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LoTW Troubleshooting
#1 Posted : Sunday, October 10, 2021 8:23:14 AM(UTC)

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NOTICE: If, when uploading your QSOs, you suddenty receive an error about invalid QSO dates, check to make sure that your ARRL certificate has not expired!

Here is an overview of how LOGic's LoTW interface works, and some troubleshooting tips.

Virtually all problems that customers experience with using LOGic's LoTW features are related to improper setup of the LoTW certificates and ARRL's LoTW software. In this article, we will learn how LoTW works, and how to test the installation of the LoTW software and certificates.

How LoTW works

First, it is necessary to understand what LoTW is and how it works, irrespective of LOGic.

All ham operators are encouraged to upload their logs LoTW. Suppose you work another station, and you both upload your logs. The LoTW software at the ARRL will find a match, and both of you may claim credit for the QSO towards DXCC or WAS (other awards may be added in the future).

While conceptually simple, the process is complicated by the integrity built into the system -- the system makes sure that you are who you say that you are. This requires obtaining a digital certificate from the ARRL, and then applying the certificate to the QSOs that you upload. This process is referred to as "signing your QSOs".

Before participating in the LoTW program, you must obtain your certificate from the ARRL, and install the ARRL's TQSL software (TQSL stands for Trusted QSL). You must do this whether you are using LOGic or not. It is an integral part of the LoTW system, and it will not work without it. You must also set up the TQSL software -- tell it about your certificate, and define station locations. See the ARRL LoTW site for more info.

Here is how you would send your QSOs to LoTW if you did not use LOGic. It is good to understand this process if you run into problems with LOGic's LoTW upload.

Any logbook software capable of creating an ADIF file can participate in LoTW. ADIF stands for Amateur Data Interchange Format, a simple yet flexible format that allows data exchange among different amateur radio programs. It was co-developed by our own Dennis Hevener, WN4AZY, and Ray Ortgiesen, WF1B. It is now used by practically every piece of ham radio software that deals with log data. It is typically used to move data from one logging program to another, but is also used by Logbook of The World, eQSL, and GlobalQSL.

So, we begin by exporting our QSOs to an ADIF file, and saving it to a place on your hard disk where you can later find it. You typically do not want to upload your whole log every time -- to save time and lighten the load on the ARRL server, it is recommended that you just upload the QSOs that you have not previously uploaded. However, uploading the same QSO again does not hurt anything -- this will not result in duplicate QSOs in the LoTW database.

After you make the ADIF file, run the ARRL's TQSL software. Open the ADIF file you made with your logger, and process it. The results is a digitally-signed log file with a .TQ8 extension. Beginning with TQSL version 2, the TQSL program uploads the digitally-signed results to the ARRL. (Before TQSL 2, LOGic had to upload the file. If you were not using LOGic, you would have to log into the LoTW site and upload it manually).

LOGic automates the above procedure. Simply click the Export and Upload QSOs to LoTW option in LOGic's QSLing menu. See the LoTW Chapter in the LOGic manual.

LOGic keeps track of which QSOs have already been uploaded to LoTW, and exports only QSOs that have not previously been uploaded. (It does this by using the LoTW Sent field of the log). There are other options, however. An Options form appears that permits you to limit the upload to QSOs make by a certain operator, or upload all QSOs regardless of the LoTW Sent field. After choosing your options (the defaults works in the majority of cases), LOGic exports to a temporary ADIF file. (This file is located in the tmp folder inside the LOGic install folder. However, it is not necessary for the user to know this). The ADIF file appears in a preview window.

When you close this preview window, LOGic runs the ARRL's TQSL software. This is not part of LOGic per se. LOGic is just running the ARRL TQSL software for you. The TQSL software asks for a station location, then proceeds to process the ADIF file. If you have a QSO with a bad date, invalid call, or something like that, you will get an error. You should choose the option to continue. ARRL will simply ignore the bad QSO(s).

If LOGic apparently fails to upload your QSOs properly, we recommend going thru the process manually. This will reveal the step in which problems are occurring. If you cannot manually process and upload your log, LOGic will not work either! You must have a valid NON-EXPIRED certificate, the TQSL software must be installed and working, and the LoTW web site must be up and working. You must have the correct user and password to log into the LoTW web site.

Testing your LoTW installation by manually uploading some QSOs

Look in the TMP folder inside the LOGic install folder (usually c:\program files (x86)\LOGic). There should be an ADIF file there from your last attempted upload to LoTW in LOGic, named LOTWQSOS.ADI. You may view this file in Notepad if you want.

Alternatively, make an ADIF file using LOGic's tools/export.

Then run the ARRL TQSL program and select your ADIF file. It should process and upload your data. After it completes, Log into the LoTW site and check for your results (It is currently at https://p1k.arrl.org/lotwuser/default). The LoTW site can get backed up, so be patient.

Assuming that the TQSL program can access the internet, the LoTW server is up (it rarely is down!), the problem usually lies with the TQSL software or your certificate, not LOGic. If you cannot manually process and upload a log, you must fix that problem before LOGic will work. Make sure you have the correct passwords, and that your certificate and TQSL software is installed. Contact the ARRL for assistance if necessary.

Troubleshooting LOGic

If the manual process works, but LOGic does not, do not contact the ARRL. They will not be able help you. Follow these troubleshooting steps to resolve the problem with LOGic.

The most common problem with LOGic is that the user has "internet protection" software that is preventing LOGic or the TQSL program from accessing the internet.

Problems downloading

Usually, problems are encountered when uploading QSOs. If LOGic will not import LoTW QSLs, here are some things to try:

Right-click the Import Directly from Web button. This will put the URL that LOGic uses to download your QSOs into the Windows clipboard. Paste the address into the address bar of your browser to test the URL. This should download an ADIF file. If you get the LoTW login web page, your login information in LOGic is incorrect. Please reenter your callsign and password in LOGic.

Next, try blanking the "Download QSLs On or Since" field, or backdating it. We get a lot of calls where there are simply no QSLs available since this date. (This date is normally maintained automatically by LOGic when you download. It minimizes internet traffic and load on the ARRL server by minimizing re-downloading of old data. However, if you do download the same QSO(s) again, it is OK. LOGic knows how to handle this).

Usually, the problem is "internet protection" software not giving LOGic access to the internet.

Look for a file named LOTW_DOWNLOAD.ADI in the TMP folder inside where LOGic is installed (usually c:\program files (x86)\LOGic). This is the file that LOGic downloads and processes. Delete it, then try the download again. If the file appears, LOGic is downloading your results. Look at the contents of this file with Notepad or any text editor.
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