What are all of these passwords for?
There are up to four passwords that may be associated with a single callsign. The short answer to "why so many?" is that each password protects a different aspect of the LoTW system.
The first password you will deal with is one that you create. It protects your Private Key. You create this password when you create your certificate request for your primary call. It can be any number of characters, and it is case sensitive. Be sure if you use mixed capital letters and small letters that you write this password down exactly as you create it. You must keep track of this password because it is the most important part of the LoTW system. It is used to sign your log data, request additional certificates, and make back-up copies of your certificate for safekeeping or for use on another computer. We will not know this password, and cannot tell you what it is. If you lose it and forget it, your certificate will become useless.
The second password you will see is the 8-character password that comes to you on your postcard if you are in the U.S. Participants outside the U.S. will not get this postcard or password. For U.S. participants, you will need this password in the initial stage of setting-up LoTW when you go to the LoTW Page on the ARRL Web site and follow the link in the yellow box to go to the page where you enter the password (this tells us you received postal mail at the address listed with the FCC). Once you have successfully entered this password, you will not use this password again.
The third password you will see in the body of the email containing your certificate. This email will also contain your username (usually your callsign, and sometimes your callsign with a number at the end). You will use your username and the password to access the Logbook User Web site. This is the only place you can use this password. Once you have gained access to this site you can change your password.
The fourth password, if you choose to use it, is one you can create when you save/back-up your certificate (and private key) to a floppy disk (or another hard drive, or CD, etc.). Saving your certificate is something you absolutely need to do--both to serve as a back-up in case your computer crashes, or to use if you want to install the certificate on another computer (see Part 5 of Getting Started). In TQSLCert, click on the certificate in the certificate list to select it, then choose the Certificate menu's Save command. Before you save the certificate, you will be prompted to create a password that protects the private key that is saved on the floppy or other medium. It is not required to use/create this password. The idea behind this password is that if your floppy were ever lost or stolen, no one would be able to steal your private key from the floppy. After this stage, you will then be prompted to supply your Private Key password (the first, and most important password in LoTW), which is necessary to allow the program to save your private key with your certificate. Then you can save the certificate file and copy it to a floppy disk or other off-line medium.
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