Wednesday, December 29, 2010

QSL Bureau

Yesterday I found a nice surprise waiting for me in the mailbox.  These QSL cards are the first ever batch of DX confirmations received at KD8JHJ via the QSL Bureau service.  The majority of these contacts I made during my first year as an amateur radio operator.

19/05/09   UR5ZEP          Ukraine                       14 MHz  CW
06/03/09   EB7ABJ          Spain                            14 MHz  PSK-31
01/11/09    EA7ACU         Spain                             7 MHz  PSK-31
21/11/09    PE0TS              The Netherlands     21 MHz  PSK-31
09/04/09   DL6KVP/p    Germany                    14 MHz  PSK-31
07/02/09   DD3FS            Germany                       7 MHz  PSK-31
24/10/09    DL8SDS         Germany                      21 MHz  CW
12/02/09    TG9AHM      Guatemala                    7 MHz  PSK-31
02/01/10    EA1EVA        Spain                            14 MHz  CW
23/01/10    HB9AAA       Switzerland                14 MHz  Feld Hell

QSL Bureaus are volunteer staffed organizations found in most countries that allow amateur radio.  The bureau system allows hams around the world to exchange QSL cards for a minimum postage cost.  The more avid the DX'er or card collector the more beneficial this system becomes.  

In 2009 after I began digital operations at KD8JHJ and had accumulated a dozen or so DX contacts in my log I filled out QSL cards for each foreign station I had worked.  I then sent the cards all together in one envelope to the out going bureau at ARRL headquarters in Newington, CT.  My cards were sorted by country and shipped in bulk with other QSL cards.  Once the bulk shipment is received by the Foreign bureau the cards are sorted again by callsign and delivered to the individual operators.

Here in America the incoming bureaus are divided up based on callsign areas.  Callsign areas are designated by the numeral that appears in all callsigns.  I had previously sent my QSL manager a half dozen stamped, self addressed envelopes to keep on file.  Once the bureau had received a dozen cards from foreign hams confirming contact with my station the QSLs were packaged up and mailed in one envelope.  Obviously saving me a bundle in postage.  The only caveat to using the bureau is the one to two year lead time as the cards work their way through the system.

The QSL Bureau is an ingeniously devised system and another unique facet of my favorite hobby- amateur radio.         

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