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Author Topic: LoTW + Buro  (Read 2166 times)
W2IRT
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« on: June 13, 2012, 04:57:17 PM »

This month I received about 75 bureau cards, mostly from the major DX contests requesting QSL replies. I generally like replying to bureau cards, but I became somewhat annoyed at a number of Europeans and a couple of JAs who were not just QSLing previously-confirmed band/mode combinations, but also requesting cards for contacts previously confirmed via LoTW.

Now, my card is very basic, no picture, nothing except pertinent data and station location and I'm not in a rare or needed county or IOTA. So what's the purpose of wanting a card when you already have a contact confirmed on Logbook (and probably eQSL -- I upload out of courtesy but only check for new WAZ zones and nothing else)? What say everyone? If you show a confirmation on LoTW do you reply via Bureau as well?

I will not reply if the band/mode has previously been confirmed by card, but for the moment, I'm still replying when a Q was confirmed on Logbook only. Any thoughts?
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N5MOA
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2012, 05:18:30 PM »

I reply to (almost) every bureau request, confirmed via lotw/esql or not.

Like you, the only ones I don't reply to are band/modes already confirmed via card.

Some people (myself included) like cards, even if they are only different ones from the same entity.

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N3QE
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2012, 03:20:20 AM »

Some genuinely enjoy paper QSL cards, above and beyond it simply counting as credit, and they would like to exchange at least a buro card for each and every QSO, even contest QSO's.

Others really enjoyed the QSO and think it deserves a paper QSL card. Hard for me to work up that much enthusiasm for a contest QSO today but there are many chats, genuine connections I've had with folks around the world, that I think definitely should result a handwritten card.

There is no reason to think that LOTW genuinely replaces a paper QSL card, for those who value the paper cards. There's always been a subset of folks who confirm  every QSO, including every contest QSO, with at least a "buro card".

There are a couple for-rent contest stations, that have a policy that every QSO is confirmed with both LOTW and paper card and the paper card notes "we don't need your paper card". My guess is that it is not just a "be sure to confirm all your QSO's" nanny thing, but it is also good advertising for the for-rent contest stations. Besides the antenna arrays on the paper cards, are always quite impressive!

I greatly value LOTW, in fact I feel that LOTW is in the process of revolutionizing some corners of ham radio, but I know it won't replace the sentimental value of a paper card, or the artistic beauty of a really good card. And I can think of a couple dozen cases over the past year where I myself decided that it was worth the effort to send a paper QSL card even though the QSO was already confirmed in LOTW.
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AD9DX
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2012, 03:02:05 PM »

The guy may be like many others that just likes cards. I on the other hand would not really want a card from say England for a band/mode I already had confirmed.  That might change if say I had it on a tough band like 6m.
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
W2IRT
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2012, 04:45:53 PM »

The guy may be like many others that just likes cards. I on the other hand would not really want a card from say England for a band/mode I already had confirmed.  That might change if say I had it on a tough band like 6m.

I'm with you. I don't want bureau cards for any of common DX entities, except for 6m, 80m and 160m. I also love getting DXpedition cards or cards from less-common places (like T8, etc), but I honestly don't need another 20 cards from Italy on 20m or Slovenia on 15 after last years' contests. For a 2-second contact, I should think LoTW would be sufficient. But if they request a card they'll get one by the bureau; I don't mind...I just don't see the logic in it, except if they're county-hunting. And it's not like Essex County, NJ is anything close to rare!
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AB8MA
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2012, 04:51:01 PM »

[ And it's not like Essex County, NJ is anything close to rare!

In my book, anything is rare until I get it confirmed.Thanks for my WAS New Jersey counter. Smiley


Call Sign   W2IRT
County   ESSEX

Worked   AB8MA
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W2IRT
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2012, 05:43:08 PM »

[ And it's not like Essex County, NJ is anything close to rare!

In my book, anything is rare until I get it confirmed.Thanks for my WAS New Jersey counter. Smiley


Call Sign   W2IRT
County   ESSEX

Worked   AB8MA .

Glad to help. WPX makes WAS easy!

