W4/K4/N4 QSL Bureau
NOTE: In November 2012, the MARS Board of Directors voted to turn ownership of the single letter prefix in the 4th call area (W4/K4/N4) over to the CDXA (Carolina DX Association). The bureau has been maintain by members of CDXA for the past several years. This change was also approved by the ARRL.
Almost 20 years ago some of our avid DX’rs volunteered for the constant long-term job of running an ARRL Incoming QSL Bureau. Since then, the “post office” in our clubroom has been the ARRL Incoming QSL Bureau for callsigns with a single letter prefix in the 4th call area (W4/K4/N4). Recently with the advent of the vanity callsigns, is it any wonder why many of our local DX’rs have a single prefix 4 call? Their DX QSLs come right to our own clubroom!
The bureau receives thousands of QSL cards each month from the post office. The tubs of cards are first received by the “bulk sorters”, who sort by the first letter of the receiving callsign suffix. Then the “letter sorters” get their chance by sorting the individual receiving callsigns. Periodically the cards get matched with the individual’s envelope on file in our QSL bureau and mailed. This process requires lots of volunteer help from our group, the good part is that there are enough volunteers so each one doesn’t have a tub of cards to sort very often. New volunteer sorters are always welcome. If you can occasionally spend a few evenings in your own home sorting some interesting cards, contact our QSL Bureau manager, Ken Boyd, K4DXA. For updated information, please visit the W4QSL Bureau.
Following this page are a few pages directly from ARRL, which give the details about using the Incoming and Outgoing QSL Service. Read them carefully to learn how to use the ARRL QSL service. Our QSL bureau works like most ARRL incoming QSL Bureaus, cards from other countries around the world are sent to our P.O. Box. Cards from/to domestic US stations do not use the QSL Bureau, and your outgoing DX QSL cards go to the ARRL Outgoing QSL service in Newington, CT., not to your local QSL Bureau.
Another good part of sorting QSL cards is seeing the many, very interesting, fancy, QSL cards from around the world. (Seems like many US amateurs have plain old boring cards compared with those from foreign countries.) This should be a que to us to have our own QSL cards made more interesting and colorful, it’s kind of a personal pride thing. Besides,an attractive QSL card just begs a prompt reply from the receiver, whether he is a DX country, or one that you need for WAS.
What should you include on your own QSL card? Of course your callsign. Also your name and complete mailing address, printed clearly and together in a block, like you want to see it on a card mailed to you. Add your location if you were portable,optionally your county, grid square, and ten-ten number. Other brag items are permissible. Then the QSO information: the contacted station’s callsign, the frequency, the mode, the signal report, the date and time (always in UTC), optionally your rig, antenna, and power used for the contact. Be sure the receiving station’s callsign is on both sides of the card (makes it easier for QSL sorters), and use your best effort to make the receiver’s name and address clear and accurate (QRZ can be useful for that). If you make any errors filling out your QSL, throw it away and neatly start over. Corrections are not allowed.
Let’s start a campaign against boring QSL cards. A professionally printed, colorful, glossy, attractive QSL is much more enticing, and after going to the trouble and expense of contacting and QSL’ing, the added cost can’t be that prohibitive. Be sure to read the following pages from ARRL about Incoming and Outgoing QSL bureaus.
For more information visit www.cdxa.org/qsl_bureau.php.