Archive - June 2014

New image of Titan


A new image from Cassini shows band around Saturn’s Moon, Titan.

Only a sharp and careful eye can make out the subtle variations in Titan’s clouds when viewed in visible light. However, these subtle features sometimes become more readily apparent when imaged at other wavelengths of light. This infrared image clearly reveals a band around the Titan’s north pole.

This view looks toward the leading side of Titan. North on Titan is up and rotated 31 degrees to the left.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.5 million miles (2.4 million kilometers) from Titan. Image scale is 9 miles (14 kilometers) per pixel.



MX0SSW – Filming for TX Factor


I was pleased to attend Silcoates School (MX0SSW), Wakefield over the weekend where filming was taking place for the Ham Radio Programme The TX Factor.

Over two days of filming, numerous Ham radio topics that involve the School Children Operators were covered in the programme which is likely to be available in September this year. You can see the previous episodes of TX Factor by clicking this link.

Check out the QRZ.Com page for Silcoates School and if you can offer anything of use to this self-funded School Club then please contact their teacher at the School, Mr Nigel Wears M0NJW. We hope you enjoy the production!



Chris VK3FY is currently qrv from Brazil while he and his family visit the World Cup.

PY5/VK3FY will be active ‘holiday-style’ in the coming days. OQRS is now open.

The fastest way to receive any Qsl Card I manage is to request them via M0OXO OQRS

OQRS & Direct Letter Rates

Over the last few months the bank exchange rates have been dropping quite heavily against the dollar. So that we can continue to provide the very best in QSL management our charges for QSL exchange have changed very slightly. With OQRS I have changed from €2 Euro to £2 GBP and also increased very slightly the multi QSL offer for direct letter with $ to reflect the devalued dollar.

The following is a breakdown of Direct Postage Costs. Considering other QSL managers charge $2.00 per card, I believe the following is very reasonable.

 QSL Direct
      1 QSL only by post  =  US $2.00   or  Paypal GBP £2.00 by OQRS 

Multi QSL Direct 

If you need to request more QSL cards take advantage of my Multi QSL offer.
As some of you DX and QSL as a group or friends, to reduce costs this may help you.

     2 to 4 QSL’s by post    =    US $3.00     or   Paypal GBP £3.00 by OQRS
   5 to 10 QSL’s by post    =    US $6.00     or   Paypal GBP £5.00 by OQRS
 11 to 20 QSL’s by post    =    US $9.00     or   Paypal GBP £7.00 by OQRS 


Why use a UK based Qsl Manager?


Well the answer is simple, look at the facts.

Charles M0OXO & Tim M0URX mailed over 11,000 (eleven thousand) Qsl cards on the 2nd June this year which included VK9MT, ZD8UW, 3B9FR, XT2AW and TO4C.Yesterday (12th June) the Daily DX was reporting that these cards were already being received by Hams all over the World.

Tim and I send our Cards Direct to World bureaus as it is simply the most efficient and fastest way to get you cards to you. It also helps by not placing any burden on the RSGB Bureau.

If you wish to use our service for DXpedition, IOTA, Holiday Style operations then contact me for advice. You will find no more efficient way of getting cards to you.

If you are in any doubt as to how much mail Tim and I send, click on the image above and you will get the idea 😉


Understanding NOAA Space Weather Scales


Have you ever wondered how the NOAA Scales that predict our Solar Weather are classified?

The NOAA Space Weather Scales were introduced as a way to communicate to the general public the current and future space weather conditions and their possible effects on people and systems.

Check out the Scales that classify how Geomagnetic Storms, Solar Radiation Storms and Radio Blackouts are described. Click the image for more information.


Solar Mini-Max – Whats your view?

solar 1

Pesnell points to a number of factors that signal Solar Max conditions in 2014: “The sun’s magnetic field has flipped; we are starting to see the development of long coronal holes; and, oh yes, sunspot counts are cresting.”

Another panelist, Doug Bieseker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, agrees with Pesnell: “Solar Maximum is here …. Finally.” According to an analysis Bieseker presented at NOAA’s Space Weather Workshop in April, the sunspot number for Solar Cycle 24 is near its peak right now.

They agree on another point, too:  It is not very impressive.

“This solar cycle continues to rank among the weakest on record,” comments Ron Turner of Analytic Services, Inc. who serves as a Senior Science Advisor to NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program.  To illustrate the point, he plotted the smoothed sunspot number of Cycle 24 vs. the previous 23 cycles since 1755. “In the historical record, there are only a few Solar Maxima weaker than this one.”

