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Author Topic: IRC scam?  (Read 5165 times)
WS3N
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« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2012, 10:12:18 AM »

The exchange rate means nothing, as far as IRCs. They are good for postage, regardless of what amount they are purchased for. They are redeemed for 1 unit of airmail postage, not for funds. I'll leave it at that.  73, Gene AF3Y

True, it means nothing for IRCs. My point was that, in this particular case, he said nothing about accepting IRCs. Always check the QRZ page before making any assumptions. It's like that guy in Guatemala. People bitch and moan all the time about not getting a card, but if you follow his instructions there's no problem. If you don't like his conditions then work somebody else.

Personally, I don't really care. I only send for a card if it's an ATNO, and then only if I can't get it on LoTW. I always put in extra $ to (hopefully) help things along. Also, I don't make contacts just to make contacts, only for what I need, so I have very few requests coming in.
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NU1O
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« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2012, 10:59:14 AM »



At 5 cents, 100 cards is $5. 1000 cards is $50.

I am a QSL manager. I get that many cards, direct. I do not want to eat that cost since I already pay for printing of QSL cards among other things.

$50 is a tank of gas for me, or a trip to the grocery store. It might be "de minimis" to you but it's not to me!

And I always send out to the bureau for FREE.

I also do LoTW and eQSL for FREE. In fact I prefer those methods.

Please read my post again and this time read it more carefully. I said it is de minimis for the vast majority of hams. I did not include contest stations or expeditions. I never even thought to exclude QSL managers because I never thought a QSL manager would even think I was including them. Yet, you managed to twist what I said and go on a rant. Let me add that based on what I have heard from QSL managers most do so knowing ahead of time they will probably have to absorb some of the costs for a DX station, especially a DX station from the Third World. You made a mistake becoming a QSL manager if you thought you were supposed to come out with no out-of-pocket expenses! I usually include more money if it's to a QSL manager due to that reason. Some send thank you notes, some do not.

I have also had a few Japanese stations return one dollar to me when I have included two. I have done the same for them. That may also have happened with one or two European hams, but it's a rare event. Since I recently started a new policy of offering a card for a card (no return postage needed), I would have to return both dollars were they received now. My offer has been up for about 1 month and I have received less than 10 cards, both foreign and domestic. It's hardly a budget buster.

You make it sound like it's a noble thing by not charging for LoTW or EQSL uploads, or for BURO QSLs! A buro exchange has always been a card for a card - a quid pro quo. So why would you even mention you are not charging for it?  As for LoTW and EQSL, it takes all of about 3 seconds for an average upload. Do you think LoTW and EQSL users should subsidize your internet use? No doubt that will start happening now.


Many of the guys who go on DXpeditions spend upwards of $10,000 of their own money to give us a new one in the log. It's a good think every ham does not try to get their debits to equal their credits or we would not have much of a hobby. It would be like the CB band actually.

The guys who just went to Lakshadweep did not even ask for donations, for example, and India is hardly one of the more wealthier countries on the globe!

73,

Chris/NU1O
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N2RJ
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« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2012, 11:10:21 AM »



At 5 cents, 100 cards is $5. 1000 cards is $50.

I am a QSL manager. I get that many cards, direct. I do not want to eat that cost since I already pay for printing of QSL cards among other things.

$50 is a tank of gas for me, or a trip to the grocery store. It might be "de minimis" to you but it's not to me!

And I always send out to the bureau for FREE.

I also do LoTW and eQSL for FREE. In fact I prefer those methods.

Please read my post again and this time read it more carefully. I said it is de minimis for the vast majority of hams. I did not include contest stations or expeditions. I never even thought to exclude QSL managers because I never thought a QSL manager would even think I was including them. Yet, you managed to twist what I said and go on a rant. Let me add that based on what I have heard from QSL managers most do so knowing ahead of time they will probably have to absorb some of the costs for a DX station, especially a DX station from the Third World. You made a mistake becoming a QSL manager if you thought you were supposed to come out with no out-of-pocket expenses! I usually include more money if it's to a QSL manager due to that reason. Some send thank you notes, some do not.

