QSLs & QSLing for newcomers to ham radio

Started by WA4STO, October 01, 2012, 09:37:26 pm

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WA4STO

One of the things that newcomers to ham radio will encounter a LOT is the idea of QSLs, QSLing and the reasons for each.

To start this topic off, a very brief definition:  To radio amateurs, a QSL is a confirmation of a contact that has already been made.

A contact I made with CT3EE (on an island west of Marrakesh Morocco) this past weekend has resulted in this QSL card which I received today:



Today?  Less than 48 hours from having made the contact?  Yah, the internet sure has sped things up...  More about all that in upcoming postings.

The Q-signal "QSL" can also be a verb.  As in "I will QSL you via the Logbook Of The World".

So what's the big deal?  Why would a prepper feel the need to QSL at all?  Who cares?  Well, there's an easy answer to those questions --



Your fellow ham radio operators will absolutely want  YOUR QSL!



It's just in their nature.  Count on it.  Many hams are 'collectors'; they collect radios perhaps and certainly QSLs from all over the world.  Some (many) do it so as to earn certificates, plaques and other 'wallpaper'. 

This'll be the first of many postings in this topic that explore QSLing and awards-chasing. 

Got questions?  They will help me to delve into the various fun aspects of these categories of ham radio enjoyment.  Post away!

73 de WA4STO 


Gambrinus

So it?s acceptable to send an email QSL card?  That would work for me, no need to get a printer involved with a minimum order.

cockpitbob

October 02, 2012, 07:27:24 am #2 Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 07:29:06 am by cockpitbob
No one really uses email for QSLing.  There are 2 broadly accepted web based QSL services for QSLing.  They are ARRL's Logbook Of The World (LoTW) and eQSL.com.  With either you enter the QSO information and if the other person uses that service and enters the same QSO info then that QSO is confirmed.  You can get all the usual certificates from either:  Worked All States, DXCC, etc.  Neither sends paper cards.  It is all on the web.

The 2 services are aren't linked in any way, so if a contact confirms a QSO in eQSLbut not in LoTW then it is like it never happened to LOTW.
eQSL.com is easy to use but doesn't carry the prestige of the ARRL's LoTW.  On the other hand, LoTW's security and password system is rediculously complex and worse than any bank I've delt with, so there are a lot of people who won't use it just because of that.

If you rack-up a lot of contacts these web based QSL servises are great.  You log your contacts in your logging software (Ham Radio Deluxe, or whatever) and in one upload you can enter a months worth of contacts into LoTW or eQSL.  (you can also hand enter your contacts directly into either service without logging software)

WA4STO

Quote from: Gambrinus on October 02, 2012, 06:43:10 am
So it?s acceptable to send an email QSL card?  That would work for me, no need to get a printer involved with a minimum order.


It all depends on what the guy on the receiving end (the guy that wants YOUR QSL) wants.  Or, more accurately, what the entity that is sponsoring the award will accept.

As cockpitbob correctly points out, there are some organizations and clubs that sponsor certificates and awards that need very specific methods of QSLing before they'll spit out the wallpaper.  But, of the 3,300 awards that K1BV shows in his free awards document at http://www.dxawards.com/, the VAST majority (durned near ALL) of the sponsors allow a signed statement as proof that you hold the confirmations. 

So the answer to your question is "Very likely".   Hey, I'd be tickled silly if my two Croatian QSOs over the weekend resulted in emailed, Morse Coded, or carrier pigeoned QSLs.  Yoo hoo!  Over there!  I really really need your QSL...

73 de WA4STO

WA4STO

Quote from: Gambrinus on October 02, 2012, 06:43:10 am
That would work for me, no need to get a printer involved with a minimum order.


I haven't used a commercial printer since the 70s.  Wait, that's not quite true; when I was at ARRL HQ, they had numerous styles of my cards printed up for me.



But these days, it's perfectly acceptable to print up your own cards.  Haven't had anybody complain yet.



I create and edit my cards (and mailing labels) by way of Open Office documents which are super easy to modify.  Good thing, since every QSL has different data.

And if you're doing things electronically, by way of http://www.eqsl.cc/qslcard/Index.cfm for example, you can create different styles of QSLs right there, online:



73 de WA4STO

gil

Hello,

What size are QSL cards? Postcard size? Business card? If I get one printed I think it would be regular business card size.. So I kill two birds with one stone.. Signal report on the back..