As a result, many researchers have started calling the ongoing peak a “Mini-Max.”

solar 2

This plot prepared by Ron Turner of Analytic Services, Inc., shows the smoothed sunspot number of Cycle 24 (red) vs. the previous 23 cycles since 1755.

Pesnell believes that “Solar Cycle 24, such as it is, will probably start fading by 2015.” Ironically, that is when some of the bigger flares and magnetic storms could occur.  Biesecker has analyzed historical records of solar activity and he finds that most large events such as strong flares and significant geomagnetic storms typically occur in the declining phase of solar cycles—even weak ones.

Indeed, this “Mini-Max” has already unleashed one of the strongest storms in recorded history.  On July 23, 2012, a plasma cloud or “CME” rocketed away from the sun as fast as 3000 km/s, more than four times faster than a typical eruption. The storm tore through Earth orbit, but fortunately Earth wasn’t there. Instead it hit NASA’s STEREO-A spacecraft, which recorded the event for analysis.  Researchers now believe the eruption was as significant as the iconic Carrington Event of 1859—a solar storm that set telegraph offices on fire and sparked Northern Lights as far south as Hawaii. If the 2012 “superstorm” had hit Earth, the damage to power grids and satellites would have been significant.

It all adds up to one thing: “We’re not out of the woods yet,” says Pesnell.  Even a “Mini-Max” can stir up major space weather—and there’s more to come as the cycle declines.


Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Production editor: Dr. Tony Phillips


ZY0T (DXCC # 317) confirmed

ZY0T 001

Its taken me a while but finally today I received confirmation of the 2009 qso with ZY0T, (DXCC Trinidade & Martin Vaz Islands), (IOTA SA-010) for DXCC #317 (c) & IOTA #494 (c).

I just need the paper card from FT5ZM now for all worked DXCC’s confirmed on ‘traditional Qsl’s’ 😉

Thanks Felipe PY1NB.


VK9MT – The Mellish Reef Story


Why Mellish Reef

The idea to activate Mellish Reef was born in June, 2013 while Pista HA5AO, Les W2LK, Gene K5GS and George HA5UK were having dinner in Budapest, Hungary. After further discussions with Dave K3EL at the German Ham Radio event at Friedrichshafen the wheels started to turn. Being high on the most wanted list we knew there would be much interest across the global DX community. We contacted the Australian government to learn their requirements to land on the island. After about a month of question and answer e-mails we were cleared to land on the reef for a DX-pedition.

During the exchange of e-mails we answered questions about antennas, tents, materials of the tents, fires, camping, bird strike mitigation, etc. I wrote a paper explaining DXCC and IOTA and included pictures of the 2009 DX-pedition to Mellish Reef. Shortly afterwards we received an e-mail saying we were good to go to Mellish Reef as long as we were off the reef by May 31st. After that date a permit will be required to land on Mellish Reef. The Australian Coral Sea reefs will then fall under a new   strict Coral Sea environmental protection program. Even before this new program was implemented, any boat we used was required to have a permit for conducting commercial operations in the Coral Sea and a minimum of $10,000,000(AUD) liability insurance. Throughout this process the agency personnel were helpful and worked with us to get to a positive conclusion.

Next item of business was the radio license. Since I already held an Australian call sign we were initially told the process to get a VK9 call would be fast. As it turned out because I don’t live in Australia the process wasn’t as smooth as we expected. In the end, with cooperation from the “Oceania DX Group” (ODXG) in Australia the call sign VK9MT was issued. Several of the VK9MT team members are life members of ODXG; we received a letter from the organization authorizing us to use the call sign while on Mellish Reef.

The Team

We formed the team of: Pista HA5AO, Les W2LK, George HA5UK, Gene K5GS, Dave K3EL, Glenn KE4KY, Norbert DJ7JC, Heye DJ9RR, Luke VK3HJ, Mike WA6O and Luigi IV3YER; 5 Americans, 2 Hungarians, 2 Germans, 1 Australian and 1 Italian. Some team members knew one another from previous DX-pedition projects, while others met for the first time. Over the course of the project members of the team worked well together, having fun, coming together as a team and helping one another, as required. The prior DX-pedition experience and creativity of the team members was evident. Since all team members except Luigi had been on other DX-peditions, the decisions came easily and reasonable solutions were quickly reached.

