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Welcome to the RAC - BC (VA7/VE7)

Incoming QSL Bureau

VE7BC is the Manager for the BC QSL Bureau

The 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 individual station.

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 ( 3 by 5 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 bureau.


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.

Sending QSLs

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 QSL.

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.
QSLing Direct

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.

QSL Managers

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.)
        - RST

  • 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 MHz)

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.

Contact Information

BC Incoming QSL Bureau Manager

Ken Clarke, VE7BC
E-mail VE7BC at shaw.ca
Telephone: 604.596.8786

Bureau Mailing Address

VE7-VA7 Incoming QSL Bureau
Ken Clarke VE7BC
12441 - 58A Avenue,
Surrey BC
V3X 1X6

All BC QSL Bureau download material is posted in Adobe Acrobat PDF format only, for version 6 and later. If you do not have a copy of Adobe Reader you may obtain one at no cost at http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html.


2009 BC QSL Bureau
Questions or comments, you can send us e-mail: VE7TI at RAC.CA
Last modified: October 19, 2009