Home :: Frequently Asked Questions :: QSLs



QSLs
Last Update: 2008 Mar 26 08:00 UTC
  1. Why do you ask for a US$5 or 3 donation for a direct-mail QSL card?
  2. I made a donation. I have not received an LOTW match on any QSOs. What happened?
  3. My club made a donation to the VP6DX project. Will club members receive premium direct QSL services as a result of the club donation?
  4. I manage QSLs for 40 stations. Five of them made QSOs with VP6DX. Can I make one donation of $5 for all the stations that I manage?
  5. My son and I have both worked you on several bands. Can we include cards from both of us in the same envelope? How should I calculate the postage and IRC amounts?
  6. My computer crashed, and I lost the date and time for my QSOs. Can you tell me when I worked you?
  7. I checked the LOTW, and see that you did not upload two of my QSOs. Can you fix this?
  8. Unfortunately I mailed an empty QSL card to your QSL-manager. Should I mail another one with all the QSO data?
  9. Is it possible to get separate QSL cards for each QSO?
  10. I requested my QSL cards via email. Will I get the QSL cards?
  11. We had contact on 17 meters at 19:50 UTC. Sigs were 59 both ways. I sent my card with 3 USD and SASE, but did not receive a card in return. I am sending another card, along with another 3 USD and a SASE. Please send a return card this time.

:: Question 1: Why do you ask for a US$5 or 3 donation for a direct-mail QSL card?
A: Let's compare the costs, labor and time for handling a direct-mail QSL card, using traditional paper mail:
  1. The DXer buys and prepares his QSL card(s) with the QSO data for the claimed contacts.
  2. The DXer buys and prepares an envelope to mail to the expedition QSL manager.
  3. The DXer buys and adds postage to the envelope.
  4. The DXer must also buy, label, and include a self-addressed envelope... along with an IRC or some other form of payment for return postage.
  5. The DXer mails this package to the QSL manager.
  6. Some time later, the envelope arrives at the QSL manager, where it joins thousands of other waiting envelopes.
  7. A volunteer eventually opens the envelope, removes the QSL cards/reply envelope, and sorts out the IRC/postage/cash.
  8. The volunteer verifies each requested contact in the log, and prepares label(s) for the reply QSL card(s).
  9. The reply cards are placed in the reply envelope... postage is added... and the envelope is mailed.
  10. Eventually, the envelope reaches the happy DXer.

In addition to the labor and time, the paper-mail process includes these typical costs for a USA station:

$0.05DXer QSL card.
$0.10business size envelope (outside)
$0.10reply envelope
$1.802 oz (57 gm) international first class mail to QSL manager
$2.10IRC
$0.15folded DXpedition card printing cost
$0.05labels for addresses and QSO data, printer ink
$4.45 

In contrast, the On-line QSL Request procedure for VP6DX is relatively automated:

  1. The DXer enters his QSO information into the on-line QSL request form on the VP6DX website.
  2. If the DXer wants a direct-mailed card(s) for all of the requested QSOs, he enters his mailing address and makes a small donation to offset costs. If he wants QSLs via the bureau, no donation is required.
  3. The DXer is now finished with his work. For direct-mailed cards:
  4. The On-Line QSL System automatically matches the DXer, his donation, and his requested QSOs in the log, and produces the QSL card(s) and mailing label. In addition, the LOTW data is uploaded to the ARRL server.
  5. A volunteer places the card(s) in an envelope, applies the label and postage, and mails the envelope.
  6. The envelope reaches the happy DXer.

Typical costs for the on-line QSL request approach:

$0.10envelope
$2.00international first class mail to the DXer (approximate)
$0.15folded DXpedition card printing cost
$0.05labels, ink, etc
$2.30approximate total

Time and manual labor are greatly reduced, compared to the paper-mail approach. A US$5 donation made through PayPal actually becomes US$4.45 because of PayPal/credit card charges. This US$4.45 covers the direct costs (listed above) for producing and mailing the QSL card and indirect miscellaneous costs associated with QSL production, leaving about US$2 remaining as a donation to the overall costs of the expedition. The VP6DX expedition costs, when divided by the number of callsigns worked, average between US$8 - 9 per callsign. The costs, when divided by the number of QSOs worked, average somewhat below $2 per QSO.

