A QSL IS THE FINAL COURTESY OF A QSO
This is a b/w picture of my QSL card printed by Dennis, VE7DK. The actual card is blue on white. The picture, due to resizing to fit on the page, does not do justice to the actual cards. They are perfectly crystal clear and beautiful. If you would be interested in having Dennis print some cards for you, contact him via email at email@example.com. Tell him K3WWP sent you. You can design your own card or Dennis can design one for you. 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. Here are my totals of the number of QSOs verified and percent of return from eQSL and LotW as of November 27, 2014 with regular QSL's added for comparison of all three methods:
* 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.
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.