You can think of a DX-pedition as an extended “Field Day” and contest. The team is 100% self sufficient, everything must be planned, inventoried and brought to the island and later returned to the boat. Physical labor is required and everyone must participate.  On islands like Mellish Reef the heat and humidity become important considerations so we brought over four hundred liters of drinking water to the reef, some even brought a supply of beer. We also had a supply of sunscreen and encouraged everyone to protect themselves from the sun with hats, long sleeve shirts and sunscreen on exposed areas. The Northern California DX Foundation supplied tropical shirts that were perfect for this protection; everyone carried a personal water container.

As a safety precaution, team members were required to have emergency evacuation and medical insurance. Each member provided his medical history summarizing any serious medical conditions, medications used, where the medications were kept, and emergency contact names / telephone numbers, including the member’s personal physician’s name and contact information. Physical limitations could preclude a person from joining the team.  Boarding or leaving the Zodiac, climbing into a bunk, even using the boat’s toilets can be a physically challenging task in rough seas and we needed to be sure each team member could be self sufficient.

The Boat

Project requirements were sent to charter firms seeking a boat with the proper survey and operating permits. We selected the expedition yacht Evohe from Dunedin, New Zealand. Evohe is a no frills “working boat” licensed to carry 12 passengers and a crew of 8. We had used Evohe for a previous DX-pedition and were comfortable with her owner / skipper, Steve Kafka, and, his pricing was competitive. Steve applied for the operating permit and provided his insurance information.

We selected Mackay as our departure point to minimize the number of days at sea. The Evohe is a six sail sailing ketch with two Ford engines. With a top speed of 10 knots we allowed 3.5 days to reach the reef; we arrived in 3 days.

The Evohe arrived from New Zealand on March 17th. The skipper had a crew of four: Paul (Ireland), Allison and Shaun (New Zealand) and Joanna (England).The crew had never heard of Mellish Reef, they signed on for the adventure.

The Planning Process

Regularly scheduled Skype conference calls were conducted for months to plan every aspect of the project. Responsibilities were assigned, fund raising began and soon various documents began to take shape. Since many of the team members owned Elecraft equipment we agreed to use personally owned Elecraft K3 transceivers and owned and borrowed Elecraft KPA-500 linear amplifiers. We had 3 Tokyo HyPower amplifiers to round out the 6 stations, 3 CW, 3 SSB/RTTY, including several back-up transceivers, amplifiers and power supplies. The Elecraft equipment performed flawlessly. We had failures with several no-name 12 volt power supplies; however the Astron switching supplies all worked perfectly.

Antennas consisted of SteppIR CrankIRs, BigIRs and verticals using Spiderpoles / SGC automatic tuners and a 40 meter four square, with a Pennant for low-band rx. The 80 meter antenna and 160 inverted L towered over the antenna farm.  We also had 2 folding hex beams from The combination of vertical and horizontally-polarized antennas helped to reduce inter-station interference when simultaneously operating SSB and CW on the same band. We used a combination of commercial shipping from EU / USA and hand carrying equipment to our departure point, the Queensland city of Mackay.

Arrival at Mackay

During the planning conference calls we created detailed shopping lists of items we would need. The decision was made to purchase as much as possible in Australia to reduce the cost of shipping to and from America and Europe. The advance team arrived in Mackay on March 18th to begin the task of buying equipment. We spent four full days at various Mackay shops buying tents, tools, electrical grid, office supplies, tables / chairs and supermarket items.

All meals would be provided by the boat so all we needed, food-wise, were snacks and drinks not supplied by the boat, i.e. beer. At almost every business we visited the staff and customers asked why we were in Australia and what our plans for the equipment were. Some had heard of Mellish Reef, others not, but very few knew about amateur radio DX-peditions. In any event, everyone was very helpful and we were able to find everything we needed without any trouble. At one shop the salesperson directed us to another firm that had a no frills item for $153 that would work just as well for our purposes as his $600 item, he was right!

In the spirit of giving something back to the community at the conclusion of the DX-pedition we donated many of these items to the Mackay Girl / Boy Scout Council which were greatly appreciated by them, the generators were sold. On the reef itself, we cleaned up all the discarded plastic bottles and trash we found washed up there (although the amount of plastic trash was very low compared to some Pacific islands).

