Re-posted

Two Bureau packages have been re-posted to Turkey and Belarus after they were returned from their respective Customs for no “Pre-Advice Electronic Data” The IARU are reluctant to provide the data we need to send Bureau parcels because the IARU believe that this data contravenes GDPR regulations.

Since posting these again the Turkey QSL Bureau was again returned by customs. Sorry TA hams… This is a problem that only IARU can sort out. 

There are many countries now that do not allow any import of packages that do not have Pre advice Electronic Data. The Universal Postal Union made it compulsory for ALL International parcels to provide the following data, the recipient’s name, telephone number and email address must be supplied electronically.

However, when reading the regulations, it is clear that “Personal Communications” (QSL Cards) are exempt from the regulations. It is though for the customs of the recipient country to determine if they allow the parcel to be forwarded to the recipient, returned or destroyed. Sending Bureau cards is a lot more complicated these days. 

3Y0J Bouvet 2022

Press Release #4 from 3Y0J team
3Y0J DXpedition to Bouvet Island, November 2022
The 3Y0J team are delighted to inform about our continued effort to activate Bouvet island. After cancellation of the previous attempt due to the ill-fated sale of the vessel Braveheart we decided to continue the effort and search for a suitable and affordable vessel.

Today we announce that we have signed a contract with an expedition vessel with a proven track record and experienced polar crew that will take us to Bouvet in November 2022. The vessel is MARAMA and is fully booked for the 2021/2022 season. The cost is significantly reduced compared to our previous Braveheart charter. With the signing of the vessel contract we will start fundraising immediately. On this journey to Bouvet we have assembled a team of 12 operators and we plan to spend 20 days around Bouvet. The QTH at Bouvetøya will be Cape Fie at the South East part of the island, the only feasible part where a DXpedition can safely setup the camp on rocky ground, we will not set camp on the glacier. We will have a wide area of 150 x 800 ft to setup the camp and the antenna farm.

Back in April 2020 we started our effort to activate Bouvetoya – a Norwegian DXCC in South Atlantic Ocean and also known as the world’s most remote island. In close co-operation with NPI we received the needed permits in September 2020 to activate Bouvetoya, which also included a helicopter permit. We also together with NPI researched and was provided photos that showed a beach landing was possible. In November 2020 we were approached by Intrepid and we joined our efforts. After the sale of Braveheart in June we informed Intrepid that we would continue our effort to activate Bouvetoya and search for a suitable and affordable vessel. Last week we were ready to launch the vessel news to the team members. As we sent out this information it was leaked to Intrepid group which caused Intrepid in a hurry to send out a press release the following day that they would go to Bouvet. The act of the team member came as a big surprise to us, the same did the announcement from Intrepid as they were informed we would continue the project.

As of today we still hold the only valid amateur radio team license specifically issued for the purpose of activating Bouvet (3Y0J). With the NPI permits, the license, the signed vessel contract and a new expedition vessel we’re ready to move forward. The team of 12 operators will fund much of the budget but we also need the global DX Community to support our mission and help us make this important activation of the #2 most wanted DXCC entity. It is only through this kind of support that we can achieve our mission of making 120,000 contacts or more from Bouvet in November 2022. Without support there will be no activation.

In closing, we especially wish to thank our many Foundations, Clubs and Individual donors. Without this kind of support, operations to the world’s rarest entities would not be possible.
You can soon follow our plans from our website 3Y0J.NO (please note change of website to .no ) and the 3Y0J Facebook group.
Thank you,
Ken Opskar LA7GIA, Co-Leader
Rune Oye LA7THA, Co-Leader
Erwann Merrien LB1QI, Co-Leader

August Update

K800 QSL-ZB2TTRobert ZB2TT reports that he is back in Gibraltar and has updated me with a missing 6m log from May. This is now on OQRS and LoTW. Monday’s are always a big day for log uploads here and just this morning i have updated log files for 5B4AHL, PJ4DX, PJ4EL, PJ4EVA, PJ4NX, VK100AF & VK8NSB.
We are now in the last few weeks activity for VK100AF which has produced over 20,000 Qs with almost 50 operators from around Australia from all States and Territories. Double QSL is available on OQRS.

5Z4VJ Andy, has updated me with a couple of logs from July, uploaded to OQRS this morning. Andy is in the UK for a couple of weeks and returns to Kenya later in August.

I have received many emails in recent weeks with inquiries and requesting help, I cannot stress this enough, if you email me, please introduce yourself and use the words please and thank you. I can assure you that it will help your inquiry get a satisfactory solution. Otherwise my delete key gets used. If you have a “Missing / Not in log” Inquiry then in the first instance… CHECK the “Last QSO in Log” on the OQRS log search. If the log is up to date then use the “NOT IN LOG” form. Emails should NOT be sent for this. Please use the form. Your inquiry will be sent to my work queue.
If you are not able to use OQRS and want to send your QSL by post then please always check the QSL Policy for that call sign either on my website or QRZ.com. Insufficient funds will be sent Via Bureau and that includes UK hams too!

Our team continues every month to work to improve and introduce new tools and functions on OQRS for everyone, DX’ers, DXpeditions, Team leaders, satellite operations and QSL Manager functionality. So thank you to our OQRS software guys!

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.

Read More

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.