Ken - WB2ART - Sayville, NY [USA]

Email to: wb2art (at) arrl (dot) net

Thoughts on QSLing

(Opinions appearing on this page are my own)

Also try this link from someone who knows what's going on with QSLing:

Just scroll down to 'QSLing tips by KU9C'

One of the nicest facets of Amateur Radio is the sending/receiving of QSL cards. I received many back in the 60's from 6 and 2 meter AM (yes AM). Then I got involved in 2 meter repeaters and you just don't QSL. Now that I'm a General and on the low bands a lot, I really enjoy sending and receiving QSL cards.

USA cards are easy. Just send your card and you will usually get one back. Some stations will ask for an SASE. Many older hams are on fixed budgets. If I'm speaking to someone, and they say they are retired, I send an SASE. If he/she is using equipment from 1960, send an SASE, if they just bought an Icom FT-1000MP, maybe not :-)   It only costs you an extra $0.33. If you want the card, just do it. Also, if it's a card for a required state/county/grid square, send an SASE. I also like to put cards in envelopes, so the post office doesn't have their hands/stamps all over them. I've had several cards that did not go through the post office system properly. Put your cards in envelopes.

Foreign cards are another matter. I'm learning now. I will share what I know, but compared to the majority of hams, I know nothing.

(If anyone has any comments or corrections, please send to

I have just started sending cards through the bureau and via direct mail. The bureau is easy. Just package the cards, sorted by prefix and send to the ARRL (YOU do belong don't you?). Send them a few bucks (I think it's $4 per pound), but check their web site at

Direct mail seems to be a challenge. I asked some locals about qsl'ing, and here's what I decided to do.

1: Send most cards through the bureau. Its cheap!! (see #4) I think you also have to be prepare to wait a long time for returns. I sent my fist batch March 1998 and received some back in May 1998

2: a - I am trying the IRC route, if I REALLY want the card. They are not real expensive, $1.05 at the moment. Get a supply of Air Mail envelopes. You know, the ones with the red/blue border, about 3.5x6.5 inches. I got mine a Staples. About $5 for 100.

    b - If the station has a stateside QSL manager send an SASE. If you work someone on vacation (like Aruba), and know he's coming back to the states, send an SASE. I originally sent a card without an SASE to a stateside QSL manager. I never received the card. As soon as I sent a new card with SASE, the card came back right away! (Actually a duplicate of the card came through the bureau. But follow the SASE route if you want it quicker)

3: Register with a stateside QSL Bureau for return cards from foreign countries. Send the required labels, envelopes or money for credits. The NJDXA Bureau requires you buy postage credits. They take care of the envelopes and such. A real inexpensive way to go. Check the ARRL web site for a list of Incoming QSL bureau for your area.

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Last update 2/2/2006 (c) Ken Kaplan WB2ART