QSLing Habits: Some thoughts

01 Jul

Recently, a flap renewed itself on a local email reflector vis-a-vis the QSLing habits of Ham genus Norteamericanos. One vociferous soul went so far as to call folks whom dared to complain about the process as “Whinging Lounge Lizards”. Naturally this fellow is a POM or pommie. POM or pommie is a derisive term applied generally to people of English decent who never seem to find anything positive anywhere. We all have those types: they are not confined to Englishmen by any means. In this case the person making the comments was not from England which is exactly why I referred to him as a pommie.

QSLing is known as the final courtesy of an on-air contact. Today it is or can be a source of renumeration , however shunned it may be. Whatever it is, it is certainly expensive and a bit of a nightmare in bookkeeping. I’m not a fan. I do not chase the awards which require that one does keep up with the bookkeeping. I do however respect the needs of those that do participate in this bit of the hobby. Note that I am being careful here as I may someday choose to go after some of these awards. 🙂

It seems to me that QSLing has become a sensitive issue very unnecessarily. To be honest, QSLing can be generally defined into the following buckets:

  • Person to person. The final courtesy. Sent or answered with the best and purest motives. A transaction between 2 individuals regardless of method or mode of transport:mail, bureau or electronic.
  • Individuals via Mangers to others. Managers laboring to service the DX or other awards industry. This mostly a labor of love and done largely from the goodness of ones heart. DX Managers may recoup postage, donations or non currency renumeration. This facilitates a need to remove drudgery from fellows that often cannot afford the expense and may not operate if it becomes expensive. There have been some abuses of this category. For instance no donation, no cards.
  • Individuals or groups to many via web adverts or DX news sheets. Mostly casual DXpeditions. A normal mix of bureau, sase, sase with a donation and electronic QSLs sent and received. I do not know how one would turn this into an “offensive cash” business but some claim it has been done. In my own case I choose to return the cash to senders as I assume that because I took a radio on Holiday it is my obligation and my fun, and not to be a burden on others.
  • Groups to many via well organized web sites and DX Newsletter etc. Going on a DXpeditions for the purpose of activation of a semi rare or rare country. Usually entailing as much as a year of planning and commitments of much financial resources. This gets a bit sticky. Some, who are blessed with proximity to semi rare locales go on Holiday and use a radio to offset family and/or personal expenses. Some go to truly dangerous places and suffer large financial risk and need help to recover. Here is where I believe we need to wander up a different track.

It seems to me that, in a perfect world, all needs can be served. In the first three categories most needs are satisfied with an easy going system that works and most seem satisfied with the results. In the last category, dangerous or frightfully expensive dxpeditions should just say up front what the rules are. If you need cash to cover expenses be honest and forthright about it and say what the rules of QSLing will be. No more beating around the bush. I do not mind paying for a QSL if I should need one. It is the ambiguity and obfuscation that troubles me. In the case of mega expensive or dangerous expeditions, for those that charge or want to charge money for a card, or for those that do not, the motives are plain. One only takes on such difficult or dangerous trips because they want to sate an ambition to be a BMOC (Big Man on Campus), do it because they can, they seek danger/travel, it is exhilarating, peer recognition or some one or a combination of all of the above. In the end it is strictly voluntary. Whatever your motives-tell us what you want and let me decide if I want to choose to QSL at your stated rate or plan. I promise not to complain whatever the rules, so long as they are clearly defined. And in the case where operators use the prospect of donations to recoup for family vacations or Holidays, well I have already decided. You will not get any card requests or money from me.

Best, Chas W7MAP/5

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Posted by on July 1, 2008 in Radio


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