Category - Blog

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.

Bureau Mailing July 2021

QSL cards have been posted to 103 World Bureaus – Monday 5th July 2021
This mailing is a joint mailing between M0OXO Charles & M0URX Tim. (Thanks Chris G1VDP, also thanks K3ZO Fred)
I would very much appreciate feedback from you when the QSL cards start arriving at World Bureaus or received by hams around the world? 

This mailing had been delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions. The cost of air freight for this mailing is considerably higher due to the lack of air freight capacity at this time. We have had to find new ways to reduce shipping rates and this remains a fluid and an ongoing issue.

The parcels are sent by Priority Business Mail to get to the Bureaus quickly.
Total amount of QSL cards dispatched: 23,804
Via M0URX 9,139,  Via M0OXO 14,050, Via MD0CCE 615, 
Total Weight: 88.328 kgs
Total Shipping Cost: £645.93 – £7.31 per kg. (gross weight includes packaging)

Average postage cost 2.71p per QSL card. Dispatch listed below in grams to each destination.

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Bespoke OQRS Introduces Satellite Features

A big week as far as i am concerned for Bespoke OQRS as we upgrade to Version 5.6.0. The main reason for this update was to introduce the capability for Satellite operation for the first time. I would certainly like to hear from you if you are planning a Satellite DXpediton? Bespoke OQRS is here for Satellite DXpeditions! …. Make us your first choice!

v5.6.0(2021.06.07.)
1.    All the 150 operating modes added in a new table and can be used in the QSO Edit function (modified files)
2.    SAT mode added to upload properly, Edit QSO, Add New QSO, print on the labels the SAT Name, BAND_RX and PROP_MODE=SAT, and also export these fields to adif.
(modified files)
3.    The 3 cm band added and shown properly in log search result, in every lists, tables, labels, exported adif files and emails are sent by OQRS. These changes are very complex and affect most of the files and functions. (modified files:)

United Radio QSL Bureau Update

A few months ago I considered closing the Bureau option on some of my call signs on OQRS as the demands and costs are getting unsustainable. I actually decided NOT to do that and at this current time, all Bureau cards are now ready to be dispatched in the next couple of weeks.
However, the global pandemic has caused a major restriction on air freight worldwide which has led to enormous increases in costs. For example, 10 small packages to ARRL have increased from £14 in total to £103, while the parcel to Japan JARL from £50 to £160, if you multiply the increases to all 90 IARU Bureau destinations the cost is quite a shock to bare.

I therefore had no choice but to introduce a $0.30c charge on Bureau cards on OQRS to help alleviate losses in my future Bureau mailings.

I appreciate to some, this may not be very popular but let me stress, this is NOT about making money. Applying a small charge/contribution will go a huge way to combat the deficit in Postage Costs to World Bureau’s. Without it the Bureau service will cease.
So you think Bureau is free? Since February 2014 we have paid £5,051.05 to get the Bureau cards posted… Free is not a word i recognise!

Thank you for your understanding…

May Activity on the Bands

The QSL room here at the United Radio QSL Management Bureau remains busy. VK100AF – VI100AF continues to air the call signs to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force. There are 47 operators taking part right across the Australian States, each operator has the call sign for two or three days each and at the end of the operating schedule will send me the log update for uploading onto The Bespoke OQRS, Online QSL Request System, and LoTW. Each log is checked carefully before uploading to ensure format is the same on all logs. Each log update records the call signs of the Special Even Stations operator so that when you check  the log search for your call sign, you can also see who the operator was that you worked and therefore which State in Australia that you worked too. Every day the log updates are uploaded to LoTW using a separate “Station Location” for each participating activator so that you will get confirmation of the Grid Locator, CQ / ITU Zones and State for each QSO. There are now over 29,000 Q’s in the VK100 event station logs.

The VK100AF event also features on this months WIA (Wireless Institute of Australia) front cover with an article on page 9 written by Stuart Birkin VK8NSB. Also in this months WIA magazine on page 38 is a superb article written by Charles Wilmott M0OXO on “The world of QSL Management” where Charles explains his history in QSL management. Both Charles and I work closely on our QSL management services to promote and preserve QSL’ing for DXCC and IOTA operations around the world.

