Getting Started with QSLing
There are four reasons to send out a QSL card:
- to request a QSL that will confirm a QSO whose confirmation will advance your award progress
- because during the QSO, your partner asked you to QSL
because you received a card confirming a QSO, and the card said "please QSL!", or because you received an Online QSL Request (Inbound OQRS) from Club Log
- because you believe that a QSL card is the polite completion of every QSO, and wish to send one without waiting to be asked
Requesting Needed Confirmations
Reason #1 is handled by the DXKeeper's Add Needed function, which automates the process of generating QSL Queue entries for QSOs whose confirmation will advance your progress towards the CQ DX, CQ Field, CQ USA-CA, DXCC, IOTA, VUCC, WAC, WAS, WAZ, and WPX award families. The Add Needed function is available when the QSL Via panel on the Main window's QSL tab is set to QSL cards, Reply cards, Single labels, 2-column labels, 3-column labels, ADIF file, or Tab-delimited file. The Add Needed function is not available when the QSL Via panel is set to eQSL.cc or LoTW because it's expected that you will submit all logged QSOs to eQSL.cc and LoTW, not just those you want confirmed for award progress.
Before you use Add Needed, specify the bands and modes you are pursuing by checking the appropriate boxes in panels on Configuration window's Awards tab. SpotCollector also uses the information in these panels to determine what active DX stations to highlight and announce because a QSO would advance progress towards your DXCC, IOTA, Marathon, VUCC, WAS, WAZ, or WPX objectives.
By default, DXKeeper considers a QSO confirmed if
its QSL_Rcvd item is Y, S, or V
for awards that accept LotW confirmation, if its LotW_QSL_Rcvd item is Y, S, or V
for awards that accept eQSL AG confirmation, if its eQSL member item is A and if its eQSL_QSL_Rcvd item is Y or V
QSL_Rcvd represents confirmation status by QSL card; LotW_QSL_Rcvd represents confirmation status via LotW. Y, S, and V mean "Yes!", "Submitted to ARRL", and "Verified by ARRL (Credit Granted) " respectively. eQSL_QSL_Rcvd represents confirmation status via eQSL.cc.
The Awards sub-panel in the Add Needed panel on the QSL Configuration window's General tab lets you specify the awards for which Add Needed will identify needed QSOs. When you click the Add Needed button, DXKeeper scans all QSOs in the Log Page Display for unconfirmed QSOs whose confirmation would advance your progress towards these awards on the bands and modes specified on the Configuration window's Awards tab, creating an entry in the QSL Queue for each such QSO.
The difference between invoking Add Needed and manually choosing QSOs for confirmation and adding them to the QSL Queue is that the latter lets you make the decision when there is more than one QSO that can be used to confirm a needed counter (DXCC entity, IOTA island, VUCC grid square, WAC continent, WAS state, USA-CA county, WAZ CQ zoned, WPX prefex). The Add Needed function has no way of knowing that TT8KR is a better QSLer than TT8PK; it will always choose the most recent QSO, which might not necessarily be the most reliable. You may also wish to request confirmations for multiple QSOs with the same needed counter in order to increase the probability of a more rapid response. For DXCC, IOTA, VUCC, WAS, WAZ, and WPX counters, you can use DXKeeper's Realtime Award Tracking service to review worked-but-unconfirmed QSOs for each needed counter, and add specific QSOs to the QSL Queue; then invoke Add Needed to populate the QSL Queue with QSOs for the rest of your needed counters.
If your QSO partner does not have QSL cards to send, you can instead send a Reply Card -- a QSL Card for your QSO partner to sign and mail back to you.
Club Log provides Online QSL Requests (OQRS), an efficient alternative to requesting a needed confirmation by sending an outgoing QSL card with a self-addressed stamped envelope and funds for return postage. The procedure for requesting confirmation via Club Log OQRS is described here.
Responding to Your QSO Partner's Request
"Reasons to QSL" numbers 2, 3, and 4 all involve responding to implicit or explicit requests from your QSO partner for a card. With the QSL Via panel set to cards, labels, ADIF file, or Tab-delimited file, the Add Requested function scans the Log Page Display for any QSO whose QSL_Sent item is set to R, creating a QSL Queue entry for each such QSO it finds.
