Here’s my routine when I get an envelope from the W5 bureau:
Check for new band-country confirmations, read the details of the other guy’s gear, check the “Y” box in my logging program, mark the sending station as needing a reply card.
And then they go into a box. Forever.
Both posts echo my own sentiments and make me re-ask a question that’s repeatedly entered my mind lately, “Why QSL?”
Like most of you, I too have shoeboxes of QSL cards that will never be seen. Those boxes are located in the same closet with the boxes containing other old relics – photographs…numerous envelopes of photographs, impossible to sort through. Remember negatives?! They’re in there too.
Ask me to find a particular QSL or photograph and I’m likely to go mow the yard, clean the rain gutters or some other task that’s actually worthy of the time required to perform it.
In LoTW, I have 5000+ virtual QSL’s and my RAID’ed hard drives contain 20 GB of photos. Thanks to search functions, I can find whatever I want of either in a matter of seconds. The virtual QSL’s are as equally valid as their paper counterparts and the digital photos won’t age, yellow or be used as coasters.
Neither cost me a dime. I can shoot photos all day with no film, processing costs or smelly Dektol and I can confirm QSO’s from the latest DXpedition without financing anyone’s failing postal service. Better to donate the costs to the DXpedition itself.
I have perhaps 700 QSL cards left of the 1000 I ordered last year. They’ll be used to reply to cards received – I don’t want to be a deadbeat! – but I won’t send cards out unsolicited anymore. Those days are over and I doubt I’ll ever have to order QSL cards again.
How much I’ve spent over the years…enough for a subreceiver for my K3, I’ll bet. And for what? My cards are probably in shoeboxes around the world. What’s the point?
Having said all that, I do like getting cards – they just don’t make financial sense when there’s another (free) option.