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Re: [VHFcontesting] [VHF] T Minus 9 and Counting...

To: <les@highnoonfilm.com>, <vhf@w6yx.stanford.edu>, "VHF Contesting Reflector" <vhfcontesting@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [VHFcontesting] [VHF] T Minus 9 and Counting...
From: "Bill Ockert - ND0B" <nd0b@ockert.us>
Reply-to: Bill Ockert - ND0B <nd0b@ockert.us>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2013 09:18:44 -0500
List-post: <vhfcontesting@contesting.com">mailto:vhfcontesting@contesting.com>
Hi Les,

First off let me congratulate you on what you have done so far.... just short of amazing.

I am chasing FFMA myself so know all about trying to get QSL cards. There have been some good articles written on getting cards and I have learned a few tricks of my own. I have attached an article by W5WVO on the subject.

Always check QRZ. We have a ham here in ND who has one thing on his QRZ page and that is "I do not QSL." Do not get me started on that.

Being as you have sent out cards and SASEs you really should attach calls to the grids you listed. We do that occasionally on the FFMA reflector and USUALLY someone has some information that is helpful... the person is a known slow QSLer, the person never QSLs, the person has been sick, the person is a SK, the person has moved, the person is the north end of a south bound horse, I have not got a QSL form him either, oh, I see him at coffee, I will remind him, etc. What are the calls associated with the grids you listed? I would not be shy about putting that information in.

Are you on LOTW? Experience has shown that about 1/3 of the time you will get a confirmation on LOTW and I have found at least some folks who are on LOTW will not paper QSL regardless of what you send them. With the list you gave most of the 9 you need could be sitting there just waiting to be confirmed.

After 6 months of no reply unless I have reason to believe the person is normally slower than that I start attempting to contact the person by other means but always just to check if they got my card. That is a benign way of making sure they got the card and if so reminding them to send one. I usually email first and if I do not get a response I use white pages and any other means to track down a phone number. I look for hams located nearby and contact them. I look for clubs they might be in. Anything to get them the message "Did you get my card?..."

Sometimes, but not often, it is the post office. Trying to get a card from DN05 I sent a card/SASE, no response so after 6 months I sent an email. I had an immediate email back that no card was received. I sent another card/SASE and after 2 months of no response I sent another email. Again I had an immediate email back that no card was received. I was convinced I was being jerked around so I sent another card/SASE via priority mail which has a tracking number. That got there and I had an email that my card was in the mail. After two weeks of nothing I sent a fairly blunt email asking if the gent and his buddies were having a good laugh at my expense. The reply I got was no way, I worked 16 station the day I worked you which was my first day on 6m and am very proud of that, I do not know what is going on... "what do you want me to do?" I asked him to send his card to me priority mail and I would reimburse him through paypal. He did, I got it, I paid him with some extra to cover his gas and figure I had at least 25 bucks into that card before it was all said and done just because the post office had an issue between us.

Always use forever stamp on SASEs. If the person is slow in responding that in and of itself may keep your card out of file 13.

I have had two instances now where the person has been major sick. In one instance when I called the guy he had been sick for two years and had a shoebox full of cards, some with old (not enough) postage, etc he was trying to deal with. While we were on the phone he started looking through to find my card. I stopped him and thanked him and told him that was not a good use of either of our time that I would just send another card/SASE. I did and had his card and my unused SASE back in less than a week. As recently as yesterday it came out on FFMA that one of the grids I had confirmed on LOTW that others were waiting for on paper the gent had been very sick and had just hired someone to process the 2k+ cards he had backed up. While I do not need it because of LOTW I should get one from there eventually.

One trick a lot of us use is to generate a reverse QSL and send it along with your card and SASE. The reverse QSL is a card from the station in question to you with all of the particulars filled in and a place for the other station to sign it as being valid. I have had this work maybe 3 of the 10 times I have tried it.

The key point is be persistent but do not be a pest. With some folks the gentle reminder that is given by asking if they got your card, with some folks it takes a phone call.

And some folks you never will get a QSL from. When I work the contests I delete their calls out of my submittal log before sending it. I figure if they do not QSL they must not really exist.

73 de Bill ND0B

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