Thursday, July 12, 2007

Phantom QSOs

Two nights ago I was able to work through the enormous pile of QSL cards that had accumulated over the last few months. As of Tuesday, I have no outstanding QSL requests. Additionally, cards for my fellow Montserrat DXpeditioners have also been forwarded to their respective final destinations in California, Maryland, Iowa, Indiana, and so on. Whew!
For all those contacts that are in the log, have matching times, dates, bands, and modes, the work is easy. My program QSLpro (which I've still not published...alas) works superbly printing 14 stickers per sheet with QSL information for up to five contacts per call sign. Just print, stick, stamp, and stuff. Easy!

It is the ones that don't match that are the problem. I had made a small pile of these miscreants in hopes, I guess, that they would be easier to handle if I just "looked at them later". Well, later came. When I was down to just those malformed QSL requests I had no choice but to figure out each in turn.
Some were easy. For example, one QSLed to NE1RD for the 2006 ARRL DX contest. Fine, except I was on St. John as KP2/NE1RD so there is no way that could have been me. Perhaps it was NE1R? Not my problem.
Another was much more puzzling. I will not give the call or country of this QSL request, but it cited two QSOs with me as VP2MRD, neither of which was in my log. My computer logging is pretty accurate (not perfect, but pretty good). It is possible I missed one. The chances of me missing two are astronomical. Something else is going on.

I purposely did not research this. If true, I don't want to know. But, I have a conjecture: a fellow watched the packet spotting network, saw my call, saw the frequency, never worked me, but filled out the card anyway to see if I would just send one back without checking my log. I'm sure this works some of the time. Obviously, it isn't going to work with me.
I don't know if this is what happened, but it is possible, I guess. It is also a bit sad, really, if true. I guess that's why I didn't research it. Like I said, I don't want to confirm this is what happened.

Let this be a lesson to all of you who perform QSL management duties: not every card will have a QSO that is in the log. And, perhaps, not every request will be a simple misunderstanding or honest mistake. Be on your guard. Protect your integrity as a QSL manager and, by doing so, protect the integrity of the DXCC and IOTA awards.


Blogger Steve Weinert said...

It works both ways on QSL card confirmations, with some DX stations reponding to every QSO as NIL (Not In Log) if you don't send greenstamps, on receipt when they suddenly can find your QSO in the log (hopefully they don't find phantom QSOs on the same basis.)

Always interesting.



July 18, 2007 3:10 PM  

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