More “Pay per Q”

Looks like my prediction is coming true quicker that I expected. This is taken from the TX5K Blog site.


TX5K QSL Card Update
Posted on March 19, 2013


When QSLs become available, Bob will cross reference the calls to the web page advance donor sponsor list, then he will process those cards in the first batches to go out. Just our way to say THANKS for helping!


Looks like the bureau will be quicker for those who choose not to donate.

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My point is made

In September 2012 I posted an piece about donations to DXpeditions and how preferrential treatment is shown to those who donate. The following is taken from the T30PY DXpedition website:


“Donors in this category will have QSOs uploaded in LOTW within 15 days after the end of the DXpedition. Also if paper QSL is needed please email QSO data and mailing address to Cards will be mailed with priority for donors without any additional cost. Expectation to mail the cards is early December 2012.”

I don’t think an explanation is needed.

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Dxpedition donations or How You Paid for my Summer Vacation

In a previous post I mentioned donations to DXpeditions. I wish to expand on my thoughts of them at this time. First off, I want to clarify that I have no problem with any DXpedition soliciting donations. Where I disagree with it is when donations become expected or preferential treatment is given to those who donate. I once saw a press releases for a DXpedition stating that so many dollars is expected from donations to help finance the effort. The fact that anybody can consider taking a trip of this magnitude tells me that you have more time and money than I have. Also, if you don’t have enough funds to take the trip, then don’t go. I, for one, don’t really care whether you go or not.

I always hear that the guys and gals who do this say that they’re “doing this to provide a new one”. Really? So without you, I’ll never progress up the DXCC ladder? Sounds a little arrogant to me. You’re not doing it for me. You’re doing it to have rock star status at ham fests for the next few years. This may come as a surprise to you but the person who signs my paycheck doesn’t care how many DXCC “countries” I have. Also, I never been asked in a job interview if I’m on DXCC Honor Roll.

A DX club that I was a member of once donated to a major DXpedition using my dues money. Well, I was out of town for 95% of the time it was on and when I was able to get a chance to try to work them, I didn’t have good propagation to them. So my dues money was wasted.

Today most major DXpeditions have what’s known as OQRS, Online QSL Request System. It’s set up to request a QSL card without having to send your own. Of course you have to pay for it and the minimum is $5. I’ve been mailing direct QSL’s with SASE’s for 14 years so let’s break down the cost of doing so.¬† We’ll use a QSL Manager in Germany as an example. Mailing envelope and return envelope $0.20. Add $0.09 for shipping of the order and this brings it to $0.29. Postage from USA to Germany is $1.05. Return postage(stamps) to the USA from Germany is $1.50. QSL cards using current W4MPY pricing of 1000 single color cards for $58.95 comes out to $0.59 per card. I print my own cards so cost of cards is cheaper for me. Totaling all of this comes out to $3.43. So by using OQRS, you’re paying and extra $1.57. A cost increase of 45%. Let’s look at the cost if the QSL Manager sent QSL’s direct. Shipping for one size envelope is now less. One envelope, $0.165. Postage to USA, $1.50 and QSL card, $0.59. Total: $2.26 per request. With the $5 minimum using the OQRS the DXpedition is making $2.47 per QSL request. A 109% markup.

Now let’s run some more numbers. Let’s say the the DXpedition logs 100,000 QSO’s and 50% of the QSO’s request a QSL via the OQRS. That’s 50,000 requests at $5 a request. If the DXpedition makes $2.47 per request, that comes out to $123,500.00. Break that down to a 15 member team at it comes out to $8233 per team member. That’s money back on their initial cost to go on the trip and will most likely will go back to their bank account where it came from in the first place.

If you’re going to go you need to be willing to spit out for your own expenses no matter how much it is. Nobody is begging you to go and the world will not end if you don’t go.

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Pay per Q?

Today we have more and more big, manufacturer sponsored, DXpeditions every year. One thing that I’ve noticed about these operations is how their QSL’s are processed and into the hands of the waiting DXer. Whether it be direct or through Logbook of the World (LoTW) a pattern seems to be emerging and it is when QSO confirmations are processed. I noticed this during a large scale expedition a few years ago. The operators announced that those who donated(another topic for another time) to the DXpedition, their confirmations would be processed first. Well, they were right. The DX club I was a member of at the time donated to the expedition. Shortly after the expedition was over I received LoTW confirmation for the QSO’s I made with them. All well and good I guess but in the coming weeks and months I heard that many people, who didn’t donate, still had not received confirmation on LoTW, while some QSO’s, like mine, had been confirmed. When the traditional paper QSL’s started to come out some months later, operators that started to receive their cards were saying that they donated to the DXpedition while those that didn’t, were still waiting.

All the big DXpeditions have a page on their website where a person can donate. Some will list recent donations and with what I mentioned above, there’s no doubt that a full list is kept somewhere. Are we not far from integrating that list into logging software that will alert the operation that the caller in the pileup donated? Today’s logging programs alert you of duplicate contacts, new multipliers, partial call checks etc. So what’s to prevent a data file of donors from being created and integrated into the software? Have we reached the point in DXing where it will be “Pay per Q”?

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