Friday, July 23, 2010

Whenever I send a QSL directly to a DX station I include an SASE and a dollar ...

Q N1AHT asks, “Whenever I send a QSL directly to a DX station I include an SASE and a dollar. Is this the correct procedure?

A Including an SAE (Self-Addressed Envelope) is always a good idea, but not an SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope). A US stamp is of no use at all to a ham in another country. He has to put his country’s stamp on the return envelope. As for the dollar, opinions on this practice differ. Many US hams include “greenstamps” (US dollars) with their QSLs to pay for the return postage. One US dollar will pay for return airmail postage from most areas of the world. The exceptions appear to be France and Germany where $2 may be necessary, depending on the exchange rates at the time.

Sending US dollars is an expensive way to QSL, but the advantage is that you will probably have your coveted card much sooner. Going through the QSL bureau system is more cost effective, but you could wait a year or longer to receive the card. It all boils down to how eager you are to have the confirmation in hand. Be advised that receiving foreign currency is illegal in a few countries. In addition, the postal workers in some countries have become remarkably adept at spotting Amateur Radio correspondence. They know these envelopes could contain money and are not above stealing the contents.

The alternative to the greenstamp is the IRC—International Reply Coupon. By international agreement, these are each valued at one unit of air mail postage at the destination. You’ll find IRCs at your local post office.

From QST July 2000