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:: Question 2: I made a donation. I have not received an LOTW match on any QSOs. What happened?

A: Several reasons can explain why you have not received an LOTW match:

  1. You did not ask for a QSL on-line. You must complete an on-line QSL request. The requested QSOs, if in the log, will be uploaded to the LOTW server on the next weekly upload. QSLs (even LOTW QSLs) must be requested; this avoids the problem of uploading LOTW confirmations for "busted calls" in the log.
  2. You made a donation but forgot to include your callsign with your donation. Please click on "Sponsors" in the menu on the left side of the vp6dx.com website, and then choose the correct page. Using the "find" feature of your browser, search for your name in the list. If your name appears without your callsign, the QSL processing system cannot match your donation to your QSL request. In this case, please send us an email (use the "Contact us" link) and give us both your name and callsign. We will correct the database manually in a few days.
  3. You made your QSL request and/or donation very recently. Normally the donor list is updated, and LOTW credits are transmitted to ARRL, about once each week. This work is done by volunteers on a time-available basis. If you donated via credit card/PayPal, we receive electronic notification of the donation very quickly; in this case the donation should be listed in the next weekly website update. If you mailed your donation to Radio Expeditions LLC in the USA, your donation should be listed with 1-2 weeks after the envelope was delivered. If you mailed your donation to DL6LAU in Germany, your envelope is in a very big queue (as of 2008 March); it will take 3-6 weeks before it is opened and the donation appears on the website.
  4. The QSO you specified is not matched in the log. These cases must be reviewed manually by volunteers for busted calls, etc. Because this is a time-consuming procedure, we want to get correctly matching QSOs (which can be processed more quickly) confirmed first. We do not plan to start manual review of mis-matched requests until after all request for direct-mail QSLs for matched QSOs have been sent.
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:: Question 3: My club made a donation to the VP6DX project. Will club members receive premium direct QSL services as a result of the club donation?

A: Only QSLs for QSOs with the club station callsign may receive premium direct QSL services. For other VP6DX QSOs made by club members under their individual (home) callsigns, please note that these contacts were made by individuals, and the corresponding QSL cards are being sent direct to those individuals. We appreciate the generosity of your club in donating to the VP6DX project, and hope that club members feel this donation was invested wisely. Remember that sponsoring clubs and organizations are listed in a separate part of the VP6DX website, and their listing includes promotional links to their websites. Clubs who made donations of over US$ 500 before 2008 Feb 5 also may have their club logo on the QSL card.

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:: Question 4: I manage QSLs for 40 stations. Five of them made QSOs with VP6DX. Can I make one donation of $5 for all the stations that I manage?

A: The options for QSL managers are:

  1. We send the cards for each station direct to each station. In this case, please fill out (or have the station operator fill out) the on-line QSL request form once for each station... and include the direct mail address for that station in the form. In this case, a donation will be needed in the name of each station to cover the costs. Anyone can make the donation for a station on line; just make sure the callsign of the station in whose name you are making the donation is included on the PayPal form. (Alternately, donations may be sent by mail; see below.)
  2. We send the cards for each station direct to the QSL manager. In this case, please fill out (or have the station operator fill out) the on-line QSL request form once for each station... and include the QSL manager's direct mail address for each station in the form. A donation will be needed in the name of each station, as that's the callsign that is checked in processing the direct QSL requests.
  3. We send the cards for each station via the bureau to that station. No donation is needed. The station operator (or you) must fill out the on-line QSL request form so that the cards are created. Note: We cannot handle a QSL manager callsign in the Online QSL Request System so we could not send these cards via a QSL manager.
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:: Question 5: My son and I have both worked you on several bands. Can we include cards from both of us in the same envelope? How should I calculate the postage and IRC amounts?

A: We recommend that you use the on-line QSL request form for both you and your son. It's on the VP6DX website (http://www.vp6dx.com). Just click on the "Online QSL Request" link on the left menu, and follow the instructions.