There are also lots of other call signs very active in May, 5Z4VJ Andy continues to add abut 1,000 Qs every week from his station in Nairobi, Kenya, in a Tweet from Andy this evening he says:
“@AndyG3AB 5Z4VJ: 150k QSOs now in the log from Kenya (since November 2019) as 5Z4/G3AB & 5Z4VJ. QSO number 150,000 was with Mat san JS1KKY @JA3MIO on 12m FT8 on 15th May. Special thanks to Tim, @M0URX for his hard work answering QSL requests. #5Z4VJ” 

While the resident operators in Bonaire, PJ4BZL, PJ4DX, PJ4EL, PJ4EVA, PJ4KY & PJ4NX continue to be very active most days on FT8 and SSB. VE2CSI also has been very busy on air from CQ Zone 2 in recent months with Steve VE2TKH as the operator. HK3C John in Bogata, Columbia, and TI5/N3KS Kam in Costa Rica. 

In an email tonight 18th May, from PJ4DX, Steve says: “Well, that was a lot of fun! 6m opened here at 1905z with CT, EA8, EA and then at 1914 a solitary SV2. Nothing else heard from the Balkans or Eastern Europe. Then F, CT3, CU etc plus a solitary IK7. The first G was G0OIL at 1937 and for the next hour the waterfall display was simply full of British Isles stations – I was pleased to work GW, GM, GI, GD and EI. Also in there were a few PA, ON, DL and OZ stations, though nothing from SM or LA, plus an IS0 and ZB2TT.

Eva PJ4EVA was chomping at the bit so I handed over to her at 2048. I saw that she also worked many familiar UK calls. I was back on at 2156 and by 2236 the DX opening was over, although Caribbean and a few US stations were still coming in with strong signals.

Good to work G0KOM as I know PJ4 was a new one for Adrian. Sorry to have missed G4IIY, though I’m sure this won’t be the last opening to UK.  Bert PJ4KY was also on and seemed to have an ever bigger pile-up than me (Bert uses a SteppIR MonstIR at 60ft with 6-eles on 6m, I’m using an HB9CV at 6.5m above ground, so I’m surprised he was only 4 – 6dB louder than me). Also QRV were PJ4s NX, GR, EL, and MM.

Finally, I did listen from time to time at the SSB / CW end of the band but only heard two KP4s chatting away, not DXing. No CW signals heard other than the V4 beacon. 73 Steve, PJ4DX”

Just an update now on QSL mailings, we are still seeing the effects of Covid-19 restrictions in many countries worldwide with some delay to a number of destinations. There is a huge reduction in available capacity in freight to all countries which is causing delays to some of our QSL mailings destinations. I have also seen some mail be returned to sender where postal deliveries locally have not been possible. 

Are you planning to be QRV from a DX location? Need a QSL Manager? Please contact me for more details.

VI100AF & VK100AF Update

After 7 weeks on air, both VI100AF & VK100AF continue to be very popular around the bands. Conditions have been poor, making it tough for the team but they have pushed on and successfully now have over 20k QSO’s in the log. Tim M0URX has begun the task of sending out the Special Event QSL cards around the World. The QSL card can be viewed on www.qrz.com.

After an absence of over 25 years, amatuer radio appeared on Air Force Base Darwin on the 31st March 2021 (Air Force Birthday), many stations were worked during the 1 day very special operation of VI100AF. Other special activations have also been completed by team members around Australia, and some future special activations of military locations around Australia are scheduled over the next couple of months. For all the information visit www.qrz.com.

I ask that Dxers please not to email myself or any of the operators on the team for skeds, this is not a Dxpediition, and the team members are volunteering their time and stations when they can to get on air and make a QSO for you possible.

I wish you good luck if in working the special Centenary of the Air Force Amateur Radio Stations in Australia.

73, Stuie VK8NSB  Station Manager – VI100AF & VK100AF

VK / VI100AF QSL Cards Posted

The VI100AF / VK100AF QSL cards have arrived from the printer and all requests up to this morning 10/04/2021 have now been posted.
If you would like ALL your QSOs listed on the QSL you may wish to wait until the end of the SES activity. Otherwise QSL cards will be posted directly as the requests come in.

Thank you to Max ON5UR for the printing and design work of this QSL. 

VK100AF – VI100AF QSL Preview

Thanks to VK8NSB Stuart for working with the RAAF to get full permission to use the images for the VK /VI100AF in celebration for the 100 years of the Australian Air Force. The QSL card has been professionally designed by Max ON5UR. The QSL is now in print and we expect to have the QSL available in a a few weeks time for dispatch.
Each QSO report label will show the operator call sign that you worked.

Brazil Bureau Mail Unclaimed?

