United Radio QSL Bureau has reached 10 years in QSL management, supporting rare DX and DXpeditions to send out QSL cards direct and through the IARU Bureaus. Times have changed considerably since I started back in 2007.
The way in which DXpeditions have needed to plan their QSL policies, with cost of shipping and vessel charter reaching new levels it has been important to incorporate in our QSL work, ways that we can assist the DXpeditions in raising valuable revenue to help offset some of the high budgets needed. Quite often the DX chaser may not understand why a QSL will cost $5 but for some of the Top Rare DX locations where vessel charter, helicopter and shipping costs are very high it is not just the cost of postage that you are paying.
In 2007 all QSL requests arrived to us by post with dollars and IRC’s which was 100% manual work. Bureau was in our eyes used abusively back then and still is by many in our hobby. The cost of using the bureau is something few of us think about and few rarely think about the cost to everyone else when they send a box of 2,000 cards to their Bureau for processing when you should be asking yourself:
Are these cards wanted by the recipient? No? Don’t send them.
Do I want their cards back? No? Write “Thanks QSL” or “Your QSL is not required!”
Can I request their card by OQRS? Yes, so do it!
Every quarter we receive a box of cards like this incoming from the bureau, most of which are sent to recycling once processed so please use OQRS.
While 3 or 4 times a year we send out to all IARU Bureaus packages weighing a total of 80 kg. Again combining our mailings with others keeps the cost down for everyone.
Using our bureaus responsibly makes it quicker and cheaper for those of us that actually NEED cards Via Bureau. Since 2007 you have requested over a quarter of a million QSL cards through our outgoing QSL Bureau.
As QSLing has become more expensive for everyone in recent years, one of the United Radio QSL Bureau’s objectives was to work with all the UK QSL managers in setting up on Online QSL manager’s posting office so wherever you are in the United Kingdom you can use the Online Business Account to handle your QSL mailings. By doing this we can all benefit from combining our potage costs which gives us 40% discount on stamp prices, and for the bigger DXpeditions some destinations will see a 70% discount on UK stamp prices. This is significant as the bigger DXpeditions can filter more money away from QSL management into the planning and expenses of the DXpediton. It is only in the last 5 years or so that this has really come to the fore as more DXpeditons use the service we annually reach the figure of £10k spend on international post to access those better postal rates.
Other objectives were to provide high quality QSL design and printing this is provided by the services of (Maxi-print) our designer Max, ON5UR.
In August 2011 we opened our first Online QSL Request System which was slow to catch on with the DXing world but once people were able to trust the system and see its reliability, it has now changed the whole dimension of QSL management.
From that OQRS we searched high and low for someone to develop a bespoke OQRS system that would help the DX Chaser, the DXpedition and the QSL manager. It was in 2014 that I had the pleasure of working alongside the Perseverance DX Group in which over the next two years they designed and built that very bespoke OQRS that we so much needed. In 2016 we drew up a contract with PDXG to allow myself M0URX, Tim Beaumont, and M0OXO, Charles Wilmott, to invest in the OQRS and install on our online web service.
This new OQRS has many tools and features that help all of us whether it is to request a QSL, send a busted / missing call form, or to process your requests, in fact the new OQRS saves me about 75% of man hours it used to before, in providing all the QSL management. There is quite a cost saving too because your Bureau requests arrive on line and not through our local QSL bureau. We do not need your cards for any DXpeditions and many of the rare DX do not need your QSL cards so please always use the OQRS.
Around 85% of direct QSL requests now come in online on OQRS.
As well as the people mentioned above, there are also others that have worked with me to provide this service, in the early days MW0JRX Oliver set up and hosted the website and OQRS, and since 2013 M0YOM James has provided our web development and maintenance which has seen nearly 100% uptime reliability. I have worked closely with Charles M0OXO with his own QSL management and together we provide the best and most reliable service for QSL management.
So to all of you thank you for the last 10 years of United Radio QSL Management.