eQSL cards

Discussion in 'Logbooks & Logging Programs' started by K9FV, Jun 26, 2008.

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  1. NA5Z

    NA5Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    LOL I think we have a miswire.... I meant a rubber stamp. :D
    Ya know... "QSL Verified by K9STH" or some such little stamp mark. Especially common for managers, but I'm seeing more and more individuals do it, too
  2. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is considerably more difficult and time consuming to "fake" contacts via LoTW though, especially since each licensee has to go through a verification process to get signed on to LoTW, and agrees to digitally sign his/her logs.

    If a bunch of cards are printed using the same cardstock, from the same printer, then I would definitely know something was amiss.

    Plus, some QSLs are distinctive. There's no way you're going to get a good forgery of a BS7H QSL for example, unless you go and print up a whole batch of them at a card printer.

    At that point, why even bother?

    Yep, that's good for you guys. For others, like me, DX chasing is a competitive sport, where you have to at least make some attempt to make it difficult for cheaters.
  3. K9FV

    K9FV Ham Member QRZ Page

    The eQSL verification process is pretty fool proof also - or it seems to be. First you MUST have a copy of the original license, then you have to acknowledge a card mailed to the address on the license to get AG rated - AG are the ONLY eQSL contacts that count toward most any award. That seems to make it pretty difficult for cheaters. I'm not sure about the "digitally sign his/her logs" - not sure what that is.... OR how it is more secure than the AG process. I'm sure most any system could be hacked to fake the AG rating, just like the digitally signing could be hacked. As we both agree, most any system can be faked, the trick is to make it more trouble than it's worth.

    Anyway, this thread has went on long enough - I've learned some, and enjoyed the input from several folks. Thank you to all for your input and comments.

    73 de Ken H>
  4. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page


    The majority of those cards (both DX and stateside) in my collection that have signatures have been signed by hand and not using a rubber stamp. Now a few have come through with rubber stamps but the majority of cards that I receive from the "big gun" contest stations and from DX'peditions have no signature of any kind either "human" or rubber stamp. For those who work a lot of stations and who use the computer generated labels even using a rubber stamp is going to at least double the time necessary to process a QSL card and the tendency is to "forget" the signature.

    Now I have a couple of DX cards that were "filled out' by the computer but the information was printed directly on the card. Those also have a signature that was printed by the computer as well.

    By the way, back in the "goode olde dayes" (1950s and 1960s) well over half of the QSL cards in use were of 2 or 3 different styles (WRL "My QTH", Walter Ashe, and the General Electric "From the log of"). Therefore, one received a whole lot of very similar QSL cards. A while back I received requests about coming up with the artwork so that people could re-create their "olde tyme" QSL cards. If you want to see what these cards looked like and/or actually make some of these with your call on them, go to


    and scroll down to the bottom of the list of links. You can download the basic artwork and use any graphics program to print the cards. Information on adding your call, specific colors (i.e. on the Walter Ashe card), adding the "My QTH arrow" on the WRL cards, and so forth is available on various links.

    When I was the first FM Editor of CQ Magazine (January 1971 through September 1973) I was authorized as one of the checking stations for the various CQ Magazine Awards (WAZ, WPX, etc.). Back then there were no electronic QSLs or even computer generated printing. But, every-so-often someone would try to fake a QSL card, or two, especially when applying for the WAZ award. Some of the cards were very well done while others were obviously "created" or with changed data (i.e. someone else's call).

    Glen, K9STH
  5. WY4J

    WY4J Ham Member QRZ Page

    What's the big mystery with LoTW? Once you get the hang of it, it's a piece of cake. Besides, now it does not cost me a penny to verify a QSO but not many hams want to use it. Most verifications I have received are from international contest stations, DX expeditions and 6 meter contacts. Yes, I spent six months arguing with the very nice and patient woman at the ARRL. Until I made her understand that since I did not write the software for LoTW and needed some simple instruction so I could upload my log. Kathy Allison then sent me some very easy to follow detailed instructions and now I can upload the info with my eyes closed and both hands ties behind my back. I use ham Radio Deluxe as my logging program and it easily creates a log that I then sign and convert to the format that LoTW can read.

    I have copied and pasted what Kathy at the ARRL sent me since there is no way to add an attachment to a reply. Feel free to email me if you need help.

