the GM3VLB page

offering informal information on Amateur Radio operation from Scottish Islands
(specifically the SCOTIA, IOTA, WAB, WLH and CIsA programmes - and other schemes involving Scottish Islands)

Published by GM3VLB

GM3VLB QSL-ing Policy

Fundamental QSL-ing Policy :-
"GM3VLB, whether /P or /M or fixed station, in GM or operating under any other callsign (3D2LB, KH6/, VE/, W4/GM3VLB etc.) will ONLY  QSL via DIRECT to the HOME CALL"

Note : GM3VLB maintains, in so far as is possible (and there is a life beyond QSL-ing), a QSL 'by return' policy (as is also the case for SCOTIA Award applications), provided adequate return postage is received. The minimum return postage can be in the form of UK postage stamps (£0.88 for both Europe and DX), $2.00 or  €2.00. This is for ONE card. Consideration should be given to the time and expense involved in checking and confirming multiple QSOs. (GM3VLB has sometimes received requests for sixty, or more, island confirmations

In the past, much has been said on this web-site on the subject of QSL-ing. It is time to update this information. Contrary to popular belief in some quarters, a QSL card to confirm a QSO is not a "right". In the same vein GM3VLB does not consider it a requirement on his part to automatically reply to all QSL cards received. Were he to do so, the task would take up an inordinate amount of his already limited time.

It is arrogant to suggest that 'QSL-ing is the final courtesy of a QSO'. Is it not enough that someone has spent a lot of time and gone to a lot of expense getting equipped for portable operation, and perhaps travelling in severe sea/weather conditions, often making difficult landings, and operating in most uncomfortable surroundings? Is it then fair to expect that person to have thousands of cards printed at their own expense AND to also pay return postage?

GM3VLB has currently activated 298 islands, 270 of these in Scotland (201 different) in the last seventeen years, during which time he has clearly and frequently stated that he does NOT use ANY bureau facilities, either nationally or privately run (there is an increasing number of these). However he continues to receive many thousands of unsolicited QSL cards through such bureaux.

Most irritating perhaps is the ever-increasing number of poorly presented QSL requests (mostly computer generated), incredibly poor time-keeping, and requests for multiple contacts spanning several years without even taking the time to order these chronologically (and too often without island names or reference numbers).

GM3VLB feels it necessary to make the following comments:-

1.) André does not need or request ANY QSL cards, not even North Korea!
2.) More often than not, the best presented and most accurate QSL requests come from SWLs and old-timers. They always seem to know the island name and/or its reference number, and they record accurate UTC clock references. (An error of a few minutes can represent two or three 'pages' in a busy log. Once again, 'computer-generated' logs are the worst culprits here, as some users simply do NOT keep their computer clocks accurate). GM3VLB uses a simple chronometer, reset to UTC time prior to any expedition - could any serious chaser not be expected to reset their PC clock on a similar basis?
3.) The minimum information needed by GM3VLB is Date, Time, Frequency, and ideally the Name and SCOTIA Reference of the island contacted. (Remember that, in the past, GM3VLB has activated as many as FOUR islands in a given 24-hour period, and that a separate log book is maintained for each island activation).
4.) GM3VLB appreciates that many of his contacts are with stations who may themselves have interesting information to exchange as a result of the QSO. However such information must take second place on the QSL card.
5.) It is not considered 'fair' to request more than one QSL card 'per island' (for example, to confirm contacts that have taken place on several Bands). Unless you have stated a very good reason for making such a multiple QSL request (e.g. multi-band IOTA) and have considered the extra effort and cost required to process such a request, then these requests are unlikely to be met.
6.) As stated earlier, GM3VLB collects few, if any, QSL cards. He does NOT therefore need your card. If he does, he will request it in an appropriate manner. To save you time and money, a list (log extract) in CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER is all that is needed. It should provide the minimum information stated above.
7.) QSL requests not adhering to these simple guidelines will be dealt with appropriately.

Finally, please remember that 'chasers' perhaps only send out a few dozen QSL requests per year. A busy 'activator' may be replying to thousands. Many '100% QSL-ers' are highly / totally subsided DXpeditioners, or DXpeditions. Others will tend to be individuals perhaps only making a few QSOs per island, or who may have only activated a limited number of islands. GM3VLB does not fall into either of these categories, and makes no apology for NOT 'QSL-ing 100%'. However, as a former DX station and Honor-Roll Dx-er, he does appreciate the desire for certain QSLs and is happy to try and meet the need - but would expect some consideration from those requesting QSL cards. He regularly receives QSL requests for 5Z4KL QSOs that took place almost 50 years ago.

Incidentally, as more than a few IOTA chasers will testify, many DX-peditioners (large or small scale) who claim "100% QSL", in fact do so only 'via the bureau'. Any funds that they receive 'via direct', whether in the form of a donation, or as payment towards postage, along with the QSL card request, are often NOT used to send a return QSL card 'via direct' - instead these funds are seen purely as a donation "thank you very much"!

The former practice of identifying stations, via this website, whose QSL requests could not be processed will no longer continue, their requests being dealt with accordingly.

If you have not yet received your QSL card, perhaps your request has not met with one or more of the above requirements.


This web-site is the official site for the SCOTIA programme. It is to be in no way construed as the 'official' web-site for any other island award programme. The views and information presented here are those of GM3VLB. These views may not necessarily be those held by any other individuals or organisations. Please see the Legal Notice.
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