The end of QSLing as we have known it might be upon us

WOW – drastic measures taken here @G3TXF.

The same feeling grabs ahold of me as many many years ago (2008? 2009?). W4PA, who was still very actively blogging about his contesting adventures, told us that he had thrown away his gigantic complete QSL card collection. Just like that, out of the blue, stone cold, good riddance.

Not that I don’t understand. But it still feels awkward. I see these thousands of cards as a burden. A burden to send (prepare, sort, pay), and a burden to receive (process & reply to). Then a burden to stock them somewhere.

Yet paper QSL cards are (have been?) a substantial part of our hobby. A hobby that has seen so much change since I discovered it in 1999. I don’t care for DXCC and awards. I use LotW and Clublog to see when it comes to statistics.

QSL cards are nice for those who just start in the hobby. Everything is new and exotic. After a decade of contesting and LotW, it’s something else. The old timers warned me about that when I was a rookie…

So why does it feel weird to me that people toss their collection into the recycling bin?


3 replies on “The end of QSLing as we have known it might be upon us”

QSLs were a part of early radio, when 2-way communication between radio amateurs was rarer and deserving of confirmation. One-hundred years ago that was the case. Today, that is not so. Many modes and many frequencies along with cutting-edge equipment practically guarantee a QSO at some time of day…if the station is 100% equipped to take full advantage of what is legally permissible. A dozen QSOs are possible nearly every day if the operator has the time. Might as well QSL a phone call.

Which is one of the reasons I am 100% QRP CW. No guarantees with my 5-watt or less transceiver (HW-8/K1) to my 20-meter band PAR wire antenna.

Too old and tired to QSL the traditional way but an e-QSL account helps.

Oh, the recycling bin? It’s called letting go.

Hello Franki, I threw away most of the QSL cards except some of the better ones and from special DX. I don’t feel sorry about that and I don’t regret. I collected them for years but the pile gets too big. In this internet age it’s not necessary anymore to confirm with paper and expensive poststamps. It’s better for the environment as well to not use paper. Still I get a lot of paper QSL cards via bureau. Especially Germany is on top with paper QSL here. Why? Germany is a modern country, still many stick to old fashioned QSL. Could be something to do with the age of the average HAMradio operator? You probabely now I developed the QSL code of Conduct some years ago. I still QSL 100% the way I received it. But it is not very often that I QSL first. I really like the digital way of QSLing. It’s cheap, fast and better for the environment. 73, Bas

I’m like Bas – I only keep the interesting QSLs I get via the buro anymore and threw my boxes of uninteresting QSLs into the recycling 5 years ago.

Interesting has 2 dimensions for me:
1. Attractive card – like the LZ churches with stained glass ones.
2. Confirms some award I might chase in the future – IOTA, US Counties, etc.

Less than 10% of incoming physical QSLs meet those criteria! Heck, over 50% aren’t anything more than a plain postcard with QSO information – why would I ever look at that again?? A big chunk of the rest are just stock images, same thing.

LotW is the way to go for most awards, I also upload to eQSL for the CQ awards – and I do occasionally look at the QSL images on eQSL – but again,90% are not very interesting to look at.

I would like to see LotW add the QSL image kind of thing, but the reality is with, much easier to use the “pull” method (I go look at them) than the “push” method of dead trees being snail mailed around the world!

I do still return buro cards 100%, but switched over to GlobalQSL. Costs me about the same but much less work.

73 John K3TN

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