FAO UK Hams – How to send a QSL card

I have noticed that many new hams in the United Kingdom are not aware of how to send QSL cards to ensure they get a 100% reply. So here are a few tips to help you along the way.

1) Use a Self-Addressed Envelope SAE for the QSL to be returned to you.

2) Enclose US$2 – this pays for postage, ink, labels and other items that are needed in QSL management. Never send a QSL without covering the return costs.
NO stamps or IRC’s Sorry!

3) All QSOs should be neatly listed either on one QSL card or on a piece of paper attached to the QSL card.

Now let’s look at what should be on your QSL card. Many QSL cards are used to claim awards, this means that your QSL card should contain at least the very basic details.

1) Your call sign, name and mailing address. Call sign should also be on the back.
2) The country name “England” should be clear. Not everyone will know that Hinckley Bottom is in England.
3) IOTA (Islands On The Air) MUST have the Island name printed on the QSL so “Mainland Great Britain” should be shown. You can also add the IOTA reference: EU-005.
4) CQ Zone: 14 ITU Zone: 27 should also be on your QSL for CQ & ITU Zones awards.
5) It is also helpful to add your Maidenhead locator: mine is IO92fj it is common that the last two letter suffix       be in lower case.
6) WAB: Worked All Britain is another award where it is helpful to show your WAB area mine is SP27. You      can also add your book numbers too.

7) This is most important! If you are using a photograph on the QSL, use HIGH RESOLUTION digital images.       Low resolution or scanned images will not work in QSL reproduction, they will be pixelated or grainy or           both. The same for logos, use high resolution logos.

Do not assume that the QSL printer will add such detail. To be honest QSL designers / printers that do not add the data or advise you about such information should not even be designing or printing QSL cards. So think about your design AND what text must be written on it.


Further to the above post. All UK hams that do not provide US$2 for the QSL costs will be sent this letter with their QSL card. We hope that this will help UK hams understand that you must provide QSL costs to receive the QSL direct.

Thank you for the QSL card, I am pleased enclose our QSL card for you.

I would like to remind you that QSL Via M0URX = US$2 – I am sorry that I am not able to accept UK postage stamps or IRCs.

There are three reasons for this:

1)            Stamps are the most expensive way of getting QSL cards to you.

2)            Postage is only ONE of the costs involved in QSL management.

3)            I am not able to use IRCs for postage.

Please let me explain, sending over 10,000 letters every year using stamps is not a cost effective way to provide QSL management.

All my mail is posted on a Royal Mail Online Business Account. This account is accessed by several UK QSL managers from all over the UK. Together we are spending over £20,000 a year on postage to the UK and the rest of the world. This means that we have access to the most competitive rates in the postal industry.

As a QSL manager I have to follow certain rules set out by the IARU:

IARU Region 1 QSLing Code of Practice From Chapter 10.5 of the IARU Region 1 HF Handbook available at the IARU – Region 1 website

“1. Any DX station appointing a QSL Manager must ensure that satisfactory arrangements are in place for receiving and responding to incoming bureau as well as direct cards. Adequate publicity must be given to such arrangements.”

As a QSL manager I am not permitted to use the RSGB QSL Bureau. Because of this I had to set up my own outgoing QSL bureau to send QSL cards to all World IARU Bureaus at my expense. It is the discounts that we get from the mailing account, especially from major DXpeditions that finance the United Radio Outgoing QSL Bureau.

DXpedition sponsors have terms and conditions that I have to adhere to as QSL manager requiring me to provide a service above and beyond the cost of postage.

There are also many other expenses in QSL’ing such as QSL printing, labels, envelopes, IT, computer hardware, and software.

Thank you for reading and I hope that this explains why it is so important to provide US$2 for the QSL costs.

Thank you!



About author View all posts

Tim Beaumont