*EDITORIAL* Direct QSL Dilemas

KIRIBATI (spate)

e6r2743There’s been heated debate recently on some of the Facebook DX forums concerning bypassing QSL Managers and sending QSL cards ‘direct’ to rare stations.

BUT…receiving nothing in reply!  No QSL.  No postcard.  Nothing.

It’s also that QSL Managers are being either blamed for their client not replying ‘direct QSL’ OR are being expected to confirm a contact even though the DX Hunter bypassed them and sent to the operator direct (i.e. took a shortcut).


What’s obvious is that sending QSL cards direct to rare stations and hoping for a card or post card poses potential problems — the most common being a ‘non-return’ of QSL package.

cropped-SiteiconCycles 23 & 24 have verified that sending cards direct to an operator knowing they’re represented by a QSL Manager is fraught with danger — even if you’ve included standard contribution and a courtesy SAE to facilitate the return.

As has been pointed out on the Facebook forums, this non-return could have occurred for many reasons…

One is that due to problems with postal organisations/infrastructure in small island nations or poor third world countries, the QSL package has gone missing OR been stripped off its stamp.

hawaii-island-clip-art-40This was a MAJOR problem experienced by guys in the Central Pacific region for many years until they became represented by QSL Managers in more ‘developed’ regions of the world but I can assure you it still happens.

Another conceivable hitch with sending cards direct is that the receiving station may not be in possession of QSL cards for his particular activity.

Obviously, a station cannot confirm a contact if he doesn’t have any cards to do so — so instead he pockets the loot and goes about his business.


Then comes the notion of permission and whether or not a DX Hunter has asked for authorization to QSL direct or taken it upon himself to locate the op’s personal coordinates off the internet and send a package in the hope it will be returned.

cartero6Rightly or wrongly, some ops I know don’t take kindly to QSL unsolicited correspondence turning up on their island doorstep without consent and a likely to strip the contents and contribution and toss the SAE straight in the trash can!

Based on these facts, some might argue that if you choose to skip the QSL Manager and send ‘direct’ to a rare station without permission, then you run the risk of having your QSL cards ignored and losing your US dollars.

In my opinion, it’s a valid point too.


“So why do some ops continue to send direct when they know a QSL Manager exists?”

“Why don’t they follow correct protocol like everyone else?”

qslsendMy understanding is that, while hazardous, sending ‘direct’ can indeed be advantageous.

Hunters who strive for DX awards, IOTA championship points, etc. often require immediate confirmation too and, as such, are desperate to obtain the card as soon as possible.

Often, cards returned via a QSL Manager take longer to arrive in the PO Box as logs must be received and cross checked and other cards must be replied also.

While most Managers are diligent in their return of QSL cards, let’s face it, occasionally we hear reports of cards taking up to 2 years to arrive in the PO Box and, for some, this is simply not acceptable.


Who’s Guilty of Sending Direct?

qslIn my experience, the stations most likely to send QSL cards direct are the ‘Island Chasers’ and in the Dx Adventure Radio Club (DA-RC) we have plenty of those.  I throw myself into that bucket too!

It’s common knowledge in the DA-RC community that a postcard from a small island to accompany a special QSL card is worth its weight in gold to any fair dinkum IOTA Hunter.

smallantenna_3When I was living in the Torres Strait Islands (OC-138) only a couple of hundred kilometers off the shores of 101 Division, for example, I RX many QSL packages direct to my island home from Hunters who’d elected to bypass my Manager and try their luck with me personally.

Some of these stations had asked for my permission to send direct and I always obliged them with a few postcards and photographs of my island and IOTA setup to add to their collection.

But most took it upon themselves to look up my private coordinates and send their cards direct.

4W6A Antenna panorama 1 by 9M6DXX_rsz

5-9_logo52While some ops in rare DXCC or islands are prepared to deal with guys direct, others aren’t.  After all, one of the grounds for having a QSL Manager in the first place is to lessen the burden on the rare DX station, allowing the op to spend more time on the mic rather than writing out and sending enormous numbers of QSL cards.

QSL Managers, too, are usually elected by their group headquarters because they’re honest and reliable guys, with a proven track record in administrative DX Group duties.

For this reason alone, going through a Manager significantly reduces the chance of your QSL package ‘mysteriously disappearing in the mail’.


PalmsLike the comments on Facebook DX forums recently though, I agree that sending direct has its positives and negatives…

Provided you ask for permission to send ‘direct’ and that permission is granted by the operator in question, then I can see no reason why it shouldn’t be viewed as a viable way of obtaining confirmation.

As far as I’m concerned, if permission has been granted and the QSL card is NOT returned, then the operator in question should be treated as any other everyday DXer and blacklisted so it doesn’t happen again; Regardless of how rare his DXCC…

If, on the other hand, a card has been sent without the operator’s agreeance then it’s unreasonable IMO to blame the QSL Manager — or even the HQ Team of which club the operator belongs — for not receiving a card.

In my opinion, it’s a risk you take!

73 de 43DA001 Darren

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