Brazil QSL Bureau parcel that we sent last year to the new PY address has been returned endorsed “UNCLAIMED” 

I would like to express my gratitude to LABRE for solving this matter very quickly this week. Today i received the following letter from LABRE:

“Dear Tim Beaumont,
LABRE comes by means of this, to clarify some problems faced by you in sending cards QSL for Brazil.
In March 2014, LABRE transferred the management and treatment of cards coming from abroad to the São Paulo branch, and in that time, the national administration did not inspect or as the
work was being done. In 2020, there was a change in the entire Board of Directors, and we opted for the return of QSL’s management to Brasília, at the address that is currently on the IARU website https://www.iaru.org/reference/qslbureau-2/
Regarding the emails sent by you, we do not know the reason for the non-response because they did not arrive to us, we ask for your understanding and request that you use the email secretaria@labre.org.br to deal with
any matter with LABRE.
We emphasize that there was also a failure of communication between the Brazilian postal service and LABRE, as we did not receive reports that there were packages awaiting payment of taxes for the
completion of submission.
We are also surprised by this occurrence, as we have received several cards from other countries usually. In view of these occurrences, we have adopted the procedure of consulting weekly for
possible remittance from abroad, and with that we hope to eliminate the problems caused.
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused and here we reinforce our longing for receive the cards that unfortunately returned.”

Dear LABRE,
I would like to express my gratitude to LABRE for solving this matter very quickly this week.
I have updated my website blog and added the letter very kindly sent to me by you today.
As far as i am concerned the matter is now resolved, any further loss of mail will be reported directly to you in future.
Regarding the emails, there were many email, and i got the email addresses from the LABRE Website which were obviously incorrect and have now been removed from the LABRE website. So maybe the website was not up to date? I also confirmed the email address with IARU which also gave me the wrong email address for LABRE. Again this matter is now resolved. I will be posting this parcel again to you for your members using “Printed Media Business Mail”
Some of the parcels i had sent to you in 2019 and 2020 that got returned were returned because of the new worldwide Pre Advice Delivery Data that is requested by Customs, Duane. Personal Correspondents such as QSL cards are EXEMPT from these new regulations, but Brazil Duane / Customs do not recognize the parcels as Personal Correspondents and return the parcels to sender. This was what the contents of my previous emails to ask for help from LABRE to allow these QSL parcels through customs / duane. So that was just for your information to help you understand why some of your parcels are required to pay TAX, this is because of the new worldwide Pre Advice Data for parcels, but there should be no TAX to pay on personal correspondents like QSL cards.
Once again, thank you for your co-operation and help. Please stay safe in these difficult covid times.

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VK100AF & VI100AF

The Royal Australian Air Force – 100 Year Centenary. VK100AF & VI100AF
From our modest beginnings in 1921, Air Force has grown into a potent, World class Air Force which Australia relies upon in both conflict and peace. The men and women of the Royal Australian Air Force have achieved great success in serving Australia and its national interest over the past 100 years.

The RAAF was formed on 31st March 1921, to mark this Centenary the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) will be celebrating with two call signs:
VK100AF 1st March to 31st August 2021,  which will be used by a team of Radio Amateurs across the bands around Australia. 

VI100AF 1st March 2021 to 29th May 2021 will be used by Radio Amateurs that are either current or veteran military personnel and some activities may be from military bases.

Stuart Birkin. VK8NSB will be organizing the event that will be aired by many Radio Amateurs across Australia as we celebrate this centenary with you. A team of 40+ operators across Australia will be operating over the next few months.
If you see a ”Not in Log” suggest you check in 3-4 days as logs are only updated every couple of days after each of the 46 operators completes their stint. The log is NOT live.
So… if you work the call today your QSO may NOT appear in the log for 3 or 4 days.

QSL Information: A commemorative 4-sided QSL will be printed for direct QSL requests.
QSL will show the operator call sign worked for each QSO.
OQRS Link for Direct & Bureau QSL VI100AF:
https://www.m0urx.com/oqrs/logsearch.php?dxcallsign=VI100AF  
OQRS Link for Direct & Bureau QSL VK100AF:
https://www.m0urx.com/oqrs/logsearch.php?dxcallsign=VK100AF

Direct: QSL $2 Via M0URX
Bureau: Please only use OQRS. No Bureau route for incoming Bureau
LoTW: Will be uploaded with grid locator, state and zones for each operator.

If you have any questions about the activity, please contact Stuart VK8NSB at: vk8nsb@hotmail.com
For more information about Air Force 100: https://airforce2021.airforce.gov.au/
WIA info:  https://www.wia.org.au/