The Commercialisation of QSL’ing!

It seems like every day I get emails asking me about costs of QSL’ing, why US$2? Why can’t I send you stamps? Why do you want a SAE? Why does it cost more if I want 4 QSL cards?

These and many other questions are asked regularly, and I do not mind answering these questions as I do understand that many of you simply do not know and I have nothing to hide so it is best to be seen to keep you informed.

Many see this as “The Commercialisation of QSL’ing” hence the title. I am very passionate about QSL’ing, when I went into QSL managing I wanted to do the job well and provide a really good service, and to do that, the job has to be done in a professional manner, it has to be run in a business like way, so yes “commercialisation” is a word that I have to live with.

Why am I a QSL manager?

Many of the Radio Amateurs that I manage QSL cards for have different reasons for needing a manager, for some they would rather be on air working the DX, helping you get a new band, or a new DXCC or IOTA. For others the reliability of the postal service where they live means that they risk loosing more mail than they receive, and for some, a busy hectic life means that they just do not have time to deal with the QSL cards. For whatever reason I am proud to help these guys with the QSL duties. Around 150 different log books are under my care, over 2,250,900 QSO’s are in my log search database.

There are many expenses involved in being a QSL manager, let me just go through a few:

QSL cards: In 2012 paid for 100,000 QSL cards.
Labels: Labels are used both for QSO report details and for postage paid labels. 50,000 labels per year.
Ink Cartridges: Used to print the labels for the QSL cards and envelopes. 200 ink cartridges per year.
Envelopes: With the introduction of OQRS / Paypal, envelopes are used daily. 10,000 per year.
Postage: The biggest cost in QSL’ing.
PayPal: Of the £2 sent through Paypal, 30p goes to Paypal in charges.
Bureau: The posting of outgoing Bureau QSL cards is paid from the QSL expenses account. 30,000 cards per year = £1,600 is printing and postage costs.
Website & IT: is here to keep you informed of the latest news here at the U.R. QSL Bureau, showing that things are “out in the open, honest and open to scrutiny” I.T. is a very labour intensive cost. Keeping the SQL database live for the log search facility and improving other facilities on the site. Website Management & Hosting costs are also NOT free.


Using the Bureau is NOT free by any stretch of the imagination.
All World Bureaus are sent a package from me either every three or four months. These packages are sent DIRECT to the World Bureaus to give you guys the best service possible.

Why don’t I send my cards to the RSGB to send?

As a bulk user I am not eligible to send tens of thousands of cards Via RSGB Bureau. Some of the Radio Amateurs that I am manager for are not British and live in far away places and are not even RSGB members so I am not allowed to use the Bureau to send their cards.

Why don’t I accept stamps?

As you see above, postage stamps are not the only cost involved. US$2 is what I ask, and that money is used to pay for all the expenses I mention above.
United Radio QSL Bureau has an international mailing account with Royal Mail in order to get the best prices possible to send out bulk QSL postings, the money saved again is put towards other expenses. Stamps are not used on these mailings, I use postage paid labels.
Unfortunately many still try to send me stamped self addressed envelopes and these have to be returned Via Bureau. WHY? Because most of the stamped envelopes received fail to put the right postage costs on the envelopes.
I am lucky to be helped by some very kind people in this hobby, my labels and envelopes are supplied to me at very low price by Hollywood Business Supplies. While my Ink supplier INKINKINK.NET also support UR QSL Bureau. Not forgetting of course ON5UR QSL Print Service and Royal Mail.

Because of the discounts I get from my suppliers I can offer you discount on Multi QSL Requests, so you only pay two dollars for the first QSL but if you want twenty QSL cards from stations I manage, and yes many of you do every day! You get those at discount price.

Although run in a “business like” way. Every dollar, every euro and every IRC is used to pay the costs to bring the QSL to you.