    6/28/07 Step-by-Steps for LoTW
    by Kathy Allison KA1RWY

    Logbook of the World (LoTW): An electronic QSL confirmation program which can be used for credits towards ARRL Awards (DXCC & WAS only at this time.)

    TrustedQSL program: An electronic software program used to create certificates & sign logs for LoTW. Consists of two parts: TQSL and TQSLCert

    LoTW Certificate: An electronic certificate that includes, at least, the callsign & DXCC entity of the owner of the certificate

    TQSLCert: Part of the TrustedQSL program where the electronic certificate is created and stored

    TQSL: Part of the TrustedQSL program where the logs are “signed” with the electronic signature of the certificate and station location is listed

    TQ5: The electronic certificate request (callsign.tq5)

    TQ6: The key that “unlocks” and activates the electronic certificate (callsign.tq6)

    TQ8: The electronic file format, which is uploaded for submission, and is created by “signing” a log with the LoTW certificate

    P12: Saved (personal information exchange) file of the ENTIRE LoTW certificate

    #1 – personal password (ONLY YOU know it) that is used to create a request (TQ5), load the key (TQ6), sign logs (TQ8), save a certificate (p12) and create additional callsign certificates.

    #2 – postcard password that is issued to you for your initial request and is used for identity verification (USA amateurs only). This password is ONLY used for identity verification and specifically matches its request (TQ5).

    #3 – LoTW user page password is received in the email along with the TQ6 file once LoTW processes your request. This password can be changed once you log onto the LoTW user page.

    Simple Steps of LoTW

    ( www.arrl.org/lotw )

    1. Download TrustedQSL program: Download a fresh version of the TrustedQSL program from the LoTW website via DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE ( http://www.arrl.org/lotw/#download ). If you have previously had a certificate and are starting over, please see steps 2 & Otherwise please skip to Step 4.) CLUB calls MUST have SEPARATE, Unsigned certificates.

    2. Make sure to remove any old TQ5 & TQ6 files from your computer.

    3. Delete any certificates in your TQSLCert program

    4. Create a Certificate Request (TQ5): Open the TQSLCert program. It may automatically ask you if you want to create a certificate. Say OK. Follow the instructions to create a new certificate. Be careful of the Date Range. For the Beginning Date put approximately when you were issued your license. Leave the End Date BLANK (do NOT fill in). The personal password (#1) that you choose is one that ONLY YOU will know and you HAVE to remember it. You will have created a TQ5 file.

    5. Send a Certificate Request to LoTW: When you get to the box that asks you if you want to send the request to LoTW, say OK. (This does NOT automatically send the file to LoTW.) MAKE SURE THAT YOU KNOW WHERE YOU SAVE THE FILE. It will be similar to w1aw.tq5. You may send the file to LoTW either by attaching it to an email and sending it to: lotw-logs@arrl.org or uploading it from the LoTW website via UPLOAD A CERTIFICATE REQUEST (https://p1k.arrl.org/lotw/upload ). This will give you a red circle/bar certificate in your TQSLCert program. (Red circle/bar means your certificate is locked and not active or valid yet.)

    6. Postcard Password & Postal Documentation: Upon receipt of the request (TQ5), LoTW will start the procedure for identity verification. For USA operators a postcard with a password will be sent to the address that they have provided to the FCC. (Delays may occur if this address is not correct with the FCC.) When you receive the postcard, please go to the LoTW website and enter the postcard password (#2) via ENTER A PASSWORD FROM A POSTCARD (https://p1k.arrl.org/lotw/password ). This is the ONLY place that you use this particular password, but please save the postcard for future reference. For non-USA operators we request that you send the necessary documentation of identity (copy of your amateur license and some form of ID) via POSTAL mail for your initial certificate request. Non-USA operators will NOT receive a postcard. For more information about required documentation and where to send it, please see the following link: https://p1k.arrl.org/lotw/docreq

    7 . Activation of Certificate (receipt & load TQ6): Once LoTW processes the request, you will receive an email from LoTW with the corresponding TQ6 file. Please double-click on the file and it should load OK. The TQ6 file is the "key" that "unlocks" the certificate in your TQSLCert program. You will end up with a GOLD KEY certificate (red circle/bar will go away); You’re unlocked! If it doesn't load, please save the TQ6 file. Make sure that you know WHERE you save the TQ6 file. Open the TQSLCert program. Highlight your red circle/bar certificate. Click on FILE at the top of the box. Click on LOAD CERTIFICATE. Choose TQ6 and follow the instructions. The personal password (#1) that it will ask for is the one that you used to create the certificate.

