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Author Topic: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?  (Read 5891 times)
NU1O
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Posts: 2749




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« on: February 05, 2013, 12:43:39 AM »

I am in the process of filling out return buro QSL cards which I received from when I got back on the air -Nov of 2010.  Most are from 2011 but a few have come in from early 2012. I think the last buro cards I received were in November of 2012.

I have received a total of about 500 buro QSLs this past year.  By far the largest group comes from Germany, followed by Italy and The Netherlands. The UK is actually the foreign country I work the most but for some reason they do not QSL either directly or via the buro. Germany is second and Italy third as far as foreign countries I work the most. Out of the 500 QSLs received the only cards I would consider somewhat rare are about 21, or less than 5%. None were cards I needed for a new country but this lot of 21 included cards from 5R, BV, BY, 9Q, CN, E51, TC, TF, OX, V5, ZD8, ZP, C3, FH4, and OA.

I don't have a program to print out the QSLs so it is all by hand and much more time consuming than I antincipated.

I am seriously thinking of finishing this batch of buro cards and calling it quits. I upload to LoTW just about every day and I have a policy written at the top of my QRZ bio which states I will exchange a card for a card, no return postage is needed and that applies to both domestic as well as foreign QSLs. To my chagrin I'm lucky if I get two offers a month and most come from the US. Foreign stations simply do not want to pay their end of the postage for my card but they will QSO via the buro.

Can somebody give me a reason why I should keep QSLing via the buro when less than 5% of the cards I receive are the least bit interesting and I already make it very easy to get a confirmation from my station, either directly or electronically? Please don't use platitudes like, "The final courtesy of a QSO is a QSL."  I don't consider a QSO a 59 or 599 report and that's what many of these cards represent. Also, I am not retired and I'd rather spend the time working and making money, or on the air, but definetly not filling out buro QSL cards to the same countries and stations over and over.

If somebody sends me a direct QSL I usually have mine in the mail the very next day so I am a 100% QSLer but I am seriously thinking of stopping to QSL via the buro unless somebody can give me a very good reason to change my mind.

73,

Chris/NU1O

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VK3HJ
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Posts: 680




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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2013, 01:26:06 AM »

I know how you feel, Chris.
In the last batch from the bureau, there were a couple of "good" ones, but most cards are from Japan, Germany and Russia, from QSO a few years ago. I am rather more selective now, and don't seem to get so many bureau cards. Maybe that is the answer? I am a sniper, and just call the stations I want, but often end up working a pile after QSY. I certainly don't aim to fill my log with endless 5nn short QSO. I think that is when the large volume of bureau cards eventuates.
Having just worked Fernando TZ6BB earlier this evening, I will send for a direct QSL, but will be just as happy with the LotW confirmation that should happen soon. My preferred QSL method is LotW, but I also upload to eQSL as a courtesy. A heck of a lot easier than sending cards, return postage and envelopes all over the world! I really should get busy and answer all the bureau cards and finish that "job"!
One solution for bureau QSL could be Global QSL. You design a card electronically, upload to Global QSL, upload your bureau QSL log and Global QSL takes care of the rest, for a small fee. I've read good feedback from that system. Anyone here have any comments?
73,
Luke VK3HJ
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NU1O
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2013, 01:56:08 AM »

Hi Luke,

I will look into Global QSL.

My favorite band is 10 meters and I often find it is open but there is no activity so I often resort to calling CQ DX. I am not in a rare state but I generate pileups.  I try not to turn every QSO into a 59 report but it is hard not to fall into that trap.

I left out Japan from my list because although they are the biggest buro QSLers along with Germany and Italy, I had already finsihed all the JA cards so they were not in my box when I took my count of 500.  Russia is also a big buro QSLer but at least I get many from Asiatic Russia which are a good distance from my QTH.

I worked Fernando, TZ6BB, but I have Mali confirmed from the late 80's to early 90's.  He did upload to LoTW in a few hours so it's a new one for LoTW.

I want to do the right thing but right now I feel this is a one-sided proposition and I'm at the short end of the stick.

73,

Chris/NU1O
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N3QE
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Posts: 2367




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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2013, 03:34:47 AM »

There are many EU contest stations that QSL every QSO. And also a few rent-a-contest-stations that do the same. I doubt they need my card, but I do lust over their vast antenna arrays in their QSL photos. I think that by their figuring, it's a wiser use of their resources to QSL every QSO in a single mass batch, rather than do it in small dribbles over the next few years. I would guess that this category is probably about 30% of the buro QSL's that I get.

But the other 70%? They seem to be guys who just like collecting QSL cards, something I fully appreciate myself. There's nothing I relish more than a batch of buro cards from my sorter.

Like you, for DXCC purposes, if I need a confirmation not available by LOTW I will generally do it via OQRS if possible.
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NU4B
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Posts: 2331




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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 04:38:07 AM »

Why? Because I would hope our amateur radio service doesn't turn into a "me, myself, and I" service. Kind of like a certain political thought going around lately.

