Updated: 12 December 2020

This application note is intended to help DX4WIN users who are chasing islands for the Islands on the Air (IOTA) award.


Table of Contents

What is IOTA
Determining IOTA from Country, Prefix or Callsign
Some Important Information about the Award
Submitting and Approving Credits
Check IOTAs
IOTA and DX Cluster


What is IOTA?

To summarize from the IOTA Website:

The IOTA (Islands On The Air) Programme promotes radio contacts with stations located on islands around the world. It is administered by Islands On The Air (IOTA) Ltd (called here IOTA Management) in partnership with the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB).

IOTA Management has grouped the oceans' islands into some 1200 'IOTA groups' with, for reasons of geography, varying numbers of 'counters', i.e. qualifying islands. The objective, for the IOTA Island Chaser, is to make radio contact with at least one counter in as many of these groups as possible.

DX4WIN has had the ability to track counters for the IOTA award since its early days. Each QSO in your logbook can be assigned an IOTA group reference, as well as an island name:

An IOTA reference number consists of a 2-letter continent abbreviation, followed by a 3-digit group number.

IOTA award tracking is similar to other awards. There is a window to show the band and mode status of the current IOTA:

You can get a status summary from the Reports menu, as well as as a listing of IOTA worked. IOTA credits can be submitted and checked (approved) using award flags.


Determining IOTA from Country, Prefix or Callsign

DX4WIN has several methods of automatically determing the IOTA reference from the callsign:

  1. Some DXCC entities consist of a single IOTA group, like Barbados, 8P. Logging a QSO with any such station will automatically populate the IOTA field in the QSO window with the IOTA group reference number NA021.

  2. Pre-fill from previous QSO (see below)

  3. Importing confirmations from ARRL Logbook of the World (LoTW) can populate the IOTA field if the station you worked includes an IOTA in the Station Record used to sign the QSO that was uploaded to LoTW.

  4. Importing an IOTA Contest log.

Users of DX4WIN 9.01 and later will have the following additional features:

  1. Sometimes a prefix specifies a particular IOTA. For example, logging IH9P will result in DX4WIN populating the IOTA field with the IOTA group reference number AF018.

  2. Some callsigns will automatically populate the IOTA field. This can be a resident like JS6TKY on Yonaguni Island in the Yaeyama Islands group, AS024. It can also be a DXpedition, like C96RRC in April/May 2018 which counts for the Nampula District Group, AF088.

You may also notice that the IOTA Island field is sometimes populated, when there is only a single island in the group. Other times, the user must select the IOTA Island from a drop-down list. This is best done when marking the QSO as Confirmed from a received QSL.

Importing a log from another program will populate the IOTA field based on the same criteria above.

Callsign to IOTA mappings are added to the country database as they are announced. However, due to the country file release "schedule", it's possible that the DXpedition could have come and gone before the country file with the IOTA mapping was released. Currently, these mappings are not documented in the release notes, but I hope to change that.


Some Important Information about the IOTA Award

All QSOs submitted for IOTA credit must specify both the IOTA reference number and Island Name. The QSL card must have both the IOTA group number and the Island Name printed on it, though QSLs for QSOs before <year> may be grandfathered in.


Submitting and Approving Credits

IOTA credits work in a similar manner to DXCC credits. Submitting confirmed QSOs for IOTA credit results in DX4WIN marking these QSOs as Submitted. When the credits have been approved, the Submitted status can be changed to Checked.

TBD: is there a method to mark IOTA credits as Checked by importing a file, and if so, how?

One way to submit IOTA credits for QSOs with approved operations is through cooperation with the Club Log website. You must have uploaded your logbook QSOs to Club Log. Here are some basic instructions:

(screen grab of the login screen)

(screen grab of the result)


Check IOTAs

DX4WIN 9.01 added a new Multiple QSOs operation called Check IOTAs. This does the following four things:

  1. Populate empty IOTA fields based on the country and callsign.
  2. Populate empty IOTA Island fields if the IOTA Island is unique for the given IOTA group.
  3. Report logged IOTAs that may be incorrect, based on the country and callsign.
  4. Report logged IOTA Island fields that may be incorrect for the given IOTA group.

Regarding #3 above, DX4WIN contains a Country to IOTA mapping database. That database also maps US States to IOTA. An IOTA is considered to be incorrect if it is not found in that database for the given country or state (USA). Note that the mapping database was partially built by hand, so there could be some false errors. Please report any you find!

As you can probably guess, #1 will help you get started with IOTA by populating the IOTA field based on the current country database.

Here is a way to use this function to help you check your log for incorrect IOTA:

  1. Save your original log in a safe place! You may want to restore it after checking for IOTA errors.
  2. Type F8, put '*' (asterisk or star, without the quotes) in the IOTA field, then Enter
  3. QSO | Multiple QSO Operations | Check IOTA
  4. Type F8, put IOTAMSG in the "Notes for this QSO" field, then Enter. This will filter to only the QSOs with IOTA mismatches.

At this point there are two kinds of IOTA messages you may see:

Bad IOTA messages may also indicate a problem in the DX4WIN country database. Some islands have changed DXCC entity over the course of time, and it's possible that the old DXCC entity does not think the IOTA is valid. Once example is Ducie Island, which used to be part of the Pitcairn Island DXCC entity until it was split off into a separate DXCC entity.


IOTA and DX Cluster

When spotting an island QSO from your log to the DX Cluster, it is useful to other stations to include the IOTA group number in the spot comment. In DX4WIN 8.05 and earlier, you have to enter this by hand, but DX4WIN 9.01 and later make it easier by grabbing the IOTA from your log and including it in the DX spot simply by checking a box (click image to enlarge):

There is no way to "grab" the IOTA from a DX spot, nor is there a way to have color highlighting of needed IOTA in the DX spots window, like there is for DXCC.