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|8th Area Incoming QSL Bureau|
Everything You Need To Know About
Using Our QSL Bureau..
The 8th call area incoming QSL bureau operates as part of the
ARRL's volunteer QSL bureau system.
The 8th Call Area is comprised of 3 states, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia.
Cards having the numeral 8 (such as K8, N8, W8, AA8-AK8, KA8-KZ8, and WA8-WZ8) in the call sign, as well as American Samoa cards (AH8, KH8, WH8)
are handled through this Bureau.
The 8th Call Area Incoming QSL Bureau is split between the
Great Lakes Division and the Roanoke Division.
8 area bureau cards have been mailed to the letter managers as of
Sunday, March 31st.
The boxes have been shipped priority mail and should arrive in a few days.. I might take a 2 to 4 weeks for the guys to sort an mail your envelopes
The next cycle should be mailed to the letter managers by mid June 2012. It usually takes up to a week for the cards to reach the letter managers and about two weeks for them to resort and mail those envelopes with enough cards to justify the affixed postage. Some managers may take a bit longer, give or take personal responsibilities. The next cycle has begun. Enjoy the chase!
If anyone has a question about their status, they should contact their letter manager directly, even if they have to use US Postal Service. To figure out who your letter manager is, check the chart below to find the call of the person handling the letter of the alphabet corresponding to the FIRST LETTER of your call sign's SUFFIX. (Example: KC8UEC would work with K8UPR who has the letter U)
If you send a message to the bureau manager asking a question that is covered either on this web site or on the ARRLís web site, the response you probably receive will simply be, "Read the web page." While you may disagree with that response, the web sites were created so that we do not have to spend our time answering the same questions over and over and over again. Some simple logic may also be required to answer some of your questions. For instance; it states above, "Cards having the numeral 8 Ö are handled by this bureau." It does not say if you live in the 8th call area. We get questions from folks who physically live in a call area different than their call. Apply simple logic. How the heck would the foreign bureau know which bureau to send the cards if they were to be sent to the area bureau in which one lives? The foreign bureau would have to look up every call on every outgoing card to see where the person lives. Ainít gonna happen! Sometimes they canít even get it right trying to send 8ís to the 8th bureau and not some other bureau or visa versa.
8th Call Area Incoming QSL Letter Sorters
GENERAL QSL BUREAU INFORMATION
The 8th call area bureau operates as part of the ARRL's volunteer QSL bureau system. As such, the operating expenses are paid by the league's members, although the bureau service is open to all US hams whether ARRL members or not. If you are not a league member, and use the incoming bureau, won't you consider joining today?
The bureau is 100% volunteer staffed. Each bureau worker forgoes their time to provide a service to you and we want to provide the best service possible within the bounds of reasonableness and fiscal responsibility. If you will follow the guidelines listed here, you will receive better service and our volunteers will have time to enjoy other aspects of our hobby, etc.
The 8th district central bureau is located at the
Voice of America Museum in West Chester where it is one of the permanent
displays. It is a work in progress, but if you have a chance to visit the
VOA museum, be sure to look for the bureau. We do not encourage "just
stopping by to pick up your cards" as there is no one there to release them
to you. In addition, the only cards at the central bureau will be those
that have not been forwarded to the individual letter managers. The best
time to visit would be when the West Chester Amateur Radio Association has
their regular meeting, if you want a more detailed bureau visit. This is
the link to their website:
We cannot process them; they will be sent back to you
in your bureau envelopes. Outgoing cards should be sent to ARRL HQ. This
includes cards for non-8th area US stations from any source, including any
you may pick up from DX stations or bureaus on your out of US travels. You
cannot use the ARRL bureau system to send cards to other U.S stations within
the 48 contiguous states--for contacts between U.S. stations. Any cards sent
for U.S.-to-U.S. contacts will also be sent back to you using your bureau
SASE. You may use the ARRL bureau system for DX stations who have a U.S.
manager, such as VK0IR cards via W8XXX, or XE3/K8XXX via K8XYZ. If you
send cards via the bureau to a manager, make sure you list the full call of
the manager, not just via "W8 bureau." There is no way we can know who
handle or manages cards for every DX station around the world.