The cards I get don't interest ME, therefore I'm going to quit sending bureau cards. How convenient. I wonder how many cards you sent out didn't interest the DX station to which you sent a card, but because it was a new one for you (or whatever interest you had requesting the card) the DX station dutifully sent his.  I wonder how many real DX stations really do get the short end of the stick but they understand the thrill the DX'er gets from receiving the card. Now we're big time DXers and we all know big time DXers don't have the time to QSL via the buro.

Why continue with the buro? Because just like most of us did at one time or another, another station requested your card (for whatever reason) and the buro is still the cheapest, efficient (although slow) method to exchange cards. And just like our predecessors (who work and have worked and have families and still found the time) we should honor these requests for our fellow amateur radio operators out of, dare I say, courtesy. Indeed, courtesy is not a platitude. (I'm not talking about initiating a QSL, just answering requests)

From what I've heard recently, this sort of confirms our new slogan - "All the fun, none of the responsibility!"

Just my opinion, as with certain parts of our anatomy, we all have one.  Grin

But one thing I do, if I operate a contest and another station doesn't QSL, I don't give them a QSO. It probably would never make a difference, but you never know when that 1 extra QSO or multiplier might be the difference in where a station places. To me if they want to get on the air, and they want contacts to win a contest, but they're to good to send a QSL card to those that request one, then they take their station and put it where the sun don't shine. Once again, they want all the fun and glory, but could care less about anybody else. Screw them, and I keep a list!

Personally I get many cards also that aren't rare DX. But I get a substantial amount requesting the state, or county, or prefix, or whatever. And I haven't forgotten the thrill of my first G, or DL, or F, etc... QSL or my 80 meter QSOs on my way to 5 band DXCC. As a matter of fact a decent percentage of cards I get, don't request a QSL back. They are SES or operations where the op sent QSLs automatically. So the amount I have to respond to is quite a bit less than I receive. I think as a member of the amateur radio service I do have a responsibility to other amateurs to confirm contacts and the buro is part of it.

Just curious, Chris, if you don't consider a 59(9) quick exchange a QSO, then I'm assuming most of the ATNOs your working now are not QSOs and you don't count them for DXCC?

In any case I don't think anyone will change your mind because it appears you have determined that those using the buro aren't "paying" their fair share of the cost (even though they do pay for their own buro costs and postage). A version of the old "makers vs. takers" argument. More specifically they aren't paying for shipments from you to the buro and you have determined that to be unsatisfactory.
Based on what you've said your looking at less than 50 bucks a year for postage and buro costs. (Or as the commercials say - less than a dollar a week!  Grin)
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AE5X
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 05:21:54 AM »

Can somebody give me a reason why I should keep QSLing via the buro when less than 5% of the cards I receive are the least bit interesting and I already make it very easy to get a confirmation from my station, either directly or electronically?

Chris/NU1O

Because they bothered to send you one...?

John AE5X
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W1VT
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 05:28:51 AM »

You never know who will show up in a rare DX location and become the station you need to QSL.
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K3STX
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 06:06:32 AM »

But the other 70%? They seem to be guys who just like collecting QSL cards, something I fully appreciate myself.

I think that's pretty much the reason. They want your card, for whatever reason. And they took the time/money to send you THEIR card; it seems reasonable to me that you should take the time/money to send them YOURS. I think that is the way it is supposed to work.

You can always put "I QSL ONLY with SAE/$$" on your QRZ.com page. But I bet alot of guys don't read the QRZ.com pages. These are probably the same guys that don't use LOTW.

I think it is silly to send my cards to German/Italian guys too, but if they really want my card I think they should get it.

paul
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AJ4RW
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 06:58:56 AM »

Quote
I think that's pretty much the reason. They want your card, for whatever reason. And they took the time/money to send you THEIR card; it seems reasonable to me that you should take the time/money to send them YOURS. I think that is the way it is supposed to work.

That's hogwash!  Nowadays most everyone from a developed country has access to a computer and the internet.  The use of electronic QSLing especially for a picture card is easy and the cards look amazing good using a nice printer or a store's photo processing.  Every contact I make gets an eQSL and HRDLog QSL card automatically at the end of the QSO.  After your done examining the card, you archive it, plain and simple.  When you get a paper card in the mail you have a few options;
1. examine it and then put in it the trash cause you're out of storage room.
2. hang it on your warehouse wall you had specially built to hang QSL cards.
3. put the card in a box so that future generations can ponder at them for whatever reason.

That might sound cold but I don't know of any other use for the cards plus the time consumed to respond to every QSL card.  Yes, I have QSL cards from 1969 and you know where they are and always will be, in a box in my closet.  I don't have the wall space to accommodate the cards.  When I send out a card, which is not often, it's for an ATNO and I spent the money for the proper mailing system plus I always include GS and return postage with an SAE.  Why shouldn't other operators wanting my card do the same.  I like spending my money on things my wife and I like doing.  I'm afraid the next batch of bureau cards I get I will be asking the same question as Chris, "Can somebody give me a reason why I should keep QSLing via the buro".
Randy
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NU4B
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Posts: 2331




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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 07:08:50 AM »

But the other 70%? They seem to be guys who just like collecting QSL cards, something I fully appreciate myself.

