Feeling obligated to return a card

Discussion in 'The DX Zone' started by KE0EYJ, Nov 26, 2019.

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  1. K8PG

    K8PG Subscriber QRZ Page

    QSLing is part of amateur radio.
    I received from the K8 bureau 219 QSLs
    in Oct of this yr . I get that many 3-4 times a
    yr . ALL GET A QSL CARD .... via the bureau
    OR Direct.
    I do enjoy LOTW TO.
    If you can afford $1000s in equipment
    surely you can spend a few measly $100 or
    so on postage/QSL cards!
  2. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I do, and I also imagine the time and effort that person is wanting me to take part in.

    It's his money, and his time, I guess.

    By not sending a card, I suppose I'm also doing my part to help the environment.
  3. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Oh Good Grief :(
    K8PG likes this.
  4. K8PG

    K8PG Subscriber QRZ Page

    Talk about QSL’s.....
    Leo always sends me what he has before A48432CA-A230-4E4F-876E-DF15BD87CE6E.jpeg
    my birthday.
    All ready to go to the ARRL Bureau
    The return.
  5. K8BZ

    K8BZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm pretty late on this response but though I'd throw my thoughts out there.

    In my opinion QSLing is entirely up to the individual. That being said, my wish is that everyone would QSL when one is requested. But I completely understand the commitment required and depending on what your ham radio interests are, and the time you have to commit to QSLing, maybe your opting out is the right thing to do.

    I have always exchanged QSL's and have made a point to create a convenient way to do it. First of all, I'm an ARRL memeber and use the Outgoing QSL Service. The last stack of cards I sent to the Outgoing QSL Service costs a whopping $3 plus postage to Newington.

    To make it easier to send QSLs, I have a nice card printed commercially with no space on the front to enter QSL data. The back of the card is blank. I can place a stack of cards in the printer's document feeder and when I receive QSLs from the Bureau and need to send a QSL back, all I have to do is make a couple clicks of the mouse in my log and the printer will print the QSL into on the back of the card from the stack in the document feeder. I always print every QSO I have had with the station and not just the QSO they are requesting. The log program (N3FJP) handles that task and there is enough room on the back of the card to print multiple contacts. No peal and stick labels, no hand filling out of cards. Just sort the cards, weigh them, send to the bureau and your done. Plus I always make sure I update my log with a couple mouse clicks to show that I have received and sent the QSLs.

    I am a DX award chaser so I am obligated to return QSLs when requested. In fact, I used to QSL all DX contacts, requested or not. I don't do that any more. But I always QSL when requested or when I receive an unsolicited QSL from another station.

    My QSLing process required ARRL membership, PC log, appropriate printer. If I had to fill out cards by hand and pay the cost to ship them to each individual countries QSL bureau, I don't believe I would participate. But I wouldn't be a DX award chaser either.

    I know of one DX ham who has achieved every major DX award including DXCC Challenge at the 3,000 level. This can not be done without a major commitment of time and $$$ and utilizing QSL bureaus, LoTW and lots of direct QSLing. After taking advantage of all of these QSL means and running out of new DX awards to chase, this particular ham has opted to charge a fee to upload his QSO's upon request to LoTW. This ham is in a relatively rare DXCC entity, but he is operating from his home station and does not incur excessive costs to use LoTW. But because he is a semi-rare entity he has discovered a dependable source of revenue. I have heard him on the air working pile ups for extended periods of time. If only 10% of his contacts result in his pay for LoTW upload scheme he could easily make $100 or more per operating session. His QRZ page does not provide this info. His QRZ page says to email him and he will email you the process to get his LoTW confirmation. The process involves sending him the QSO info via eamil and making the requested payment via PayPal. This QSL policy appalls me.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2019
  6. WO7R

    WO7R XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, to price it correctly, you have to decide what portion of the 50 dollar annual ARRL dues is for all the other services they do (advocacy, non-DX functions, running sections, etc.) and what fraction for you is for the benefit of DXing. Let's say you value the DXing part at 24 dollars.

    Well, if you do four mailings a year to the "buro", then the total cost of the "buro" is 3 + 6 = 9 dollars per mailing. Plus the US postage and the cost of the cards. Probably eleven dollars total per mailing.

    Cheap, but not as cheap as it first looks.

    Then there is the question of QSLs you wanted that you are responding to and the QSLs that you did not. The latter is all deadweight cost that has to be weighed against the cost to receive the "buro" cards you actually wanted. So, if you receive one card you want and nine you don't, then you have to add the cost of the nine you don't to the one you did to fairly "price" your "buro" cards.

