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[CQ-Contest] E-QSL

Subject: [CQ-Contest] E-QSL
From: k3zo@verizon.net (Fred Laun K3ZO)
Date: Mon May 6 10:02:11 2002
After a long time without looking, I finally decided to come up and look at 
the CQ-Contest Archives to see if other contesters were being sent the Klez 
virus through the "back door" as I was.  After receiving some 
two-hundred-twenty-one virus attachments since March 20, attached to 
messages from Mail Administrators informing me that messages I had never 
sent could for one reason or another not be delivered to the addressees I 
never sent messages to, I am frankly beginning to think that this joke is 
getting a bit long in the tooth.

I did find a couple of posts about that subject, but what I really found 
interesting were the extensive posts about e-qsl'ing, including the 
excellent posts by KR1G and WC1M describing some of what is actually, 
rather than theoretically, going on in the design of LoTW.

I just went to eQSL.cc and checked the list of eQSLs waiting for me on that 
site.  I didn't make an exact count but I can see that eQSLs from several 
hundred stations await me there.

Last month I celebrated 50 continuous years as a licensed Radio 
Amateur.  During all those years I have been continuously active under one 
callsign or another.  I have always enjoyed QSLing very much. I gladly 
answer all QSLs that come to me; direct QSLs are answered direct whether or 
not SASE is included, and bureau cards are answered via the Bureau.  I love 
collecting QSLs and one wall of my home study is completely taken up with 
steel file drawers containing the QSLs I have received in alphabetical order.

Let me first of all submit that eQSL.cc accomplishes several fine goals: 
(1) It allows people who don't like QSLing to feel that they have 
nevertheless not impeded a fellow radio amateur in his/her quest for 
awards, (2) allows Radio Amateurs in countries where the national radio 
societies run bureaus which will not forward cards to non-members to get 
around that block by receiving confirmations through eQSL.cc if they don't 
want to be members of their national societies for whatever reason, (3) 
allows contest stations to QSL pre-emptively without overloading the QSL 
bureau system with unwanted cards, and (4) allows people to QSL without 
going to the undeniable expense of confirming QSOs by snail mail, a 
prohibitive expense for many of our fellow hams, particularly those of 
limited means living in rare DXCC entities.

Nevertheless, after sincerely attempting to use the eQSL.cc system without 
compromising my own personal QSLing standards, I have come to the 
conclusion that the eQSL.cc system is designed PRIMARILY for people who 
find QSLing an unpleasant chore, and NOT for people like me who love QSLing 
in the traditional way.

While I have learned that in the computer age there are many computer 
programs out there that do not permit me to do things exactly as I would 
like, and that the computer age is a time in which one constantly makes 
compromises with program writers who don't see things exactly the way a 
particular user does, I nevertheless strongly feel that in order to fully 
enjoy the use of any computer program, the user needs to feel that he, the 
user, and NOT the computer program he is using, is in control.

My inviolable personal standards for QSLing, finely honed over more than 50 
years of experience as an SWL and licensed Radio Amateur, are as follows:

1) Every new non-lower-48 callsign I work from K3ZO is sent an attractive 
gold-leaf QSL specially printed for me in Thailand, my XYL Somporn's 
country of birth.

2) Any other QSO is confirmed only after the following conditions have been 

a) I have in my hand a printed QSL confirming the contact in question from 
the requesting station.

b) I have consulted my own log and have confirmed that the QSO in question 
took place.  Where there is disagreement about the time or date of QSO, I 
will search my log for a QSO with the requesting station on the band and 
mode in question, and if such a QSO exists I will confirm that QSO in my reply.

c) In a situation where it appears that I got the other station's call 
wrong, I will exercise my own judgment about whether it seems that in fact 
it was the requesting station that did indeed work me, and will act 

eQSL.cc makes it difficult for me to adhere to the above principles in the 
following ways:

1) In asking me to upload my entire log before I can use the system, it 
makes it possible for someone to receive a confirmation satisfactory to 
them without providing me a confirmation satisfactory to me.

2) The visual QSL samples provided by eQSL.cc are certainly attractive and 
are definitely satisfactory to me in fulfilling the need to add a printed 
card to my files of QSLs, whether or not they count for particular 
awards.  However, the process of downloading and printing out a QSL from 
eQSL.cc is much more time-consuming than, for example, handling a bunch of 
cards just received from the Bureau.  For every card downloaded and printed 
out from eQSL.cc, I estimate I can answer 20 bureau QSLs in the same time 

Therefore I am sadly moved to announce that if anyone needs a confirmation 
from me for a QSO we have had, it will be necessary to send me a real QSL 
by whatever means.  The way eQSL.cc is presently configured, it is simply 
too cumbersome for me to use efficiently and still adhere to my own 
personal QSLing standards.

73, Fred, K3ZO

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