    8. Saving Certificate: Save the ENTIRE certificate as a p12 file (personal information exchange file). Highlight the GOLD KEY certificate, right click – SAVE or click on Certificate at the top of the box and choose Save. Know where you save the P12 file. It is best to keep it OFF of your computer by saving it to an external storage device such as a CD or Flash Drive. It is valid until the certificate expires or you obtain a new certificate. The personal password (#1) that it will ask for is the one that you used to create the certificate.

    9 . Create Station Location: You will need to create a Station Location in your TQSL program. Open your TQSL program. a) NEW CERTIFICATE -- Click on STATION LOCATION. Click on ADD Location. Follow through the boxes and when you get to the DATA INPUT COMPLETE box, put something like w1aw -home . This allows LoTW to identify that it will be the w1aw certificate that will sign logs. b) LOST CERTIFICATE – follow instructions for New Certificate. c) CORRECTIONS & ADDITIONS to STATION LOCATION – Click on STATION LOCATION. Click on EDIT Location. Highlight certificate information and click EDIT. A box will open, and you may make necessary corrections or additions to your Station Location.

    10 . Create and Sign Logs: To sign logs you must start out with an ADIF or Cabrillo file. Open your TQSL program and click on FILE. (You can create an ADIF or Cabrillo file to use for signing in the TQSL program if you do not have one. Click on CREATE an ADIF file and follow the instructions.) To SIGN a log, please open the TQSL program and click on SIGN existing ADIF or Cabrillo file. Follow through the instructions. (If you do not wish to use the Date Box, you can skip through it. It is used to separate dates for uploads to LoTW.) The personal password (#1) that it will ask you for is the one that you used to create the certificate. You will eventually create a TQ8 file (This is a file format that LoTW can read.). Please send the TQ8 file to LoTW either by email at: lotw-logs@arrl.org or upload it directly from the LoTW website (https://p1k.arrl.org/lotw/upload ). Your personal logging program may or may not allow you to send the TQ8 file to LoTW. You may use this method if available. ** The ARRL cannot provide or support any personal logging programs.

    11. Additional Certificates (previous, new & additional DX calls): For additional and previous call certificates, you will need to create SIGNED certificate requests (TQ5). Open the TQSLCert program start out to create a new certificate (make sure you put the proper date range for additional or old calls). THE PERSONAL PASSWORD (#1) THAT IT WILL ASK YOU FOR IS THE ONE THAT YOU USED TO SIGN YOUR PRIMARY CERTIFICATE. When you get near the end you will see your primary certificate in the box and have a choice of SIGNED or unsigned. Please highlight your primary certificate and click on SIGNED before your complete the request. You will be signing the additional certificate with your primary (call) certificate. This allows LoTW to associate the additional calls with you. Send the TQ5 to LoTW for processing. (For US amateurs you will NOT receive another postcard.) If you are submitting an addtional request within the same country, you will not need any documentation. If you are submitting an additional request for a country outside (c6a/w1aw) of your original certificate country, you may be asked to provide additional documentation which can be sent (scanned) via email or postal mail. CLUB calls MUST be kept separate from a personal LoTW account. (They must NOT be signed. Create new an UNSIGNED request. Send the TQ5 and a copy of the license to lotw-help@arrl.org .)

    12. Lost Certificate: If you happened to have saved your ENTIRE certificate as a p12 file, you may load the p12 into your TQSLCert program to retrieve your existing certificate. Follow step #7 and choose p12 instead of TQ6 to load. If you should completely lose your certificate, you can obtain another certificate. You will NOT lose any QSO credits or logs submitted to LoTW. ALWAYS download a fresh version of the TrustedQSL program. Make sure to remove any old TQ5 & TQ6 files from your computer prior to requesting a replacement certificate. Please create a new UNSIGNED request (TQ5). If you are an USA amateur, you may email the TQ5 file to lotw-help@arrl.org as long as you include a POSTCARD password (#2) in the email text. Otherwise, please send the new request to LoTW to wait for a new postcard password to be issued. For non-USA amateurs, please send the TQ5 file to lotw-help@arrl.org for processing. (No additional documentation is required.) LoTW will process this new request as in Step #7.