QSL cards are rarely received by the bureau for
contacts less than four months old. Most cards are for contacts made
If you work DX at all, you should expect to receive bureau cards, especially if you work any DX contest. Do not forget that most SWL's send via the bureau. So not only might you receive cards from the station you worked, but also from SWL's. Unclaimed cards are the bureau's biggest problem. Send NON-clasp-fastening, end-opening envelopes, between 5X7 and 6X9 inches in size. Unless you receive lots and lots of bureau cards DO NOT send more than three or four (self addressed stamped envelopes) SASE at a time. DO NOT use envelopes smaller or larger that 5X7 or 6X9. Smaller envelopes won't hold some of the larger DX cards; larger envelopes won't fit in our files, are more likely to come apart in the mail process AND with current postage rates, cost more to use. Non-standard and padded envelopes may be returned to you empty. Padded envelopes are larger than 1/4 inch and incur a higher fee just like envelope larger than 6 x 9. Several of the letter managers are moving to or have implemented a cash basis process for their letters. This has been done because of the frequent postage rate changes and the futility of trying to keep appropriate postage on the envelopes.
Most of our Managers have email access. If you have an EMAIL address, PLEASE INCLUDE IT when ever you write to the bureau or your Letter Manager. Make sure to include your EMAIL address when you send SASEs to the bureau or your Manager as well. This will help us to communicate with you much more quickly than by conventional snail mail. If your EMAIL address changes, make sure you notify your Manager of the change.
Please DO NOT SEND USED ENVELOPES to the bureau. We will *NOT* attempt to use used envelopes. More than one trip through the postal system greatly increases the chance the envelope will come apart in the postal system, with the loss of your cards.
When you prepare envelopes for us, NEATLY print your call, in BLOCK LETTERS , in the upper left corner, in the place where a normal return address goes. Some people do such a poor job of writing their calls we need to look up the suspected call in the Callbook and match the name/address to make sure of the call. Certain letters can be especially troublesome--like V and U, for instance. Take the time to make a very pointed V and a round or square bottom U. Keep this in mind when filling out cards to send via any bureau. It is a real headache for bureau workers trying to decide who the card really goes to; we don't want to guess which letter you really mean. And if a Manager can't read the call you put on your card, it may end up in the round file. Address each envelope to yourself in the center. Remember, these are your cards. If we can't read your call or the postman can't read your address, you won't get them. If you have a change of address, send us address labels to cover your old address. Many people write so large, there is no room to write a change of address on their SASE.
If sending envelopes with stamps, affix enough postage to cover at least one ounce of weight. Currently, the post office is selling a "forever" stamp good for one unit of postage. We do not know how long they will sell these stamps, but now would be a good time to stock up on them for use with your bureau SASE's.
NEVER put more than one call on an envelope. We can not cross-reference upgrades, vanity calls, and family calls. Some of the Letter Managers live many miles apart. There is no way to share an envelope between two Letter Managers. If you send an envelope with SASEs for more than one call, make sure you include a note saying you have done so. We don't take the time to look at each SASE you send us. I f there is no note pointing out the fact you've sent SASE for multiple call , we simply pass them on to the Letter Manager for the first SASE we see. You may include a self-addressed postcard which we will return, letting you know your SASEs have arrived safely.
PLEASE NOTE: If you expect to receive cards under more than one call sign, please keep separate SASEs at all the Letters or Bureaus where you expect cards to be received. We will not "forward" cards for one call to another letter manager within our bureau or to another bureau unless you provide the SASE. It is/was your call and your QSO, if you want the cards, provide the SASE.
Again, the normal mailing cycle for the bureau is about every four to six weeks. If you don't worry about us wasting your postage, put "mail every cycle" on the bottom of each SASE and we will send you what you have each time, without the need to fill your SASE to the value of postage you've placed on it. If you are a big gun contester, DX-peditioner, or manager of a very active DX station, and get a pound or more a month, you may request your Letter Manager to box your cards to save on postage. Don't send money for this via the bureau. This MUST be between you and your Letter Manager, with the check made out in his name. If he doesn't want to take the time to do it, and requests you just send him SASE, that's the way it will be. The volunteer Letter Managers have enough of a job, and it's up to them if they want to do more. Any money for this extra service must be between you and your Letter Manager, not the bureau.
On the other hand, if you do not want to receive
bureau cards, please advise your letter manager that you do not want them.
