In April last year I made two QSOs with a group of people on a DXpedition to an African country, this was a new DXCC to me and after the trip I looked up the callsign on qrz.com where it listed a QSL manager. I checked that callsign on qrz.com and it confirmed that he was the manager for the DXpedition but there was no mention of any costs.
This QSL manager is located in Belgium so I did what I always do, I sent my QSL card, a self addressed envelope and two dollar bills.
Today I’ve been going through my log and I realised that I’ve not received anything back so I emailed the QSL manager only to receive two replies, one from the DXpedition organiser and one from the QSL manager, both telling me that because I only sent $2, my card has been returned via the bureau. There was some text quoted from the DXpedition website where it says that for direct QSLs, they require either 1 IRC or $3. I hadn’t seen this before I sent my card. If I’d seen that, I’d have sent 1 IRC rather than the dollars.
Three dollars seems an awful lot for a QSL card from Belgium. I know for a fact that I can send a card anywhere in the world for just two dollars and that includes the cost of postage, printing a full colour QSL card and buying an envelope! Having said that, if there had been any mention of this cost on either of the two qrz.com pages I checked then I’d have sent the three dollars because I want the card.
I replied pointing this out and commenting that I’m a QSL manager for a small DXpedition (GP0PKT) and our costs are a maximum of $2 worldwide. I also suggested that they must be making a lot of profit for their $3 charge. My group only charge $1 for cards from within Europe so I still think the $3 charge is far too much but I would have paid that if it had been mentioned.
The reply told me that he does not believe I’m a QSL manager and finished “PLEAS NO MORE QSL FROM YOU TO ANY OF OR NEXT DX_PEDITIONS.”
They’re happy to keep my $2 though.
Is this in the spirit of amateur radio? I really don’t think it is. Neither their qrz.com page or their QSL managers qrz.com pages mention their QSL charge and that’s where my issue lies.
Here are the QSL requirements for GP0PKT, clearly stated on the qrz.com page for the callsign.
Please send cards either direct or via the Bureau. If sending direct from within the UK, please include an SASE. If sending from Europe, please include an SAE and $1. From the Rest of The World, please include an SAE and $2. Do not send stamps or any currency other than US$. Direct cards received without envelopes or the correct postage will be returned via the bureau. Please do not send IRCs.
I’ve received cards from the USA with only one dollar bill, I’ve received IRCs, I’ve received cards with dollar bills but no envelope. All these people will receive their cards back direct. The only ones who will go back via the bureau are those who just sent a card and nothing else (and there was only one of them).
The group I’m talking about are not operating in the spirit of amateur radio as far as I’m concerned.
I’ve worked one other station in this African country since and I’ll be sending him the $2 he’s asked for on his qrz.com page for a direct QSL.