LoTW - Does it effect direct QSL?

Created on Thursday, 30 April 2015

Ok, here I am again lifting my head above the parapet! Over the last year I have seen quite a lot of comments about how much the LoTW upload has affected direct QSLing. As a QSL manager I am in an unbiased position to do a little research. Obviously like for like is very difficult due to rarity of the DXCC, total Qs, unique calls in log and many other variables.

As I am NOT in a position where I am balancing huge budgets for rare DXpeditions I have the opportunity to look at this in a way many others cannot and here are some statistics from a couple of recent DXpediiotons.

EP6T was uploaded to LoTW during the DXpedition and daily to the end.
E30FB has NOT been uploaded to LoTW yet and the team have asked me not to until after 3 months.

So a good chance to look at this in more detail. Please note that E30FB worked 3,583 MORE unique call signs than EP6T so would be expected to receive more QSL requests.

E30FB 06/03 – 17/03/2015        EP6T 16/01 – 27/01/2015
Total QSOs 64,560                   Total QSOs 68,044
Uniques      20,326 - 31.5%      Uniques      16,743 – 24.6%    

Log uploaded to LoTW  
E30FB      NOT YET                 EP6T Daily from the 20th January at the time of the expedition

Direct QSL requests received.
E30FB 3,969                   EP6T 3,747

The Cliff
E30FB                                  EP6T
OQRS 4 weeks                     OQRS 4 weeks,
Direct letters 6 weeks              Direct letters 6 weeks

Bureau Reuests
E30FB 2,237                                  EP6T 2,400 (Aprox)

We have all read the arguments on here for and against, and when to upload to LoTW.

Last year at the RSGB Convention I recall one lecturer say that:

“Once you have uploaded the DXpedition log to LoTW you may was well watch the direct requests fall off the cliff” or words to that effect.

Every DXpedition I have been QSL manager for, QSL cards arrive steadily for some time and then, as you see with the above stats that after 4 weeks the OQRS will suddenly drop off followed by directs two weeks later, known as “The Cliff” once this point is reached for me it is the most economical time to post out all the QSL cards. However this has nothing to do with LoTW uploads.

Although not a scientific experiment the above shows me that uploads to LoTW make very little difference to Direct QSL requests. As we have said all along!

I have noticed an increasing willingness for people to PAY for LoTW uploads, which for those DXpeditions where funding is critical I think this will become a more common practice.

I have also noticed a lot of people pay for the direct QSL saying that “NO QSL required please LoTW only” but I also noticed this with EP6T where the Qs were ALREADY uploaded to LoTW so I would not take much notice of that.

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