QSL management in the 21st Century

The year 2020 was certainly a different time for DXing. With fewer DXpeditions, you tuned the bands looking for the elusive ATNOs and band fills. FT8 continued to get traction and LoTW continues to garner new users.

Looking back, OQRS continues to be the tool of choice for DXpedition QSLing and automation now plays a big role in QSL card processing.  As more of you become confident about the security of requesting your QSL cards using The Bespoke Online QSL Request System, our team have worked throughout the year to improve its functions to both DX’ers and DXpedition teams.
As ham radio continues its march into the 21st century, i.e., the integration of computers in and around the ham shack, electronic and cloud logging, LoTW, eQSL, Remote Ham Radio, remote personal stations, etc., so does technology enter the realm of QSL management and the postal system.

OQRS is a “service” and almost all DX-peditions have moved to OQRS, but even services have a cost. Automation drives productivity, by using an OQRS system that’s optimized for automation and cost reduction QSL managers become more efficient.  QSL duties can easily be executed by just one person to do the work. Manual handling of incoming envelopes is labour intensive, wastes paper and is an environmentally bad idea. Thankfully very few people these days choose to request their QSL via post or bureau, instead they use the OQRS.

Donor Management: As the cost of DXpeditions rise, teams must find ways to cover their upfront costs. Many teams now recognize “early donors” with expedited QSLs, early LoTW, and other recognition methods. Our Bespoke Online QSL Request System is optimized to handle early recognition programs by accepting donor information from several different sources.

This function is very important to most DXpeditions, as they often have a huge list of donors that they ask us to send a direct QSL and send an Express LoTW upload. By collating the donation data from PayPal or from direct user input, we can upload donor data directly into OQRS which populates the QSL direct, address and LoTW fields on OQRS for the QSOs for those donors. To do this manually for several thousand call signs would be a huge task, this way the OQRS and LoTW can be updated in seconds.

OQRS Configuration: DXpedition teams establish their own QSL policy, the QSL manager manages the process. Generally, each team will want something different, whether that be a varying cost of the QSL exchange or a variation of Direct, Bureau or LoTW combinations. This we do by providing configuration options for our OQRS system.

Express LoTW: Some DXpeditions often consider using the Express LoTW mode within our QSL request options. This does not replace other QSL methods, but does offer the DXer an early LoTW without receiving a QSL card. More and more DXers are asking for this option as the QSL card itself isn’t important to them.  Our OQRS system processes Express LoTW requests daily and sends the Qs to LoTW. This option was added by request of the DX chasers not by the DXpeditions teams but both get something out of it.

Statistics: On hand for the QSL manager we also have an extensive Statistics page for each call sign. This can be provided upon request by the DXpedition for their analysis.

Batch Bureau ADIF Request: Many expeditions also ask us to provide early Buro QSLs to members of a Foundation or Radio Society in return for a large donation to the DXpedition. This is provided by a single “Standard ADIF” file from the Foundation which we can process as a “Batch Bureau ADIF Request” which adds the society to the “QSL Via” field and we can then print out the labels and send the final QSL cards direct to the Foundation HQ for distribution as a thank you for the donation.

SWL: Is still a very important part of Amateur Radio despite the migration of the broadcast stations on shortwave. A large number of SWL requests are received for every DXpedition and these are managed by email, once verified can be added to the OQRS using “Add New QSO” function on the ADMIN tools. The SWL QSL is then queued ready for the next label print run. I do now ask if you are a SWL please provide 3 consecutive QSO’s worked by the DX so that i can more easily verify your QSL. The integrity of the SWL program is important to me.

The advantages to the DXer to use OQRS should be obvious for all to see. You can be sure that all your QSO’s are safely in the log, accurately requested and processed by upstream systems.

Not in Log: E-mails, e-mails and more e-mails are a huge challenge for QSL managers. It’s not unusual for a QSL manager to get tens of hundreds of e-mails about Not in Log or busted calls. Typically, the e-mails contain screenshots, log entries, or long explanations. It takes an incredible amount of time to sort through the e-mails and understand the issue.

Our Bespoke OQRS system provides you with the “Not in log” form. This form is sent to my work queue where I can investigate logging issues directly in OQRS. This saves me having to wade through endless lines of unwanted text, images and logs in the e-mails. I can fix the issue send a reply to the claimant and on to the next enquiry.

One request is allowed for the same station and for the same DXpedition log. The best practice is if not in log then work again or wait for the end of operation before completing and sending the log check request form.

Working with teams like the Perseverance DX Group (PDXG) has enabled me to guide my QSL management development to streamline the OQRS processes and make every process quicker, more accurate and secure.

Automation of the QSL process comes at a small cost of course so it is not free. Hiring professional programmers, hosting applications and server and software maintenance each come with a cost.  I also invest in computer hardware, replace printers regularly, toner, card, envelopes, storage, and bureau expenses.