We had developed detailed antenna plans, coax requirements, tent / antenna layouts, power grids, fuel usage, etc. After communicating with several generator hire firms we learned they don’t rent generators for off-shore use. We ordered 4kW inverter generators branded as “Tradetested” in New Zealand / Australia. The units were shipped from Sydney and arrived well before we needed them. They too worked flawlessly.

Two of the team members rented a cabin at the local RV (caravan) park. This turned out to be an excellent place to consolidate equipment to and from the boat, to test radios / antennas, and for the team to enjoy some downtime.

Since the boat had arrived early, the skipper said we could load the boat well in advance of departure. We made many trips to the boat loading equipment in small groups over several days vs. spending the better part of a day loading. The weather at Mackay was very hot and humid, the boat was docked about as far from the car park as a boat could get and the entrance to the dock was via a long, steep ramp which made the work even harder and the occasional heavy rains added another level of difficulty to the job. Everything was brought to the boat using borrowed carts. The boat crew helped us to carry the equipment to the boat and then handled the task of lifting everything to the deck and stowing it in the boat’s various storage holds.

Departure Day

On the afternoon of March 25th we set sail for Mellish Reef. Prior to sailing, the boat was visited by three Australian Customs Officers to complete the departure formalities. The winds were not in our favor, we used engines the entire journey. The seas were rough and the ride very difficult.

During the sea voyage the crew caught a tuna which provided excellent steaks for two meals. The skipper, Paul and Shaun brought in the tuna although the energetic fish had other ideas about boarding the boat; Shaun expertly prepared the fish for later meals. A professional fisherman we met at the marina explained to me that humans should not eat certain fish caught at the reef. These “reef fish” contain a toxin that causes the illness “Ciguatera” which produces serious gastrointestinal and neurological effects which can last weeks, months and in extreme cases up to twenty years.

Arrival Day

We arrived at the reef in the afternoon of the 28th (local time) and began bringing some equipment ashore in a Zodiac and setting up the operating tents. Early on the morning of March 29th we began taking radio equipment ashore and establishing the operating camps. The wind was our constant companion, blowing at a steady twenty knots. Erecting the tents and antennas in the strong wind was an early indication of what was to come. The wind made the trips in the Zodiac “interesting”. Sea water was showering us as the Zodiac drove into the wind on the way to the reef, the skipper asked us to get under a tarp so we wouldn’t get drenched.

Because of the sand depth, guy and tent stakes required a different technique vs. the traditional driving them into the ground. We bought seventy five pieces of pre-cut rebar and as many pieces of landscape stakes. A dead-man arrangement had to be used to set the guys and tent ropes.

George, HA5UK, donned his swimwear and snorkel and swam out to a coral head that he used to guy two 18 meter Spiderpoles and one of the BigIRs.

Due to the risks from the barely-submerged coral heads, it was determined that it was not possible to travel safely to and from the reef between sunset and sunrise. We created a shift schedule that required one team to remain on the reef 6PM to 6AM every other day. Although twenty four hour radio operations were allowed, the off duty team went back to the boat for sleeping.

On the Air

All six stations went on the air March 30, with Dave, K3EL, making the first contact with ZL4PW.  The pile-ups remained heavy and energetic throughout the DX-pedition! We adopted an operating routine and kept as close to the routine as possible. However, day by day we noticed the wind was gradually increasing and we were beginning to experience heavy rains.

Propagation was excellent on the HF bands with openings to all parts of the world. The HF bands were on fire, with 10m – 20m providing 88% of the QSOs. Despite the cracking conditions on the high bands, we spent some time on 40m / 80m, and were rewarded with remarkable conditions one night on 80 m, with the US and EU coming in as if it were 20 m.  The 160 antenna went up last, and because of weather events described later, we were able to operate only one night. The combination of variable propagation and the shortened operating time impacted mostly the low bands.

On April 1st the skipper said he was monitoring a tropical depression north of Mellish Reef. Eventually this weather event caused death and destruction in the Solomon Islands and would later be officially named Cyclone Ita, a very late-in-the-season cyclone.

We continued operating for five full days but it was becoming evident that the weather was getting worse. The skipper was closely monitoring the situation and keeping us updated. He wasn’t in panic mode yet, but did express concern that the storm was growing. In case we had to make a fast departure we removed all non-essential equipment from the island shortly after the formation of the storm, dismantled some antennas and scratched deployment of others.

