[Moon-Net] EME QSL Etiquette question

Simon Lewis gm4plm at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 22 21:57:30 CET 2016

This one comes up occasionally on DX forums too.

I guess the question is what you want to do with QSL’s?

If your just collecting cards personally and on EME then I can pretty much know the callsigns I work and I know if a card is genuine.

On HF I’d get all sorts of QSL cards in and occasionally the QSO data would be invalid – that card would end up in the bin.

There have been occasions where cards have been faked for awards but I’d say that invariably come to light as has been the case recently where a high profile DX’rs QSO’s were false and that person suffered the consequences quite publically!

In effect if your not worried about the physical card then Log Book of the World from ARRL offers one option for electronic confirmation exchange. Its quite easy to set up and is protected by digital signatures.

Actually my logs are uploaded automatically to LOTW inc my EME QSO’s.

Beauty of this is no post, no SAE .. no $ - but no physical card. And I don’t need to send my cards to a checker – which in NZ is limted to a few validated ARRL card checkers.

There are a number of other electronic QSL systems like EQSL and some orgs also accept QSO’s from their system subject to some rules.

So I guess the question is simple – chasing awards then it needs more rigour – but you can always find people who will cheat but I think they only cheat themselves.

LOTW is a good option – more people signing up all the time and growing popularity.

Paper is still ok – and nothing wrong with doing an EQSL – the other person can print it off if they like – but just be wary if you suddenly in the future start chasing awards – they are liable not to be accepted by some orgs.


Simon ZL4PLM

Sent from Mail<https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=550986> for Windows 10

From: Bob Atkins<mailto:ka1gt at hotmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, 23 November 2016 9:44 AM
To: moon-net at mailman.pe1itr.com<mailto:moon-net at mailman.pe1itr.com>
Subject: Re: [Moon-Net] EME QSL Etiquette question


When you say "No point in sending email JPGs for QSL cards, not valid for any award, as could be forged so easily" I sort of see the logic, but QSL cards aren't watermarked, don't use special paper and don't have serial numbers or special printing like banknotes. So what distinguishes between a "genuine" card vs a "forgery"? If it's the hand written content on the card,  it would be fairly easy to copy a card digitally (erasing any hand written content using an image editor), then print it out and fill in the contact details by hand. Forging a QSL card would be a trivial thing to do. I'm reasonably experienced at digital image editing, but I think I could "fake" any QSL card in a few minutes If I had a sample to copy.

I don't send a lot of cards, so I print each one from a JPEG file myself. I do enter the text by hand and sign it, but it would be just as easy to enter script text digitally and use a digital copy of my signature.  Lots of organizations accept copies of signatures. For example you can FAX signed legal documents and the signatures are valid. Through cryptography and public and private keys, any digital file can be authenticated with near absolute certainty and it would be possible to print a digital signature key

The logic of not regarding a printed, emailed, QSL card as "genuine" seems pretty flawed given current technology but I guess some people and some organizations get pretty worked up about awards. Personally I don't care about awards. If I know a card is a valid card, I don't care how I get it. But rules are rules I guess. If an organization requires "genuine" QSL cards and (assuming that can tell what a "genuine" cards is) you need to give them what they require.

For a hobby using such advanced technology (especially for digital EME), it seems a little ironic that the only accepted for of proof of a contact is a piece of paper physically sent through the main!

Looks like the best way to deal with QSL cards is to send a QSL with a SASE and not to expect 100% return. I return a card to anyone who sends me one, but I'm in the fortunate position that it's not a financial burden to me (and I don't make that many contacts anyway!).

Thanks for the update on QSLing




From: David Anderson <david at gm4jjj.co.uk>
Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 7:36 AM
To: Bob Atkins; moon-net at mailman.pe1itr.com
Subject: Re: [Moon-Net] EME QSL Etiquette question


A few points.

IRC are useless now, post offices don't issue new ones and are reluctant to honour them, they see so few they don't know what they are. Often people send ones that are out of date and they are really worthless. Green stamps don't expire.

Some stations offer the ability to pay via PayPal via OQRS where you can request a card direct without sending one. You have the choice of asking for a free card but it will be sent via the Buro and won't be quick.

No point in sending email JPGs for QSL cards, not valid for any award, as could be forged so easily.

You are right, due to the number of contacts now, it can be a real burden in time and money to QSL for many DX stations. Postage rates are much higher than they used to be.

So QSL only if you are asked to by the other station, or if you need a card for an award or new DXCC State locator etc.

Always check QRZ.COM<http://QRZ.COM> for QSL details of the DX station first, don't assume they use the Buro, eQSL, LOTW or anything.
Callsign Database by QRZ.COM<http://qrz.com/>
Includes news, searchable callsign database, license renewals and updates, DX spotting reports, APRS resources, clubs, solar report, and links.

Consider joining LOTW, you don't need to be an ARRL member.

For regular non EME contacts I ask for return postage in US $ or Euro and a SASE for direct cards. Or the card goes via the Buro, but it won't be quick. I accept OQRS payment for direct card requests without a card being received.

For EME only I am happy to QSL direct without charge at present, I may review this if I become very active. I don't send cards out unless requested, or I especially need a QSL for some reason. I use LOTW and eQSL, but actually wonder why I use eQSL as it isn't valid for awards, but LOTW is.

Once again, the most important thing is to find out how the other fellow handles QSLing, and the place is QRZ.COM<http://QRZ.COM>.
Callsign Database by QRZ.COM<http://qrz.com/>
Includes news, searchable callsign database, license renewals and updates, DX spotting reports, APRS resources, clubs, solar report, and links.


David Anderson GM4JJJ

On Tue, 22 Nov 2016 at 07:49, Bob Atkins <ka1gt at hotmail.com<mailto:ka1gt at hotmail.com>> wrote:

It's been about 35 years since I was last active on 432 EME. At that time there weren't a huge number of stations on and it was all CW. QSOs could take 30 minutes or more to complete, Consequently sending and receiving QSL cards directly wasn't much of an issue since not many were involved.

What's the EME QSL etiquette today? Do people generally QSL direct? It was always good practice to include a SASE with a card, including postage if the contact was with a US station, or IRCs if international. However I don't think you can buy IRCs from the US post office any more.

I'm perfectly happy paying posting on any cards I send when I get a card from another station, but I guess that the cost of postage and number of contacts possible today might be a financial burden on some stations.

Is anyone using an electronic (email) QSL card system, sending a printable JPEG file with all the contact details filled in and signed by the station operator? I print my own cards anyway, so another station would get the same card whether I print it or they print it, though mine would have hand written text and a live signature.

I'd like to exchange cards with a few EME contacts made during the contest (and at other times). Just wondering what's the general practice (if such a ting exists) on EME these days.



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