Author - Tim Beaumont

Incoming Bureau September 2021

3,200 Incoming Bureau cards arrived from the RSGB Bureau on September 24th 2021.
Cards sorted and processed through OQRS as of today 4th October. You know! You do not need to send Bureau cards for DXpeditions or rare DX. Just use OQRS. You can get your bureau cards 2 years quicker that way!

Brazil – The parcel sent in March to Brazil QSL Bureau was returned for the 7th time. Unable to deliver to Brazil QSL Bureau.
Croatia – Parcel returned uncollected from July. Posted back to the Croatia Bureau 05/10/2021.

International Posting Service for DXpedition Teams.

The United Radio QSL Bureau is a service to assist DXpedition Teams send their QSL mailings at discounted postal costs, so that the team can divert finances to where they are most needed at the DXpedition.

United Radio QSL Bureau has a rather unique international mailing contract with Royal Mail, which has been tailored for the use of UK QSL Management.

The international mailing contract allows our QSL managers to send QSL cards using Business Air Mail for fast delivery of QSL cards Worldwide at Royal Mail’s most competitive international rates.

Our UK based QSL managers have an instant access to the Online Business Account from where ever they are situated in the United Kingdom.

We can deal with all your DXpedition QSL management requirements. Please contact me for further information. 

5Z4VJ Log updated 13/09/2021

The latest log update 1,579 Q’s from Andy 5Z4VJ has been uploaded to Bespoke OQRS.

Andy reports: 5Z4VJ – update – I will be moving QTH this week to a different location in Nairobi so likely to be off the air for a while. All antennas down here now. 170k QSOs in the log. Many thanks all. Especially to Tim, @M0URX for handling all the QSLs!

Band Activity Module / Live logging on Bespoke OQRS

Continuing with our Blog Series exploring the features of Bespoke OQRS and how you as a DX’er or DXpedition Team can use our tools and features to enhance your DX experience. Today we look at the Band Activity Module / Live logging tool which is available for any of the managed call signs on Bespoke OQRS. This feature can be enabled on our “Logsearch Configuration” tool by the QSL manager.

Many DX’peditions like to use a live logging feature which Bespoke OQRS can provide. Live logging can only be a consideration if the location of the DX’pedition has a reliable internet or satellite connection. Many high latitude locations such as Southern Ocean / Antarctic DX’peditions may not have access to satellites that have a reliable connection. Out in the field on DX is a completely different scenario to operating from home few understand that on many islands there is no internet or satellite to upload logs.

If the Band Activity Module / Live Logging is enabled move the mouse over the green spot to see the TX and RX QRG of the station. If no QSO broadcast and received by system for more than 5 minutes than the green colour changes to yellow. It means that the station QRX or lost the network. After 15 minutes if no QSO received the station considered inactive or not connected to the network. If all spots are grey, then no operation or the internet connection is lost at the DX station side.

For our DX’pedition clients using our N1MM-OQRS Gateway, set up is easy. In the event of an interruption to satellite / internet connection the gateway offers unattended operation, (by which I mean that the team do not have to monitor the system for continued operation, leaving all the team for on air activity) so the QSOs are stored in the buffer as soon as the internet connection lost. The upload process of the QSOs from the buffer to the OQRS database will automatically start when the internet connection is restored and the next QSO is logged. Also possible to upload and empty the buffer manually.
Enjoy your DX experience using the tools and features of Bespoke OQRS. Please contact me for more information.

Missing / Busted Call Requests on Bespoke OQRS

Over the last week we have seen how Bespoke OQRS prepares your envelope to maximize the safe transit of your QSL, and seen how Bespoke OQRS manages your LoTW uploads in many different scenarios for ALL call signs managed on the system. 

For a QSL manager one of the biggest jobs to deal with especially during a major DX’pedition is handling the “Missing / Busted call inquiries” in the past this has meant trawling through hundreds or on occasions thousands of emails in the course of the DX’pedition. Here at UR QSL Bureau we no longer accept any emails about logs, it is all done on the Bespoke OQRS Log search page.

