Bureau QSL’s The Future.

The recent Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all in one way or another, no matter what country we are from whether it is losing loved ones, losing our jobs, being furloughed, or just having to pay more and wait longer for items we buy for everyday use.

Here at the United Radio QSL Bureau the same is true for us, the DX’peditons that had to be cancelled, the one-man holiday DX’peditions, all cancelled, it has been very challenging times. Looking long term, it could be years before the world gets back on track as far as tourism and travel is concerned. I want to make sure that the service that i provide both to DX’ers and to DX’pedtion teams will be here for a long time to come and be able to provide a world class service to all wherever you are.

The most difficult decision I have faced in going forward is how we deal with Bureau QSL requests. Many people who do not understand how the Bureau system works believe the myth that the Bureau is free, and should be free for all forever and ever.

Let me give you some facts: QSL cards have to be printed $30 per thousand, so, 25,000 is $875.
Shipping costs for the last dispatch was $969.

The effects of the pandemic for us, meant that the amount of air freight available to move all the goods around the world just vanished, gone, whole fleets of aircraft sent to the desert for storage and/or possible retirement. Have you considered what this has done to air freight costs? To some destinations I am seeing up to a 300% increase on shipping costs for goods. This means that continuing our Bureau will need to change to better reflect the reality of today. That romantic notion “The Bureau should be free” firmly belongs in days gone by.

I am working with all those that I am QSL manager for and working with those DX’ers to make sure that the policy we choose is right for a good future for the Bureau system.

The first step is to understand that LoTW is the new Bureau QSL. It is free to upload, and for all non DXpedition call signs that I manage all LoTW uploads are done immediately the logs arrive in our Bespoke Online QSL Request System (OQRS). I get so many emails asking when the LoTW will be uploaded? All you need to do is read my QSL policy on my website and you will see that it is automatic or according to the DX’pedition QSL Policy. Some  DX’peditions may also use our “Express LoTW” service.

LoTW for DX’peditions will be determined by the DX’pedition’s QSL Policy. I work with each DX’pedition Team to establish what is right for them. It could be 6 months for non-rare locations or 12 months, or it could be uploaded immediately which our Bespoke OQRS can easily handle.

So, now that you know that the LoTW upload is the new Bureau QSL where does that leave the Bureau QSL?

  • We need you to stop sending or requesting the Bureau QSL where you simply believe that it is “The Final courtesy” It isn’t… LoTW has replaced that.
  • If the Bureau QSL is going to be binned upon arrival at either end of the exchange. STOP. Do not do this anymore. This is mainly targeted at the DL and JA hams, but not entirely, as most Europeans can learn so much from this.
  • As some of you have noticed we have now levied a Bureau QSL charge of $0.30c on OQRS Bureau requests.
    DXpeditions determine their QSL Policy: The QSL Manager implements the team’s policy.
    This was something that I looked at very seriously this year and discussed solutions with many of our teams.

The best way you can support our Bureau is to add a small donation to the request if you are able to. Request Direct route if you can, as this will provide greater support for the Bespoke OQRS and our QSL Bureau for the future.

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Tim Beaumont