to the RAC - BC (VA7/VE7)
VE7BC is the Manager for the BC QSL BureauThe QSL Bureau manager
for BC is Ken Clarke VE7BC (formerly VE7UQ). Receiving his Amateur licence in
1983, Ken's main interests are contesting and DX, a DXCC member with
200 countries confirmed. He is a member of RAC, ARRL, BC DX Club, and
the Surrey Amateur Radio Club. Ken has a team approach to share the workload and help maintain the
great level of service
What is a QSL Card?
A QSL card is a written confirmation of a two-way
radiocommunication between two amateur radio stations or a one-way
reception of a signal from an AM radio, FM radio, or television
station. QSL cards can also confirm the reception of a two-way
radiocommunication by a third party. A typical QSL card is the same
size and made from the same material as a typical postcard, and many
are sent directly by mail or via a QSL Bureau
The RAC - BC Incoming QSL Bureau is a repository of cards received from
stations, awaiting distribution to a recipient living in British
Columbia, Canada. Please note that this bureau does not receive and
distribute outgoing QSL cards, that remains the responsibility of the
QSL cards derived their name from the Q code "QSL", which means "I
acknowledge receipt." Most are collected by amateur radio operators,
shortwave listeners, TV-FM DXers, and other radio hobbyists. A limited
market exists for older QSL cards, especially those from rare locations
or famous stations, as collector's items.
Amateur radio operators exchange QSL cards to confirm two-way
communications between stations. A QSL card sent from one amateur radio
operator to another contains details about the contact and the station.
At a minimum, this includes the call sign of both stations
participating in the communications, the time and date of the contact
(usually specified in UTC or 'Zulu'), the radio frequency used, the
mode of transmission used, and a signal report. The accepted standard
for a QSL card is 89 mm by 140 mm ( 3½ by 5½
inches). Most QSL cards contain an image, often something associated
with the station or the operator. Please check the featured card page
for a gallery of noteworthy or unusual QSL cards received through this
QSL cards are often required when applying for an
amateur radio operating award. Several alternatives to physical QSL
cards, which must be sent through the mail, were developed in the past
few years. These systems use computer databases to store all the same
information normally verified by QSL cards in an electronic format.
Competing systems differ in their functionality and security
requirements. Different sponsors of amateur radio operating awards may
recognize only one such electronic QSL system in verifying award
applications and many awards sponsors do not recognize any electronic
QSL system. Some awards programs use only electronic QSL information.
Examples of electronic databases are eQSL and the ARRL Logbook of the
World. eQSL even lets you design your on-line card.
To send a QSL to an amateur you have contacted (QSO) you
have two basic choices. QSL direct via the post office or send a batch
of cards to the recipient's QSL bureau. Using the bureau is by far the
most cost effective route but you might not want to wait for the return
How Does the Bureau Work??
QSLing via the Bureau
Using a QSL bureau is by far the least expensive way to
collect QSL cards. Most major Amateur Radio countries have a bureau
where cards are collected from hams within the country and then
forwarded in bulk to the destination country. Using bulk mail to send
your cards to the bureau and for them to forward the cards to other
countries cost much less for postage than mailing individual cards.
Both RAC in Canada and ARRL in the U.S. offer QSL cards outgoing
services for amateurs who are members. Incoming cards can generally be
received whether or not you are a member but membership alone is worth
the cost of the bureau's service. The RAC - BC Incoming QSL
Bureau only accepts incoming cards for distribution to area Amateurs.
To QSL direct you fill out your QSL card and mail it the the person you
contacted. So, if you had a QSO with VE3RAC and you would like his QSL
card, you need to find his address. This can be done by searching an
online callbook such as Buckmaster or QRZ!, or you can use a CD-ROM
callbook from these organizations or others.
Fill out your card, address it, using an envelope to protect it, affix
a stamp and drop it in the mailbox. Usually in a few weeks you can
expect a card in return.
If you are sending a card to a DX contact it is generally good practice
to include a self addressed envelope and return postage. Do not use the
postage of your country as it will not be valid for use in the DX
country. Instead include either a U.S. dollar bill (known by hams as a
green stamp) or an International Reply Coupon (IRC) which you can
purchase at the post office. We Canadians cannot use a loonie to pay
for return postage as it is heavy and therefore subject to theft. Some
countries require more than the equivalent of a dollar for postage. One
example is Germany where you should send two dollars or two IRCs.
Remember that DX amateurs, especially those in rare countries, get a
lot of requests for QSL cards and so it is only fair to them that you
provide the cost of postage.
Active stations often use a QSL manager when mailing to
a foreign country. With some less developed DX countries this is
difficult. Using Managers in Canada and the US makes postage
less expensive. You can often obtain the QSL manager when looking up
the address of the call or on the Internet.
You send a card to a QSL manager in the same way as above. A return
envelope and postage is a must.
Contents of a QSL Card
Some of the content that should be on each card is:
- your call sign
- your name and address
- a place to write:
- the call of the station you contacted
- the date (use DD/MM/YY to comply with most countries). Be sure the
date used is the UTC date (see note below).
- time in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time)
- frequency or band
- mode (SSB, CW, Rtty, etc.)
- a request to QSL or thanks for a QSL received.
Some optional items you might include are:
- your station (maybe even a picture)
- your CQ and ITU zones
- the county you are in
- your grid location (primarily if you operate above 50
If you plan to send a lot of QSLs you might find that using a
computerized logging program such as Ham Radio Deluxe (free) or others
can help you keep track of your contacts and also print labels for your
QSL cards. BC QSL Bureau Manage.
Incoming QSL Bureau Manager
Ken Clarke, VE7BC
E-mail VE7BC at shaw.ca
VE7-VA7 Incoming QSL Bureau
Ken Clarke VE7BC
12441 - 58A Avenue,
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