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Author Topic: QSL Protocol  (Read 2982 times)
WL7PC
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« on: January 03, 2004, 08:48:18 PM »

What is the proper protocol for sending a QSL card?  I have seen its suggested that sending an SASE is appropriate.  Is that appropriate for all contacts or just the "rare" or unusual contacts?  Are there some generic guidelines that can be found somewhere?
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N8UZE
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2004, 10:31:19 PM »

Basically if you are sending out QSL cards just to confirm a contact and don't care whether or not you get one back, nothing is required.  The person receiving your QSL will either reply or not as he/she feels like doing.

If you specifically want a card from a certain person, an SASE is appropriate.  Of course special event stations, DXpeditions and such that are going to be processing thousands of requests will need an SASE (or self-addressed envelope with IRC if it's a foreign station).

Note that when using the ARRL bureau (applicable only for foreign contacts) you just send them the cards in bulk (they do have rules on how to do this though) and keep envelopes on file at the incoming bureau.  When the incoming bureau has enough for the postage you put on the envelopes, they send yours to you in a group.  Again they have guidelines for the envelopes to be used.
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WB4QNG
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Posts: 362




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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2004, 12:11:41 AM »

N8UZE gave you great advice. Like he said most Special Events sation want a SASE. The rest of the time depends on how bad you want a card. I think most hams will put a post card stamp on his card and send it back but the SASE is nice. If you want a card real bad a $1.00 bill is nice too even though the few I sent the hams have all sent them back.  As for as DX goes a self address envelope is a must plus the IRC. An IRC is a coupon that represents the amount of postage it takes to mail the card from the foreign country back to you. They can be purchased from the Post Office. Most countries take one but some take two. The post office can tell you what countries take what. I have found that sending the countries that take one a $1.00 and those that take two $2.00 works but with the way currency works you might not be covering the postage while the IRC will.  As you can see it can get expensive in a hurry. Like N8UZE said if you are going do much QSL'ing to foreign countries the bearu is the way to go. You can learn all about them by going to the ARRL site. This will tell you which one is yours
Good Luck
Terry
WB4QNG
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N8UZE
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2004, 12:50:05 PM »

Also going through the bureau takes time so you do have to be patient.  A year or two is not unheard of to get your reply.
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W2IRT
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2004, 10:41:55 PM »

With respect to IRCs, I've found them to be one step away from useless these days (wasn't always the case). Try buying or redeeming one of these in this country - most clerks give you a blank stare and will have to ask everyone behind the counter what the heck they are. Trying to redeem them is even harder. Now, imagine a postal clerk in Nerdocrombesia or Lower Dipthong trying to figure them out. As Tony Soprano would say, Fuggeddaboudit.

In three years of *intense* QSLing, my rate of return with IRCs is about 30-40%. Absolutely no more than that. I switched to foreign mint stamps about a year and a half ago, and my success rate skyrocketed to over 90%, and of those, most come back within 6 weeks. If I send out 100 cards today, I'll get about 50-60 back in under 3 weeks, 20-30 or so more in under 6 weeks and about 10-15 of the rest in under 10 weeks. The rest dribble in whenever -- or haven't, yet.

I also do send $1 or $2 occasionally (when I want to get a card out fast and not wait for my stamp order).

I find the best way to do it is to buy a good selection of foreign stamps from Bill Plum for the most popular countries where many QSL managers are located. I always like to have at least 5 German stamps on hand, 5 Spanish, 5 French, 5 Italian and 5 UK. I also keep on-hand a few for Poland, the Netherlands, Russia, Portugal, Norway and Sweden.

Of course your mileage may vary, but I can only report how marvellously well mint stamps have performed for me, and how I'm finally getting cards back from many stations I though were $$$ traps or IRC black holes.

Good Luck!

Peter,
W2IRT
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WO8USA
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2004, 07:05:27 PM »

I have found that 1) including a SAE AIR MAIL (foreign size) envelope with $1.00 US greatly increases the percentage and speed of the foreign QSL.  In the past I included $1 with my QSL, and probably got about half QSLed back within 6 months.  I estimate I now get the QSLs back in about 1-2 months.  I get my envelopes from William Plum QSL services.

I imagine if I went as far as including the correct foreign postange on the envelope would be the best...I have not gone there yet.

Make it as easy as possible for the DX station or manager to send you a card back and it will greatly increase your success, but it will cost you.  The bureau is great and free with ARRL membership (I use it a lot too), but 1-3 years is not uncommon..I recently got a QSL 4.5 years after the QSO (at least I got it!).  

Bottom line: Decide how valuable the QSL is to you, and you can decide which route to go 1) no QSL, 2) bureau 3) QSL with card only 4) SASE  5) SAE air mail plus green stamps ($1 or $2) 6) the ultimate, give them their own country's postage too.

Chris WO8USA
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W5WJP
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Posts: 157




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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2004, 07:26:21 PM »

Do not send dollar bills to foriegn countries, especially some of the rare DX countries. Possession of foriegn curriency might be a capital crime in country. The simplest way to go is the bureau.

I haven't tried the foreign stamp method yet. Sounds interesting.


73,
W5WJP
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