Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My PSK31 Pet Peeve

One of the things that annoys me when making a contact on PSK31 is when someone ends a QSO by telling me not to eQSL. Now if people aren't interested in eQSLing that's their prerogative, but if I want to log a contact to the eQSL site so as to have a complete record of my activity then that's mine. As with any type of QSL it's my choice whether to send one or not and whether I send it via the bureau or electronically it's their choice if they want to receive it.

I copied the following off-air a few minutes ago:

>>> PSE DO NOT SEND - E QSL OR LOTW !!!! <<<

What a lot of fuss! If anyone doesn't want an eQSL all they have to do is stay away from eQSL.cc. How hard is that?


goody said...

It is kind of strange, isn't it? They won't know whether you eQSLed or not because they don't login to such services. It sounds like they just wanted to fill up a macro with their rant.

On an aside, why not just do electronic QSLing over the air when running a digital mode? One could use PGP to generate an authentication key based on the callsigns, frequency, time, etc. and exchange the authentication key over the air using the digital mode. Bingo, the QSO is automagically QSLed and can be authenticated with the station's public PGP key.


Unknown said...

Yep, it's strange. I think there are a few oddballs who are very anti-eQSL and actively refuse them. Recently I had an eQSL rejected with the comment "paper QSL already sent via buro" or words to that effect. This annoyed me because that contact now shows up as invalid in my eQSL log. But closing remarks such as the one I quoted (if not at that length) are fairly common. This is the 21st century, we are using a digital mode to make a contact, why not use a digital method to confirm it?

Your idea of QSLing over the air is an interesting one, but it might take another century for hams to accept the idea. :)

Jeff Davis, KE9V said...

Guess I fall into the anti eQSL community though I wouldn't be quite so rude about it.

I find eQSL to be useless since ARRL awards don't accept it as valid credit. To me, that pretty much means we could just exchange an email with a PDF of our cards after the contact and why bother with eQSL at all?

And while it is certainly true that it's easy enough to just not have an eQSL account (I don't) you'd be surprised how many people I work chastise and cajol me for NOT using that service.

So you see, I think this sort of rudeness is a two-way street...

73 de Jeff, KE9V

Unknown said...


I do think the attitude of organizations like the ARRL doesn't help the acceptance of QSLs. I actually don't understand their position. Will they accept computer printed cards at all? It's much easier to fake a QSL using a computer than to fake an eQSL.

If they would accept a card printed by me on my computer and sent to you, presumably they would accept a card printed by you from a file sent by me to you. Which means they would presumably accept a printed copy of my eQSL (how could they tell?) So why not just accept the eQSL?

This is really a whole other issue, though. I've never come across anyone chastising someone for NOT using eQSL. If the subject comes up, I'll certainly try to persuade people of the benefits of it (which unfortunately do not include award chasing through no fault of eQSL.) But I certainly wouldn't be rude about it nor insert gratuitous comments about it at the end of every PSK31 QSO.

Thanks for commenting.

Jeff Davis, KE9V said...

I'm only guessing that the ARRL figures their awards are their "games" and so they are free to set the rules. Of course eQSL can (and I believe has) setup their own awards program, but my guess is they are held in somewhat less regard by the general population than, say, the DXCC program.

Having said that, for the ARRL to accept credit from eQSL would require them to audit the process used by eQSL to verify that users are who they say they are, and that their contacts are valid, etc.

To that end they have come up with the perfectly draconian LoTW system of encrypted keys and expiring certificates and such. I doubt anything that eQSL would be willing to do would satisfy the ARRL requirements...

Just for the record, yes indeed, I have received more than a few angry (sometimes just put out) emails from eQSL users letting me know that they used that service to confirm our contact and that it was "unkind" of me not to reciprocate. This despite the fact that I offer to QSL via LoTW or via postal mail direct or any of several different buros.

My reticence to use eQSL isn't any particular beef that I have with that outfit, rather, I just see it as "one more thing" to keep up with. If I eQSL what happens next month when some hams start using xQSL, and then yQSL after that?

I'm hopeful that over time LoTW will become the single, de facto standard for online QSLing. It may not; but if it doesn't, I'm afraid that we're looking at a very fragmented future for online QSLing as direct postage will eventually be much too costly to support the old fashioned way of doing things...

73 de Jeff

Paul Lannuier said...

I upload every QSO to both eQSL and LoTW, but if I don't get a response I would never email someone to chastise them. I wouldn't even ask politely; I'd just let it go. I've sent many cards direct with no response, too -- it's just part of the game.

If you don't use eQSL or LoTW, what difference does it make if I upload our QSO? It's not wasting any of your bandwidth.

What burns my butt are those who feel the need to send every single one of their boring macros during every single QSO, even when working a DX station while others are waiting patiently as the band conditions slip away.

Paul WW2PT

Unknown said...

Paul, I completely agree. The use of macros seems to encourage people to send drivel they would never send in any other mode.

Jeff, I doubt if LoTW will become the standard for electronic QSLing. As I understand it, it wasn't even designed to be a QSL system. It was designed purely to claim awards. eQSL generates an actual image of a card, which can be downloaded and printed out at the other end if they want to. You can even have eQSL print it and mail it for a fee. So it fulfils all the requirements of a contact confirmation system. By the way, CQ Magazine now accepts eQSLs for its awards. So perhaps pressure will eventually force ARRL to follow suit.

eQSL has been around for nearly a decade now with no serious rivals, so I doubt your fear about fragmentation will come to pass. As many people are forced to make economies perhaps the habit of QSLing every contact with costly printed cards, many of which will never be collected by the recipient or will lay in a drawer for years, will eventually die off.

Thanks both for your comments.

goody said...

What burns my butt are those who feel the need to send every single one of their boring macros during every single QSO

That's why I stopped doing PSK. Awhile back I proposed, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, a "macro exchange language", formatted similar to XML. You could have the PSK31 programs on each side exchange each macro without either op having to pay attention to the QSO :-)

Unknown said...

I did have the idea once of writing a PSK QSO robot. It would probably do a better job than some human operators, such as one I worked last night who told me I had a great station before I'd sent any equipment details, and got the calls the wrong way round so he sent DE G4ILO with the result I spotted myself on Propagation Reporter!

Steve GW7AAV said...

I used to auto-log every QSO to eQSL until a mate logged in for the first time and found he had over 400 eQSLs from me. Apparently he ran out of both paper and ink very quickly. I laughed but I now only eQSL in response to those I get. Not everyone is as computer savy as maybe they should be even on the digi-modes where you might expect them to be.

Unknown said...

Steve, that's the funniest comment I've had to this! But it's also a good point that I have never considered, as I don't participate in 80m nets nor is there any 2m FM activity here so the chances of working anyone more than once are pretty small. My logging software KComm already does a "qso before" check, so I could always make it ask before sending an eQSL in those circumstances.