Heart Of Texas DX Society

QSLing Hints

from the ARRL by Martin Cook

Most Frequently Asked Questions About the QSL Service

    Question: How do I QSL a station that has a QSL Manager when I'm using the Bureau? How do I Indicate the Manager's call on my card? How do I sort cards with Managers, by the Contacted station's call or the Manager's call?

    Answer: A NOTE ON QSLING VIA A MANAGER. When QSLing via a Manager please write via and the Manager's call on the back upper left corner of your card. If the back of your card is not blank please write it on your card near the contacted stations call and if possible make it stand out in some way (highlight it, use different color pen, etc.) When sorting these cards please sort them en-masse with your regular QSL's by the Manager's call (if the Manager's call is on the back of the card please sort with the Managers call facing up). DO NOT use envelopes, slips of paper or post-it notes to separate the cards with QSL Managers. Because these cards go through so many hands before they reach their destination slips of paper and post-it's will most likely fall off and envelopes can become damaged, possibly damaging the enclosed card. Please try and follow these guidelines to ensure your cards are routed properly and arrive in good condition.

    Question: Sorting QSL cards for the old USSR callsigns is confusing, which prefixes are for which country?

    Answer: Prefix list for the Countries of the former USSR Russia: (parent prefix - UA), RA - RZ , UA - UI , U1 - U4 & U6 - U0 Ukraine: (parent prefix - UR), UR - UZ , EM - EO & U5 Kazakhstan: (parent prefix - UN), UN - UQ Uzbekistan: (parent prefix - UK), UJ - UM Latvia: (parent prefix YL), YL only Lithuania: (parent prefix LY), LY only Belarus: (parent prefix EU), EU - EW Estonia: (parent prefix ES), ES only Kyrgyzstan: (parent prefix EX), EX only Azerbaijan: (parent prefix 4K), 4J - 4K Georgia: (parent prefix 4L), 4L only.

    Question: Can I send QSL cards to US QSL Managers through the Bureau?

    Answer: Yes you can as long as you or the station you made contact with was outside the 48 contiguous states at the time.

    Question: Can I QSL US Amateurs through the Bureau system?

    Answer: No you cannot send cards to other US hams through the Bureau UNLESS you or the other station was DX at the time and your QSL card indicates this. (ex. you make a contact with XE/K1TLK or you are in Mexico and your QSL card indicates that is where you were at the time of the contact.) Note: DX means anything outside the 48 contiguous states, which means you can send cards for Alaskan and Hawaiian calls as well as those for US territories or military bases through the outgoing bureau. (The prefixes for these areas are as follows: All AL, KL, NL, WL, AH, KH, NH, WH, KP, NP, WP calls as wells as KG4x2 calls (ex. KG2SV), KA6x2 calls and KA2x2 calls.) Please refer to the "Countries Not Served" list on the Outgoing QSL Service information sheet because there are a few US territories we can not forward to.

    Question: I made a contact with RA/ZS3RAS, do I sort this card with the RA's or ZS's?

    Answer: Whenever you are sorting this type of card always sort it by the FULL callsign, which in this case is ZS3RAS. If you encounter a call such as RA4WXS/HA3TL you would sort it by the FIRST full callsign unless the contacted station indicates otherwise. If the card needs to go to the second callsign you must indicate this on the card in some way. (please refer to the section on QSLing via a manager at the top of the first page.)

    Question: How do I go about changing my address with my Incoming Bureau?

    Answer: You need to contact the Incoming Bureau Manager for your call area, you can do this by mail or email. The mail and email addresses for the various Bureaus can be found on the ARRL web page http://www.arrl.org/qsl/qslin.html http://www.arrl.org/qsl/qslin.html or you can call the Outgoing Bureau at (860) 594-0274 and we will be happy to give you the information you'll need.

    Question: I just changed my callsign, who within the QSL service must I contact?

    Answer: You must let the Manager of your Incoming Bureau know and you must have envelopes or money credits on file for both calls for at least one to two years after the change. Also, if you had a 1-land call and your new call is a 2-land call then you must have envelopes or money credits on file with both Bureaus. The reason we ask that you do this is because the Bureau system is slow so even if you have not made any contacts in a few months you may still receive cards for contacts you made before then. As for the Outgoing Bureau you don't need to do anything unless you happen to be sending cards for your old call as well as your new call in a shipment. If you do this just write on a slip of paper that you have included cards for your old call in the shipment and put it in the package with your cards.

More QSLing Tips

    How do you get a decent number of QSL returns? There are no magic answers, of course, but a few suggestions listed below may help:

    (1) Keep a precise log (paper and electronically) of every contact, regular as well as contest, and check every QSO against your DXCC needed list on the various bands. Join the ARRL and enjoy the many benefits of membership. Not only do you receive the QST, but also you gain a great saving in mailing cost to hams overseas by using the outgoing bureau service.

    (2) Always QSL via bureau after a first QSO and also after a second QSO if first card has not been answered within two years. Never QSL a third time for more likely it will be a waste of paper and money.

    First check and see if the DX station has a QSL manager before sending a QSL by any means. You should indicate this on your QSL in a place that can be easily seen by the card handlers at the bureaux. Do this by writing, QSL VIA: (call sign of manager). This way the bureau can redirect your card to the person that has been chosen to answer the QSLs for that particular station. The reason for this is that in some cases the DX stations are in a remote areas of the world where they are unable to receive and answer mail or they may travel a lot and it is much easier in this case to let someone else take care of the QSLing chores.

    (3) It is best to QSL direct for new countries, or if you do not yet have a rare station on a particular band, and/or if they do not QSL via the bureau. Make sure you have current addresses from DX Summit spots, from QRZ, etc.

    (4) Simple SASE to DX stations that have US QSL managers. This information is sometimes given by the operator or you can check the numerous sources on the Internet such as QRZ.com, Buckmaster, K4UTE DX QSL Manager Search, ect.

    (5) When sending direct QSLs to DX stations or managers, It is a good idea to use a European-size (A5) SAE, ( 5.83" x 8.27" or 148mm x 210mm ), with two to three dollars for return postage. Always check the current postal and money exchange rates when sending dollars. International Reply Coupons or referred to as IRCs can be used, but quite often the DX station's postal service may not honor this form of prepaid postage resulting in waste of money and trouble.

    (6) Do not put your call sign on either the going to envelope or the SAE enclosed. Sad to say, but in some countries, postal workers have earned a less than honest reputation. Envelopes that are identified as containing "ham radio contents" could be stolen. These thieves have discovered that letters of this kind often contain dollar bills and it has become a profitable business for them. It is likely your letter after being opened, will be tossed into the trash, never to be seen again. However, it can be a good idea to put your call sign on the inside flap of the SAE. That way if a QSL manager or DX ham gets your envelope mixed up with another envelope, that person doesn't have to research your name to find out what call sign it belongs to.

    As stated before, using these methods of QSLing do not always guarantee you a return, but they have helped and by passing along this information, we hope you will have the same great success.

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