Tuesday, 18 October 2011

QSL procedure - $$$ collectors

I note with interest that many sought after DX don’t use LoTW and only QSL via direct mail with a self addressed stamped envelope (SAE) and sufficient postage normally US Dollars. Initially this was 1 USD, but lately I see many are requesting up to 5 USD to cover the postage.

This is tantamount to extortion. I think it is time we gave a clear message to these extortionists, we should not encourage this any further by sending money in excess of 2 USD. I am pretty sure that 2 USD is sufficient in most if not all countries to cover the postage. In South Africa, postage costs around R6 i.e. slightly less than 1 USD.

Some stations even get so clever that they indicate that they do use LoTW, but on further investigating you might find something like this:

All other logs for my operations are on paper. Once I retire :) I'll retype them and post 'em on the LoTW!”

Yea right!!

Maybe I am wrong, but I think many of these stations work DX purely to collect US Dollars and it has nothing to do with the passion of being able to help fellow radio amateurs with working new DX entities.

In this day and age I find it very difficult to understand that someone, especially stations operating from rare DX entities that make hundreds of QSOs, still use paper logs and do not use LoTW.

I should add, I don’t have a problem with a small donation to DX expeditions. They do have very high costs to cover. Giving, for example a 5 USD donation might mean expediting the process of  receiving a QSL. Preferably a paper QSL and confirmation via LoTW. If no donation is made, they normally will still upload the logs to LoTW, but only after a fairly long delay.


  1. Pierre I agree with you. It is extortion. There was a discussion about this on the LOTW forum and one guy wrote that after he had send his $5, a few days later the QSO was confirmed on LOTW.

    So it seems, if you want a nice new rig, all you need to do is go on a Dxpedition, collect your dollars and away you go.

    I agree this method of extortion should be stopped.

    Geoff Levey ZS6GRL

  2. Read your entry. I agree. But I must say, the cost of world-wide postage is sky-rocketing. In the USA with it's weak dollar, two bucks in a currency exchange is significantly reduced, at least as compared to the Euro/Yen/Pound.

    My QSLing has become niche oriented. In effect, 2X QRP QSO confirmations. Direct to cards received, no currency required.

    72/73 Rich F/N2UGB

  3. Hi Richard,

    I agree that it is only fair to provide a SAE and sufficient postage to cover the costs of postage. Some of the rarer DX stations make hundreds of QSOs in a week and the costs can soon spiral out of control.

    I believe that LoTW is the way to go. If direct paper QSLs is used then it should not be done to make a profit.

    73, Pierre ZS6A

  4. Hi Pierre, just discovered this blog. In my opinion those who are on DXpedition made a choice to. High expenses yes, but anyone doing a DXpedition knows this is a fact. A SAE is a thing you can send at least. But no one should ask for postage, DXpedition or not. If I send out a QSL I expect my fellow HAM operator does the same for me in return. If you want to contribute to a DXpedition it should be a free choice. Read my blog in development on this matter. http://hamradioblacklist.blogspot.com/. 73, Bas

  5. Hi Bas,

    Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately I cannot agree with you. The DX expeditions are doing us a big favour in enabling us to work very rare and new DXCC entities.

    In my humble opinion the funding of the expedition should not come from the QSL procedure, but from direct sponsorship, donations or by the individuals themselves since it is also an experience of a life time.

    Having said that, I think it is unrealistic to expect the DX expedition to sit with the additional burden of having to pay for all the postage. A typical expedition makes some 200,000 QSO. The postage alone could amount to a staggering 548,000 Euros !!

    I therefore feel that a SAE plus sufficient postage should be all that is required.

    Then there is of course the issue of LoTW. I see absolutely no reason why any DX expedition would not upload their logs to it, unless they want to make money from the QSL process as mentioned above.

    At the end of the day it is all about choices.

    Quote from TU2T on QRZ.com:
    New postal rates in Italy from 1 January 2011
    0.75 EUR for Europe;
    1.60 EUR outside Europe ( +88% )
    2.00 EUR Pacific ( VK-ZL-ecc.+100% )
    for a lightweight letter max 20 grams (2 QSL) standard size.

    Should you want to receive a direct QSL please include:
    2 USD Europe, 3 USD outside Europe