QSL Information - QSL Address
I have been licensed since 1967 and held several call signs. So, feel qualified to list my experiences in QSL'ing duties. Thailand has many active operators, so is no longer considered a rare country. Despite this, I personally receive many QSL cards. The monthly figure is difficult to predict, but taken over the time that I have been licensed in Thailand I have logged 57955 contacts, received 8667 QSL cards, with 11,080 LoTW matches as of 20 Nov 2011
QSL cards arrive by two methods, either via the RAST Thailand bureau that are collected from a central distribution point, usually held at the RAST monthly meeting down in Bangkok, by a friend who then posts them to my PO Box in Chiang Mai. Cards are then sent back to the bureau the same way. At this time I do not receive any cards direct from the QSL bureau manager. The second way is to my PO Box, for which my address is well publicized on many DX web sites, including QRZ.com.
Without exception all direct cards arrive with the correct address, I have not been informed of any going astray in the postal system. Being retired, and the post office located across town, mail is collected once per week generally on a Friday. There is no correlation between the numbers of contacts made in any particular month to cards that arrive.
Request for cards dating back some 25 years or more are quite common, for other calls signs held. Occasionally I receive QSL cards by registered mail, this is totally unnecessary, and achieves nothing, save my dislike for extras queuing required to retrieve it from the post office mail system.
I normally try to respond unless otherwise engaged by the following Monday morning where I post the cards at a small local post office to save a trip across town. The turn around time is then only a few days and keeps from building up a bulky backlog.
Before I expand upon the subject of the envelope contents, I wish it to be known that I QSL all cards without exception, and make no request for any remuneration whatsoever.
For me QSL'ing is a multi stage affair, moving from one stage to another. First all envelopes are opened and the contents recorded on the back of each card, and then replaced back into the envelope. Envelopes with over generous enclosures are treated with suspicion; normally it indicates that the sender is unsure of the contact.
The next stage is to generate a conformation sticker from within my DX4windows logging program. One or two contacts are not found immediately by call sign, a date search generally reveals that a portable call was used, or I have made a logging mistake, which is then corrected.
The stickers are then printed and placed in no partial order on my outgoing cards. Next the cards are stamped as confirmed across the sticker. Interesting I have corresponded with the ARRL manager Wayne Mills N7NG on this subject and the reply was that it's a good idea to make the card unique to prevent fraudulent award claims. In such an event the card would be sent to me for confirmation by ARRL staff.
The next step is to match up the incoming cards in the envelopes, to my outgoing cards. Up to this point the cards and contents have remained together. Now for the interesting bit, providing that the envelope contains a self-address envelope the operation is quickly completed. However if no envelope is enclosed I have to make one out from my own stock, this slows down my systems and is a very irritating omission upon the part of the sender.
The next part of the QSL'ing is very labor intense and whilst transparent to the sender, never the less involves my time.
First, if an envelope is included it may be a self-sealing envelope some are OK but generally most reopen after a few minutes, so have to be taped down. Self addressed envelopes do not always show the destination continent, which I have to add myself. Our post office issues a computerized sticky stamp; the operator has to enter the destination continent in order to issue the stamp.
They are not interested, nor are required to know where England, Isle of Man or Finland is, only the continent that the letter is going to. There is no distinction in cost between sealed and unsealed envelopes. I seal the envelope as a matter of security.
About 98% of return envelopes I have to add the continent information myself. Another unnecessary chore is that the SAE sender encloses a none airmail envelope. About 70% are not airmail envelopes so I have to fix a separate blue airmail sticker.
Finally, when all envelopes have been checked correctly, continent destination, sealing, and adding airmail stickers, the last event is to stamp the reverse side with my own return address. I have in the past used printed sticker but now use a rubber stamp and inkpad.
Recently I have received a few requests for addition $$, when QSL'ing myself for cards, which I think, is totally out of order. I personally take the view that should there be no envelope or no return postage or both, I treat this as an omission, laps of procedure, or just new to QSL'ing. This is not to say that return postage in not required, but my view is that the majority that do enclose return postage, pay for the few that don't.
Here is a recap of do's and don't when QSL'ing.