Gil.

WA4STO

Quote from: gil on October 02, 2012, 10:12:43 am
Hello,

What size are QSL cards? Postcard size? Business card? If I get one printed I think it would be regular business card size.. So I kill two birds with one stone.. Signal report on the back..

Gil.


Business card size would be very unusual.  I have certainly seen them used for "eyeball QSOs" (like you and Tim had) but again, that's relatively unusual.

The cards I've been using are the Avery #3381 cards.  Guess I'm the sort of guy you hafta hit up side the head with a brick before stuff sinks in, since it's taken me some years to understand that 4-1/4" X 5-1/2" cards are NOT going to fit in the Self addressed, stamped envelopes that hams tend to send to you, so as to relieve you of the postage costs.

3-1/2" X 5-1/2" cards do fit and are the size that most hams send to me.

73 de WA4STO

WA4STO

This certificate was for receiving confirmations (QSLs) for 300 different "prefixes" -- and in this case, all on Morse Code (CW).



So ... what exactly is a "prefix"?  The way CQ Magazine (the sponsor of this and many other awards) defines it goes something like this:

WA4STO -- the prefix is "WA4"
9A1A -- the prefix is "9A1"  -- you get the idea...

So now, I am working on another, much the same as shown above, but this time it's for 300 prefixes -- all by ham radio digital modes, instead of Morse Code.

Here's where I'm at -- getting close!



Notice that I'm at the 300 mark.  But wait...  what's the red ones?  Alas, those are ones that I've worked, but haven't received the QSL from.  Yet.

Also notice that this particular spreadsheet column needs some work.  First, there are "duplicates", in that are two WB5 entries, two WB4 entries and two XE1 entries.  They gotta go.

Clearly, I have a ways to go.

Probably time now to start up a "Logging your ham radio QSOs" topic.

73 de WA4STO

raybiker73

Getting QSLs printed isn't terribly expensive. I got 250 3.5"x5" photo cards for about $55 from photoqsls.com. I would definitely recommend them (I don't get paid by them, I'm just a satisfied customer).  I sent Hal my photo and the style I wanted on the back, he communicated with me and solicited feedback through the whole design process, and they were in my mailbox just a couple days later.

http://www.photoqsls.com/


gil

I think I drove by that locomotive last summer!

Gil.

raybiker73

October 02, 2012, 05:34:18 pm #10 Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 05:36:16 pm by raybiker73
If you were in central PA, you just might have. 7048 currently occupies the "museum" spot at the inside of Horseshoe Curve in Altoona.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRR_7048

I took this pic in 2009, before the old girl finally got a repaint.

gil

Nope, must have been a similar one, up in Montana or thereabout...

Gil.

Gambrinus

I like the photo qsl and that price isn?t bad especially since 250 would last for years.

I wouldn?t have to worry about getting them till I got a MF rig.  That might not be until Jan/Feb.  I?m having a hard time figuring out what to get.  Reading reviews makes it a lot harder.

piggybankcowboy

October 03, 2012, 02:20:09 pm #13 Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 02:21:52 pm by piggybankcowboy
Call me old fashioned (which is funny because I'm a newbie), but I like the idea of snail mailing cards. I was going to whip some up on my home printer, actually, since it can print business card sized projects easily.

What about a log book, though?  What do you use? Are formatted log books out there where we can just fill in the info, or do you just use a standard notebook for the task?  Or am I way off base here assuming everyone keeps a log book?  I have a phone app for it, but I tend to like hard-copy things more.

raybiker73

Quote from: piggybankcowboy on October 03, 2012, 02:20:09 pm
What about a log book, though?  What do you use? Are formatted log books out there where we can just fill in the info, or do you just use a standard notebook for the task?  Or am I way off base here assuming everyone keeps a log book?  I have a phone app for it, but I tend to like hard-copy things more.


The ARRL sells one for eight bucks:
http://www.arrl.org/shop/Amateur-Radio-Logbook/

I'm a newbie, too, and I just use printed spreadsheet pages in a 3-ring binder. Here's the one I use, or you can make one you like easily enough:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/105252/logbook.pdf