[CQ-Contest] QSL Bureau Fee Structure

Bruce Sawyer N6NT at worldnet.att.net
Sun Aug 9 11:55:43 EDT 1998

N4KG writes:

>I believe you are confusing the OUTGOING  BUREAU charges with the
>INCOMING BUREAU.    Ever since the inception of the INCOMING  QSL
>BUREAU, decades ago, it has ALWAYS been the responsibility of the
>RECIPIENT to supply  Self Addressed Stamped Envelopes (or make
>other arrangements for postage) for him to RECEIVE his INCOMING
>QSL  cards.   It sounds to me like you received a note from the incoming
>bureau requesting you to provide postage so they can send you your
>cards.   If that is the case, why are you griping?
>Regarding the OUTGOING  QSL  Bureau,  it is still MUCH less expensive
>than sending every card out direct.  What is your gripe with that?
>de  Tom   N4KG
>(volunteer sorter for the  K4 - N4 - W4  INCOMING   QSL   Bureau)

Tom is, of course, correct in pointing out that my comments were poorly
organized and failed to draw the distinction between the two different cost
structures involved.  There is a logical connection between the two, yet
they are distinct from each other.

The first is the cost we each pay for the real and actual mailing charges
for the incoming bureau to mail cards to us.  I bristle a little at Tom's
choice of words ("responsibility of the RECIPIENT..."), since that is so
close to the worn saw that "the final courtesy of a QSO is a QSL card".
Nevertheless, it's true that we each end up paying out of our pockets to
receive those mountains of cards (supposedly marked "TKS QSL") that we never
wanted in the first place.  Somewhere, though, somebody within the incoming
bureau system has to be eating a big expense on these things.  The cards
can't get from Newington to the local INCOMING sorter without somebody,
somewhere, having to pay.

The second cost is the per pound charge we send to the OUTGOING bureau.
That's now $4 a pound, up from $2 a pound just a couple of years ago.
However, I have a note from a well-connected ARRL source who says the
outgoing bureau's actual costs are more like $9 a pound.  I suspect that
number, or something close to it, was probably mentioned in K4VX's report to
the ARRL BOD, per item 18 in the minutes.  At first blush there might seem
to be a hidden benefit if the outgoing charge would soar to that actual cost
level and maybe beyond, since that might slow down a few of the people who
dump cards into the system by the truckload.  But that would only hinder the
U.S. guys.  What we really need is for the JA outgoing bureau to go to
10,000 yen a kilo and be joined in such a move by all the European

So what's my gripe?  I don't at all mind answering a QSL request from
somebody who actually wants it or "needs" it.  But it just burns me up to
have to waste so much time, effort, and money dealing with the INCOMING
cost, the OUTGOING cost, and all the intermediate paperwork to deal with the
people who are just trying to avoid work themselves by blanket QSLing.
Maybe I should just give up on this and start doing the same myself.  Then I
could tell the bureau sorter just to take all the INCOMING cards and send
them to his local recycling plant.

de N6NT

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