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Author Topic: My dumb question about QSLing..and..."Bureaus  (Read 839 times)
N3OYO
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« on: November 12, 2006, 02:38:30 PM »

OK..I just upgraded to General...now..I enjoy HF privileges...Question..(I know, dumb..but..)..When I talk to these contacts..in Italy, Azores, Japan, about a QSL....they all say "Thru the Bureau"....What, where, who's Bureau?...It say's nothing about a Bureau when looking the call(s) up in QRZ?...Google search dig's up loads of confusing stuff....Is there one place to send them..or does every Country have a "Bureau"..or what?..Can somebody help?..Thanks in advance!....(FYI...I'd like "real" QSL cards..not "eQSLs"...)
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AD5X
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2006, 03:04:25 PM »

See www.arrl.org/qsl/qslin.html and www.arrl.org/qsl/qslout.html

Phil - AD5X
www.ad5x.com
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N3OYO
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2006, 05:46:19 AM »

OK..so if talk to a guy in Italy, or Japan, and they say "Thru the bureau"..it's thru ARRL?
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2006, 06:07:13 AM »

Yes, the ARRL runs the US QSL Bureau.  Other similar organizations run those in the DX country.  There are some locations that do not have a bureau or are not affiliated with the ARRL.  Read up as you've been directed on the ARRL website.

I am the W9 incoming C Letter dispatcher, so feel free to ask any more questions once you've had a chance to read up on the operation.

Phil  KB9CRY
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N3OYO
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2006, 09:52:19 AM »

Thanks!..Well..I spoke to 2 contacts Sunday..One from Italy..one from The Azores..I asked about QSLing..both replied "Yes, thru The Bureau"..Like I was supposed to automatically know what it meant..or should I have? Does anybody reply to a QSL Card & IRC..What do most do nowadays?.to me,an "eQSL", etc, is NOT the same as an actual card from, say..Tristan da Cunha, etc
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2006, 12:13:49 PM »

Like I was supposed to automatically know what it meant..or should I have?

Well, yes you should have known, even if you're a new HFer.  Swapping of cards is also done by VHF/UHF folks. A QSL card is the only "official" record of any QSO and should be highly desired, treasured, and wanted.  But, now you know.


Does anybody reply to a QSL Card & IRC..What do most do nowadays?.

This depends on what you're after.  Most DXers want to collect DX cards since that they are needed to present for awards and certificates, like DXCC.  The Buro is the cheapest way to go but will take a long time; figure at least a year turnaround, or more.  You can also send QSL cards direct to the foreign station.  Finally many DX stations have a QSL Manager to whom you would then send your card for a return.  Do a Google search on QSLing and you'll get a bunch of helpful links.  Personally I utilize all three of the above methods; depends on how urgent I want the card.



to me,an "eQSL", etc, is NOT the same as an actual card from, say..Tristan da Cunha, etc

eQSLs are not recognized as official records; at this time too much room for fraudulent behavior.  
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N3OYO
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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2006, 01:36:52 PM »

Thanks..Oh..I knew about "direct" QSLing..done that.. ..but the "bureau" thing...that's new territory...A year thru "The Bureau"?..Geeesh...man..that's a wait isn't it?
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WW5AA
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2006, 02:17:12 PM »

Unless you send the eQSL to me, I consider it as an official record and so do many other organizations. Have fun!

73, de Lindy
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W3LK
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2006, 03:42:09 PM »

<< A year thru "The Bureau"?..Geeesh...man..that's a wait isn't it? >>

Yes, it is, but you have to understand the process.

You submit your cards to the ARRL.  Cards are collected at League HQ and placed in a box for each foreign bureau. After the box is full, the cards are shipped surface mail to the foreign bureau. This can happen monthly, at best, or at longer intervals for less used bureaus. Transit time can be in days or weeks or even months, depending upon where they have to go.The cards are then distributed to the foreign ham by whatever method the foreign bureau uses. This could take days or weeks.

Then the foreign ham has to decide to send you a return card and the process reverses.

I have received cards via the bureau for QSO two and three years old.

Hams use the bureau, because in most cases, it is far cheaper than international air mail. Again, read the recommended areas pon the League's web site for more complete information.

Patience, my son, patience. Smiley

73,

Lon - W3LK
Baltimore, Maryland
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2006, 04:39:04 PM »

 << A year thru "The Bureau"?..Geeesh...man..that's a wait isn't it? >>

Yes, it is, but you have to understand the process.