    The total all-in cost of a card you actually want is probably a dollar or two because of the pro-rated cost of so many unwanted cards. If you've been at the DX game a long time, it can easily be closer to 5 dollars.

    That's great as far as it goes. If you want to be a nicer guy, you should also repeat 1) your call 2) your mailing address 3) your grid 4) your US county 5) the magic phrase "confirming our 2way QSO" 6) TNX QSL on the "blank" side of the card. Don't make people (your DX friend, various award managers if your card is used) flip flip flip your card. Put it all on one side. (W9KNI recommends this in "The Complete DXer"). All of my suggestions are either required or people think they are required for various awards.

    Meh. It probably depends on the price. If he is not top 100 rare, I probably just wait it out and work someone else. If you philosophically object, then don't QSL. You have that option and it might discipline him. Or, it might actually be what he wants. If you're rare DX, QSLing is a burden. You and I get maybe, maybe 100 requests a year. They get thousands. It's an interesting scheme not just from a revenue perspective but also from a "cut down the work" perspective.

    A lot of "direct" QSLs cost me between three and four dollars when you add in the green stamps and postage. If I can shave one or especially two dollars off of that for LOTW only, then I probably pay the money. It's still cheaper than a "legitimate" old fashioned QSL. In fact, I have offered such a deal to some DX stations and some have taken me up on it.

    Surprise, hobby or not, you just discovered there's a marketplace here.
  7. WG7X

    WG7X Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    So... Just received an envelope from the "Buro" just yesterday. A dozen or so QSL cards, all from JA hams, all for FT8 QSO's already confirmed via LOTW.

    Japanese hams are, by far, the most dedicated QSL'ers out there. Will I respond in kind? Probably not, at least not right away. I too, consider it a bit of a chore, and I do the returns when I feel like it, which nowadays, is not very often.

    I really need to change my QRZ page to reflect that. Maybe later today?
  8. WO7R

    WO7R XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Our Japanese and German friends have all their Outgoing Buro costs, save local postage, covered by their national organization's membership.

    As you might expect, anything with zero apparent cost is abused in the sense that they have incentive to QSL everything. It creates, in fact, a culture where this seems to be a requirement. So, you get lots of these cards.

    I personally find nothing stranger than to receive a blanket, clearly-sent-to-everyone QSL card for an FT8 QSO. It barely makes sense to do that as a contester either.

    But, if it costs next to nothing, or appears to, a lot of hams will do just that.

    As a result, JAs lead my incoming "buro" QSLs by a wide margin. It's obnoxious. As beautiful as many of these cards are, I have no need for them. I do not really regard this, anymore, as a "courtesy" of any kind. The many that QSL "everything" can't really value my card coming back. Some provide QSO counts on their cards. I have seen counts in the 400,000 range. More than once. I don't know how they afford to send that many cards even for merely the cost of the physical card itself and local postage. But, many do.

    My DL card total isn't quite that high, but similar.

    Between the two of them, JA and DL, it is half of my "buro" incoming count and it is all burden to me. It is also a burden to the volunteers that run the system.

    This "QSL everything" practice may well be responsible for many DX stations to opt out of the buro altogether, which has always been an issue. At least half of all DX stations in 2019 do not participate in the buro. Being buried in unwanted cards is probably a leading reason.
  9. K8BZ

    K8BZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been a Life Member since 1976 so the annual dues not factor in to my annual costs for membership services. But yes, that would be a consideration for someone paying for an annual membership if they were just a casual DXers. I don't remember what the life membership cost me at that time. But the Outgoing QSL service alone has probably paid for it. I've been at this long enough to have sorted and sent my QSLs to individual bureaus before the ARRL had their outgoing QSL service and it was a major cost factor even at early 1970's postal rates.

    There are almost no cards that I want that will come to me via the bureau. There are only 8 entities that I don't have confirmed and any DXpeditions to those places will almost certainly QSL via LoTW and/or OQRS. Even if they use LoTW I will still want to get a card from an ATNO.

    The bureau cards I send are because they are desired by the station I worked, and not because I need their cards. I still like receiving QSL's but for the most part they are sorted and stored.

    I feel an obligation to respond to anyone that sends me a card or requests my card via Club Log's OQRS system. And I do receive several requests via OQRS per year. Some are for DX station working on WAS or band or mode specific version of same. And surprisingly for county hunting DX stations.

    The QSL bureau was my primary means of achieving WAC, WAZ, 9 Band DXCC and three mode DXCC. I just don't feel it's right to discontinue sending my cards via the bureau after I have gotten all the mileage I could out of the system. It's kind of the 'pay it forward' thing to do by my way of thinking.

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