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eHam Forums => DXing => Topic started by: NU1O on February 05, 2013, 12:43:39 AM



Title: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU1O 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



Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: VK3HJ 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


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU1O 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


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: N3QE 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.


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU4B 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.  ;D

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!  ;D)


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: AE5X 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


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: W1VT 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.


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: K3STX 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


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: AJ4RW 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


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU4B 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.  ;D) 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.)


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU4B 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".


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: K3STX 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


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: AF3Y 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. ::)

They are going out today. 8)

73, Gene AF3Y


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: N7SMI 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."


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU4B 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!


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: N5MOA on February 05, 2013, 07:40:58 AM
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."

This pretty much echos my opinion.

They send a card, they get a card.


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU4B on February 05, 2013, 07:54:43 AM
You never know who will show up in a rare DX location and become the station you need to QSL.

Ouch, that would hurt. I can see it now. DL3XYZ somehow, someway got to operate from P5 - how would you like to be the one that didn't answer his QSL request 4 years ago. With my luck he would have an excellent memory.  ;D ;D ;D


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: N3QE on February 05, 2013, 08:05:08 AM
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.

I don't know about others, but I get zero satisfaction from a "eQSL card".

It doesn't count for DXCC, like LOTW does.

It isn't a card in my hands that originated from some far-away location, like a buro or direct card.

I like nice pictures sure, whether they are electronic or on a card. But it still doesn't beat the thrill of my buro sorter handing me the latest pile of cards. I've helped my sorters with a couple simple tasks, and am proud that I was able to help at least a little with the buro process.

Tim.


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: N4KZ on February 05, 2013, 08:20:39 AM
I have been using Global QSL for several years and am a happy customer. I have no financial interest in their operation which is based in Israel but it saves me time and money. I designed my own card via their website. I keep a computer log and upload QSOs to their site, they print out the four-color cards with all the QSO info and mail them to the bureaus. It's painless and fast. I can complete nearly 100 cards per hour. I could never do that by hand.

I, too, get a lot of DX cards from places where I already have tons of cards. That's what 40-plus years of active DXing will do for you but if someone sends me a card, I feel obligated to send them one in return -- regardless if I already have 100 cards or more from their country.

And I have been told more than once that my state can be hard to work and hard to confirm. So I am doing my part to help "alleviate" the situation while saving myself time and money by using Global QSL. If you get a lot of bureau cards, you should check them out. Google them for their URL.

73, Dave, N4KZ


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: WA8UEG on February 05, 2013, 08:28:56 AM
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."

This pretty much echos my opinion.

They send a card, they get a card.

Yep me to. I don't pay any attention to Eqsl at all, however I do upload to it as others enjoy using it. It's just the right thing to do. Direct, bureau, LOTW, Eqsl all are simple and easy to use and after all unless something has changed that I am not aware of QSL'ing to a station you have worked and who sends you a card is a courtesy that all who consider themselves Amateur Radio Operators should abide by. For many Hams there is more to the hobby then pressing a mic button and talking. Bureau cards are a cheap way for hams in other countries to work toward WAS or WAS endorsements, counties awards, VUCC, etc. I have thousands of QSL cards and need precious few so could care less about the hundred or so I receive from the bureau every 3 or 4 months (although I do enjoy looking over them) but then it's not about me, it's about the ham that took the time to request a confirmation from me.





Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: W2IRT on February 05, 2013, 08:37:18 AM
If you operate a lot and have a good contest-grade station the matter soon becomes one of financial resources and not just time. $75/1000 to have the cards printed, $12 per pound (about 75 cards) to send and whatever your incoming bureau charges to receive cards. To make outgoing card processing go a little easier, add a package of labels ($20 and up). No, none of these will break the bank, but when you're spending ~$100/yr for bureau costs, where you see no benefit whatsoever, it can start to become a problem.