During the night shift of April 4th the wind and rain became a real concern. While the operating tents were holding up reasonably well, the break tent was severely damaged the day before. The antennas were taking a beating and required constant attention; resetting guy ropes and reattaching broken wires became a daily maintenance activity.


On April 5th at about 0200(local) the decision was made to go QRT. The tents were shaking violently in the now 35 – 40 knot winds and torrential downpours threatened the safety of the operators. The tropical storm to our north continued to strengthen day after day, and would soon be declared a named cyclone. Although at the time we were only on the edge of the disturbance caused by Cyclone Ita, the forecast storm track took it towards Mellish Reef. In previous discussions with the skipper, he indicated that it was critical that we leave before the storm could overtake us in order to be able to make it safely back to Australia. We began to pack the radios and amps in their Pelican cases. When the morning shift arrived we spent the next 5 – 6 hours removing equipment from the reef and preparing to set sail for Australia.

Return to Mackay

The winds were strong and in our favor, we were under sail the entire way back, no engine noise, just the sound of the sea against the hull. The ride was as smooth as could be expected. We arrived at the Mackay marina at 0230(local) on April 8th. The skipper skillfully navigated the channel and easily brought Evohe to the wharf.

That morning we hired two vehicles and began offloading the boat, bringing all our gear to a cabin we rented at the nearby RV (caravan) park. Over the next two days we sorted equipment, repacked it for shipment back to the USA and Europe, rebooked flights and identified the equipment to be sold and donated.

Daily Challenges

Of course, the weather presented the biggest challenge. Prior plans had to be changed to account for the weather. While we did experience some antenna damage we had additional antennas and spares that were not deployed due to the early QRT decision.

We had challenges from the sound of the wind blowing across / through the tents which, at times, made it difficult or impossible to hear the radios, even when wearing headphones. At the last minute before leaving Mackay we bought an additional two small tents to use for resting. These tents were light backpacking types and were destroyed by the wind within hours of being erected. The operating tents were much sturdier, with metal frames, and withstood the constant beating of the wind without issue.

Guy and tent ropes needed constant attention, primarily due to the sand base and lack of a solid footing. The vertical wire antennas required daily attention as wires snapped and the antennas leaned over from the wind. The folding hex beams performed very well but after five days of withstanding the moisture laden strong wind we noticed they were losing their shape. They both continued to work but on the last night of operation, right about the time we went QRT, we lost a guy rope on one of them and it came down. Not that it was funny at the time, but Pista HA5AO and I didn’t see the antenna in the night and went looking for it with torches (flashlights). We couldn’t find it and wondered if it was taken by aliens or swept into the sea. In the next morning’s daylight we found the antenna on the sand.

DX-peditions will test your ability to handle stress and adapt to the unplanned. Meeting people, maybe for the first time, living on a small boat in rough seas, building a tent / radio city in high temperatures, wind and humidity will challenge anyone’s ability to cope with physical and emotional stress. Add to this the isolation of being on an island and 24 hour radio operations and it’s not surprising you might need a vacation when you return home. Additionally, the human side of a DX-pedition is a real consideration. The Team Leaders are not only in charge of the project but they must ensure the well being of each team member. People react differently to these challenges; the team leaders must handle all situations and they did just that on Mellish Reef.

We had to be careful not to disturb the ground nesting birds. Many had eggs on the ground and would become agitated if we got too close. We marked the nests with sticks so we could see them at night. We also marked any rebar and wooden stakes that were above the ground to prevent tripping. Other than a cut finger we had no injuries or accidents on the reef. Neither birds nor eggs were injured.


Our goal was to work 80,000 QSOs and concentrate on RTTY. Unfortunately, the weather has a nasty habit of changing the best made plans. We were on track for 80K but closed the log on 4 April, 1353z after 40K QSOs including about 3,400 RTTY Qs. We were unable to spend as much time on the low bands as we had planned. However, we enjoyed excellent openings on the high frequency bands 10 – 30 meters.

In general, the DX community cooperated nicely during the pile-ups, with the usual suspects causing much of the chaos typically experienced by DX-peditions. Sometimes I think they will never learn that by continually calling in the blind they ruin their own chances of getting in the log, and many did lose their contact with VK9MT.

We appreciated those operators that followed the DX Code of Conduct and wish those that didn’t would recognize the problems they cause themselves and everyone else.

