Monday, October 30, 2006

QSLing honorably

My QRP DXCC total went up by a few this weekend and now I stand at 70. I also picked up two new DXCC entities that I didn't have at all (Socorro island in the Revilla Gigedo Islands group, and San Marino). Of course, the Socorro island is also an IOTA prize.
Working a cool place is only half the battle. If you want to get credit for DXCC, IOTA awards, or nearly any other piece of wall-paper, you need to get the QSL card from that cool place. If you are working from that cool place (and that's the plan, right?), the you need to make sure you fulfill that role yourself. Don't second-guess why they want your card; they just want it. And, it wouldn't do to go someplace interesting, work a bunch of people who would be excited to get your card, and then stiff 'em once you get back home.
If you detect a little edge in my prose today, you're correct. I spent a little time with my log tonight looking to see what I might have in the way of 5 band Worked All States, DXCC, etc., in the log but not yet confirmed by card. My logging program, MacLoggerDX, like most good programs, helps keep track of what you've worked, QSLs you've sent, QSL cards received, and so on. I knew I had sent a lot of cards out without receiving a reply, but the magnitude of the problem wasn't apparent until I started collecting some statistics.
Here's what I found. I have sent out cards but received no replies for:
  • 76 DXCC entities - 3/4ths of a DXCC award.
  • 21 Zones - half the world.
  • 36 States - half a WAS award.
  • 22 IOTAs - some pretty rare.
  • Hawaii - on 20 & 40m. Yeah, I need 'em.
  • Alaska - on 10m. My only AK 10m contact.
I'm working towards my 5 band Worked All States (5BWAS) and I've been stiffed on cards for my 5th band for NC, ND, NY, NJ, and NC. I could go on, but you get the point.
I've read about people who brag about throwing QSL card requests into the trash because they can't be bothered with things that don't interest them. I can't understand that mentality. To me, it is counter to the Amateur Radio Code's first item: "The amateur is considerate.... He never knowingly uses the air in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others." If you're going to make the contact, be prepared to send the card. Disappointing folks later is, in my view, unconscionable.
I hope you'll use these trips, and the time you spend planning for these trips, as a way to have fun and spread joy. Everybody, you and the people you work on the air, deserve no less.


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