Strategies for Successful QSLing
John Eisenberg, K6YP
NCDXC Meeting, May 17, 2012
Thanks to John Miller K6MM
John very kindly allowed me to use many images of his DX QSLs from his web site
Please see www.k6mm.com for more cards and other interesting material
. Why QSL?
. Options available
. The QSO
. Your QSL card
. How to get your card to the DX station?
. How to get his card to come back to you?
. Tricks of the trade
It’s an all time new one You want the card!
You want to confirm a new band mode
The ham on the other end needs your QSL
It’s a memorable QSO. You’d like to QSL.
LOTW (Logbook of the World)
. Service provided by ARRL OK for DXCC!
. Secure and essentially free!
. You need to keep a computerized log
. The DX station must also use Logbook
. LOTW is a topic unto itself. See www.arrl.org
. You won’t get a card!
QSLing via the Bureau
The BURO system is also very low cost
The service is also administered by ARRL
Many entities have a BURO
Dick Letrich W6KM handles outgoing cards
NCDXC pays to ship your cards to ARRL and pays the ARRL service fees.
But BURO cards often take more than a year to return!
Outgoing Buro System
Read instructions on ARRL web site
Make sure BURO exists for each contact
Presort your cards as instructed
Give your card deck to Dick Letrich W6KM
Some Countries Have No Incoming BURO
225 Countries are served by BURO system
Exceptions are mostly islands Full list of exceptions on ARRL web site
Many EU countries, Russia, Japan, South Africa and Zambia only serve members of their own national radio society.
BURO Incoming QSLs are Easy Too
Read 6th area BURO instructions on ARRL site.
Sign up with 6th area incoming BURO
Send correct envelopes and $$$ to 6th area BURO
Every 3 to 6 months you get a surprise package
Buro notifies you when $$$ or supplies run low
QSLing via BURO trades speed for cost!
Requesting QSL’s using OQRS
OQRS = Online QSL Request System
Used mostly by major DXpeditions
Easy, convenient and avoids postal problems
Usually offers fast response
Easy way to donate to DX op
The traditional method of QSLing
You must get your QSL to the DX station
Unless he uses a manager this may be tougher than many people think
The all important QSO
Be certain you really made the contact!
– The DX op said W6 Alpha Tango Echo 59
– You said QSL 59 Thank you, Thank you
– You are W6 Alpha Tango Xray
There was no QSO unless you plead with the DX or his manager and get very lucky!
Log the QSO Correctly
. Its easy to forget you just changed bands
. The 8/7/8 problem. Use DD/MM/YY
. Always always use UTC for both time & date!
. Set clock to WWV. Helps DX find busted calls
. Don’t bust the DX’s call in your log!
Dealing With Old QSOs
Old QSOs can be difficult
Calls get used over again by different Ops
DXers or their managers move or even die
Logs and QSL cards are lost
Try to make your QSL request within one year of the QSO
Getting the DX’s Address
Google his call! He may have a web site
QRZ.com is a useful resource
Follow QSL instructions given by DX/QRZ
Check multiple sources for his address
Does he have a manager?
Many DX Stations have Managers
Many managers are in the US (SASE, $0.45)
Some Dxers have Eu mangrs (SAE,GS, $1.05)
– (Two ounces is $1.85)
Some Don’t and have dishonest postal systems
– A92GR certified ($13)
– OD5NH (Follow instructions)
– Rusty tells the story that CR5AR (1959) send ur card back and asked for more $$$
Components of a QSL Package
. Your properly completed QSL card
. Either 2-3 Green Stamps (GS) or 1-2 IRC
. An optional donation to help cover DX station’s or mgr’s costs
. A self addressed (SA) return envelope
. The outer envelope
Your QSL Card
An attractive card helps “It’s the bait!”
– Use clear, simple, easy to read fonts
– Your call and all QSO info on one side of QSL
– Your name/address/postal code/USA
– Your county and grid square Affiliations such as ARRL, NCDXC, NCDXF Place for DX station’s call
– QSO (DD/MM/YY), UTC, Band, Mode, RS(T)
– Check boxes for Pse QSL or Tnx QSL
Filling In the QSL
– Write clearly with a ‘no smudge’ pen or print a stick on Avery label
– Make sure your ink won’t run if wet
– Make NO corrections. Redo the card
– Check everything against your log
– Even if two stations have same manager, always use one QSL for each DX call sign
– Include a short personal note
QSL Sources Ask Your Friends!
