LotW and station location

I have always used Logbook of the World for confirmations. Since starting SOTA I realized that you need to setup a different station location for each activation you do in TSQL so that the other station get the correct credit for the DXCC, State, County, CQ Zone, ITU Zone and grid square.

However, I find that as a chaser or working someone S2S, the activator does not setup a new station location for TQSL. So when I get a confirmation from them the info from there home station is there and I get a mismatch from the info I have entered.

I would just like to get the word out that when you activate a summit and use LotW you need to add a new station location. PLEASE!!


Hi Kent

Yes, I am doing this although it is somewhat of a PITA I do like to get accurate distance reports. I only operate HF portable so even if I’m not SOTA I will be in a different location. I have taken to using Maidenhead Locators as ‘good enough’ where required rather than an accurate Latitude/Longitude, although if I am entering SOTA contacts I do tend to look up the summit location exactly.

I’ve tried various logging solutions and not found one yet that is straightforward logging SOTA activations from paper copy. I’m using jLog at the moment but that isn’t without some weirdness.

Suggestions welcome!

Regards, Mark.

When I started as a licensee ham back in 1984 I did send paper QSL cards for 100% of my contacts. Together with my usual radio activity, I later started contesting and then realised that it was a pain and an important expense to send so many QSL cards.
After the years, despite the highly unbalanced sent vs received QSL cards ratio, with loads of paper QSLs cards packed in shoes and trainers boxes taking up too much space in my shack and doing nothing but that, I decided to send them all to the paper/cardboard recycling container and just do eQSL and LOTW.
Having totally lost my interest in receiving QSL cards, I would just send mines through eQSL and LOTW because I know many ham still want them. These 2 electronic systems worked well for me but they became a pain when I bought my FT-817 and started to work portable during my summer vacations, as I has to set up a different account for each different location.
Then I met SOTA and started activating. After setting up a few new accounts on eQSL only (nothing for LOTW) for individual SOTA activations I carried out, I quickly realised that was simply not worthwhile and I gave it up. This will give you an idea…

Then I created a new account on eQSL for EA2IF/P called SOTA activation.

The QTH locator is the one of my base QTH and my eQSL sais that for specific information of a certain activation, SOTAwatch and the SOTA database will have to be checked.

That’s all I currently can and want to spend on QSO confirmations.
Regarding LOTW, I received some months ago emails warning me about the expiration of my TQSL certificate. I was too busy at that time and I had that certificate installed in a laptop that I don’t use much right now, so I let it go and my certificate expired. I honestly don’t feel any sorrow for that. I even feel relief, as I have now more time to enjoy playing radio instead of dealing with e-paperwork.



Being a SOTA activator and a LotW user, I found that entering a new location for every activation is a bit tedious, but after some time one gets used to it. Actually, when you start repeating activations of your local summits after your first year of SOTA or if you have your semi-permanent activation location on a nearby summit (like our Tom on The Cloud) , the business of entering locations for your SOTA activations becomes pretty easy. So, no reason not to respond to the Kent’s plea.
Best 73!
Zoran / E70AA

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Interesting…seems if you don’t use the correct station location you aren’t complying with the rules of using LoTW.

One example where this messes things up (and invalidates the award) is the ARRL Worked All States (WAS) which from memory has to be achieved from within a 50 mile or so radius of each qualifying contact. So if I activate a SOTA peak in Northern California and then another in Southern California these can’t both count toward the same WAS award.

Similarly activators are possibly doing a WAS or county chaser a disservice by not using the correct location. For example, if I activate a Nevada peak and upload to LoTW using say my California home location, a chaser has missed out on getting Nevada in their quest for WAS.

For all my SOTA and NPOTA activations I always included the correct location when uploading to lotw. TQSL makes setting up a new location prior to upload really pretty easy.

In my mind either follow the rules/expectation of LoTW or don’t use it!!


OMs who want to support the ARRL’s International Grid Chase 2018 International Grid Chase 2018 (I think we all should) need to use LotW and indicate correct location for each QSO.

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I agree that it’s worth doing Kent. It’s a fairly short process to set up a new station location and the grid square data is easily available from the SOTA mapping page. There are also easy utilities to determine CQ & ITU zones available online. And as Zoran has pointed out, once you have set up a location the first time, it’s ready to go when you repeat the next year.

I’ve noticed that SOTA ops in general are less likely to use LoTW than many other groups (i.e. contesters, parks hunters, etc). At least, it seems that way for me, as I get a lower percentage of LoTW confirms from SOTA QSO’s than my overall average. Not sure why that is. Most are very good about uploading logs to the SOTA site and if you use the import feature to upload logs, you already probably have an adif file that is ready to go for LoTW anyway. But of course it’s up to each operator whether they want to use LoTW or not.

Keith KR7RK

Agreed. Since I use LoTW, I do a new station location for each new grid square and/or county. The list is starting to get a bit long, but it works!



I enjoy using Fast Log Entry for entering paper logs; it can output directly to SOTA CSV and upload to LoTW, along with ADIF export. Uses a shorthand method of log entry that makes conversion from paper as painless as possible.

Unfortunately there’s no programmatic way right now to create locations in LoTW; you have you create the location manually and then choose it at upload time. They’d definitely benefit from an API or command-line tool to do that, so known locations like SOTA summits could be directly converted.


Can somebody talk to LotW staff and ask them to publish an API that would make entering data from SOTA and other ham activities into LotW database more automated?

This brings up another thing. As a chaser I would like to enter the correct county in my log but sometimes that info is hard to find for a summit. Does anyone else find this difficult?


I find the drop down menus in TQSL easy to create a location.

Thanks for the suggestion. I will take a look. Regards Mark M0N0M

I think contacting ARRL and asking them to facilitate a facility for a minority of LoTW users would not bear fruit.

LoTW is primarlily a tool to facilitate proven contacts between your own station in whichever DXCC Country it is located and other DXCC Countries and US States.

73 Phil

Yes, finding a county can be difficult. I typically guess at the county, then do a search for it in Google Maps, which then shows the boundaries of that county. It’s definitely a pain.


A minority of users? How about “everyone activating a grid square in the ARRL International Grid Chase 2018”?



For us in the States my sense is LoTW isn’t just about DXCC but includes things such as WAS and other intra-USA things such as the 2018 Great Grid Square Chase.

Additionally, if you are on the border between two counties (as many summits in my part of Colorado are), my understanding is that you have to choose only one.

To the general topic, I only recently began uploading my SOTA activations into LOTW. I started out creating unique locations for every summit, but now only for unique combinations of county and four character grid squares. I assume that very few people are interested in six character grid information.

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I’d never heard of the ARRL International Grid Chase 2018 - maybe it has come about due to the popularity of the FT8 datamode where grids are exchanged with every QSO and this has created an interest in a Maidenhead Grid award. Its good that LoTW can cater for this interest for those who want it.

73 Phil

I knew I should have included the URL. It was included above, but here it is again. It is a pretty easy additional activity for SOTAfolk.