No, I knew what I was getting into. Regardless, it's just plain rude if you figure that a station will "make up the difference" because you want a QSL.

Quote
You make it sound like it's a noble thing by not charging for LoTW or EQSL uploads, or for BURO QSLs! A buro exchange has always been a card for a card - a quid pro quo. So why would you even mention you are not charging for it?  As for LoTW and EQSL, it takes all of about 3 seconds for an average upload. Do you think LoTW and EQSL users should subsidize your internet use? No doubt that will start happening now.

You're assuming. I am only pointing out that those methods are FREE of charge, so if one doesn't want to include an extra dollar or even not spend any dollars, they can get a FREE QSL this way. And quite honestly I prefer pushing out a stack of bureau cards for a whole log (minus exceptions) which I print sheets of labels for rather than looking up individual requesters in the log.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 11:13:40 AM by N2RJ » Logged
VU2PTT
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« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2012, 11:20:15 AM »


The guys who just went to Lakshadweep did not even ask for donations, for example, and India is hardly one of the more wealthier countries on the globe!

73,

Chris/NU1O

I can vouch for that - VU2UR and VU2LX - the two CW ops are retired folk who use public transport back here in Bangalore and would not find it easy to buy a new rig or a new computer for that matter! They traveled by train and then passenger ship to VU7 - I doubt they would have gone if the only mode of available transport was by air!

73 de Prasad VU2PTT

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NU1O
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« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2012, 12:36:36 PM »

I can vouch for that - VU2UR and VU2LX - the two CW ops are retired folk who use public transport back here in Bangalore and would not find it easy to buy a new rig or a new computer for that matter! They traveled by train and then passenger ship to VU7 - I doubt they would have gone if the only mode of available transport was by air!

73 de Prasad VU2PTT
Prasad,

I am very glad you made that public and from a definitive source. I wasn't 100% certain of their financial situation but based on their age, the equipment used, and their work status (retired), it was not difficult to figure out they are not wealthy businessmen. I just hope those who can afford to do so give extra generously when QSLing.  I know I will be extra generous. This was an all time new one for me and at the start I held out little hope I would work them. 

These two gentlemen perfectly define the words "Amateur radio operator". Amateur has nothing to do with skill level as evidenced by their ability to send and receive accurate high speed CW and to setup a HF station on a remote island which was heard worldwide.  We are called amateurs because we do not do this for money. We do it for the love of the hobby and to bring some happiness to fellow ham radio operators around the world.  VU2UR and VU2LX deserve a lot of praise for their expedition and I know this was not their first time doing this.



73,

Chris/NU1O






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NU1O
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« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2012, 01:03:06 PM »


You're assuming. I am only pointing out that those methods are FREE of charge, so if one doesn't want to include an extra dollar or even not spend any dollars, they can get a FREE QSL this way. And quite honestly I prefer pushing out a stack of bureau cards for a whole log (minus exceptions) which I print sheets of labels for rather than looking up individual requesters in the log.

Frankly, you don't have a clue as to my motives.  The reason I made a point of it was because I had never before seen anybody brag about sending out buro cards for free!  Or brag because they do not charge for LoTW or EQSL uploads!  You just became the first to make a big deal about absolutely nothing out of the ordinary!

I hope you carefully read Prasad's description of the two Indian hams who went to Lakshadweep  on their own dime. Yes, they will recoup some of the costs they fronted out of their own pockets but, with many hams out there looking for something for nothing, the two Indian retirees will likely pay for a large part of the trip and they certainly do NOT have an excess of money. I would think their story would resonate well with you since you claim to not be able to absorb a 5 cent increase in postage rates.

NU1O
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N2RJ
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« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2012, 05:45:39 PM »

Chris, the only reason most people ask for $2 is because asking for $1.05 will result in coins being sent which is generally a bad idea. I doubt most US hams will make money from QSL requests anyway. I really don't think it's about greed, and as I mentioned not everyone sends $2. But as long as a few do, that covers my cost. I certainly am not a millionaire or even a thousandaire thanks to direct QSL! (and that's fine)

Nothing is wrong with asking to cover your costs for postage, nothing at all. As I said there are free methods to get a QSL.