With automation of the QSL process and our seamless integration with the postal system we minimize expenses by using pre-sort, printed postage, and standard size envelopes.

As we’re seeing in our everyday life, electronic communications have greatly reduced the amount of paper we receive in the mail. Handling incoming QSL cards, non-standard envelopes, foreign currency and even IRCs actually adds cost and slows the process. I even receive “used” stamps (cancelled) which can never be reused. Our international mailing contract ensures that our teams get the very best postal rates.

When we receive a direct mailed request with insufficient return postage a decision will be made on the returned QSL. It might go direct at the DXpedition’s expense, or it might go back through the Buro. Each situation is reviewed and handled differently.

So, the march to seamless automation and the integration of disparate systems continues in your day-to-day life and in our world of QSL management.

Please contact me if you have any questions about our service or the Bespoke QSL Management System.

VK100AF & VI100AF Press Release

The Royal Australian Air Force – 100 Year Centenary. VK100AF & VI100AF

Since both VI100AF & VK100AF hit the airways on 1st March 21, 18 of the 46 operators have now used the VI100AF callsign for a total of 4661 QSO’s.  12 of the 46 operators have used the VK100AF callsign for a total of 3612 QSO’s. The bands have not been the best, but the operators are working hard to ensure that they are active as much as possible during their allocated period with the specified callsign. Log books are uploaded to OQRS & LoTW the day after each operators allocated time, so please if you see a ” Not in Log ” , try again in a few days’ time, but in the meantime work the station again if you’re not 100% sure of the QSO.  The QSL Card is now being finalised with the designer and will be at the printers very soon, we expect to be sending the QSL card out in late April.
QSL Information: A commemorative 4-sided QSL will be printed for direct QSL requests.
OQRS Link for Direct & Bureau QSL VI100AF:
OQRS Link for Direct & Bureau QSL VK100AF:

Direct: QSL $2 Via M0URX
Bureau: Please only use OQRS. No Bureau route for incoming Bureau
LoTW: will be uploaded.
73,  Stuie VK8NSB, Station Manager VI100AF & VK100AF

PJ4BZL QSL Preview

Welcome to Berry PJ4BZL in Bonaire to the United Radio QSL Bureau. Berry is mostly active on FT8 mode. QSL is now being printed and will be available shortly.
The log has been uploaded to LoTW.







VK100AF & VI100AF Logs

VI100AF & VK100AF logs will be uploaded to OQRS as the operators send me updates. So there maybe other operator logs still to be updated. Please do not send inquiries about missing or busted Qs at this time. Please wait until all logs are in for the week.
You can check on the OQRS Log Search to see who the operator was by hovering the mouse over the QSO. Over 40 VK operators are involved in this Special Event Station from all States.

Welcome to PJ4BZL

Welcome to Berry PJ4BZL in Bonaire to the United Radio QSL Bureau. Berry is mostly active on FT8 mode. QSL design has been requested and will be available shortly.
The log has been uploaded to LoTW.

Log Updates & QSL News

After a delay at the customs border, I am pleased to report that the PJ4EL & PJ4EVA QSL cards arrived today. All QSL requests were posted this morning sorry for the delay.
Sunday and Monday are usually busy for log updates here, 5Z4VJ Andy’s log was uploaded, FOC contest log now uploaded. Other logs uploaded are 5Z4PA, HK3C, PJ4DX, PJ4EL, PJ4EVA, PJ4KY, PJ4NX, TI5/N3KS, VK8NSB & ZB2TT.
Please always take note of the “Last QSO In Log Date & Time” which is highlighted in red on the log search. If your QSO is AFTER that date please wait for the next log update.
OQRS is open:

Mailing updates

83 letters have been posted today with OQRS up to date. With the exception of PJ4EL & PJ4EVA, these printed QSL cards are currently still stuck in customs awaiting clearance. The delays are due to the new UPU customs regulations and also due to severe Covid-19 restrictions. Sorry for this delay out of my control. As soon as the cards get delivered by the courier i will get the requested cards posted.

PJ4EL QSL Preview

Here is the new QSL design for PJ4EL, Erwin  in Bonaire. QSL designed by Max ON5UR. QSL is now being printed and will be available very soon.
Erwin is mostly active on FT8 or FT4. PJ4EL OQRS Open





PJ4EVA QSL Preview

Here is the new QSL design for PJ4EVA, Eva in Bonaire. QSL designed by Max ON5UR. QSL is now being printed and will be available very soon.
Eva is mostly active on FT8 or FT4.
Some delay to QSLs being sent out due to Covid-19 restrictions, Brexit & the new UPU customs regulations all have impact in January and ongoing. You will be able to see on OQRS if your QSL is in “Queue” or “Sent” by searching your call on log search and click QSL request.
You can find out more about Eva and her husband PJ4DX, Steve, by clicking on this link.
QSL Via M0URX OQRS open.