  • The first thing you MUST always do when you search for your call sign, is to check the “Last QSO date and time” this is very clear in red text on the log search page.
  • IF the log search is older than your QSO you must WAIT for the next log update.
  • If your expected QSO is not found and the Last QSO date and time is newer than your QSO there is a button on log search called. “NOT IN LOG?”
  • Here you will find the “Log Check Request Form” You can either upload an ADIF with the missing QSO data which is automatically sent to the queue or you can fill in the form and also add up to 200 characters for “pertinent information” 
  • Your inquiry will be sent to my work queue where your inquiry is interactively connected to the logs where i can easily check for log data issues. 
Always remember to be polite, do not be aggressive, missing or busted calls are all part of DX, there are many reasons why this happens.
Emails will not be accepted as you will be sent back to OQRS. This is the best way to deal with inquiries. Our team working through the queue may be anywhere in the world. With your inquiry on Bespoke OQRS we will handle it as soon as we can. 
DX’peditions usually recommend that if you are NIL try again for a good QSO, but only call if YOU can hear the DX!

What is “Express LoTW?” on Bespoke OQRS

In the last blog entry we have seen how Bespoke OQRS design has optimized the QSL envelope to ensure a high percentage of delivery around the world. Now let’s look at another feature of Bespoke OQRS that is very important to both DXpeditions and DX’ers using OQRS.
Express LoTW feature on Bespoke OQRS 
What is Express LoTW? It is a feature that has several configurations set for the type of DX activity.
The configuration of the “Express LoTW” will be taken from the QSL Policy of the DX Team. The QSL manager will then implement the policy through the OQRS Configuration tool on Bespoke OQRS.
  • Log updates to Bespoke OQRS for most call signs will be configured to queue ALL LoTW for immediate upload. 
  • Some major DX’peditions have Pre-Donor Sponsors. An Excel file from the team will be uploaded to Bespoke OQRS prior or during the DXpedition. ALL QSOs for those Pre-Donors call signs will be uploaded to LoTW as each daily log is uploaded. Any QSL requirements of the donors will also be populated at this stage without any work needed to be done by the QSL manager saving a lot of manual labour. 
  • Also for the major DX’peditions, once an OQRS Direct QSL Request has been initiated, the “Express LoTW” feature will automatically queue the LoTW for uploading to LoTW. 
  • There are many DX’ers out there that do not want the QSL, but DO want the LoTW upload and wish to donate to the DXpetition. So some DXpeditions may choose to utilise the “Express LoTW” as an alternative / addition to the QSL request. This can be configured if required. 
The one question i get asked the most is “When will I be uploading to LoTW?” 
The answer is “I” won’t be! Bespoke OQRS uploads to LoTW. Check the QSL Policy of the DX call sign and you will see when the LoTW will be uploaded.

Maximize your QSL return

Postal systems will always have a few letters that get lost for many reasons, incorrect address, badly written addresses, incorrect format, machines damaging letters, incorrect delivery, although mail theft now is so low that it hasn’t even figured in my losses for many years.
Working with the Royal Mail gave me an insight to why mail goes missing, I realized that there are many ways that we can minimize losses of QSL mailings dramatically by understanding how it all works. 

Letters are no longer hand sorted, well very few are anyway. Letters are machine read and machine sorted. So it is critical that you follow these guidelines. So, let’s be clear!

We have designed our Bespoke OQRS with all this in mind to get the QSL to YOU safely. Learning from mail that has been returned especially from the USA where the sorting machines are often not able to sort mail that is not formatted correctly.
As automation increases globally to ever faster and better AI, the more formatting will change in time.

  • Envelopes should always have the recipients address in the lower left of the envelope.
  • Addresses should be printed (not handwritten) using Arial 12 point as the preference.
  • Return address in small print on top left of envelope.
  • Left align the text (no centered or ‘stepped’ lines).
  • Stamp or mailing imprint top right of envelope. 
  • Always use the full address including the full digits of Zip Code and your country name. 
  • Addresses should be written in the format that the machines recognize. There is a very good help page on Royal Mail website for this purpose.  These formats take into consideration how mail is machine read in the destination country.
  • Use standard C6 envelopes 80 – 100 gsm. No other size or shape.
  • Avoid copying PayPal addresses which are often in local language and type that can’t be read by sorting machines.
  • Every postal authority will have its recommendations such as here at USPS. My specific instructions above are for the sending of QSL cards in envelopes from wherever you are posting from in the World. 
Here at the United Radio QSL Bureau we have very few letters that go missing due to our work in QSL management over the years. If for whatever reason your letter from us does not arrive let us know as soon as possible. But please be polite!