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K3STX
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2012, 06:59:02 PM »

I reply to every buro card. Like you, I can not imagine why a contest station in Italy wants a QSL from a W3 on 40 CW, but my box is FULL of them; almost ALL contest QSOs. But if they went to the trouble to send it, then they presumably really want mine too.

paul
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KJ4FUU
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2012, 10:46:55 AM »

I happen to like paper cards. Heck, if you were to scrawl the QSO information on a paper napkin, I'd still keep it. Smiley

73,

-- Tom
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NN3W
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2012, 04:52:31 AM »

They sent you a QSL request; consider replying to that request.

Especially in a contest - its the cost of doing business.
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W2IRT
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2012, 08:34:14 AM »

Yup, I'm still replying (for now). I hope that eventually postage prices will increase sufficiently such that the big European national societies will stop offering unlimited outgoing QSLs part of their subscription rate so this kind of thing won't be automatic any more. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy bureau QSLing and it definitely has its place...but the belt-and-suspenders method of LoTW/eQSL + paper card thing for 2-second contest Qs, between common entities on the major bands is getting a bit much as far as I'm concerned.
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N8EHW
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2012, 09:27:27 AM »

QSL cards are what drew my interest to the hobby over 30 years ago, and I still go through all of my collection of cards on a regular basis.  I don't send out cards to every contact I make, but I make a point of responding to every request, including, or maybe especially, to the SWL's. 
I get really annoyed in fact with stations who can't seem to find the time or resources to reply to a request for a card.  A station running a transceiver worth 5-10K and a Steppir at 120 feet can probably afford the stamp.
It is, after all, the "final courtesy" of a qso.  (and by the way. I do use LOTW and think it's a great tool)
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WS3N
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2012, 10:00:40 AM »

I am at the opposite end of the spectrum. My cards, which I only request from ATNOs that don't use LoTW, go straight into the binder, not to be seen again until I add another. However, I always respond to the (few) requests that I receive. It's just common courtesy, which, unfortunately, is no longer common.
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AJ4RW
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2012, 10:20:39 AM »

Different strokes for different folks.  I got into amateur radio over 40 years ago when talking to someone in California was good DX let alone someone on the other side of the globe.  The thrill of communicating with another country when just using a phone was considered high tech is what drew me into the hobby.  For 2012 alone I've made over 4000 QSO's and if only a 500 of them wanted to exchange cards, the cost would be over $225 for postage plus all the other cost involved.  I still exchange cards but only if the other station provides an SASE or equivalent postage  I participate in all major contest plus chasing DX plus digital plus ragchewing and enjoy it all.  In a world of high technology I emphasize electronic QSLing.  Every contact gets a QSL card from eQSL and depending on the computer and printer of the recipient, a very nice QSL card can be produced with good graphics.  I think using snail mail for QSLing is about like beating your clothes on a rock to get them clean.  I'd rather spend that money on my wife than postage!
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W2IRT
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2012, 10:34:59 AM »

Frankly I'd like to hear the opinions of some of our friends from major European entities on this subject. What is the purpose of requesting a card for each and every contest contact (20m SSB in CQWW 2010, 20m SSB in ARRL 2011, 20m SSB in WPX 2011, 20m SSB in CQWW 2011 and so on)?

I understand if they don't use LoTW, if our QSO is particularly memorable, if I was their first USA, NJ, Essex County, CQ Zone 5, ITU Zone 8 or FN20 grid (I positively love it when I'm someone's first-ever DX entity, American or New Jerseyian, etc). But assuming an established kW/yagi DX or contest station works me, a garden-variety US station in a heavily-populated well-hammed county, not on an IOTA or anything special, why would they request a card for each and every contact made over the years, especially when records show I have confirmed them previously AND we've matched on LoTW and eQSL in the past. That's what I'm curious about. They must make more stateside QSOs than anywhere else, so what makes a garden-variety station from the Garden State that interesting from a paper-collector's point of view?

It's more an intellectual exercise for me at this point. I will of course continue to honour stations' requests for bureau cards...I'm just after the 'why' at this point. Surely their QSL cards aren't printed for free, surely they don't display the thousands of cards they must get every year and surely they must tire of checking in cards from places they've worked on bands they've worked time and time and time again over 10 or 15 years (or more).

As for me personally, the only paper cards I request are for All Time New Ones, new modes, bandfills for the DXCC Challenge and for my 5B WAZ. And with the exception of ATNOs, I'd prefer those confirmations to be LoTW hits. Just gimme one nice card for the album. I also use the bureau to confirm most of my 160m trans-Atlantic Qs since that's almost always a memorable QSO.
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