeeze in.

Then on top the ARRL LoTW assumes I can be ordered to do a nonsensical computer exercise by a deadline that when you step back really doesn’t matter?  I’m not even certain by the deadline I can find the needed old certificates because of the clumsy system and my use of several computers.

I am sure someone will comment that the renewal might be done in about the time it has taken to write this short piece, but I would quickly point out that I “wanted to do some writing” and not some obscure & obsolete validation process renewal with my time.

I’d cancel a credit card account that had such consumer unfriendly time demands.

Guess I’ve answered my own question on whether to ignore the LoTW renewals.  

Perhaps if enough of us ignore this sort of time-wasting the ARRL will update LoTW or write a whole new LoTW II?

I’ve written about the LoTW kludge before at:

More thoughts on LoTW – Perhaps LoTW-II?

Fort Knox & Easy Rider – Two On-Line QSL options – LoTW & eQSL



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Solid Re-Flex – New Flex-Radio Flex-5000A

As many of you knew my first Flex-5000A arrived with the serious sound of hardware tumbling inside it when first unpacked.  Flex-Radio felt it was better that it be shipped back, and supplied another Flex-5000A, one that they had been running on the bench.

Setting up everything wasn’t hard, though I did have to uninstall and reinstall the Flex-Radio software to get it to recognize the replacement radio.

This time a Quick Start-Up Guide was included and the full manual I had purchased from Manualman was on hand.

Took a few moments and I was in QSO with PZ5Z, operator Steve, running split 14.251/14.256 at 250 watts through the Alpha-78.  

Have a lot of reading and setting up to do, and I have to get the hang of the tuning – it appears quite different in concept to the TenTec & N4PY software I have been running to control Pegasus and Jupiter rigs for several years.

More once I get my manual read, work on the settings and get some time on the air!



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What’s in it for Me? – Amateur Radio Looking Forward

Every now and then a person has a reflection on their life activities, examining their level of commitment and their goals.

To do so is healthy – very healthy.

This summer and early Autumn I found myself hardly on the air at all.  

Longer than usual hours at work, road time, getting our first (Tom KC9JGD) off for his Freshman year of University, family, “outside” weather, a forlorn Motorcycle, houseguests, several weeks of “teenager-minding” as Alison KC9MPL – my XYL-  traveled overseas to look in on family, a summer of having less access to my friend George W9EVT’s shack as he rebuilds it into a mega-shack, and a myriad of other distractions.  

Having taken on spearheading a rewrite of my local club’s constitution, a task which required asking enough questions to upset just about everyone, took some of the shine off the hobby.

Having my shack outside of that recommended “six steps from where you live the rest of your life” made it easier to put Amateur Radio on the back burner.

Lets not forget that a great part of the time I have had free there has been less, much less at times, on the air due to lack of solar activity.

A thousand reasons, none which on their own would be enough to keep me off the air for long.

There have been some success during this period, a chance to order a new rig, catching up on my amateur radio reading – and of course encouraging Paul AE5JU to make the transition from non-licensed to Amateur Extra in one session was a huge highlight.

But all of that is “yesterdays” and my deep reflection has been more about “tomorrows!”

Where do I go with Amateur Radio?  What is in it for me that makes it worthwhile?

I could wax on sillily about the obvious juxtaposition of “People & Technology” making it “real for me.”

Could end up typing banter that reads like copy for Peace Song or TV commercial.

So one strives to dig deeper, to examine harder.

What’s special about Amateur Radio?

For Me, for Steve K9ZW, it really is about the people.  I have met so many great people through Amateur Radio.  I hope to meet many more.  I hear the DX voice from somewhere far away and for that brief few minutes feel the camaraderie of time shared over the electronic ether.

The technology is important and appeals to the gearhead part of my nature, but in the end it is about the people.

Looking forward into my world of Amateur Radio I have several things on the short term and on the long term I hope to have a go at.

On the short term I want to finish up the Club Constitution, be an active part in restructuring to accommodate the differences between ARES/RACES & the general club, and work at making Amateur Radio “FUN” for the club members.  What a huge chance to share with so many people!   Can’t pass this one up!

Getting a bit better traction on earning additional DXCC credits appeals.  Perhaps that 5-Band DXCC might be a worthy goal!

Helping others explore the hobby through education & elmering figures huge both short and long term.  I’m finding it hard to compete with the Internet when working with youth, except I’ve noticed they really take to contesting, Emcomm and digital modes.  I’d like to work up the club Hamcram material to a good enough “package” that some of my fellow club members could run the Hamcrams while work starts on meeting the requests for upgrade classes and specialty classes.

Through all of this I would like to in some way be part of getting at least one new Amateur a month going in the Hobby and as many upgrades as are willing.

Most importantly I’d like to be a “train-the-trainer” by helping others learn to recognize & trust their abilities to teach & elmer.  Perhaps a “How to run a Hamcram” class for those of us who feel more confident following a system than working it out as we go along.  

I’d like to get my own sons more involved.  Between the internet and inexpensive cellphone communication it is hard to show a youth the advantages of Amateur Radio, but I seem to be making some headway as occasionally I will come home from work to find Winston KC9FVR has set up his “Go Kit” 2m Station in the driveway and is talking to friend of all ages from the club.

Then there is my alter-ego, the “gearhead,” who does enjoy the technology.  This new SDR (Software Defined Radio) is right up my alley.  Getting my station up to where I want it is another applied technology project with huge appeal.  Refining a portable HF setup for Island-Hopping and mini Radio-Expeditions is in the cards.

Curiously my longer term list looks much the same – “People & Technology.”

See you on the air!



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CQ WW SSB DX Contest this Weekend

Just a reminder for us casual contesters that the CQ Magazine World Wide SSB (Phone) DX Contest is this weekend.

This is a great contest for all!

Check out for details.

And now because I’ve wanted to try out WordPress’s New Polling Feature:



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Working Paul AE5JU for his first HF QSO

Saturday 18 Oct 2008, 9 am local.  

Over 1000 miles between Morgan City, LA and Manitowoc, WI

AE5JU used a FT-897D, AT-897 and a dipole he built, all at 100w

K9ZW used a TenTec Jupiter, Alpha 78, and Tennadyne T-8c up at 60 ft, running at 800w.

Solid two-way 59 QSO on 20m.

Yeah, this was good!

(Held this back as this week had Mole Day and for whatever reason site traffic looking for things 6.02×10^23 covers up any amateur radio posts each October.  Thank you to the many thousands of Mole Day visitors who pushed my tiny blog up to the Top-40 of WordPress Blogs!!)



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National Mole Day Oct 23rd – Mole of Fortune Celebrated


International Mole Day Mole of Fortune

International Mole Day "Mole of Fortune"


 Oct 23rd is almost upon us again and it is time for International Mole Day 2008!

Theme this year is “Mole of Fortune.”


What is Mole Day?


Mole Day Logo

Mole Day Logo


Celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., Mole Day commemorates Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 10^23), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry. Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry. Schools throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Mole Day with various activities related to chemistry and/or moles.

For a given molecule, one mole is a mass (in grams) whose number is equal to the atomic mass of the molecule. For example, the water molecule has an atomic mass of 18, therefore one mole of water weighs 18 grams. An atom of neon has an atomic mass of 20, therefore one mole of neon weighs 20 grams. In general, one mole of any substance contains Avogadro’s Number of molecules or atoms of that substance. This relationship was first discovered by Amadeo Avogadro (1776-1858) and he received credit for this after his death.


Check out more at the International Mole Day website!



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