Now, on to tonight's topic. Have you ever wondered what to do when you have made a contact with a station and are ready to send off that QSL card? Should you send it U.S. mail, should you send it direct overseas or what about the AMSAT QSL Bureau. Yes, just like the HF side of amateur radio, the satellite side has their own QSL bureau. It is run by Walt Rader, WA3DMF in Maryland. Unlike the ARRL bureau, the AMSAT QSL bureau is a two way street. You can send all your cards through them for both stateside and overseas and they handle incoming and outgoing QSL's.
If you would like to use the bureau to receive your QSL's, send three to six #10 SASE's with one unit of postage on each. Print your call sign in the upper left hand corner. DX stations include enough IRC's for each envelope. I will give you the address in a minute where to send them so have a pen and paper ready.
To send your QSL cards through the bureau, arrange the cards alphabetically by call sign. Stateside cards are free. All cards outside the U.S. postal districts are 10 cents each.
If you change your call sign, keep the bureau informed. They will also mark each envelope you send them so you will know how many envelopes are left. All mailings are at the end of the month. If you want your envelope sent to you only when there are so many cards in the envelope, immediately below your call sign in the upper left corner, indicate how many cards you desire before mailing to you. Also, when you get a callsign upgrade you will have to keep envelopes with both call signs on file at the bureau in case some late cards come in with the old call.
That's it easy as can be. A free service that can save you lots of money in stamps. If you do not send an envelope for your QSL cards that they have, they will be destroyed after 6 months. What a shame, work so hard for a DX contact and then not spend the 32 cents to get the cards.
Don't let that happen to you, keep some envelopes on file at the AMSAT QSL Bureau. Send your envelopes and QSL cards to AMSAT QSL Bureau c/o Walt Rader WA3DMF 3702 Allison Street Brentwood, Maryland 20722. again that is......repeat address.....
It is so simple to QSL, please do so. Everyone enjoys geting those cards it is real frustrating when someone doesn't send one after promising to do so. If you don't have any QSL cards because you are a new ham or you are getting ready to move and don't want to spend money on a card that will be outdated soon. Do the next best thing.
No one said a QSL card had to be a card. In fact, I have received several that were on 8-1/2 x 11 pieces of paper that included a description of what the ham does for a living and describes the homebrew equipment he made. It was really slick and a change from the regular card. All you have to remember to do is include the time, date, mode, call sign and RST of the station you worked along with your call sign and a signature.
Drop it in the mail and you will make someone quite happy. In fact this way, you never need to print QSL cards and each will be unique. Another ham in Arkansas uses a greeting card program and a color dot matrix printer and his QSL card is like a birthday card, printing on the front, inside two pages and the back. Looks real pretty with the home drawn art work.
I have also received a photograph with the information on the back. And several hams go to the local 5 and dime (which is now the $5 and $10) and get post cards. They then have a rubber stamp that they plaster the back with and fill in the blanks for the QSO information.
Here is a note on mail in Japan. The postage has gone up. It now costs 110 yen to mail 10 grams to the states. A greenstamp is only worth 100 yen. But, an IRC is good for 130 yen. Now is the time to send IRC's instead of green stamps. Keep this in mind when QSL'ing with Japan.
Be original, and have fun doing it but don't neglect your QSL'ing.
Updated 26 March 1995. Article courtesy of Bruce Paige, KK5DO (firstname.lastname@example.org). Feedback to KB5MU.