QSL’ing has often been referred to as the “Final Courtesy of a QSO” and it is certainly a lot of fun to send and receive QSL cards from friends and acquaintances that you’ve made on the air from around the world. QSL’ing is also an important part of qualifying for operating awards which help to hone an operator’s skills as well as encourage test and enhancement of your station. To these ends, I am working towards a variety of operating awards including:
- A 5-Band DXCC Award (100 countries confirmed on all 5 non-WARC bands 80m – 10m)
- A CW DXCC Award (this would complete a DXCC “triple play”, 100 countries on SSB, CW, and Digital)
- A Worked All States SSB QRP Award
- A CQ Worked All Zones Award (confirmed contacts in all 40 CQ Zones)
- An RSGB IOTA Award (100 Islands confirmed)
- A CQ WPX Award of Excellence (A lifetime achievement award requiring many confirmed prefixes via all modes, continents, and bands)
- A Worked All Continents Award via EME (ie “Moon-bounce”)
These awards require QSOs to be confirmed using a combination of Logbook of the World (LoTW), QSL Cards, and some via eQSL (AG).
I recently switched to the DXLab Suite of logging and DX’ing programs to facilitate the tracking, QSL’ing, and application tasks associated with these and other awards. DXLab includes a very sophisticated set of features for DX’ing and award tracking. The combination of all of the new QSOs made during the three contests I’ve participated in over the last few months plus the enhanced award tracking features in DXLab resulted in a large number of QSOs that needed to be confirmed. It would be wonderful if all Hams used the online QSL’ing services (LoTW and eQSL) to confirm QSOs but this is far from the case. As a result, I decided to create a batch of QSL card mailings to try to confirm the needed QSOs.
DXLab has many nice features which can be used to print QSL card labels (or complete cards) and to address the outgoing and return envelopes associated with direct QSL requests. It also provides a tool called Pathfinder to aid in the discovery of QSL routes. These tools were very useful in creating some 400+ direct QSL mailings this past weekend plus another 30+ cards that were sent via the ARRL Outbound QSL Bureau. DXLab also handles online QSL’ing via LoTW and eQSL as well as uploading to ClubLog. It would have been quite a chore indeed to generate all of these cards and mailings without DXLab!
I am very much looking forward to getting cards back from all over the world. It makes checking the mailbox fun!
– Fred (AB1OC)