By K5KVN, on the scene.
NEWINGTON, Conn. — When engineers with the ARRL’s Logbook of the World (LOTW) system noticed abnormally high server rates, one thing stood out. It was clear from upload records that one particular ham radio operator was making a lot of contacts.
“The system began repeatedly overloading one afternoon. I heard the first alarm and then I woke up our chief engineer from his nap,” recalls LOTW technician Steve Birkenshire.
A team began combing through data, looking for anything out of the ordinary. “It looked like gibberish, really, but we saw one guy that was uploading a heck of a lot of contacts,” said Birkenshire. “He was working some rare DX, for sure, places we had never heard of and entities that weren’t in our database. It was confusing for us, and we’re highly trained professionals. So, it’s no wonder the servers couldn’t process it.”
A closer look showed that the ham radio operator in question had been submitting a “contact” any time he interacted with another ham.
LOTW engineers sent him an email asking for clarification. “The guy said he genuinely thought he could log any type of contact – a phone call, an email, a response on an online forum, talking to club members at the Denny’s, even a radiogram!” said Birkenshire. “We laughed for a long time and forwarded the email to all of our friends. It was golden!”
Engineers confirmed that those “contacts” have been purged from the system and LOTW is now operating normally.