I'd like to elaborate on Lon's description of the process.  Let's say you work F9ABC.  You log him in and that same weekend you print out a label and affix it to your QSL card.  Now to take advantage of the outgoing buro's costs, you need to wait until you have a short stack of cards before mailing them to the ARRL's Outgoing Buro.  You affix your check and a copy of your mailing label from QST to prove that you are an ARRL member (only ARRL members can use the outgoing service).  You know how long the mail can take to get to Newington.  There volunteers (read that not paid) sort through the tons of cards received everyday and your pile is sorted and this one is placed in the France box.  When that box gets full, it's shipped out surface mail to France.  Read that, it's sent by boat.  So the box gets to the docks, and eventually gets loaded on the ship, then the ship sails and floats around for a while and eventually ends up in France.  Now it's eventually unloaded and then mailed to the correspoding French QSL Buro headquarters.  There volunteers sort through the cards and yours is placed in the F9 box to be mailed to the organization handling all of the F9 cards.  Once there, volunteers again, sort through those cards to the individual letter handlers, F9A..., F9B..., F9C..., etc.  There the cards are mailed to these folks who are volunteers and again must then sort through their cards into smaller piles.  So your card goes to the F9A dispatcher and then they must sort the cards further into smaller groups, F9AA.., F9AB.., F9AC.., etc.  Then that person looks through the envelopes he has on file from the individual stations and he stuffs your card in the F9ABC envelope.  Now he won't mail that envelope out until it is full.  This can take a while if he's not active or if he hasn't maintained proper postage on file.  Then eventually it gets mailed out and F9ABC gets his envelope and opens it up and there's your card.  But his daughter is getting married in a week and then there's another contest so he may wait until holiday to check his logs and print out a card for you.  

Now once he has done that, the process just repeats itself only in reverse.  I am the W9 C Letter dispatcher and yes indeed a one year wait is an average.  The contest stations with lots of activity from western type nations can see a 6 month turnaround.  I have seen cards coming back that are 5 years old from the original QSO date.  I have some envelopes on file with me with valid P5 cards in them but because the station will not respond to my requests for proper postage to mail them out they just sit.  

ARRL membership is not required to use the Incoming Buro and since you are now working DX, you'd better contact your local club handling your cards and get some envelopes and postage on file.  You don't want your cards to end up in the dead card file or worst yet, to be tossed.

The Buro is really a very efficient way to go, especially if you work a lot of DX.  (You'll figure that out once you've mailed out about 10 direct cards.)  As you'll see, you can really rack up a lot of DX contacts.  I don't QSL everyone but always return a card if one of mine is requested from a DX station.

Once you get a flow going, you'll be receiving cards very regularly, provided again you maintain proper envelopes and postage on file.

Phil  KB9CRY
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W7VU
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« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2006, 09:02:49 PM »

Phil
The greatest, and simplest explanation of how the Bureau works that I have seen in 53 years. You nailed it.
Ron W7VU
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2006, 06:25:52 AM »

Tnx Ron.  With all the handling of the cards that goes on, the Bureau works really well.
The hardest job is the pre-sorting of the cards that go to the individual letter handlers; if you ever meet any of these folks, buy them a cold one because they deserve it.

If I have one message to everyone that would be

If you work any DX, then very quickly get in contact with your local buro handling organization and get some envelopes and postage on file with them, even if it's just one envelope.  Many of the DX stations, especially contest stations, QSL everyone.  That incoming card(s) just clog up the system and we letter handlers need to know your intentions.  Even if you do not want the card, then let them know that also.  I'd say that at least half the cards that I sort on a monthly basis (well during the winter I do it monthly, during the summer it's less frequent because I'm outdoors doing stuff) have nowhere to go.  Either the recipient hasn't maintained envelopes or postage or they have nothing on file and I don't know what their intentions are.

And some of these folks work a ton of DX and have lots of cards coming in.  I'll try to get in contact with them; there are some that I've given up on and all of their cards get tossed.

Get in contact with your local buro oganization everyone.   Phil
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VE3LXL
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2006, 01:20:51 PM »

If you don't care about the postage costs, you can always try to speed up the process by airmailing your card directly to the foreign ham, and then indicate on it that he can reply via the bureau. Even if he uses the bureau to reply to you, you've eliminated the delays on the outgoing leg, which might cut the time to receive the reply by several months.

In fact, you have to do it this way if you're not a member of the ARRL, since non-members can't use the outgoing bureau.

But if you work a lot of DX, you'll discover quickly that doing it this way can get pretty expensive, and the advantages of using the outgoing bureau become obvious.
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N3OYO
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Posts: 113




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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2006, 01:46:33 PM »

Well..I just checked with the Post Office..(the 800 number)..I was told IRCs being discontinued Jan 07...So I guess the only option is the waiting for 3 millennia for the ARRL "Bureau" option..meaning a person will probably be dead by the time that big, first contact in that country QSL arrives...(if it ever does)..so much for the fun of QSLing...Geesh..
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N3OYO
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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2006, 01:50:01 PM »

"If you work any DX, then very quickly get in contact with your local buro handling organization and get some envelopes and postage on file with them, even if it's just one envelope"

OK.Thanks!....How do I find out who my "Local Bureau" is?....
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