Reason #2 is handled by setting QSL_Sent to R before logging the QSO. In the Capture window, do this by checking the QSL Requested box; in the Main window, click the RR button in the QSL panel.
- Reason #3
a card requesting a confirmation is handled by filtering the Log Page Display to locate the QSO, and then clicking the CFM button; if you've already sent out a card for this QSO, another will not be sent
if Club Log OQRS requests are enabled (meaning that you're accepting Inbound OQRS requests for confirmations), invoking the Inbound OQRS function
- downloads new OQRS requests
- locates each logged QSO for which a confirmation is requested
set's each QSO's QSL_Sent, eQSL_Sent, and/or LoTW_Sent item to 'R', as governed by the checkboxes in the Inbound OQRS panel on the QSL Configuration window's Club Log tab; these checkboxes enable you to fulfill Inbound OQRS requests with any combination of printing QSL cards or labels, uploading to eQSL.cc, or uploading to LotW.
Reason #4 is handled by checking the Preset QSL Request box on the QSL Config window's General tab; it's equivalent to checking the Capture window's QSL Requested box at the beginning of each QSO.
Given the need to load one's printer with the appropriate card stock or labels, QSLing via cards is inherently a batch operation. The assumption is that once a week, you'll run Add Needed to populate the QSL Queue with needed outgoing QSOs, run Add Requested to populate the QSL Queue with requested outgoing QSOs, and then print them all in one batch. You can of course do this more or less frequently.
You can upload QSOs to Logbook of the World and eQSL.cc in batches, or you can configure DXKeeper to automatically upload QSOs to these service after each QSO is logged via the Capture window. There's an Upload each QSO logged via the Capture window ... checkbox on both the LoTW and eQSL tab of DXKeeper's QSL Configuration window. WinWarbler provides similar options on its Configuration window's Log tab.
There are seven steps to generating QSLs, whether they be cards, labels, or files for uploading to electronic QSL services:
set the QSL Via panel to indicate the kind of QSLs you plan to generate (cards, reply cards, labels, LotW, eQSL.cc, ADIF, tab-delimited file)
populate the QSL Queue with the QSOs for which you want to generate QSLs (by clicking Add Needed or Add Requested)
if you will be printing envelopes or envelope labels, print an address report by clicking the Create Address File, and review each address; you can modify an incorrect address or specify Direct or Buro routing by double-clicking the QSO's entry in the QSL Queue, and you can use the report as a guide to insert the correct QSL card into the correct envelope
- generate the QSLs (print the cards, print the labels, print addresses on envelopes or envelope labels, upload to eQSL.cc or LotW, or generate ADIF or tab-delimited files)
uncheck the QSL box of any QSL queue entry that was not successfully processed (e.g. ran out of ink while printing, or QSO couldn't be delivered by service because no outgoing bureau is available)
update the log (which also empties the QSL Queue) by clicking the Update Log button (this function is performed automatically by the Upload to LotW and Upload to eQSL.cc functions)
clear the QSL Queue of any unsuccessfully processed entries
Once you populate the QSL queue in step 2, your freedom to change QSL Via is limited. You can switch among cards, labels, ADIF, or tab-delimited files, but you cannot switch between any of those and eQSL.cc, between any of those and LotW, or between eQSL.cc and LotW.
Steps 4 and 6 were intentionally separated, rather than having the log update occur automatically after the QSLs are generated. This allows you to inspect printed cards or labels and, if necessary, repeat the operation for some or all of the QSLs if, say, you smeared a card while removing it from your printer.
If you are filling out QSL cards by hand, set the QSL Via panel to tab-delimited file in step 1. In step 3, click the Save TDF file button, and print the tab-delimited file DXKeeper generates; this file provides the information you need when filling out your outgoing cards. Then continue with step 5 when you're done.
After printing QSL cards, printing QSL labels, or generating files, click the Update Log button; this will update each logged QSO to reflect the successful generation of an outgoing card/label or electronic confirmation.
If you want to generate both labels and upload to LotW, you must traverse the above process twice; the first time through, set QSO Via to labels in step 1; the second time through, set QSO Via to LotW.
At any point in the process, you can click the QSL tab's Clear button to empty the QSL Queue; this allows you to change the QSL Via panel to any style of outgoing QSL.
After you've mailed your outgoing QSL requests, DXKeeper can help you manage them.