VK9MT Statistics

Operating Time:

First QSO:     2014-03-30 04:34:00
Last QSO:     2014-04-04 13:53:00

Number of QSOs
                       Total QSOs 40,114


–       Europe                   36.1%
–       North America         29.1%
–       Asia                       29.8%
–       Oceania                  3.4

–          CW                     61%
–          SSB                    30.5%
–          RTTY                   8.6%

All Time New One:

– All modes                      26.1%

Unique Calls:
–          12,831                 32%

The leader board was not used for this DX-pedition.

Cyclone Ita

Cyclone Ita eventually intensified to become a Category 5 storm with maximum winds of 130 mph. By the time it hit the north Queensland coast it had weakened to Category 4, but still caused an estimated one billion dollars (AUD) in damage. While there was no loss of life or serious injury in Australia, the storm flattened sugar cane fields, ruined banana crops, cut the state’s main highway and left a mammoth cleanup task in her wake. Most of the team was away from Australia by the time the storm arrived, however intrepid travelers Dave K3EL and Glenn KE4KY did experience some of the storm’s fury. Cyclone Ita also created havoc in Auckland, New Zealand where I was staying on the way home from Australia. We found ourselves trapped in the house for a day when a tree fell across the driveway to the main road.

Wrap Up

While we were disappointed with our early departure there are some things we can’t control. No one was injured; we thought it prudent to not take any risks with the building storm. We had greatest confidence in the skipper’s judgment and his crew.

We very much appreciate the support from the global DX foundations, clubs and individuals who helped make this project a reality; our corporate sponsors were equally important to the project. The global pilot team did a wonderful job as does our QSL Manager Tim Beaumont, M0URX. We met many fine people in Mackay who assisted us before and after the project.

We especially want to thank Jenny McGrath, owner of Mackay Pack and Send (a shipping business) who worked tirelessly before and after the DX-pedition. The staff at Pack and Send was invaluable to the project. We arranged for our shipments to be received by Jenny. She asked where we planned to store the equipment; I told her we’ll hire a self storage unit. She said that wouldn’t be necessary, we could leave the equipment in her storeroom and also any luggage not needed on the boat during our trip to the reef. Before we left Australia she invited the team to her home for a BBQ the night before we began leaving Mackay.

It seems that Jenny is a fan of American baseball and she jokingly mentioned to Glenn KE4KY that she’d like to have a Louisville Slugger baseball bat. What Jenny didn’t know is Glenn has a friend at the factory and he arranged for Jenny to receive an original Louisville Slugger. The bat arrived while we were in Mackay.

The highlights of the project were many, including giving ATNOs, putting people on the Honor Roll and Top of the Honor Roll, and supporting the local Mackay Scouting Council with our equipment donation.

I’d be remiss by not mentioning the camaraderie, cooperation and friendship of the VK9MT team, the global pilots and all those who helped us throughout the project.  And thanks to Dave K3EL, Pista HA5AO and Les W2LK for editing this article.

We’ll close with a fun photo titled:
“Masked Boobies Queuing up for the Loo”

The team is already discussing their next project.

Please visit our website at:

Thanks to Gene Spinelli K5GS and the MDXC for this story. Thanks also M0URX for the Qsl Card image.

How does the Qsl process actually work?

D7K 1996

Choosing a QSL Card

This is where many amateurs around the world fail. Most exotic DX stations have QSL managers, like myself, that will have special cards printed for them which usually include a photo and information about their location along with the needed information to confirm the contact. You can design your own and have a local printer DV1UDproduce them for you or you can order cards from one of many services you will find advertised in Radcom, On-line services and other Ham Radio magazines.

Check out my supplier of cards; Gennady UX5UO. cheap, easy, good quality and an easy payment option by Paypal, Cheque, Bank transfer etc to a UK representative (No sending money abroad)!

Give some thought to the content of the card and the quantity you will need. Usually larger quantities are much less expensive on a per card basis.

Contents of a QSL Card

There is some information that needs to be on all QSL cards to be valid for the various awards, and also to confirm the contact. This includes both call signs (yours and the station worked), the frequency or band, the mode, date and time, and a signal report. This is highlighted in point 3 below;

1) Callsign; Your Callsign needs to be on both sides of the card. It needs to be big enough to be easily seen by the person who you are sending it to. You may also consider (on the rear), adding several other of your Callsigns in which case you would to have the ‘tick-box’ option on there (see image below).

2) Your name with Postal and Email addresses (if applicable).

