Sending cards to the Bureau
Cards from members destined for amateurs in all parts of the world are sent to the RSGB QSL Bureau in Halifax
In the course of a year, the RSGB QSL Bureau processes over 1.5 million cards.
This section provides advice and information for radio amateurs wishing to send cards via the RSGB QSL Bureau.
Proof of membership
Each batch of cards must contain proof of membership no more than three months old. This is the address label and identification numbers cut from the bag used to post RadCom.
Clubs and Groups
As clubs receive the RSGB Yearbook each year in lieu of RadCom, they must include sufficient information for a check to be made against the affiliated societies register. Ideally in the form of a club letterhead, showing the membership number and renewal date.
To speed status checking, all clubs and special interest groups (e.g. DX, contest, event, mode, etc.) must ensure that they register contact details directly against the club or group name’s unique membership number. Clubs and special interest groups should not be listed as a secondary call to any personal call sign, or group QSL manager’s personal membership of RSGB. If in doubt please update before sending cards.
Advice for heavy QSL users
Exceptionally, there is a special procedure for those designated heavy users. These are members who are likely to send more than a few thousand cards per year. Packages are weighed when they arrive at the bureau and members will be asked to regard themselves as heavy users when they reach the (flexible) limit. The system is designed to reduce the costs of the bureau to the membership, by inviting big QSLers to take on some of the burden without penalising ordinary members and anyone who might occasionally send more than the typical number of cards.
Heavy users must send sorted cards for the ‘Top Ten’ countries directly to the appropriate bureaux overseas, without going through the RSGB system. QSL bureau staff will advise which are the current ‘Top Ten’ bureaux. Other cards from heavy users follow the normal system.
How the cards are sorted
When cards arrive at the bureau, those destined for abroad are sorted into countries and despatched in bulk to the appropriate overseas bureaux, most of which are operated by member societies of the International Amateur Radio Union. Cards for stations within the UK are sorted into callsign groups, each of which is operated by a volunteer sub-manager. This person receives cards sent to the sub-bureau from the main QSL bureau and puts them into envelopes received from UK amateurs.
Making your own QSL card
In designing QSL cards, remember that they should be made of standard card and should not exceed normal postcard size: 140 x 89mm (5.5in x 3.5in). Large or unusually shaped cards are likely to be damaged when they are folded, whilst underweight cards can be difficult to handle and may fall out of packages.
Rules to speed up handling of cards
Many more cards can be processed quickly if members follow these simple rules;
Print the station worked callsign clearly in the top right-hand corner of the card or label, using clear bold print with a minimum size of 12 point to make for easy reading.
Routing instructions such as and additional ‘via another station’ callsign should be printed directly underneath – using a different colour is most helpful.
Separate all pre-sorted cards for the UK from those going overseas, into three groups G.M & 2.
Sort cards alphabetically by prefix, except USA cards which should be sorted into call areas regardless of prefix. In addition, keep countries with more than one prefix together, so that (for example), cards for 7J are next to those for JA. However, sort by QSL Manager’s callsign if relevant.
When preparing cards to be posted, pack them the same way up. Do not use any separators or other markers between cards. Packages should be wrapped adequately so as not to get damaged in transit. The correct postage must be used.
Listeners and QSL cards
Listeners who are members may use the bureau but are reminded that their reports should contain sufficient information to be of genuine value to transmitting amateurs. Reception reports relating to shortwave broadcasting stations cannot be accepted.
Overseas members of the RSGB in countries where there is no QSL service operated by their IARU member society may send cards to the RSGB QSL bureau for distribution. Overseas amateurs who are not members of the RSGB may send cards addressed to UK stations only direct to the RSGB QSL Bureau.