Yesterday I found a nice surprise waiting for me in the mailbox. These QSL cards are the first ever batch of DX confirmations received at KD8JHJ via the QSL Bureau service. The majority of these contacts I made during my first year as an amateur radio operator.
19/05/09 UR5ZEP Ukraine 14 MHz CW
06/03/09 EB7ABJ Spain 14 MHz PSK-31
01/11/09 EA7ACU Spain 7 MHz PSK-31
21/11/09 PE0TS The Netherlands 21 MHz PSK-31
09/04/09 DL6KVP/p Germany 14 MHz PSK-31
07/02/09 DD3FS Germany 7 MHz PSK-31
24/10/09 DL8SDS Germany 21 MHz CW
12/02/09 TG9AHM Guatemala 7 MHz PSK-31
02/01/10 EA1EVA Spain 14 MHz CW
23/01/10 HB9AAA Switzerland 14 MHz Feld Hell
QSL Bureaus are volunteer staffed organizations found in most countries that allow amateur radio. The bureau system allows hams around the world to exchange QSL cards for a minimum postage cost. The more avid the DX'er or card collector the more beneficial this system becomes.
In 2009 after I began digital operations at KD8JHJ and had accumulated a dozen or so DX contacts in my log I filled out QSL cards for each foreign station I had worked. I then sent the cards all together in one envelope to the out going bureau at ARRL headquarters in Newington, CT. My cards were sorted by country and shipped in bulk with other QSL cards. Once the bulk shipment is received by the Foreign bureau the cards are sorted again by callsign and delivered to the individual operators.
Here in America the incoming bureaus are divided up based on callsign areas. Callsign areas are designated by the numeral that appears in all callsigns. I had previously sent my QSL manager a half dozen stamped, self addressed envelopes to keep on file. Once the bureau had received a dozen cards from foreign hams confirming contact with my station the QSLs were packaged up and mailed in one envelope. Obviously saving me a bundle in postage. The only caveat to using the bureau is the one to two year lead time as the cards work their way through the system.
The QSL Bureau is an ingeniously devised system and another unique facet of my favorite hobby- amateur radio.