ARRL Lowers Outgoing QSL Rates

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by WA4BCS, Apr 15, 2019 at 3:22 PM.

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  1. WA4BCS

    WA4BCS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    ARRL Rolls Back Outgoing QSL Bureau Rates to 2011 Prices
    ARRL is rolling back Outgoing QSL Bureau rates to 2011 levels. Effective May 15, 2019, the new rates will be:

    • $2 for 10 or fewer cards in one envelope.

    • $3 for 11 – 20 cards in one envelope, or

    • 75 cents per ounce for packages with 21 or more cards. For example, a package containing 1.5 pounds of cards — 24 ounces, or about 225 cards — will cost $18.

    No transaction service fees.

    Any cards received before May 15 will be charged the current rate. There will be no adjustments for cards received before May 15.

    More information is on the ARRL website.
  2. WF4W

    WF4W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    good! I need to send some cards out. I don't paper QSL but when I get DX stations that took the effort to send me a card via the buro, I feel obligated to return the favor.
    K3KIC likes this.
  3. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't know who was responsible for the increase but hopefully, they went out the door with those ridiculous rates. With a close to 60 year membership had already made the decision not to renew but will hold off and see what other positive changes take place.
  4. W7DCM

    W7DCM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been sending directly to QSL bureaus overseas. I can now see myself using ARRL again.
  5. W3MMM

    W3MMM Ham Member QRZ Page


    This has always been a tough call. What's the right mix of how this should be paid for?

    ARRL members who do NOT QSL might argue that QSL'ers should foot the bill entirely. QSL'ers might argue that many services can't be separately charged for (like, say, advocacy) so why put so much cost on QSL'ers?

    I think there's a balance of the two. I don't have a problem with the ARRL raising rates, the issue with the "big raise" a few years back was that it was indicative of the ARRL looking to get out of funding paper QSL'ing at all. That's not the right answer.

    As I understood it, a big cost driver was the sorting labor. Might there be some creative ways to address this?
    • Maybe there's a quid pro quo, where a visitor getting time to operate W1AW (or doing other Newington-based things) gives equal time sorting cards for the bureau.
    • Maybe an automatic tool could be built to "crowd source" the card sorting...imagine outgoing cards are put into a sorter. The sorter takes images of the front and back of the card and then posts them. Someone online looks and says "that is going to call G5RV" and the sorting machine takes that card and puts it in the G pile. The online volunteer gets some minor recognition for the ID, maybe a point per card, with X points getting a $1 credit toward the ARRL shop or even membership renewal.
    • Maybe decentralize the process, with heavy users taking their cards to a local sorter first, then that local person sorts the cards of local hams together (and packing them by destination bureau) before shipping them to Newington.
    • Maybe Newington hosts occasional sorting parties with pizza and tours and such, with a few days of intense sorting going on by volunteers.
    I'm not saying any of these particular ideas are viable, rather that there might be other ways to address this with a more win-win outcome.
    WU8Y likes this.
  6. WF4W

    WF4W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    as much as they charge for "counting" electronic cards for LoTW Awards, they should certainly be able to reduce the rate for outgoing buro
    W4IOA likes this.
  7. KP4SX

    KP4SX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Spanish national club URE has an outgoing buro service for everybody. Since they print and fill in the cards (like GlobalQSL) sorting is inherently part of the process. Cost is 13-14c/card but there's a minimum fee up to 100 cards. And they are lightning fast!
    If the ARRL really wants to get into the modern world maybe they should consider something like this.
    W0PV likes this.
  8. VA3VF

    VA3VF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I wholeheartedly agree. This is the future of paper cards, for those that still value it.

    If the league does not want to do it, they could try an arrangement with the URE for a league member's discount.

    Actually, other radio societies could try the same. I don't think the URE would turn them down flat.
  9. KS2G

    KS2G Subscriber QRZ Page

    Not really.
    There is just one member of the staff who does all of the sorting, etc. along with her husband as a volunteer.

    The big cost driver is SHIPPING/Postage.

    Not withstanding the popularity of LoTW and other electronic QSLing, ARRL still ships out hundreds of pounds of cards to overseas bureaus. ;)
  10. W3MMM

    W3MMM Ham Member QRZ Page

    You know, the interesting solution would be to standardize this between bureaus around the world and eliminate the overseas shipping. So I might load my QSL requests into a database, and they would be printed in the destination countries using a standard process and tools.

    Funny thing though - I LOVE trading paper cards - but I think of this and consider for far is too far?

    I readily acknowledge that ham radio has changed significantly...specifically in VOLUME. Modes (like FT8), DXpeditions, contests, operating events, software, etc...all gears toward the bet I'd make that the average QSOs per year, per active ham, have gone way, way up relative to even 20 years ago. The paper QSL option just can't scale as quickly, and certainly not as economically.

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