K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

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home designed and printed QSL card    QSL card from cheapqsls.com
A QSL IS THE FINAL COURTESY OF A QSO

These are my two latest QSL cards. At left is a home designed and printed card. At right is one of 100 cards I won as a NAQCC prize. They are from Cheap QSL Cards. As you see the cheap refers only to the regular price, not to the quality. Previously my cards were printed by Dennis, VE7DK. However he actually told me that it might be better to have them printed locally rather than pay the high customs price for shipping from Canada to the USA. He offered to help with the design if I needed it. If you would be interested in having Dennis print some cards for you, contact him via email at denliv@telus.net. Tell him K3WWP sent you. You can design your own card or Dennis can design one for you. Previously I designed mine and emailed Dennis a .jpg file. We emailed back and forth to fine tune the design, and after I gave the go ahead, the cards were printed and received here in only a week.

I firmly believe the saying below the picture of my card. While I do not QSL every contact I make, I will send my QSL card to anyone who wants it. I have all of my 84,000+ QSO's since 1963 filed on paper and/or in my computer, so if you ever worked me and need my card for any reason whatsoever, just send me your card, and I will send you mine. An SASE is appreciated, but by no means necessary. I have always answered every card received here, and will continue to do so. If you've ever sent me a QSL and didn't receive one in return, yours or mine got lost in the mail somewhere. Let me know, and I'll send another one.

One of the problems with QSLing used to be getting an up-to-date address for a ham. In the past, I have often had cards returned because of an incorrect address or someone having moved. The Internet has pretty much eliminated that problem. Many of the QSL address servers on the net are updated daily from the FCC and other sources, and it is possible to get the very latest up to date address for someone (if the ham has notified the FCC or other licensing authority of any change of address as he is legally required to do). You can access many of the servers directly from my Find a QSL Route page.

With the exorbitant cost of QSLing via regular mail, I believe that on-line or email QSLing will become the preferred QSL method of the future. There are currently two major players (plus some minor ones I won't mention here) in the field of electronic QSL's, each using a different system. The ARRL Logbook of the World (LotW) works as follows: "When both participants in a QSO submit matching QSO records to LotW, the result is a QSL that can be used for ARRL award credit." Other awards organizations will also be participating. The QSL is in the form of data and not viewable or printable as a card. You can click here to find out more about the ARRL LotW which became fully operational in September 2003. I now have all of my 84,000+ QSO's from 1963 to the end of the previous month in the LotW including my activity as KN3WWP, K3WWP, K3WWP/3 (Pittsburgh), and WA3IXO (Pittsburgh). The other major player - eQSL - provides actual viewable and printable electronic QSL cards in addition to providing proof of a QSO match. To find out more about eQSL enter your call in the following form. You may already have some eQSL's waiting for you. All of my QRP QSO's from 1993 through the end of the previous month are on-line for QSL retrieval at eQSL. So if you worked me during that time, there is at least one card there for you.
Enter your callsign to see if you have an eQSL waiting!
Here are my totals of the number of QSOs verified and percent of return from eQSL and LotW as of June 13, 2015 with regular QSL's added for comparison of all three methods. I also have divided the LotW totals into DX and domestic (W/VE) totals to show that DX stations are much more active in the LotW than W/VE stations with a 13.2 percent better return. Of course a lot of paper cards confirm more than one QSO, so my actual card total is less than the number of QSOs listed in that category:

MethodCommentsNr QSOs VerifiedNr Cards SentPct
LotWAll QSO's since 199018,34466,36927.6
eQSLAll QSO's since 199011,71866,36917.7
LotWAll QSO's since 1963*18,37485,66021.4
"Paper" QSL'sAll QSO's since 1963*9,22811,35381.3
LotWAll DX QSO's since 19907,74621,15136.6
LotWAll W/VE QSO's since 199010,59845,21823.4

* Not including WA3IXO or K3WWP/3

I have kept detailed records of my "Paper" QSLing since 1994, and here is an analysis based on the method of QSLing. The first table shows info from the cases where I've requested a card for one reason or other from the station I've worked. Data current as of November 27, 2014. Methods are arranged by decreasing percent of return.

MethodCurrent main useNr SentNr RcvdPct
Card & SAE & 2 GSNew countries312993.5
Card & PC-rate stamp & reply cardNew counties27425392.3
Card & SASEBand-states/DX with US managers57352190.9
Card & PC-rate stampNo longer used827287.8
Card & SAE & GSNew countries6583.3
Card & SAE & IRCNew countries887281.8
Card & PC-rate stamp & mailing labelNew prefixes37429979.9
Card onlyMisc QSO's34925873.9
Card via FISTS QSL BureauFISTS Members623861.3
Card via ARRL Outgoing QSL BureauMost DX and Canada2532128350.7
Card via USA QSL BureauBureau closed833137.3
tot 4454285564.1


QSLing is a very expensive proposition today. When I first started in ham radio in the 1960's it cost 4 cents to mail a QSL card, and most hams were glad to answer a QSL. Nowadays to be fairly certain of getting a card from someone by enclosing an SASE costs 98 cents (or greater now as it keeps increasing) in postage alone not to mention the cost of the card and the 2 envelopes involved.

There is no way to be absolutely certain of getting someone's QSL card. Even sending a reply card that requires the recipient simply to sign it and drop it in the mail nets only around a 90% return.

Now let's look at the stats for cards I've received requesting my QSL card for one reason or other. I answer all cards received, so the percentage is 100 for all listed methods.

MethodCommentsNr RcvdNr SentPct
Card onlyUSA & VE stations659659100.0
Card & SASEFolks sending me an SASE9595100.0
Answered via ARRL Outgoing QSL BureauDX and Canada13651365100.0
Answered via FISTS QSL BureauFISTS Members250250100.0
tot 23692369100.0