    13. Renewals: You MUST renew your certificate prior to its expiration date, or you will need to request a brand new certificate. Once the certificate has expired it is not valid and cannot be renewed. When you Renew a certificate, you are creating a Renewal request (TQ5). Make sure to remove any old TQ5 & TQ6 files from your computer prior to creating a Renewal request. To Renew a certificate open the TQSLCert program. Highlight the GOLD KEY certificate, right click – RENEW, or click on Certificate at the top of the box and choose Renew. Follow through the instructions and make sure that the Date Box has the Beginning Date of approximately when you were issued your license. Leave the End Date BLANK (do NOT fill in). The personal password (#1) that it will ask you for TWICE is the one that you used to create the certificate. After you save the Renewal request (TQ5), you will be asked for your personal password (#1) one more time. As in Step 5 you will need to actually send the Renewal request to LoTW for processing. Once LoTW processes your request and sends you an email with the corresponding TQ6 file, follow steps #7 & #8.
    (USA amateurs will NOT receive another postcard. Non-USA amateurs do NOT need to submit any additional documentation.) After you load the TQ6 file and activate your Renewal certificate, you may see two GOLD KEY certificates. You will need to check the serial number and delete the old certificate. To check the serial number highlight the GOLD KEY certificate, right click – PROPERTIES – Serial number, or click on Certificate at the top of the box and choose Properties. (This will give you the callsign, DXCC entity, serial number and QSO date range.)
  6. KR2D

    KR2D Ham Member QRZ Page

    The biggest problem with LoTW is it's a bit of a pain to set up. There are a lot of steps. But once it's set up, it's trivial to use if your logging program supports it. With DXKeeper (part of DXLab), I just click one button, type my password, and the log is uploaded. Another button to sync, and and another to download QSLs (personally, I think the last two should be combined).

    eQSL is very easy to set up, even with AG. ARRL should take some hints from eQSL for ease of use. DXKeeper support eQSL also. Keeping my logs updated on both services is a piece of cake.
  7. K4CUA

    K4CUA Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    What About Electronic Signatures?

    What about electronic signatures? Georgia, and I assume many other states, have laws authorizing electronic signatures for many, if not all, purposes. The word "signature" is not defined as a hand-written mark or in any specific terms, either. Basically, it's any electronic transmission intended to be your "mark". (Yes, it's still legal to sign by hand with an "X" if that is your signature.)

    I believe an eQSL card, a LoTW entry, an e-mail, or any other electronically-communicated confirmation likely would qualify, legally, as having been "signed".

    I figure my log is the only confirmation I need (outside of a contest of some kind), so the card is just the personal touch in ham radio.

    The issue makes no difference to me at all, I'm just offering something to consider.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2008
  8. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    LoTW makes you digitally sign every log with a cryptographic hash.
  9. W6ONV

    W6ONV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sometimes I wonder if technology isn't creating more problems. As a kid I still remember my father and friends with logsheets, writing everything out. I also remember flipping through boxes and boxes of QSL cards. I do believe that was one reason I wanted to start working DX. I use LotW, just recently got it configured (it was not as simple as I thought when I attempted it the first time). I did find eQSL very simple to use. I donated so I could personalize my own eQSL card. I would like to send a QSL card to every contact I make, which personalizes the contact a bit more than an eQSL or a file uploaded to LoTW. I am not involved in radio sport and have not gone achieved any awards.
  10. NA5Z

    NA5Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's something else I had wondered about... because if applied to eQSL, eventually you'd think the ARRL could be convinced to start accepting at least the AG confirmations, assuming the AG process itself was satisfactory.

    So has the AG process changed? I saw mention of getting a card mailed to you that you had to use to confirm. I know that's how LoTW works, but when I signed on to eQSL a while back, all I had to do was send in a scan of my licenses (present address and past address/calls). That seems to me to lend itself to possible shenanigans, too.

    That just disturbs me no end, I have to tell you. I mean - what's the point of chasing the award if you have to cheat to get it?

    And if it wasn't for people like that, we wouldn't be having discussions like this, either. :mad:
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