The On-line QSL Request procedure is much faster than mailing us QSL cards, envelopes and postage/IRCs. If you choose the "Premium Online QSL Request System" (requires a small donation for each callsign to offset costs of printing and mailing), your QSL cards will be sent direct to each of you, at the mailing address you specify. Neither of you have to send us anything. Just fill out the form.

If you really insist on sending us paper QSL cards, they will travel by mail... and then wait in a queue until a volunteer can open them, check the logs, and prepare the reply cards. This will be much slower.

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:: Question 6: My computer crashed, and I lost the date and time for my QSOs. Can you tell me when I worked you?

A: Unfortunately, no. We are sorry that your data was lost. However, to maintain the integrity of the DXCC program and of the VP6DX QSLs, you must provide the date, time, band and mode information for each of your claimed QSOs.

Similarly, the VP6DX project cannot make the detailed logs (complete call, date, time, mode, frequency) available to others. Providing detailed log information violates the DXpedition accreditation criteria of DXCC.

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:: Question 7: I checked the LOTW, and see that you did not upload two of my QSOs. Can you fix this?

A: Unfortunately, this probably means that your callsign does not appear in the VP6DX log at the specified date, time, band and mode.

Mis-matched QSO requests will be examined later. It is possible that the operator logged a "busted call". If there is a callsign in the log at the claimed date/time/band/mode, and which differs from your callsign by either one character or one transposition, then you MIGHT be able to receive a QSL. You can receive a QSL only if the station holding the logged callsign does not claim this contact during the next 6-9 months.

Please remember that verifying busted callsigns or mis-logged information is extremely time-consuming. It will take many months for qualified volunteers, during their evenings and weekend, to review mismatch claimed QSOs. Sending multiple email messages about the same claimed QSOs will make the process slower, since we must answer the extra emails... which leaves less time for research.

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:: Question 8: Unfortunately I mailed an empty QSL card to your QSL-manager. Should I mail another one with all the QSO data?

A: Please do not send another postal mail! Please go to www.vp6dx.com and select "Online QSL Request" from the menu on the left side. Follow the instructions and fill out the form to request your QSLs.

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:: Question 9: Is it possible to get separate QSL cards for each QSO?

A: No. For the VP6DX project, the automated system is not prepared to generate individual cards for each QSO. Individual cards also increase the costs of QSL production. And, as you can imagine, with more than 180,000 QSOs for over 33,000 callsigns, manual intervention to provide special handling for specific requests like this is time-consuming... and will signficantly delay the delivery of QSL cards.

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:: Question 10: I requested my QSL cards via email. Will I get the QSL cards?

A: No. Please go to www.vp6dx.com and select "Online QSL Request" from the menu on the left side. Follow the instructions and fill out the form to request your QSLs.

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:: Question 11: We had contact on 17 meters at 19:50 UTC. Sigs were 59 both ways. I sent my card with 3 USD and SASE, but did not receive a card in return. I am sending another card, along with another 3 USD and a SASE. Please send a return card this time.

A: Unfortunately, you have chosen the slowest method for receiving a QSL card. The fastest method for receiving a QSL card is the "on-line QSL request" method found on the website www.vp6dx.com. Click the "Online QSL Request" link in the menu on the left side of the screen, and follow the instructions.

Please also be aware that, after the end of a DXpedition, it takes a few weeks to finalize the design of a good QSL card. We expect to receive VP6DX cards from the printer in mid-April.

All QSLs are handled by volunteers: radio operators like you but who are giving up their evenings and weekends with family (or on the air) in order to help the VP6DX project. Volunteers will answer the on-line QSL requests with first priority. QSL requests send by postal mail will be answered with second priority, in the order received. As of 2008 March 25 there are over 5,000 postal mail requests waitings. Your two envelopes are waiting somewhere in this queue for their turn. Please be patient.

Last, if you must send an inquiry about a specific contact, please include the date, time, frequency, mode, and your callsign. If any of these items is missing, we will not be able to find the contact, and we will have to ask you for the missing information. That will increase the time required to answer your question. Each email inquiry must be researched by a volunteer; typically it takes 10-15 minutes to research and answer one inquiry. Because it is faster the process a QSL request than an inquiry, specific inquiries are handled by volunteers with third priority. Please be patient waiting for response to email inquiries about specific QSOs.

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