UPDATE: So this process actually is pretty easy, as I suspected it was. A poster in the comments had a great “quick start” guide, which I didn’t even need to refer to, because it began the renewal automatically when I loaded up TQSL.
Ultimately, it’s fun ribbing the ARRL for their “quick and easy” 14-step process, but in reality, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I still contend the setup process for LOTW is what deters many hams from using it, although the setup is much easier nowadays with the modern version of TQSL.
The ARRL has been sending me e-mails this month reminding me that my Logbook of the World certificate is about to “expire.” Apparently, this happens every three years.
A link to renew is provided in the e-mail. For some reason I thought it would be as simple as clicking the link, and hitting a “Yes” button in a web browser. Similar to a “confirm your account” e-mail you receive after signing up for an online service.
Plus, the e-mail boasted that the renewal is “quick and easy” to do. So I clicked the link, and what I found was neither quick, nor easy. I found a 14-STEP PROCESS, written in that cryptic LOTW instructional style the ARRL is so fond of.
OK, so figuring this out probably won’t be hard for me because I’ve used LOTW for a while. I’ve set it up several times, managed a club certificate, moved certificates, etc., so I know my way around the system and understand how it works. But what about other people? LOTW is already enough of a pain to use, and here is yet another barrier. I know hams locally who never figured this out.
How about this ARRL… if you haven’t uploaded a properly-signed log in say, 2-3 years, THEN force the user to renew the certificate. Is there some reason this process can’t be more automated? Can we not just “follow a link” that automatically renews our cert?
Hey, maybe I shouldn’t complain. At least I don’t have to send off for another postcard.
LOTW is my preferred way to QSL. I would love it if all hams could use this, particularly DX stations. But the setup process and the usage is completely ridiculous. Also, the servers are still slow to process logs. We’re parsing plain text here, not trying to crack the Enigma. Why can’t they look at something like ClubLog and improve the product? Why is a 14-step process considered “quick and easy”?
At least it’s still free and you can’t argue with that. Set it up, ask for help if you need to, and stick with it. It’s worth it in the end.