A look back through 2016

Created on Sunday, 25 December 2016

A look back through 2016 has seen some significant advances in our QSL work at the United Radio QSL Bureau.

bureau cardsIncoming QSL Bureau - The first of which was an agreement with the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) to allow us to continue to receive incoming QSL cards for non-members of the RSGB society that use our QSL service, this was after two years of negotiation and renegotiation. During that time our incoming QSL cards were counted and separated into two piles, member call signs and non-member call signs. It was agreed that approximately 50% of the QSL cards I was receiving were for call signs that were not RSGB affiliated call signs. Both parties agreed that this could not continue and we agreed on some conditions to move forward.

1. That for all call signs member or non-member affiliated we would ask that all Bureau requests must be made by OQRS.

2. That all QRZ.com profiles and DXpedition websites that text would be included to advise that all Bureau requests MUST be made by OQRS.

“M0URX continues to take all reasonable steps to deter users of his service who are not RSGB Members from sending cards to the RSGB QSL bureau”

That United Radio would continue to send ALL outgoing Bureau cards to the IARU Bureaus at the expense of M0URX. Only cards permitted to be sent to the RSGB were to RSGB members within the United Kingdom.

If M0URX keeps to the above conditions we can still receive bureau cards from the RSGB for non-members ONLY for those that do NOT have internet access and United Radio will pay for these incoming Bureau cards of non-members at a per kilo rate arranged.

I would personally like to thank the former RSGB General Manager Graham Coomber, G0NBI, for his guidance and help in this agreement, and for his patience with us, and his understanding of the issues involved. As Graham I am sure would agree this was not easy!

For the many DX’ers out there, many of you will not realise that you CANNOT just send Bureau cards to “QSL Via M0URX”, the call sign must be an RSGB affiliated member. DXpedition call signs, are NOT RSGB members and cannot be sent to us through the Bureau. You MUST use OQRS please.

DXpeditions, contest stations and many rare DX do not collect QSL cards and you should always use OQRS. This reduces significantly the labour needed to process all our bureau requests. If you are not sure, check on QRZ.com or email me to ask.

Our outgoing Bureau is of course not affected as this is financed by ourselves and anyone who requests a Bureau QSL through our OQRS will receive a QSL card providing that you are a member of YOUR national society and that you have in place means to receive those QSL cards.

In 2016 United Radio QSL Bureau together with M0OXO QSL Service have sent out 58,512 Bureau QSL cards to the IARU Bureaus. I would especially like to thank all Bureau staff that has helped in sorting these cards getting them to the recipients in a timely fashion.

Online QSL Request System – Our OQRS had become outdated and both DXpedition teams and DX Chasers require more functions in the OQRS facility, but how could this be done?

DXpeditions need a way of directly receiving donations from the OQRS,

LoTW uploads need to be done directly from the OQRS facility, the DXpedition team need up to the minute QSL statistics to determine cash flow and the number of QSL cards that need to be printed.

Busted / missing Qs need to be managed in house without the need for emails.

Various OQRS and log search configurations are needed for different circumstances…. And much more…

OQRS
Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of working with the Perseverance DX Group, over a two year period HA5AO Pista and K5GS Gene and their team had worked hard at developing an OQRS system that provided everything they needed in their DXpeditions. The system was tested in 2014 on the TX3X  Chesterfield Island DXpedition. I was very keen to help them develop this from a QSL managers perspective, after all it was me that needed to process the QSL mailings that the OQRS would give us.

By August 2016 PDXG have come to an agreement with us for us to use the OQRS on our own server for the call signs that we manage. In the four months since then the software has been developed further with new QSL management tools which will help us in the year ahead. The manual time saving has been extremely significant, speeding up QSL mailings, keeping the work more accurate and being able to keep records so that any follow up inquiries can be easily answered.

This has been a significant investment by both the PDXG team and from ourselves, so I would very much like to thank all involved in the OQRS project over the last couple of years to making this come to you live for your interaction with the DXpediitions and call signs that we manage.

Many of your donations have been directed to this project since we went live.

K800 QSL-VK0EKAnother highlight for me in 2016 has been my involvement with the QSL project for VK0EK Heard Island, I learned so much from the team, the whole project was just awesome, from the log updates being live that I could just download a new log update at any time, I could monitor the system for problems and alert the team when required. It was live globally with the VK0EK uploading through a sat link to the headquarters in California and then being converted to be sent onto the DXA. Sometimes I could spot issues happening live that needed the team in CA to be woken up and things to be dealt with quite urgently in their night time and it all worked like a dream.

Amateur Radio is all about self-learning and advancing technology to take us into new times. VK0EK was one of those moments in the hobby that tried new things. It was a great experience for me, and that made me feel very proud in 2016 to be involved. Thank you for having me on board the team!

I would also like to thank everyone who uses Twitter for your involvement to in our QSL work. Getting your feedback has been great, and thank you for all the re-tweets and replies. If you are not on Twitter.com yet, give it a try you can find me @M0URX

Merry Christmas & my very best wishes for a safe 2017 to everyone.

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