Digital Signature Technology is Key in Amateur Radio

From the beginning of amateur radio, enthusiasts have exchanged written confirmation of contact in the form of QSL cards. These cards are sent through the mail. Since most amateur radio enthusiasts are also interested in technology, there was a need to find a way to automate this system. Amateur radio operators can now use the electronic version of proving that contact was established, which is known at the LoTW (Logbook of The World) program. While some amateur radio hobbyists continue to use paper QSL cards, many are switching to the electronic version.

An obvious choice was to use digital signature technology (not to be confused with online signatures) and the Internet. Most hams already log their radio contacts on computers and have Internet connectivity. Just like with signatures which used to be pen and paper, QSL cards are becoming electronic. Both electronic signatures and QSL cards use Public Key Infrastructure technology to authenticate the signer/contact. Both a traditional QSL card, and electronic record of contact can be used to earn a credit or prize, so it is important that the identity of the contact can be validated.

Just like with pen and paper signatures, QSL systems required more resources than their new electronic counterparts. Before, amateur radio enthusiasts would send two dollars, along with a prepaid envelope for the other person to send their QSL card. Since most amateur radio operators make thousands of contacts, especially during contests, this quickly becomes expensive. It also takes a long time to receive the QSL card through the mail. The paper QSL system is also less secure than the electronic version, as a QSL card can be submitted even if it contains mistakes, or is invalid.

The ARRL (American Radio Relay League) developed their own Certificate Authority code so they could function as the certificate issuer for the public key infrastructure, since buying the software would have been too costly. The new electronic system to establish contact (LoTW) works the following way:
1) The applicant obtains a Callsign certificate specified by the Station Location.
2) Uses the callsign specified in the Callsign Certificate to select the private key.
3) Uses the private key to encrypt the QSO (contact), placing both the Callsign Certificate and the encrypted information in a digitally signed Log file.
4) Sends the digitally signed Log file to the LoTW Server. The LoTW Server uses the public key in the Callsign Certificate to decrypt the QSOs in the Digitally Signed Log file, thereby authenticating the user as the source of these QSOs.
5) The Logbook Server verifies the signature on the log and sends the log information to the Logbook of the World Database.
7) When a contact is confirmed by both parties it is added to the Confirmed Contacts Database.

To learn more about the use of Public Key Infrastructure and amateur radio, or the Logbook of The World, visit the Amateur Radio Relay League at

So I Bought a PS4

I know it’s been awhile since the PS4 came out but I’d like to share my experience about it with you guys.

I just bought my PS4 five months ago because I know that there’s going to be a lot of PlayStation exclusive games that are coming out such as The Last of Us 2 and Uncharted 4. Apart from the PS4 exclusive games, other big game titles like the Arkham Knight, Fallout 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and many more are also coming to the console. With that in mind, who wouldn’t want to buy the console, especially if you’re an avid gamer and a big fan of the series?

PS4 Battlefield Hardline Edition

Just to let you guys know, the PS4 console that I bought comes as a bundle pack with the Battlefield Hardline Deluxe Edition game included on it as well as the freebie game The Order 1886. I was surprised to see the bundle and exclusives that came along with it since my original intention was to buy only the glazier white version of the console. Unfortunately, that color was unavailable and the bundle pack was the only one left in the shelf.

Even though I wasn’t able to acquire the glazier white version, I’m still glad that I got my hands on the bundle pack because it is a great bargain that comes with awesome freebies. By the way, this bundle pack comes with the 2 games (Battlefield Hardline and The Order 1886), the black console, 1 DualShock 4 controller, earphone with mic, 1 year warranty from the store plus 1 year warranty from Sony, 15 Singaporean Dollars for your PSN wallet, 15 days free trial for the PS Plus, and a 1 year subscription for the PS Plus. With that kind of package, you can definitely say that it is a great deal.

As soon as I got home, I immediately set up my PS4 right beside my PS3 and get on with it. It’s such a great sight to see that I have all the PlayStation consoles side by side with each other (can’t wait for the arrival of the PS5).

Since I have 2 games as of the moment, I went on playing Battlefield Hardline first. When the game booted up, you can clearly see the big difference it has when it comes to the graphics compared to the PS3. This is such a big satisfaction on my part because apart from a great story, you will also enjoy graphics that are close to real life. It certainly is a whole new experience since the games that you’ll be playing will feel more real than ever. Also, you will have a closer connection to your main character.

PS4's new controller

There’s also a whole new experience when it comes to the DualShock 4 controller. From its look alone, you can see that there’s a huge difference compared to the DualShock 3 controller of the PS3. The first notable appearance is the absence of the “Start” and “Select” button which we all know has been a constant feature of the past PlayStation controllers. For the DualShock 4, it has been completely replaced by the Share, Touchpad, and Options button. The “Share” button is used to capture screenshots (photo/video) of your game and allows you to share it with your friends on your connected social media account. The “Touchpad” is some sort of a button that has a unique function in certain games and you can use to navigate easily in the menu. Consider it as some sort of an equal to a laptop’s touchpad. And the “Options” button works just like the “Start” button since it prompts the in-game menu and such.

When it comes to the audio/video input and output, it all has been integrated into a single HDMI cable. This means that you have to say goodbye to your bulky TVs and say hello to the high-end ones that has an HDMI port. It provides an added experience when it comes to the sound and graphics of the game. Also, before I forget, the DualShock 4 controller comes with a speaker on it wherein the in-game sounds will feel closer to you compared to hearing it from your TV.