I think that's pretty much the reason. They want your card, for whatever reason. And they took the time/money to send you THEIR card; it seems reasonable to me that you should take the time/money to send them YOURS. I think that is the way it is supposed to work.

You can always put "I QSL ONLY with SAE/$$" on your QRZ.com page. But I bet alot of guys don't read the QRZ.com pages. These are probably the same guys that don't use LOTW.

I think it is silly to send my cards to German/Italian guys too, but if they really want my card I think they should get it.

paul

It does seem silly to send cards to some of the big countries (in ham population) but for DX'ers, after the first 100 or so, isn't it more about other op than us? Sure there are exceptions - the rare one that you can only get via the buro or maybe those memorable QSOs, but for the most part after your initial DXCC + a few your going to be QSLing direct for those you want. (Anymore I guess most of us would send direct to g, DL, F and I if was a new one.  Grin) But we all have a ton of cards from some of the larger ham countries, so its really about the other guy that wants or needs our card. Not all hams are "full-time" DXers (in fact it is a small percentage) and for many a QSO with TN or CT or WY is a big deal.
I still use the buro for new band counters and other things.. And there are those small expeditions that actually request buro as a preferred method which is fine. I usually send mine directly to the DX buro. It saves much time for those I want. (Now with the OQRS its easy to request a QSL and contribute at the same time, so I use those alot too.)
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NU4B
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 07:10:19 AM »

Quote
I think that's pretty much the reason. They want your card, for whatever reason. And they took the time/money to send you THEIR card; it seems reasonable to me that you should take the time/money to send them YOURS. I think that is the way it is supposed to work.

That's hogwash!  Nowadays most everyone from a developed country has access to a computer and the internet.  The use of electronic QSLing especially for a picture card is easy and the cards look amazing good using a nice printer or a store's photo processing.  Every contact I make gets an eQSL and HRDLog QSL card automatically at the end of the QSO.  After your done examining the card, you archive it, plain and simple.  When you get a paper card in the mail you have a few options;
1. examine it and then put in it the trash cause you're out of storage room.
2. hang it on your warehouse wall you had specially built to hang QSL cards.
3. put the card in a box so that future generations can ponder at them for whatever reason.

That might sound cold but I don't know of any other use for the cards plus the time consumed to respond to every QSL card.  Yes, I have QSL cards from 1969 and you know where they are and always will be, in a box in my closet.  I don't have the wall space to accommodate the cards.  When I send out a card, which is not often, it's for an ATNO and I spent the money for the proper mailing system plus I always include GS and return postage with an SAE.  Why shouldn't other operators wanting my card do the same.  I like spending my money on things my wife and I like doing.  I'm afraid the next batch of bureau cards I get I will be asking the same question as Chris, "Can somebody give me a reason why I should keep QSLing via the buro".
Randy

As earlier "Me, Myself, and I".
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K3STX
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 07:17:51 AM »

I'm afraid the next batch of bureau cards I get I will be asking the same question as Chris, "Can somebody give me a reason why I should keep QSLing via the buro".

If requesting cards for common contacts (like Maryland) is such a so silly and pointless, then why are we having this discussion? Why do YOU think people from Germany want your card when a simple eQSL would suffice?

The answer is that for THEM a simple eQSL does NOT suffice; they want a paper card!! I think the reason you send them YOUR card should be that it is polite for you to respond to their request IN KIND (eQSL & eQSL or card & card).

Just my opinion, of course. and not everyone has internet in the shack or uses a computer for logging/record keeping. I have neither.

paul
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AF3Y
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 07:25:41 AM »

Hmmmm......... I have a small stack of buro cards, ready to go, which should have been sent out months ago.  Most of them replies for buro cards, which I really did not need. But, they DID ask for my card. Roll Eyes

They are going out today. Cool

73, Gene AF3Y
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N7SMI
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2013, 07:29:51 AM »

As earlier "Me, Myself, and I".

Exactly. I'm pretty amazed at the selfishness expressed by many. It takes less than a minute to fill out a card (and a few seconds if you have a label printing system) and put it in your bureau pile. Send them once a year if it's such a "bother". If you're unwilling to reciprocate a common courtesy of a QSL card, perhaps it's time you stop reciprocating QSOs (or expecting others to do the same for you) and find another hobby that's less demanding and more ingratiating.

I hope that my next rare one doesn't have the same attitude as some of you - "Ugg.. another US buro card. I think I'll just start tossing these in the trash."
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NU4B
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2013, 07:36:34 AM »

This is totally off topic, but I just saw a Velveeta Cheese commercial featuring Ham Radio! How cool is that!
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