Where to buy IRC's / Green Stamps in US
It's been a long time since I've had to buy IRC's for sending/receiving QSL cards. Does the Post Office sell them? I did a little digging around on the usps.gov website and came up with nothing.. not even a mention. If I recall correctly, the last time I bought some I just went to my local post office. Can I still get them from there these days? 73, James KB2FCV
Call them or go there and find out. Chances are they won't even know what you are talking about.
IRC's are a joke. Not worth the trouble.
Use a DX stamp service or USD's (green stamps).
Ah, so Green Stamps = $1 US dollar bills? That's a new one for me. I thought they were a different form of IRC that you bought somewhere. I guess I happen to carry those in my pocket..
What is a DX Stamp? I've never heard of that
I usually buy MY "green stamps" from a local bank. They cost $1.00 each.
Post Offices can and will provide IRC's on request. If they refuse, or are bewildered, then copy the appropriate web page from the USPS Web Site, and have a friendly chat with your Postmaster. (Unfortunately, I don't believe they sell IRC's by mail. Ironic, isn't it?)
Be aware, that IRC's are much more expensive than U.S> Postal rates, but not always accepted or sufficient for mail in some areas. But they ARE still available.
"DX" stamps are fine if you have sufficient need for such a service. But if you need only a few to different parts of the world, it's even more inconvenient to "order" foreign stamps than to purchase IRC's. MANY, many DX stations actually prefer "green stamps" in the value of $2.00 or $3.00; others request IRC's. For that matter, some DX stations or special event stations don't even appreciate "DX" stamps, as it can make an automated mailing list system less efficient. It's BEST to do a lookup to see if the station has a preference, and follow that lead.
Where to buy IRC etc
While IRC's are frowned on by many you will occasionally HAVE to use IRC's because the ham is not allowed to have U.S. Dollars (aka Green Stamps). This does not happen often. Check QSL route info via the 'Zed as an example. Sometimes you see no US $'s use IRC's. In most places they are available ONLY at your main post office. DO not believe the claims that they are no longer used or valid. That's usually a bogus answer from a postal employee who doesn't want to be bothered. I had no trouble. When I asked for them the reply was "How many sir?" But then we have a very large immigrant population here which is often mailing stuff all over the world.
Secondly you misread an answer...it is not "a DX stamp" but rather a DX stamp service. Through and from which you can buy stamps for foreign countries, nesting envelopes etc.
Check out Mr. Mackey's operation
He is one of several folks who provide this service..though of course you pay for it..but that's only fair.
Good DX to you es 73 / Paul W6VPS
President - Shade Tree Mechanics-Rickety Welding & Let the Smoke Out Electronics Co.
Currently, there don't seem to be any countries that actually outlaw posession of U.S. currency, but such has occurred in the past. But it may not be simple to EXCHANGE U.S. Dollar$ is some locations. That may be why some DX stations require IRC's. And yes, they also may recoup some of their expenses by purchasing their own country's stamps, and sending out IRC's for cards THEY request. Just because a station receives an IRC, soesn't mean it will be used to purchase postage. And there's no way to actually tell if another station paid for the postage with an IRC or the local currency. The stamp the post office puts on the envelope is the same, either way.
Originally Posted by w6vps
I was doing some more reading on sending QSL's overseas and there is more to it than I thought. It looks as though people get better results based on how the "packaging" and type of envelopes used, especially when sending green stamps. Suggestions such as two separate envelope sizes for the outgoing and incoming envelopes to reduce the profile, what order and what direction to stuff the envelope, even using carbon paper to help hide the $$$. I've found a few places online that sell the separate sized air mail envelopes (it's hams selling these... most commercial places selling envelopes seemed to have very different sizes or only one size). I think Green Stamps make sense to me, aside from places that require or request other forms.
I have always had good luck with overseas QSLing since I started Dxing in the very early eighties. I am probably in the area of 90% return rates at 293 confirmed and 30 from 5BDXCC. That is a LOT of sending cards direct and to managers overseas!
1. No callsigns are to be put on the envelope you mail it in.
2. Put the fold of the greenstamps at the bottom of the envelope so ends point up. Be sure it is enough to cover the return postage.
3. Use the security kind of envelopes. I use the ones with Par Avion and the red/blue markings around the perimeter.
4. I use the same kind of envelope for the SAE and fold it in half with it's ends pointing up as well when I put it in the envelope to send. I sort of hide the greenstamps in the fold of the return envelope and under the flap.
5. Be patient. Some will take a very long time to be returned. Some will only be returned via the buro no matter what you do so no complaining.
6. Some NEVER will be returned...V51AS comes to mind.
7. Until you get a card from an entity, work others there as you can. You may work someone with a manager either here in the US or overseas. The return rate is better in this case, usually trouble free.
8. Some clubs are pretty slow with QSLing. They work a lot of contests and get zillions of cards. Doing the cards is no fun and can be very expensive.
9. Don't complain about the cost of QSLing. You will not be able to retire any earlier for saving the cost of QSLing.
10. Keep a log of who you have sent cards to and when it was sent and how for important ones so you can keep track of how long it has been.
First read here:
Originally Posted by KB2FCV
US Postal Service is where you obtain IRC's. Most post offices won't have them. I've asked my local one about it, and they looked at me with a blank stare, and then I explained what the IRC was, and the clerk got the manager, and the manager acknowledged that they existed BUT told me that they didn't have any there. THE USPS.GOV site says they're suppose to have them though.
The link to the official USPS IRC page is BURIED here among several sub-links.
And yes, GREENSTAMP is slang for US CURRENCY. Most entities (DXCC Countries) prefer you send them greenstamps versus the IRC, because they don't have to deal with their post office to get them converted. Some times the IRC isn't properly stamped or is an older out of date version, and will be void. So they just usually ask for 1 or 2 greenstaps (1 or 2 dollar bills) mailed with your SAE and QSL card.
EDIT.... And K7MH, GOOD ADVICE! Thanks for posting.
Last edited by KB5FSV; 03-27-2008 at 08:10 AM.
73! From Jimmy, K5OP
Magnolia DX Association