If I didn't get my outgoing and incoming bureau cards at no cost (I'm a letter manager with the #2 incoming bureau) I probably would have discontinued incoming bureau service altogether many years ago, once LoTW became more mainstream that it was initially. I think I may have received a half-dozen needed cards via the bureau in the whole time I've been DXing. I get about 20-30 a month now, almost all common western European countries that I've worked on every band and every mode. Often it's the same big gun contest stations wanting yet another 20m SSB or 15m CW confirmation from CQWW last year or some nonsense like that. Those go into the round file immediately, as do cards from stations I've worked in contests over 200 times -- I'm not hunting amongst those QSOs to find the 5 I need to mark confirmed.

But I still do reply to the little guys over there who tick off the PSE QSL box. I have a good-ish station and who knows...I may be some new DL ham's first US station or first NJ station for his WAS or a new county for him. I don't begrudge those, but, as I said, if I had to pay for all this out of my own pocket, I would have discontinued the practice long ago.


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: AJ4RW on February 05, 2013, 08:57:45 AM
Quote
. 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.

My opinion of paper QSLing has absolutely nothing to do with selfishness.  Even though I'm retired I don't have the spare time nor the patience to fill out the 100's of cards.  The last time I filled out the bureau cards it took me several days filling out cards in my spare time.  I just finished on the treadmill while operating digital and headed outside to get my work done for the day.   Go Velveeta Cheese and electronic QSLing.  :)
Randy


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: N7SMI on February 05, 2013, 09:45:05 AM
Quote
If you operate a lot and have a good contest-grade station....

but when you're spending ~$100/yr for bureau costs, where you see no benefit whatsoever, it can start to become a problem.

So $10000 on a station and many hours per week in the shack is no problem, but $100/year and a few seconds per card IS a problem? I don't get it.

It's certainly anyone's prerogative to not return bureau cards. I at least hope that you'll indicate such on your QRZ page so that folks can be sure not to work you. At least I know I'm much less likely to work folks that don't QSL, even if I don't need the QSL. It's pretty telling about their motivations for being in and perceptions of others in the hobby.

Quote
My opinion of paper QSLing has absolutely nothing to do with selfishness.  Even though I'm retired I don't have the spare time nor the patience to fill out the 100's of cards.

So your time is more valuable than the time of the person that decided to send you a QSL? Sorry, but that sounds like selfishness to me.


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: K3STX on February 05, 2013, 10:08:50 AM

Quote
My opinion of paper QSLing has absolutely nothing to do with selfishness.  Even though I'm retired I don't have the spare time nor the patience to fill out the 100's of cards.

So your time is more valuable than the time of the person that decided to send you a QSL? Sorry, but that sounds like selfishness to me.

shucks, you beat me to it!


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: W3HKK on February 05, 2013, 10:42:18 AM
What is the overall  QSL rate.....5%, 3%?   So lots of folks find reasons not to QSL.  Some retired folks and others cant afford it. Others arent organized enough to bother.  Others dont keep logs.

Using an eLog that prints labels is a big help in reducing the drudgery.  And Via the Buro is another.  I appreciate them both. 

I often wonder how DXpeditions and  rare ones  manage these things.  More ask for green stamps these days so if I really need it I will pay the fare. But otherwise printing off an eQSL to add to my  shoe boxes for  DXCC/WAS on 160-80-6m etc satisfies me.  Dont ask how much Ive spent over the years mailing Qsls with sase's or green stamps.  My wife may be reading this.....

Im coming to appreciate eQSL.  I  never got going with LOTW because it was too complicated for me back in the old days.  eQSL was simpler. So Im there now. 

But getting a nice card from someone who has a special reason for  wanting to QSL makes reading them and replying to them worthwhile to me.

I especially appreciate swl QSLs from far away places.  It's a bridge or a bond of some type, and I'll never forget whatsername....

But it IS hard work when youre active in the contests.  Yet, Ive volunteered to  handle the paper QSLs  we get at our club ( Last year our club events  racked up 6820 qsos, and a surprising number want a paper card, even though we are on LOTW.  I figure as a retired guy its something I can do to give back a little to the hobby.  Our average age is  around 60, and many guys I work are in their 70s-80's and some in their 90s, still banging away on cw. Pretty cool.  One Belgian guy  still goes to Mauritania each year to give 5T to the world.  Now thats dedication. 