And 90% of my direct received requests are US SASEs, so the point is moot!

So as usual, you're making a really big deal about a non-issue.

And seriously, you're lecturing ME about being a poor ham?  Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 05:52:04 PM by N2RJ » Logged
NU1O
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« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2012, 12:05:08 AM »


And 90% of my direct received requests are US SASEs, so the point is moot!

So as usual, you're making a really big deal about a non-issue.

And seriously, you're lecturing ME about being a poor ham?  Roll Eyes

Here are your words when I suggested the vast majority of US hams could absorb 5 cents and just keep charging $1 for an overseas QSL.

"$50 is a tank of gas for me, or a trip to the grocery store. It might be "de minimis" to you but it's not to me!"

You are free to set whatever price you are comfortable with for a QSL but you just admitted the 5 cents is a moot point for you since you receive very few overseas requests for personal cards. That being the case why did you make it sound as if I were taking food off your table or gasoline out of your car?

I never said you were a bad ham, Ryan.  For me this has always been about different philosophies with regard to recouping expenses.  I think anybody entering this hobby should be prepared to layout some money for expedition donations, QSLs, etc., and you seem to think the ledger should be balanced. That's all.

73,

Chris/NU1O
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K2ADK
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« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2012, 08:41:38 PM »

IRCs are always a hit or miss.

Also, many hams send secondhand IRCs which may not be redeemed for sufficient postage because of the country of origin. I have heard that the post offices exchange IRCs for less postage if they are in the same continent (eg. European stamped IRCs in Europe will get less postage upon exchange than IRCs stamped in USA.)

If someone sent me an out of date IRC, I'd probably not reply.  Some stations in sought-after countries would go broke after two days making up the difference.  But as far as IRCs go, and some post offices exchanging them for less if in the same continent -- this is absolutely, positively, and as I've found out conclusively, not true.  After having heard from several foreign post offices, the United Nations, and the Universal Postal Union, an IRC is universally accepted for letters of 50g or less.  In fact, the UPU has no record of complaint by any postal patron who has not been able to use a legitimate, up to date International Reply Coupon. 

So, full postage is covered by one IRC no matter where you send your QSL.  But given the extra effort and burden of sending out even fully pre-paid and self-addressed envelopes, it would be reasonable to send a buck or so if you feel that ham deserves it.  I would do this in a place like Moldova, Mongolia, or Phillippines, but likely not in some countries not likely to receive so many requests every time they're on the air.

I don't like to suggest that hams are profiteering off QSOs but perhaps the recent change in value (where they needed an extra stamp) left some lasting confusion.  It would be a good public service if ARRL could do somthing on this subject.  IRCs are a wonderful invention designed to simplify life for international correspondents, and that is exactly what it does.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Case closed.

Emmett
KD2AIP
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W2IRT
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« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2012, 08:42:43 AM »

...as far as IRCs go, and some post offices exchanging them for less if in the same continent -- this is absolutely, positively, and as I've found out conclusively, not true.  After having heard from several foreign post offices, the United Nations, and the Universal Postal Union, an IRC is universally accepted for letters of 50g or less.  In fact, the UPU has no record of complaint by any postal patron who has not been able to use a legitimate, up to date International Reply Coupon.

I've had extended chats with hams in Italy and Belgium over this issue. The national post office may say one thing, but the local post offices say something entirely different. Belgian hams (at least as of 3 years ago) required two for Asia but one for everywhere else.  Italy will factor in the country of origin of the IRC...and either not accept or discount an IRC based on that. While that's probably an incorrect interpretation of the UPU rules, nevertheless that's what many Italian hams are faced with when they return your cards.

This is an excerpt from IK3GES's post on QRZ.COM regarding the interpretation of the rules by her post office. She is a very active QSL manager for a number of rare African stations.

