[CQ-Contest] If You Don't QSL, LISTEN UP!

K9YO-Cedrick Johnson k9yo at cedrick.net
Mon Aug 4 20:09:46 EDT 2003

I understand some of the concerns you've listed, but let me take the 
opposing viewpoint here.

During a contest, some stations can rack up a large number of QSO's.
Instead of printing 1500 or 2000 qsl's and waiting, they decide to wait
until someone sends them a card. BUT....

Most people have lives. They have work. They have a wife and kids. They
have to fix their houses, etc. There are PLENTY of other things to do
BESIDES radio. If it came to the point where I couldn't QSL for 3 months
because I had too many family commitments, I'd do the family. Radio
to the bottom of my priority list. So, I get to qsl 2 times a year. Jan
and June.

If you send me a card in June, I won't reply until Jan. That's when I
make time
for ham radio qsl'ing.

Once a contest is over, they have to get back with their lives. So it
may take
them a while to respond to qsl's. It has taken me 2 years to reply to
qsl's, and I'm not the least bit ashamed of it. I have other things to
do. I'm
sure the majority of hams have something other and BETTER to do than
mail out
cards, etc.

Also, given the current state of the economy, what if that ham cannot
cards at this time. Yeah, when you're unemployed, you GO CRAZY sitting
at home, so
you get in a contest. But, some people are unemployed for a long bit of
time. The
unemployment goes to: take care of the house/car, wife, children,
electricity to
operate the radio for a contest, etc. If faced with the decision to feed
or buy QSL cards, I'd choose to feed myself!

So many variables. I personally think that ham radio today is too darned
You guys need to lighten up and stop taking things so doggone serious.


If you wanna lighten up, join me for a party one weekend here in W9 :)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com 
> [mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Nat Heatwole
> Sent: Monday, August 04, 2003 4:45 PM
> To: cq-contest at contesting.com
> Subject: [CQ-Contest] If You Don't QSL, LISTEN UP!
> I received a QSL card from AB1J a few days ago confirming a 
> contact that we made in the IOTA contest along with a typed 
> letter dated July 30, 2003. Here is an excerpt from that letter:
> "What I would like to get out of my participation [in 
> contests] is QSL cards for the awards (WPX, IOTA, USA-CA, 
> 5BWAS, etc) I'm working on, but I've found out that US 
> contest stations seldom QSL. Even though I always send an 
> SASE, few of them ever come back. I have no idea what happens 
> to the SASEs since the self-adhesive stamps are tough to 
> remove and reuse, so I guess they just get tossed. Whatever 
> happens, I'm going broke and have little to show for it.
> So I've concluded that contesters are interested in 
> contesting, not QSLing. And that makes sense, since it is a 
> bother and has nothing to do with contesting itself. It's 
> just an after the fact irritant. And some stations don't have 
> QSLs or quest operators come and go and my QSL never gets to 
> the contest op. On the other hand, I do like to get contacts 
> confirmed and don't mind the sending cards and paying for 
> their return. So what to do?"
> After reading this, it perplexes my why AB1J bothers to 
> continue working contesters. It seems that most of the 
> contesters he's been working are nothing but QSL Black Holes 
> who care more about getting him into the log than doing him 
> the simple favor of returning a QSL card. This is selfish, 
> rude, and just plain poor amateur practice. For those of you 
> YOU'RE LOSING*. For instance, I am both a DXer/award chaser 
> and a contester. When I send a QSL to a U.S. station with an 
> SASE and I don't get one back, I make a note of that person's 
> call sign and I simply don't call them in contests anymore. I 
> don't care if they would be a multiplier for me or whatever, 
> I simply continue tuning. This is the same method I use for 
> dealing with other operators who I feel exhibit poor amateur
> practice: stations who go on FOREVER without identifying, 
> those who intentionally transmit out of band, jammers, and 
> the like - I just ignore them. Maybe when people stop paying 
> attention to them they will realize that they need to change 
> their amateur radio ethics. I would not hesitate to post a 
> list of those contesters (many of whom are subscribed to this 
> list), but I have a hunch that the list moderator would not 
> let it though.
> Conversely, those operators who return my QSL card, I make 
> every effort to work them whenever I hear them in all 
> contests. Just off the top of my head, some stations who fit 
> into this category are K1AR, W6EEN, KQ2M, K5TR, K4XS, K6LL, 
> K3ZO, W4MYA, W0ETC, W3PP, and K4JA. If they ask me to move to 
> another band, I'm far more likely to say yes. If I'm 
> connected to the packet cluster, I'm far more likely to take 
> the time to spot them. Because they sent that one QSL card to 
> me, they netted dozens of QSOs and maybe even some mults in 
> the long run. And I am not the only person this; I know of 
> other contesters who do this and I'm sure there are thousands 
> of casual ops who do it as well.
> If you don't QSL, think about who you're hurting: yourself 
> and contesting as a whole. You're hurting yourself because 
> most people will simply tune past you and never work you 
> again. And who can blame them? They spent lots of money (and 
> keep in mind that the annual salary of most people who QSL is 
> *FAR* bellow that of most contesters who own
> superstations) and lots of effort sending you a card and you 
> won't even dignify it when a response. Instead of spending 
> all of your time, energy, and money putting up that new yagi, 
> trying redirecting those assets to returning QSL cards. I 
> will improve your rate much more than a yagi will! And in 
> addition, you're hurting all other contesters and contesting 
> as a whole. If enough contesters don't QSL, all contesters 
> get stuck with the reputations of being "black holes" by the 
> casual ops and we lose all of their QSOs. Have you ever 
> worked SS full-time? Have you noticed how slow things get on 
> Sunday? The United States has more hams per capita than the 
> vast majority of all other countries in the world, yet we 
> actually run out of stations to work towards the end of a big 
> domestic contest like SS! I guarantee you that one reason for 
> that fact is the poor QSLing habits on the part of 
> contesters. The first contest I ever dabbled in was SS and it 
> was appalling how few people returned my QSLs for that contest.
> If Hiram Percy Maxim was alive today, I can only imagine what 
> he would have to say about people that religiously don't QSL. 
> But regardless of what the OM would say, here's what I have 
> to say: if you don't QSL, your hurting both yourself and 
> contesting; you're killing your rate and you're slowing down 
> mine simultaneously. If you think that what you're doing is 
> OK, think again. To me, bad amateur practice is bad amateur 
> practice - you're no different than a jammer. I hope that 
> everyone who reads this who does not QSL thinks long and hard 
> about what their doing and how it's affecting us all. And if 
> anyone would like the list of stations that do not QSL, 
> please e-mail me, I would be happy to send it to you.
> 73,
> Nat WZ3AR
> <nat at ajheatwole.com>
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