[CQ-Contest] QSL'ing

k7zo at micron.net k7zo at micron.net
Mon Feb 16 21:33:00 EST 1998

To paraphrase and annotate from K3ZO's statesmanlike posting. 

>I have been a ham for 45 years and I still love QSL'ing.  Just because
>times have changed doesn't mean that everything that I used to love doing
>has to be thrown on the trash heap of life.  

I imagine I am still a youngster to many of you out there. I have been 
licensed only 17 years (wow does time fly) and I just turned 40. I also
love to QSL -- I just wish I could find the time to operate more to generate
them in the first place! 

>I still gladly answer QSL's I receive direct with direct QSL's of my own.
>And I go through several thousand QSL blanks a year.   
>All the talk about how people should send an SASE if they expect a QSL in
>return just shows how mercenary we have become as a society.  I can't see
>where people are worse of economically than they were 45 years ago when I
>started -- most of them are a lot better off.  What we have is simply a
>greater degree of selfishness which no amount of intellectual gloss can hide.

I also answer any and all QSL's I receive, SASE or not. In fact, most of
the time I receive a SASE I throw a stamp in the envelope. As W4AN said,
mostly I appreciate the time savings from not having to fill out an
envelope. And, I usually try to write a short note thanking them for the
QSO or wishing them well on their search for WAS. (I live in Idaho and
the vast majority of the cards I get are from folks seaking to earn
their WAS. Remember when that was such a lofty goal? Heck, I even had
W9XT ask for a card from me for an 80M contact as he worked toward
5BWAS.) I can appreciate for some out there that the financial burden of
QSL'ing is material. But, for the rest of us is it really? To echo Fred's
comment we are off better than we were 45 years ago. Has our spending on
cable TV, cell phones, airplane travel, dining out, internet accounts,
air conditioning, and the many other things we spend money on now that
we didn't 45 year ago now become a part of minimally acceptable comfort level? 
Or, are we getting selfish? Whatever makes our day easier and more
enjoyable is good. Taking time and expense for others is not. Colin Powell
is right in doing what he can to energize the volunteer ethic in the US.

>I can see that those who are managing QSL's for others or for a club
>station or special events operation would want to have their expenses
>covered, but as for the others handling only their own QSL's, my sympathy
>for their presumed financial plight is not forthcoming.

I see this side as well. I handle all the buro card for NK7U. I do this 
for a variety of reasons.
  1.) To make sure that all the ask for a card get one. Again for 
      many stations NK7U is their first Oregon QSO on that band/mode.
      The time and money I put into the effort to make sure of this
      is something I am glad to do. I wish I could say these cards 
      are personalized, with notes and the like, but they are not. 
      Over the past three years, of low sunspots, I have sent out
      5-6,000 cards in reply to cards Joe has received. 
  2.) Also, as an active contest call we want to make sure to keep
      everyone happy. Getting the reputation as a "non-QSLer" could
      easily knock a few QSO's out of future logs as frustrated hams
      refuse to call in.
  3.) To relieve Joe from the time required to handle them himself.
      I would rather him spend time up in the air putting up antennas.
      He does handle all the direct cards himself, including all the 
      ones that contain an old baseball card to autograph. How many
      of you have this angle on your QSL's?  I do know that he
      does have trouble replying to the non-SASE ones, mostly from time
      involved in filling out the envelopes. 
  4.) As a way to try out various methods to manage the data and
      printing of cards. Each time I try something new and experiement
      a little. Several years ago I even sent K3ZO a prototype of some
      software I wrote. And, actually the advent of computerized QSL
      systems is both good and bad. The bad side is the bulk QSL'ing
      that some stations now do. Rather than reply to their incoming
      cards they just send cards out for all contacts. Speaking from
      experience, this would be a great time saver as most of my time
      comes from capturing the information off the incoming cards.
      I have been tempted to move to bulk QSL's as well since I now
      have a system that prints QSL's off blank paper from a contest
      log. But, I feel for all the buro workers around the world
      sorting out cards for the many, many, non-buro users. (Any
      other thoughts on this topic?)

Thanks for the thoughts Fred. I could not agree more. Let's keep this
hobby fun and exciting for all, and especially the young, to enjoy.
And, QSL'ing, is part of it.


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