QSLing Policy


I am currently in the process of clearing a backlog of QSL cards which arrived from the RSGB QSL Bureau over a month ago.

I wish to let fellow SOTA chasers and activators know via the SOTA reflector that whilst I do collect QSL cards and return them to senders via the RSGB bureau, from now on I will only send a return QSL to confirm a band slot or a mode slot for any station who sends me a card the one time. If I operate outside of England which I do several times a year, then the same rule will apply, you will get a QSL confirmation for a contact with GW4OBK/P and G4OBK/P etc one time each for each band / mode slot for all countries I operate from. So if you worked me on 20m CW as G4OBK twice on that band - mode in 2014 and in 2015 you will only receive one QSL for first QSO completed.

This QSL policy is to reduce the sending of more cards than I need to - with an eye on the cost of printing and postage in particular.

73 de Phil G4OBK

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In general, do people QSL SOTA contacts? I don’t unless specifically asked for a card (usually from a non-SOTA person).


DO mine via E mail.

As no afford paper QSL but do get the odd one via postal service and always get a good local View card and reply with details on rear.

All I ask is when peoples or activators send me E-Qsl.s is to include the summit ref with in the comment box. Not worried if people no reply that,s up to them but grateful to those that do.

And I don’t blame you Phil can get expense


Yes Ed, a lot do - repeatedly, a few op’s do this for each summit visited, which is why I posted this message!

73 Phil

I have 100+ qsl`s from some ops which I have replied to. However I do give my thoughts on the subject on my qrz.com page. Must send some envelopes to the buro as I think they may start disposing of my incoming cards with their new policy.

Hi Phil,
you didn’t mention the LOTW facility which I know you are using.
I generally do not need any QSL cards unless it happens to be for a new bandslot for the DXCC Challenge, and even there the LOTW facility has provided a few SOTA-based confirmations without the need for a paper card of any kind.

Hello Phil,
I agree too!
IARU recommend : no more paper qsl; use LOTW or E-qsl.
On my last paper card i have printed "pse no more paper qsl"
some OM sent me more than 100 cards!!!
73 Gerald

That is why I only use EQSL Now.
After 55 years in the hobby I am not interested in awards or paper QSL.
What I do is put all my EQSL cards in a folder and make a screen saver slide show.
Makes for interesting talk when guest come into the shack and see them.
Even had a few get interested in the hobby after seeing them.
I ave different folders CW, SSB, DX and SOTA so I can change my slide show.
Dow (W4DOW)


Try being in a more “rarer” entity. There are maybe 350 licenced operators in VK1 of whom there are maybe less than a hundred active on air - less than that on HF and probably no more than ten who are regularly active with a good signal to the DX chasers.

As a result I get large amounts of cards - both by the buro and direct. Until I implemented the policy of replying to cards sent direct only when a contribution was made to the return postage (as highlighted on my QRZ.com page), I was receiving maybe 15 to 20 a week - which at $2.65 return postage per card quickly added up to a tidy sum of money. Since then, I have seen a significant reduction in cards received direct and almost all have included a contribution to my costs - those received without a contribution are replied to via the buro. May sound harsh, but it is an economic reality for me. Of course, cards received via the buro are also replied to via the buro unless the sender specifically notes they don’t want one in return.

I much prefer people to use E-qsl and LOTW - not only is this much quicker (I upload my log weekly), but there is no cost to this option. Just wish that people would work out how to log the time in Zulu and not their local time! I find that the QRZ logbook is clunky and not easy to use so no longer use it - my apologies to those who want confirmations there, but this is not an option with me and please do not bother asking for it.


Great idea with the slide show Dow, I use shots from SOTA peaks for my slideshow desktop backgrounds.

In general, I don’t mind receiving paper QSL cards and if I receive them, I will print a (unique) one and send it back direct, but there’s no sense in getting multiple cards from the same station for each SOTA contact - the SOTA database providdes the way to confirm a QSO in the logging system.

I wonder how difficult it would be to write an app that can generate a QSL card for a requested SOTA contact? I’m suggesting an app that the person wanting the card could run from their PC, it would access the SOTA database and probably qrz.com, check the contact is confirmed and generate a QSL card as a Jpeg which could then be saved or printed. Now before anyone asks - I am no longer programming, so I could not produce such an app myself.

I also use eQSL but not LOTW. Is that available for non-ARRL members? I dropped my ARRL membership about a year ago. I believe for DXCC you have to use LOTW, is that correct, or is it just quicker using their system?


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I remember over ten years ago when first heard about Eqsl.
Reactions were gen of never use it and why etc.
Now use it all time.
Time have changed.

QRZ logging handy, input the call and all worked details pop up no long time spending flicking through books and books of written logs. Yet old habits die hard still keep paper logs :smile:Karl

Hi Ed,

I use both eQSL and LoTW. You do not need to be an ARRL member to use LoTW, but it is quite complicated to sign up … you have to send a lot of documentation through the post to ARRL HQ. I even had to send a copy of my driver’s licence!