– W4MPY ( $83-$130/1K)
– Star Cards ($100-$180/1K)
– LZ1JZ (Good rep)
– LZ3HI (Check)
– UA3AA (Check)
– UT5XO (Ukraine good)
SASE for US stations and Managers
Green stamps (GS) are US dollars
– Two to three GS are needed for Europe
– GS are usually the most welcome option IRCs may also be used
International Reply Coupons
– Get them at Post Offices ($2.10 valid 12/31/13)
– You can buy at a discount from QSL managers
– IRCs have a short validity period (<2 years)
Problems with IRCs
Welcome in many countries but not all
– Jamaica, Taiwan, Lebanon, Ivory Coast, Cambodia, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Iran, Libya, Paraguay, PNG do not accept IRCs
Some countries do not give full value for IRCs
Two IRCs are required in:
– Armenia, Croatia, Italy, Japan, DutchAntilles, Georgia, South Africa, Switzerland, Tajikistan and Venezuela
Green Stamps are preferred but ….
. Cash if seen in envelope is often stolen
. GS are illegal or not recommended in some countries: Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India
. Use two GS for most places, three for: Germany, Slovakia. Consider using $2.00 bills
. GS still are preferred and more valuable than the equivalent in IRCs in many places
Given the choice use Green Stamps!
Where to Put Your QSL & GS/IRC
Put both in the opaque SA return envelope
– Do not seal the envelope
– Do not fold it
– Use no tape in SA return envelope
The Self Addressed Return Envelope
Envelope should fit European sized card
– Minimum 6in x 4in Eu QSL is 9 x 14 cm
Use opaque security #9 envelope
– Envelope should have stout self adhesive seal
What Goes On the Return Envelope
Address the envelope to yourself
– Your Name and address (Include USA)
– Use a printed non smear Avery label
Also include your return address
– If the primary address is obscured, the QSL may still reach YOU!
If addressee is a US station or manager
– Don’t forget US first class postage ($0.45)
The Outer Envelope
Must fit return SA envelope
– Use opaque security #10 envelope
– Envelope should have a stout self adhesive seal
Only one DX call sign per envelope
Many call lookup programs can print labels AC Log, QRZ.com
What Goes on the Outer Envelope
The DX station’s name and address
– Do NOT include his call sign
– Make no mention of amateur radio
– Don’t forget his country (Address bottom line)
Your own return address (Include USA)
– Do NOT include your call sign
Call signs are a red flag that says to the post office employee “Open me I contain $$$”
Putting it All Together
Put return SAE with QSL & GS/IRC in outer envelope with its flap UP
– Fix in outer envelope with a tiny piece of tape
– Check with a 150 watt lamp for opaqueness!
– You are off to the Post Office
Total Cost of a Direct QSL
How do you want to confirm your QSOs
– Your QSL card $0.10
– The outer envelope $0.06
– The inner envelope $0.04
– International postage $1.05
– GS $2.00-$3.00
– Donation Optional
– Total cost less donation $3.25-$4.25
– 100 direct cards can be quite pricey. A BURO card costs one thin dime!
Don’t pester the DX operator……
It’s OK to ask a DX station
– For advice on how to QSL him
– Never ask him if he has received your card!
– Unless 9 months to a year have gone by!
– Don’t forget the DX op or manager has a job and a family too
Most QSL managers really appreciate a small donation with your QSL
– Covers envelopes and gasoline to post office
The DXop depends on your donations to cover the cost of his trip
Be as generous as you can be.
Patience, Patience, Patience
Don’t expect direct QSLs for 4-6 months
– Managers must wait for cards and logs
Don’t expect BURO cards for 1 or 2 years
Getting a manager mad at you is not a good thing!
The final courtesy of a QSO is the QSL!
Thanks and 73, John K6YP