At our local radio club meeting this week, I did a presentation on amateur radio operating awards. The emphasis was on the most common awards: Worked All States (WAS), Worked All Continents (WAC), DX Century Club (DXCC) and VHF/UHF Century Club (VUCC).

I talked a bit about how to obtain a QSL card for written confirmation of  a radio contact. As I discussed using the QSL Bureau, it became clear that this is the kind of thing that a new ham might not learn on their own. In fact, they might not know this even exists.

The “Buro”, as it is often called on CW, is really two separate systems: The Outgoing QSL Bureau and the Incoming QSL Bureau. To use the Outgoing QSL Bureau, you need to be an ARRL member and send your outgoing cards to ARRL HQ. They are forwarded on from there to the other country and ultimately to the other amateur. See the Outgoing QSL Bureau information on the ARRL web site for the full story.

The Incoming QSL Bureau delivers cards coming in from other countries. This work is handled by various radio clubs, organized by call area. You do not need to be an ARRL member to use the incoming service. You can find the incoming QSL bureau for your call area here on the ARRL web site. My callsign is KØNR, so I use the WØ QSL Bureau which has this web site:  The  WØ QSL Bureau is operated by the Mississippi Valley DX/Contest Club. Thanks, Guys!

Now here is the important part:

If you have worked any DX stations, you may have QSL cards waiting for you at the buro. You should supply your QSL bureau a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope, which they will use to send you any cards that are waiting.

Look up your Incoming QSL Bureau and follow their specific instructions concerning supplying them with envelopes.

73, Bob K0NR