Both eQSL and LoTW are fraught with difficulties if you are QSL-ing from more than one location (i.e. different QTH locator grid squares).

Finally, you do not need to use LoTW to claim for DXCC. You can use paper confirmations, or only LoTW, or a combination of both.

eQSL is more popular outside of the USA than LoTW. I make most of my DX contacts on digital modes now, and more than 95% of stations who are active on digital modes use eQSL! As Karl says, it has really taken off in the past couple of years.

Also, eQSL allows you to print any incoming cards if you choose to do so, which I think is a nice feature. In LoTW there are no QSL cards at all … your contacts are just added to a database which you can access on the website to see if your log matches the other guy’s log.

Walt (G3NYY)

ED I got LOTW but dont use it very much.
As far as I know you DO Not have to be ARRL member to use LOTW
I been a Life member for many years and dont think you need to be a member for that service.
As for th App not sure on that .
I use TRX Manager and LOG4OM software and bot are sent to send out EQSL on each contact
when it is entered into my log.
Take care and 73 de W4DOW

[quote=“G3NYY, post:12, topic:11996”]fraught with difficulties if you are QSL-ing from more than one location[/quote]LotW mostly has that cracked, though you do have to split your ADIFs by location (or use the date/time window to select QSOs). eQSL, on the other hand, soon becomes unmanageaable if you actually try to maintain accurate QTH information.

Both, however, are fussy about the accurate recording of complete callsigns including suffixes, so adding a “/P” that wasn’t given or removing one that was will result in an un-confirmed contact.

73, Rick M0LEP

Hmm, and I guess someone from Canberra (VK1) operating in Victoria (VK3) and signing VK1abc/P3 will really mess things up.

Thanks for the comments guys. I still don’t have the urge to register for LoTW but have been registered on, and use occasionally eQSL. Actually LoTW was the late-comer to the party I think, there were a couple of electronic QSL options around before tthe ARRL brought their version into the field.

I wonder if eQSL could be adapted to access the central SOTA data, given it already has the capability to print paper cards for those who want them?


[quote=“DD5LP, post:15, topic:11996”]signing VK1abc/P3 will really mess things up.[/quote]…but not half as much as if they go into South Australia and start signing VK1abc/P5 :wink: GD&R

(…and before anyone starts jumping up and down, of course /3 and /5 would be the correct suffixes…)

73, Rick M0LEP

Yep - can be a royal PITA to be polite about it. I have e-qsl’s sent to me with a number of combinations including VK1/, /VK1, /1, /P, /P1 and variations of that for VK2 and VK3. For the record I use my callsign only for operations in VK1 (no /P) and VK2/VK1MA in VK2 and VK3/VK1MA when in VK3. Everyone seems to have a variation of their own which can make for interesting times when getting the logs sorted out!


I would hate to have to write or manage and international logging or QSLing system - here’s another “Quirk”.

The ACMA (the Australian equivalent of the FCC or OFcom etc.) in their online guidance for Amateurs visiting Australia state that the callsign used should be the home callsign SUFFIXED with the state code - so for example K6abc/VK3 but the CEPT standard under which the reciprocal licence may run (and I believe the WIA instructions) say the other way around - the actual country (or state) of operation should be the PREFIX of the call used - so VK3/K6abc.

Plus in some countries, you no longer need to use /P when portable, in others it is required.

What a nightmare for any international logging or QSLing systems!


[quote=“DD5LP, post:18, topic:11996”]Amateurs visiting Australia state that the callsign used should be the home callsign SUFFIXED with the state code[/quote]Last time I visited they didn’t require the number, only “/VK”, but there was some inconsistency between what ACMA and WIA were saying, which made it very confusing…

In Kenya the licence is clear; you must sign with /M if you’re mobile, and with /P if you’re at a fixed station that’s not your main station address (which, for a visitor, is the place you’ve told the authorities will be your base in Kenya). You also have to give your location to 5km accuracy if you’re not at your main station address, which is a bit tedious for /M operation…

73, Rick M0LEP

Do you have a reference for that? Just curious.

I still prefer paper QSL cards, even though I do not chase awards, and shun the electronic systems with DCL being the only exception, and that only as a byproduct of submitting the odd contest log every now and then. The reason is simple: as the saying goes, “paper is patient”. You are not stuck with any formats imposed by an online system, and you can write as much additional information on the card as fits on it (you can write an awful lot on 126 cm², and that’s only one side of the card), in particular anything that the online system does not have provision for.

I am mostly interested in the details of the location of the station I had a QSO with, and am perhaps a bit of a geography nerd, in that I keep records of districts, postcode areas, mountains, map squares, … that I have “worked” and “confirmed”. If there were an online QSL system that can deal with any type of QTH information, with any sort of reference used by amateurs somewhere that could be of interest, including national or regional specifics that vary from country to country, I’d happily use it. It would probably need to let users add data fields, because you cannot think of everything from the outset. But there is none that can do this, as far as I know.

And of course, I send QSL cards for SOTA contacts, always hoping that the reply will tell me a bit more about the location. There is usually more to it than a country and a reference …

73, Jan-Martin