 The Italian Post Office redeems IRCs at different rates, depending on their country of origin:

  •     Italian IRCs = 0,60€
        European IRCs = 0,75€
        Oceania IRCs = €2.00
        North and South America Asia IRCs = €1,70

If you are outside of Europe, you must send an IRC that originated from outside Europe or else your card will be returned via the Bureau. As you can imagine,my postage costs are very high and I cannot add additional postage for so many requests. I apoligize for the inconvenience.
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N2RJ
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« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2012, 12:33:11 PM »

I've even had United States post offices hassle to exchange IRCs. There was one at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC that told me go to another post office. I went there and they told me they don't know what to do with them. Finally I went to Rockefeller Center where they knew what to do.

But is it worth it to go from PO to PO trying to exchange an IRC?

Sure, you can waste time trying to educate them on how to do their jobs or find one who knows but in the end a lot of people with IRCs just sell them for $2 (or less) apiece.

I wouldn't refuse IRCs but I'm probably going to end up selling those that I get. I even have a few that just sit in a drawer and maybe I send them for a card. 

As it is they are effectively "ham currency" and many aren't even exchanged.
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AF3Y
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« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2012, 02:31:13 PM »

You know, I am still at a loss for all this BS about IRCs.  We need some more DX, I guess.

Someone said that they could not get a (US) postal employee to take an IRC or that they "did not know what to do with them", right?  I am going to make an assumption here and say that the postal employee obviously did not know how to read.
I have an IRC here, and on the REVERSE there is a statement written in 7 or 8 different languages. Since I am not a Monterey Mary (Linguist to you non ASA, NSG or AFSS types), I can only read the English version. It is not very complicated. It simply states:  "This coupon is exchangable in any country of the Universal Postal Union for the mimimum postage for an unregistered priority item or an unregistired letter sent by air to a foreign country."  I cannot, for the life of me see why anyone of average intelligence cannot understand that statement.  According to the statement, IF I wanted to take an IRC and use it to send a unregistered letter Priority Mail, here in the US (Maybe not.. Maybe only to a "foreign country"), it will work for the postage.  If I want to send an unregistered letter by air to a foreign country, it will work for the postage.
If you encountered a US Postal Service employee who could not or would not read and understand that simple statement, you should have reported them to the US Postal Service (Their local manager or Postmaster) for either incompetence or ignorance.
Why is this so damned hard for anyone/everyone to understand? Gee......... We need some more DX.  73, Gene AF3Y
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 03:04:37 PM by AF3Y » Logged
NU1O
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« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2012, 04:21:47 PM »

Why is this so damned hard for anyone/everyone to understand? Gee......... We need some more DX.  73, Gene AF3Y

It is not hard to figure out. It's actually quite simple.  You are dealing with lazy bureaucrats who belong to a very powerful union. You virtually have to commit a crime to get fired from the USPS. I seriously doubt those postal employees ever read the back of an IRC.

If our postal service were privatized those IRCs would be accepted in a heartbeat.

73,

Chris/NU1O
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AF3Y
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« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2012, 05:55:55 PM »

Why is this so damned hard for anyone/everyone to understand? Gee......... We need some more DX.  73, Gene AF3Y

It is not hard to figure out. It's actually quite simple.  You are dealing with lazy bureaucrats who belong to a very powerful union. You virtually have to commit a crime to get fired from the USPS. I seriously doubt those postal employees ever read the back of an IRC.

If our postal service were privatized those IRCs would be accepted in a heartbeat.

73,

Chris/NU1O

Chris, what you say may or may not be true.
But, what is wrong with. after getting a stupid response to your request, simply handing the IRC to the employee and asking them to please read the two lines of directions, which are written in English, on the reverse and then make the exchange.  73, Gene AF3Y
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W2IRT
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« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2012, 07:34:07 PM »

That would require initiative and the ability to think. A better idea, if you insist on redeeming those confounded things, is to bring a photocopy of the relevant section of the IMM, which details how they are to process them. I've never once tried to redeem them for postage. If/when someone sends me an IRC for postage I will simply stick a stamp on their return envelope and use the IRC for my own QSLing, sending to managers who's QRZ pages say they accept them.
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