Bonaire Amateur Radio Club formed PJ4BAR

As of 2021, there are 9 radio amateurs who actually live permanently on the island and who are also active.

Apart from that at least six PJ4-callsigns were issued to amateurs who live outside Bonaire, but who have an address on the island, so the group have decided to start their own radio club — Bonaire Amateur Radio Club (BAR: club callsign is PJ4BAR).

The club meets weekly at the Tera Cora Ranch from 18:00 hours until late at night. To celebrate this, BAR has organized a field day on the seafront at Sorobon Beach between August 27-29th.
BAR currently has a Web page under construction at: http://www.pj4bar.club
QSL PJ4BAR via M0URX.

Re-posted

Two Bureau packages have been re-posted to Turkey and Belarus after they were returned from their respective Customs for no “Pre-Advice Electronic Data” The IARU are reluctant to provide the data we need to send Bureau parcels because the IARU believe that this data contravenes GDPR regulations.

Since posting these again the Turkey QSL Bureau was again returned by customs. Sorry TA hams… This is a problem that only IARU can sort out. 

There are many countries now that do not allow any import of packages that do not have Pre advice Electronic Data. The Universal Postal Union made it compulsory for ALL International parcels to provide the following data, the recipient’s name, telephone number and email address must be supplied electronically.

However, when reading the regulations, it is clear that “Personal Communications” (QSL Cards) are exempt from the regulations. It is though for the customs of the recipient country to determine if they allow the parcel to be forwarded to the recipient, returned or destroyed. Sending Bureau cards is a lot more complicated these days. 

3Y0J Bouvet 2022

Press Release #4 from 3Y0J team
3Y0J DXpedition to Bouvet Island, November 2022
The 3Y0J team are delighted to inform about our continued effort to activate Bouvet island. After cancellation of the previous attempt due to the ill-fated sale of the vessel Braveheart we decided to continue the effort and search for a suitable and affordable vessel.

Today we announce that we have signed a contract with an expedition vessel with a proven track record and experienced polar crew that will take us to Bouvet in November 2022. The vessel is MARAMA and is fully booked for the 2021/2022 season. The cost is significantly reduced compared to our previous Braveheart charter. With the signing of the vessel contract we will start fundraising immediately. On this journey to Bouvet we have assembled a team of 12 operators and we plan to spend 20 days around Bouvet. The QTH at Bouvetøya will be Cape Fie at the South East part of the island, the only feasible part where a DXpedition can safely setup the camp on rocky ground, we will not set camp on the glacier. We will have a wide area of 150 x 800 ft to setup the camp and the antenna farm.

Back in April 2020 we started our effort to activate Bouvetoya – a Norwegian DXCC in South Atlantic Ocean and also known as the world’s most remote island. In close co-operation with NPI we received the needed permits in September 2020 to activate Bouvetoya, which also included a helicopter permit. We also together with NPI researched and was provided photos that showed a beach landing was possible. In November 2020 we were approached by Intrepid and we joined our efforts. After the sale of Braveheart in June we informed Intrepid that we would continue our effort to activate Bouvetoya and search for a suitable and affordable vessel. Last week we were ready to launch the vessel news to the team members. As we sent out this information it was leaked to Intrepid group which caused Intrepid in a hurry to send out a press release the following day that they would go to Bouvet. The act of the team member came as a big surprise to us, the same did the announcement from Intrepid as they were informed we would continue the project.

As of today we still hold the only valid amateur radio team license specifically issued for the purpose of activating Bouvet (3Y0J). With the NPI permits, the license, the signed vessel contract and a new expedition vessel we’re ready to move forward. The team of 12 operators will fund much of the budget but we also need the global DX Community to support our mission and help us make this important activation of the #2 most wanted DXCC entity. It is only through this kind of support that we can achieve our mission of making 120,000 contacts or more from Bouvet in November 2022. Without support there will be no activation.

In closing, we especially wish to thank our many Foundations, Clubs and Individual donors. Without this kind of support, operations to the world’s rarest entities would not be possible.
You can soon follow our plans from our website 3Y0J.NO (please note change of website to .no ) and the 3Y0J Facebook group.
Thank you,
Ken Opskar LA7GIA, Co-Leader
Rune Oye LA7THA, Co-Leader
Erwann Merrien LB1QI, Co-Leader