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: W2IRT on February 05, 2013, 11:28:03 AM
Quote
If you operate a lot and have a good contest-grade station....
but when you're spending ~$100/yr for bureau costs, where you see no benefit whatsoever, it can start to become a problem.

So $10,000 on a station and many hours per week in the shack is no problem, but $100/year and a few seconds per card IS a problem? I don't get it.
[/quote]

Simply, that $100 a year could be better spent. That's half a box of cigars, a bottle of Scotch, two tanks of gasoline, a nice romantic dinner with my wonderful wife or a charitable donation. Your collection of postcards should be at your expense, not others'. I don't mind the time and cost of cards (since I need them for my own direct QSL requests, which I happily pay the freight for) but the rest of it is an expense who's time has passed in my opinion. Yes, I still participate and will continue to do so for so long as bureau volunteers get the perq of free bureau service, plus it does have its advantages to less-affluent DXers or those who aren't particularly computer literate. But honestly, I'm tickled pink when a new LoTW hit arrives and I'll leave it at that. If I want to see a picture of your QTH, just post it up on QRZ.com and when I look at your entry I'll see it there.


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: AJ4RW on February 05, 2013, 12:16:48 PM
IMHO it's also a matter of prioritizing my time.  I like volunteering my time with local seniors and helping at the animal shelter, much more satisfying besides all the other activities I'm involved in.  The time I spend with my wife and family can't be duplicated.  Anyone saying that's selfish, I guess they will never be pleased with me!  I still do bureau and direct QSL cards but it's low on my priority list.  I still encourage and prefer electronic QSLing.  :)
Randy


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU4B on February 05, 2013, 12:55:02 PM
I like volunteering my time with local seniors and helping at the animal shelter.

Very nice, thanks for serving your community!


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: KA1J on February 05, 2013, 06:11:09 PM
"Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?". That's a fair enough question but every answer will be subjective or supporting a subjective reason. For me, it depends on whether I'm initiating the QSL or responding to one. If someone sends me a QSL, the only right thing to do is reply. Admittedly I don't always reply to contest stations who rack up thousands of contacts but I make it a practice to reply to every individual who asks for one because it's the right thing to do. If I get a card via the bureau, it will get where its going via the bureau. I just received a QSL request from Japan with $2 USD in it and the USA has the cheapest outgoing price for stamps, it was $1.05 to reply to him ($1.10 as of a week ago) so I kept a buck, sent him my QSL and sent him back the extra buck. If he would have sent via the bureau, he wouldn't have had to pay anything but his bureau expense.

I think there are a lot of people who really enjoy getting a tangible object from another country. It's a personal thing but it's also something to show a visitor, not necessarily a small thing either; your card along with all the other physical QSL cards in that collection and that just might spark a "collectors interest" in a new & prospective ham. Your QSL itself certainly wouldn't be that spark but seeing cards from all over the world just might be. I remember as a little boy, going through my fathers QSL cards from all over the world, that was in the 50's and he had cards dating back to 1937. I remember when I would find one one from a foreign country I'd go to the World Book Encyclopedia and look up that country just to learn about it. Seeing an electronic record of a QSO certainly will not have that effect.

To that end, the kind of QSO we do today in DXing is much different than it used to be where you would actually have a good chance at a ragchew and then sending and getting a QSL from that person meant something. I cherish my QSLs from G5RV, VP6TC and VK9NS because each one was from a ragchew, not a 599 TU and a LOTW chit. Now the stock QSO is; CFM 599 TU . . and it's over... What's the joy in that? It's indeed a Q and if all you need is something to prove you made a Q, then any confirmation your award group accepts is fine. LOTW is much easier. Even so, I really enjoy getting QSL cards and to that end, I just bought on fleabay an identical dual side oversize card file from the 50's. Same kind as my other two, a different color but the same one and only because I plan to keep getting paper QSLs and I file them & cherish them. I'm at DXCC 310 right now and any new one is awesome at this time but the oldest ones are definitely my favorite.

