Sunday, May 17, 2009

QSL Bullies

I was listening to some stations coming in on Sporadic-E on 10m this morning, and heard S51GL answer a contact. He replied with something along the lines of: "We worked before on 20 September 2004 on 20 metres. I sent you a QSL card through the bureau three years ago. If you don't have computer logging perhaps this will jog your memory to send a card as the final courtesy of a QSO." I heard him reply to several stations in this manner, saying "I will not send a QSL for this contact as I still do not have a card for my last contact from you." I called him, and he said something similar to me, which was odd as I do not have a previous contact with S51GL in my log.

Even if I had, he probably would not have had a QSL from me as I do not reply to bureau cards. It's not a deliberate policy of mine, it's just that the chore of going through the log checking each card received from the bureau to see if it's a valid contact and I haven't sent a card already is something I can never muster the enthusiasm to get round to.

If I think a contact is worth a paper QSL I will make one out at the time. Quite often I will even send it direct, at my own expense. But I do not think it is worth QSLing every rubber stamp QSO, every exchange of PSK31 brag files, every point given out in a contest. That's just spam. Nobody needs a card from me for an award - if they do, they should say so. I think a QSL is merited only if the contact is memorable in some way, like an especially enjoyable ragchew, or someone's first-ever contact.

I do log every contact automatically with, so if anyone really needs a card from me they can log on to the site and have one printed and mailed to them for a couple of dollars. It does perplex me that this hobby, which has embraced the Internet in every way when it comes to getting contacts, from DX clusters to propagation alerters and chat forums to arrange skeds, is so unwilling to use it for confirmation of those contacts. Come on guys, it's the 21st century!

It may have been worthwhile in the early days of radio when every contact was a real event, but sending a QSL to confirm every contact today is totally unnecessary and a waste of time, money and paper.


David said...

Maybe go to and put down Direct/eQSL Only for your QSL method. I'd also suggest you sign up for Logbook of The World (LoTW) as it is similar in nature to eQSL and supports those that want to use their contact with you for any ARRL awards.

de K2DSL

PE4BAS, Bas said...

I agree with your statement that paper QSL is not really 21st century and sending out cards for every PSK and contest QSO is crazy. Though there are still a lot of operators that prefer that good old paper card and we should respect that. Unfortenatly many operators do not respond to bureau cards. That's a pity, why do we have a QSL bureau after all. I agree with K2DSL in his comment, be clear for everyone to let them know your prefered QSL method.
If I speak for myself, well I prefer LOTW. You never have to verify your logbook with it like eQSL. If the QSO's matching it's confirmed, clear... 73 de PE4BAS, Bas

Dick said...

I am also, pretty much, in agreement with your QSLing philosophy. I think it is an individual decision whether to send one, or not. For example, I do QSL most two-way QRP contacts. Frequently a lot of effort is required to exchange the essentials. A cw QRP QSO is somewhat like it was years ago when an exchange wasn't a sure-thing. It is my way of saying "thanks". I don't expect one in return and will often make that clear on the card. I used to send a QSL in an envelope. Now they go as post cards. The paper stock is heavy and the cards don't get mangled. 72/73 N2UGB