I think that after I achieved DXCC/cw I wasn't quite as keen on QSLing anymore. That's really an important part of the hobby, however, so I always felt a little guilty about not being 100% responsive. Besides my own QSLs I had to keep up on the ones for my FISTS club, K7FFF. Since I'm now being more active on the bands this issue has risen up again. Lucky us in the digital age, I can now QSL through radio waves, literally, well if I'm using my Wi-Fi connection, hi.

Or can I? I just signed up for eQSL and tried (for a second time) to sign up for LOTW. Accepted by the former (but not yet authenticated), rejected by the latter. Why rejected? That's a long story, but to keep it short, there is not currently and really hasn't been a functioning radio regulator in Costa Rica for, oh say, about 2 years. The old Control Nacional de Radio went kaput back then during a big government re-org and its duties were folded up under SUTEL (I forget what the acronym translates to, but it's essentially responsible for all telecommunications activities in the country). SUTEL probably has about one guy, if that, working on ham radio issues and thus everything ground to a halt.

Ticos (citizens) have not been able to renew their ham licenses the last couple of years. Those regulations were just released about a month ago but they still haven't had the renewal form approved by whomever approves such things so that they can send it to the banks where hams will pay the new (higher) fee.

Thus, if you are a foreign ham you can just about forget about seeing a reciprocal permit for some time to come. We are last on the list. They could surprise us all and issue something next week, but believe me, I'm not holding my breath. Under the advice of long-time Tico hams, such as TI5KD, I continue to operate TI2/NA7U knowing that the radio police are not going to suddenly break down the shack door and confiscate my rig.

So, you can see where this is going with respect to eQSL and LOTW. LOTW understands the situation and at least before today they had issued memberships to some foreign TI operators here, but now have a policy that those are on hold until the CR regulatory stuff is cleared up. I'm still waiting for a reply from eQSl to see what they say since I don't seem to fit under their 3 options for authentication. They may be more flexible. It's also possible since they gave me my account under TI2/NA7U that the authentication code they mail to my Stateside address will simply work once I get it e-mailed to me.

This situation ticks me off a little. To me ham radio is a hobby. It's not a commercial enterprise except for equipment manufacturers, radio book authors, and organizations such as ARRL. Why all the red tape and the over-the-top security clearance procedures from LOTW? Obviously, CR is going to eventually come out with new regulations, they are not going to stop licensing their amateurs. Costa Rica is not suddenly sometime soon going to stop being a DX country. So, why can't the ARRL/LOTW folks just issue provisional memberships to hams in my situation until it's cleared up?

Meanwhile, QSOs with me will be QSL'd via my QSL manager, Dan Keefe, W6WU or you can use eQSL and I think they will soon be authentic.  Hope to QSO/QSL you soon!

73,  Casey, TI2/NA7U


  1. Good evening Casey, so it would seem that even over the net there is the dreaded "red tape"

  2. Michael, it needn't be. The ARRL really doesn't get the Internet. They seem to be mentally stuck somewhere in the 70s. To create such an onerous security system for everyone is ridiculous. It would be far easier to simply forge 100 DX cards in this day and age than to crack a simple password-protected web portal. I think I'll be sticking with eQSL exclusively.


Thanks very much for your comment! 73, Casey


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