Much cheaper to send via the bureau and I'm sending out a good 500 cards within the next week, some are long overdue, I found a bunch that had been mislaid many years ago after the "Big D" and I'm making good on all the ones I never thanked with a return QSL.

So depending on the need and intent of the sender, a QSL can be an amazing piece of paper that no electronic acknowledgement can duplicate. The Bureau is the cheapest paper out.

If it's a burden don't do it. If it's fun, do it.

Gary
KA1J


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: AF5C on February 05, 2013, 07:38:32 PM
Quite a few Europeans are into County hunting, where Eqsl doesn't cut it, and I am not sure that LOTW does either, but I could be wrong.  Those might be some of the stations wanting QSLs.  After all, they need 254 QSLs from Texas to have them all.  I still enjoy getting QSLs from the bureau, and usually get a new CW prefix or 2 in each shipment, and often a new band country or 2.  Just got TF confirmed on 12m in the envelope that came the other day.

John AF5CC


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU1O on February 06, 2013, 07:44:40 AM
I have been using Global QSL for several years and am a happy customer. I have no financial interest in their operation which is based in Israel but it saves me time and money. I designed my own card via their website. I keep a computer log and upload QSOs to their site, they print out the four-color cards with all the QSO info and mail them to the bureaus. It's painless and fast. I can complete nearly 100 cards per hour. I could never do that by hand.

I, too, get a lot of DX cards from places where I already have tons of cards. That's what 40-plus years of active DXing will do for you but if someone sends me a card, I feel obligated to send them one in return -- regardless if I already have 100 cards or more from their country.

And I have been told more than once that my state can be hard to work and hard to confirm. So I am doing my part to help "alleviate" the situation while saving myself time and money by using Global QSL. If you get a lot of bureau cards, you should check them out. Google them for their URL.

73, Dave, N4KZ

Those Global QSLs count with the ARRL?  I have been under the impression the only electronic QSL they accept are their own - LoTW.  If it doesn't count for the most important awards what's the point of using it?

73,

Chris/NU1O



Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: N3QE on February 06, 2013, 07:52:50 AM
Those Global QSLs count with the ARRL?  I have been under the impression the only electronic QSL they accept are their own - LoTW.  If it doesn't count for the most important awards what's the point of using it?

"Global QSL" is a company whose model is to print, label, and ship paper QSL cards out via buro. i.e. some of the physical tasks associated with what a traditional QSL manager does, but not the organizational tasks.

I'm not sure I would be able to tell a "Global QSL" paper card from any other paper card that came in via buro, so how would DXCC desk know the difference? I'm sure they apply the same discrimination as they do with any other paper card.



Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: W2IRT on February 06, 2013, 07:54:31 AM
Those Global QSLs count with the ARRL?  I have been under the impression the only electronic QSL they accept are their own - LoTW.  If it doesn't count for the most important awards what's the point of using it?

Global QSLs are real cards. You send them an ADIF file, some money and your QSL card design and they print and send cards out via the bureau system for you. Recipients receive real colour glossy QSL cards. If you're a bureau subscriber you've probably gotten hundreds of them already and never noticed.


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU1O on February 06, 2013, 02:40:10 PM
Those Global QSLs count with the ARRL?  I have been under the impression the only electronic QSL they accept are their own - LoTW.  If it doesn't count for the most important awards what's the point of using it?

Global QSLs are real cards. You send them an ADIF file, some money and your QSL card design and they print and send cards out via the bureau system for you. Recipients receive real colour glossy QSL cards. If you're a bureau subscriber you've probably gotten hundreds of them already and never noticed.

I just went through the large batch of German QSLs I am currently working on and I found one Global QSL.  I would not want a picture of a duck on my QSL like the German station selected but the card is of high quality and with the right design I would not have a problem sending them out.

