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

Nat Heatwole nat at ajheatwole.com
Thu Aug 7 20:31:47 EDT 2003

Since my post to the reflector a few days ago I have received lots of
e-mails, both from people who share my viewpoints and those who have
opposing viewpoints. After sifting through all of them, there are some
points that I feel as if I should clarify about my original post:

1. If you don't QSL, you are hurting your scores as well as contesting
in general. There are black lists circulating amongst hams of stations
that do not QSL and word-of-mouth tips between hams about non-QSLers are
even more commonplace. I don't think that most contesters who don't QSL
realize what type of effect such a habit has and it's this kind of
ignorance that I fear may weaken contesting in the years to come.

2. I know that all contesters have other interests, obligations,
responsibilities, and the like. I know that money and time are sometimes
tight, although interestingly, my return rate from U.S. contesters
doesn't seem to vary much regardless of the strength of the economy or
the time of the year. I know that one's time and energy are precious
commodities and I'm aware
that many contesters prefer to direct them towards other things besides

3. Truth be told, I really don't mind contesters who don't QSL. Amateur
radio is a plethora of smaller hobbies combined into one big one.
Contesting is one of those sub hobbies and QSLing is another. In this
case, the two overlap yet they are not always completely compatible
(hence why this thread started). If a station is only interested in the
contesting aspect of ham
radio, FB. I don't have a problem with that. What I do have a problem
with is stations that I spend hundreds of dollars (and keep in mind that
I'm a poor college student), hours of my time, and lots of my energy
sending QSLs and SASEs to who I never hear back from ever again. I don't
mind if you don't QSL but PLEASE, let me know that ahead of time, before
I spend
all that most and exert all that energy. Something as simple as a note
on QRZ or Buckmaster saying "I don't QSL" or "I am very busy, not all
QSL requests may be answered" would be excellent. Sure, there will be
people who, upon reading such a note, don't ever work you again, but the
vast majority (which includes myself) who are upset not so much that
people don't QSL but that they have to go broke and spend an inordinate
amount of time figuring out who doesn't, will likely continue to work
you. Yet in all my years of contesting, I have NEVER ONCE seen such a
note of this genre on QRZ or Buckmaster. I have seen notes saying
something like "please send an SASE with your QSL card," but nothing
indicating that someone doesn't QSL at all.

If you don't QSL, that's OK. But if you fail to warn me of this minor
detail (e.g. on your QRZ or Buckmaster listing), don't expect me to fall
all over myself trying to work you every time I hear you on the air. If
you don't participate in my segment of the hobby (QSLing) and you don't
make an effort to inform me of this, don't expect me to participate in
your segment of the hobby (contesting). Putting such a note up on a
callsign server would not be difficult or expensive. Is this really too
much to ask?

Nat, WZ3AR

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