My thoughts about IOTA & Bureau today

IOTA and getting the QSL cards needed!
With another IOTA contest behind us, I was thinking once again how much I would love to chase IOTA and claim awards. But it is way out of the reach in costs of QSL’ing, and this is not just myself but of many others. I have about 150 IOTA’s that I need QSL cards from but nearly all of them are direct only so I feel pretty disillusioned with the whole award program simply because of these costs.
For those of you that were at the recent IOTA convention you will know that RSGB / IOTA have ruled out any log matching facility or use of the ARRL LOTW programme due to the costs involvedI feel it is a great shame as IOTA has a massive captive audience but no or very little investment / support from the RSGB, and this includes how the bureau is currently working.
We need more IOTA DXpedition teams to allow bureau requests, my own experience with the RSGB bureau is that we are constantly told what we can’t send and ironically most of the cards I CAN’T send through the RSGB bureau, are QSL cards for its own IOTA award program. Remember if you are not the licence holder of that call sign you can’t use RSGB to receive QSL cards either, so some of the club activations cannot use the incoming bureau for their “mini” DXpeditions to UK IOTA’s
United Radio Outgoing QSL Bureau
I also know that there are also a lot of IOTA DXped teams that cannot send QSL cards through the bureau as they may not be members of the RSGB and will not join just for this facility. Myself as a QSL manager , I have my own Outgoing QSL bureau facility where if anyone needs to send their IOTA QSL cards to World Bureaus you can do through my outgoing bureau system, though there is a cost of £1 per 100g. Just email me for more details.
With Club Log OQRS this makes it easy to receive and send QSL requests for both the DXer and the DXpeditioner.
This might encourage some of you guys to accept bureau cards as an IOTA QSL option.
You may well say that freeloading has to end and we should pay our way on bureau cards, well that is exactly what I am offering. But it is not just a case of paying your way, but how can you get on the first rung of IOTA? or how can get get the hoards of IOTA chasers out there to actually get involved in the award program.
Is the Bureau too Slow for IOTA program?
Through my QSL manager work I have received MANY comments about the very slow bureau system in recent years, with some of the foreign bureaus commenting that they have not received cards for almost 2 years. This prompted myself and some friends to do some experiments and over the last 2 years we have tested both the RSGB incoming and outgoing bureau system, and with the assistance of some of the worlds bureau system. My own tests show that the RSGB bureau is indeed very slow from here to RSGB members, cards are taking between one and two years ONE WAY with some cards still yet to arrive, and from the results I find most European, North and South American bureaus cards are received in their members post between one and four MONTHS from me sending them direct to the bureau for that country, one Ukrainian station reporting 2 weeks from the date I posted to the date he received being one of the quickest.
So thank you to the hard working Bureaus making such speedy delivery of bureau cards.
Problems reported
I have reported these findings on several occasions to the RSGB board and even highlighted individual problems with the RSGB Bureau but i am always told that there are no problems and that bureau should not be seen as a quick route and there is always an excuse as to why, normally blamed on poor performing Sub Bureau managers who do exceptional work with no reward or praise from anyone. I am also one of those Sub Bureau managers.
Your comments welcome!
Anyway, some thoughts of mine that i am sure may spark some debate. I genuinely want to get the RSGB Bureau back to the World respected bureau it once was but sadly I don”t think it ever will. I am not sure why we think that the bureau takes several years for cards to arrive when from my own tests on outgoing bureau that is clearly NOT true. What the bureau system needs is good traffic management. I am extremly enthusiastic about IOTA and bureau and want this all to work better. It CAN, with your help!

About author View all posts

Tim Beaumont