Thanks both for the suggestion and info they count with the ARRL.  I really want everybody to get a QSL in a timely fashion but I am a terrible procrastinator when it comes to filling out these cards.  Once I complete this batch the problem will just reoccur next year so this maybe my solution.
I am going to look at their website for designs and cost.

73,

Chris/NU1O


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU1O on February 06, 2013, 02:48:15 PM
Those Global QSLs count with the ARRL?  I have been under the impression the only electronic QSL they accept are their own - LoTW.  If it doesn't count for the most important awards what's the point of using it?

"Global QSL" is a company whose model is to print, label, and ship paper QSL cards out via buro. i.e. some of the physical tasks associated with what a traditional QSL manager does, but not the organizational tasks.

I'm not sure I would be able to tell a "Global QSL" paper card from any other paper card that came in via buro, so how would DXCC desk know the difference? I'm sure they apply the same discrimination as they do with any other paper card.



You guys were right, I could not tell the difference. I had to look for their small logo. With some of my older cards from the 1980's the labels are starting to fall off. Global prints the data onto the card so in that regard the holder does not have to worry about the data label falling off.

It's a very clever idea.  Wish I'd of thought it.

73,

Chris/NU1O


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: W5DQ on February 06, 2013, 03:52:21 PM
You can always put "I QSL ONLY with SAE/$$" on your QRZ.com page.

Unless you make it LARGE text and BOLDED, filling half the screen, in 95% or more of the cases, this won't work because people usually do not read the fine print. I know of several folks who are managers for DX and clubs that plainly state 'they do not use the buro' yet I get hundreds of cards a year for each of them from people who don't bother to read or never bother to check. Those buro cards go in the round file :( It's a shame but that's the process. If you send a card via the buro and get no reply, chances are it ended up in the trash. There is NO method by which to return the cards to the sender with any info as to why on them. Outgoing buro cards are a 'pay to play' venture and us buro volunteers don't pay to send cards back ... neither does the ARRL.

Gene W5DQ
W6 Incoming DX Buro "L" segment sorter


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: KD8MJR on February 06, 2013, 04:04:56 PM
All I know is that it starts out fun and then when you have about 1000+ cards it starts to become a real drag.
At this point If it does not come SASE or SA with $$ I have no intention of replying.  I don't do Buro, I have no plans to get into a 4 year round trip exchange of cards.

Just my 2 cents


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU1O on February 06, 2013, 11:04:07 PM
All I know is that it starts out fun and then when you have about 1000+ cards it starts to become a real drag.
At this point If it does not come SASE or SA with $$ I have no intention of replying.  I don't do Buro, I have no plans to get into a 4 year round trip exchange of cards.

Just my 2 cents


I like people who are blunt.

Do you feel selfish because you are not reciprocating or do you not give a damn?

73,

Chris/NU1O


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: KA1J on February 07, 2013, 12:17:56 AM
I use Logic for my logging/awards and it makes it easy to QSL. There are other logging programs that probably do this very well, maybe better, I don't know. But what I do is use the QSL printer feature in Logic. It took me a couple of hours to set it up the way I like 5-6 years ago but it's good enough, not photo quality so there are no photographs on it, just an ARRL insignia and a CW key. When I get a card in I mark it as either a card I owe or, I mark it that I already sent a QSL out and this one came in. Either way, the program fills in the proper information and all I have to do is separate the cards, sign them and send them to the bureau. Not much work and it keeps the records straight.

73,

Gary
KA1J


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: NU4B on February 07, 2013, 05:47:40 AM
I use Logic also. I think its great. You can print just labels or the whole doggone card!


Title: RE: Why should I continue to QSL via the buro?
Post by: WS4T on February 08, 2013, 02:39:48 AM
I'm in the same boat as NU1O: I don't really collect cards at this point and I'm overwhelmed by the bureau cards. It really takes a lot of time to respond by hand.

But I found a pretty efficient solution: BV7 software by DF3CB to print labels. It's a bit prickly to learn to use but I managed to respond to a massive backlog of bureau cards in a few hours. I looked at Global QSL but that seems out of my price range.

73,
Gary, ES1WST