3) QSO information area. This should be large enough for you to write all the data needed to confirm the QSO. Date, Time (UTC), Band, Mode, RST etc etc are all required. You also have the option here of making this area dual-purpose. DV1UD obIt can be used for hand writing cards but if the area is made the same size as a label for example, then you will have the option to overlay this area with a QSO Label (see image left).

4) Also, you may also add the details of your CQ and ITU zones, the county you are in, your grid location (primarily if you operate above 50 MHz) but most of these things MUST be added as they may required to enable a station to confirm his details for any applicable Awards he may be chasing such as DXCC. If you are on an Island then please check IOTA rules as they have specific requirments to enable your card to be valid for IOTA claims. For example IOTA group reference and Island name must be on the card to validate for IOTA.


Sending or requesting a QSL Card: 

To send a QSL to an amateur you have contacted (QSO) you usually have several choices.

QSL direct via the Post Office (Post Mail), via your QSL Bureau or by the now popular OQRS (On-line Qsl Request System)*. Using the Bureau is by far the most cost effective route but you might not want to wait several Years for the QSL confirmation so QSL Direct to the station is then the required option.

* OQRS offers you an Online QSL Request Form to request your QSL card. Your QSL cards are automatically opqrsmailed to you or automatically sent through the QSL bureau which cuts down the time for example the Bureau by half. Instead of waiting 2 yrs plus for the card, this service allows you to receive it within Days (Direct) or less than 12 months (Bureau). Have a look here at my OQRS system and you will have a clearer idea of what it entails.

For example, for a minimum payment of 2 Euros I will send your QSL cards directly to you. Why bother with mailing direct? The M0OXO OQRS is easy and reasonable. I have arranged so that you can make your payment to the M0OXO QSL Mailing Service via PayPal or free if using the OQRS Bureau option.

* DIRECT To QSL direct you will fill out your QSL card and mail it the the person you contacted. Say you had a QSO with MØOXO and you would like his QSL card. First you need to find his address. This can be done by searching an online callbook such as Buckmaster or QRZ.COM!.Then, fill out the the card, address it, add a Self-Addressed envelope, put a stamp on and drop it in the Postbox. Usually in a few days to a few weeks you can expect a card in return if within the UK.

IMPORTANT – If you are sending a card to a DX contact it is generally good practice to include a self addressed envelope and return postage. Do not use the postage of your country as it will not be valid for use in the DX country. Instead include either $2 US dollar bills (known by hams as a ‘green stamps’) or an International Reply Coupon (IRC) which you can usually purchase at the post office (Availability of IRC’s is changing, please contact me if you need up to date advice). **(Do not send coins)**


Using a QSL bureau is by far the least expensive way to collect QSL cards. Using a QSL bureau is by far the least expensive way to collect QSL cards. Most countries where amateur radio is permitted are members of the IARU (International Amateur Radio Union) and will have a bureau, where cards are collected from hams within the country and then forwarded in bulk to the destination country. Using bulk mail to send your cards to the bureau and for them to forward the cards to other countries cost much less for postage than mailing individual cards. The RSGB Bureau in the UK (Norcomm) offer the services for both outgoing and incoming QSL cards. Check the RSGB Website for the requirements and eligibility of using their service.

On-Line Qsling (LOTW & EQSL)

More recently the ability to send/receive QSL confirmations has now become available via the Internet. To do this you only need to go to at and register for this free service. lotwUsing your web browser you will be able to design your own QSL card, send cards to contacts you have made and receive cards. The service also provides features for organizing cards received and creating summaries of them. Currently eQSLs are acceptable for CQ Awards.

LOTW (Logbook Of The World) is also very popular. This system IS valid for DXCC & WAS Award claims so it is widely used. It is understood that at sometime in the future IOTA MAY also be available by this system. If you need advice on LOTW then please email me.

QSL Managers
Active DX stations often use a QSL manager especially when mail to the DX country is difficult at best and non-existent at worst. You will be aware of the QSL manager when looking up the address of the DX call on or by lists published in some of the amateur literature. You must know whether the station of who’s QSL card you need uses a manager. it is imperitive that this information is added to your outgoing card.

Check out my QSL Manager page at for an overview or more information on the topic.

I hope this page was of interest to you and maybe it answered at least some of your enquires. If you have any comments both good or bad, please feel free to ask by using the information on this link (contact M0OXO).