Well Jerry, until recently, I never knew I was a member of the "QSL Mafia"
either... thank goodness THAT thread on eHam fell off the radar.

I think we have a few things in play here.  First, we seem to have something
of a breakdown in the last few years of the passing on of traditions -- not
everywhere, certainly, but in some areas.  And it's not just with QSL'ing,
but with many other facets of the amateur service.  The cause?  Simple.  As
licensing has become simpler and easier -- and let's NOT spin off into THAT
tangent, please -- you have more and more self-taught hams becoming active,
without the benefit of an Elmer, or a class or club to help them out and
give some pointers.  So, they learn the hard way (if they learn) -- on the
air.  It will only get worse under current rules.  In these cases, all we
can do is try and Elmer these folks as best we can -- they're making honest
mistakes, so it's up to us to teach them.  We'll end up with better hams for

Second, there has been some fundamental shifts in the perceptions and
mechanisms of QSL'ing that I've seen in the past 35+ years since first being
licensed.  We've gone from the days where almost every ham (not all,
granted) QSL'd -- at least on request -- to the days where it's looked on as
an obsolete chore by a significant minority (a notion I disagree with, even
as I observe it).  We've gone from the days where sending a card via the
bureau for most DX contacts was almost a forgone conclusion, to the days
where there are so many QSL managers available (not that that's a bad thing,
I hasten to add!) that the bureaus have become a second-class system.  To
say nothing of managers who refuse to use the bureau, usually due to costs.

Third, and related to that, we've gone from the days where a green stamp
sent with a QSL request was usually a nice gesture (otherwise your card went
back via the bureau) to the days where some DX stations and managers demand
two or three or more green stamps or IRC's or no card.  The nice gesture, to
offer to help cover postage costs, is now expected or mandatory.

And related to that, there are many who now expect that their green stamps
or IRC's somehow entitle them to a card... full color, thank you, and right
now!  Makes you wonder sometimes how the really good QSL managers still have
any hair, and why it hasn't turned grey or white yet (from the abuse that
is, I'm speaking metaphorically not literally here!)  Heck, just look at all
the grief that KU9C to pick on one had to put up with while he was waiting
for the YX0 cards to come from the printers, delays completely beyond his
control.  I'd swear that there were more than a few ready to turn Steve in
for mail fraud because they hadn't gotten their card back in 3 or 4 weeks
after the DXpedition ended!  Unreasonable?  Yup -- and that's the point.

Now, I'm sure that there are many on the list who can counter each of these
reasons as "it's always been that way, you just never noticed."  True, but
my observation is that these types of behavior have gone from a very tiny
minority to a very significant fraction.

Are things better?  Are they worse?  Or are they just different?

73, ron w3wn

-----Original Message-----
Of Jerry Keller
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 5:02 PM
To: Larry, K4WLS
Subject: Re: [DX-CHAT] DX who QSL or not

It is not the cash that "requires" the return of a QSL, it is custom and
respect for tradition that require it. The cash is incidental and intended
only to help with expenses. Most DX stations have received QSLs with cash
for QSOs not found in the log... custom and tradition requires a response to
those as well... Not In Log.... the expenses of returning a QSL or a NIL are
the same.
Until this recent thread, I would have said this simple truth is understood
by everyone in the DX community, but apparently not.  The mind boggles....
73, Jerry K3BZ

----- Original Message -----
From: "Larry, K4WLS" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Charles Harpole" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>; <dx-chat@njdxa.org>
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 4:11 PM
Subject: Re: [DX-CHAT] DX who QSL or not

----- Original Message -----
From: "Charles Harpole" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 11:21 PM
Subject: Re: [DX-CHAT] DX who QSL or not

When I receive cash in a qsl request, I thank the sender silently and accept
this donation to my effort to return qsls.  Personally, I feel honor bound
to reply to those with cash and those without.  BUT, I do not think this
idea should automatically apply to other people.

My point is that one can not have it both ways.... that is, one can not send
money as a gift* and at the same time expect that the presence of money
REQUIRES a response.  To think it requires a return, means you are ordering
a qsl ... as any mail order from any vendor of a product... which is
basically the act of purchase.  How can it be otherwise--- if one sends $$$
with the expection of a return?  I still maintain that to avoid the idea of
a purchase, the cash sent must be a donation... a free gift with no strings
attached, and can not be otherwise, rationally.  A "bribe" is payment to do
something not legal and thus this word does not apply in this matter because
these are not matters of law breaking.

*even if the cash is only meant to cover the sender's expenses, that seems
to me to be like the "free" products businesses offer to send to you if only
you will pay for the postage and handling..... sounds same to me.

Thanks for your ideas, too..........  73

Charles Harpole


I use nested envelopes for QSL requests, plain white for state-side and
international air mail for overseas. I always fill out the return envelope
with the recipients full address in the upper left-hand corner and my
address in large print in the middle. For overseas, always remember to
include USA below your address on the return envelope.

For state-side I affix a first class stamp, and for overseas the correct
denomination of stamps (air-mail) for the particular country involved.
This is on my return envelope.

For envelopes sent to mgrs of DX stations in a contest, I always send
$2.00 in greenbacks with a sticky pad attached saying "to help with
QSL card costs". For envelopes sent to DX stations, in addition to
my pre-addressed and pre-stamped return envelope, I either enclose
2 IRC's with note "for your QSL needs", or $ 2.00 in greenbacks and
a note "to help with your QSL costs". I avoid sending cash to those
countries that have strict mail customs rules, or where mail theft is a
problem. 425 DX News, QRZ DX, The Daily/Weekly DX, etc is a
source of this info.

Since getting back on the air in 1994, my QSL return rate has been 100 %
using this method. There have been times that I have had to send another
such QSL request and a note saying I sent you you a card on such a
date and did you get it. An example of this was an XV5 and a TU2. The
replies in all these instances was "Sorry, I didn't get your card".

International mail does get lost or stolen. A C9 or TR8 with a good
signal to the west coast can work a slew of W5, W6, and W7 stns.
Most likely, he needs none of these cards, but he will sure get a lot
of requests for his card. Remember, he has to pay for the cost of
these cards, take the time to answer the cards, and exchange the IRC's
for stamps. I always try to make it very easy for the DX stn to answer
my QSL requests, and that is why I use pre-addressed and pre-stamped
return envelopes.  My ideas !                     73/DX,  Larry - K4WLS

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