If you are the manager for a DX station, including your own DX operations,
and do not want bureau cards for those operations, but do want bureau cards
for your US to DX contacts, we will not return the DX cards to the
originator. We will destroy them. Also be advised, if you elect to pursue
this scenario, we will not be responsible for destroying cards you wanted to
receive and we accidently destroyed. Remember, we are all volunteers and
every special request takes volunteer time.
The Standard Operating Guidelines for ARRL QSL Bureaus states: "QSL cards on file which are unclaimed for a period longer than 90 days may be destroyed by the Bureau Manager (or Letter Manager) without further authority." PLEASE NOTE : Individual Letter Managers may elect to hold unclaimed QSL Cards for a longer period of time, at their discretion. Once we have made reasonable attempts to contact you that you have cards at the bureau and have received no correspondence (SASE) from you and destroyed your cards, we will make a note in our files and *NOT* contact you again. We will continue to destroy your cards on a continuing basis until we receive instructions to the contrary. You may consider this extreme, but consider again that the biggest problem we have is unclaimed cards and the effort our volunteer letter managers expend trying to get them to the intended recipients. Before we destroy the cards, the following has occurred. A card has been sent, not at your expense, to your address of record, according to the FCC data base. (If that address is incorrect, you are not complying with the FCC regulations and are actually operating illegally!) In addition to the card, an email has been attempted using the address,<your-call>@arrl.net and/or any address in the various on-line callbooks.
A few words to prospective QSL managers: Please don't volunteer unless you are truly willing to make the extended commitment. Find out how the expenses you incur will be paid. Don't think you will only handle direct cards. We U.S. hams tend to think of the rest of the world as if it were like this country. Many hams in poor countries are just barely getting by and can't afford "green stamps" and IRCs for each DX contact. The bureau is the only way they can afford to get their cards. These hams WILL send cards via the bureau because that is the only way they can afford to do it. Yes, some hams are cheap, but many just can't afford any other way. You must supply SASE to the bureau for these cards. Don't volunteer to do half a job when others are willing to do the complete job. If, at some point, you find you can't continue, it is up to you to tell the DX station you cannot continue, and if possible, help him find a new manager. You really should provide envelopes to forward the bureau cards that we receive via <your-call> to the new manager. There is no reason the ARRL should pay to forward these type cards. If no SASE is provided by you or the new QSL manager, they will probably be destroyed.
Many times U.S.stations go on DX-peditions. Say, J8/N8??? who uses a manager for the J8 operation, but keeps no SASE on file for his own cards. Since "everyone" doesn't always get the word, cards come in for the DX-pedition under his N8??? call, but with no SASE available, we must track down the real manager and try to get him to collect these cards. We have enough to do without this Sherlock Holmes detective-work trying to track down someone to take their bureau cards. If you are the manager for a U.S. station that goes on DX-peditions, who doesn't keep SASE on file for his own call, please send the bureau a few envelopes to collect these cards.
The mail is picked up at the PO Box on a regular basis, approximately once per week. There may be as little as five pounds to as much as 200 pounds in a week. You can visualize this by thinking of a stack of QSL cards ranging from 9 inches high, to over 29 feet high, each week.
At the central bureau we sort the cards into 27 piles - one for each letter of the alphabet according to the first letter of the suffix and one for missorts from the other bureau, cards sent to the 8th area bureau that should go to the 9th area bureau, for example.
The cards are then conveyed to the individual Letter Managers. Some managers will personally pick the cards up from the central bureau every few weeks. Most are mailed via USPS or UPS every four to eight weeks, depending on volume If you send a request for information to your Letter Manager via the Bureau address, it may have just missed the last pickup, requiring another six weeks to make it to your Letter Manager. It will save you time to check directly with your Letter Manager if you just want to check on the status of your cards and SASE. See the complete Letter Manager list, at the top of this page, to know who does your cards. Send e-mail direct to your Letter Manager, along with a copy the Bureau Manager.
Our goal is to mail out cards at least every two months, and sooner if possible. However, remember we are all volunteers and also take vacations, go on DX trips ourselves, get sick, have family issues that need immediate attention, etc., so occasionally it may take a bit longer. Put it in perspective, if most of the cards you are receiving are for QSOs more that a year in the past, what is another 2 months? If you are working a good deal of DX, and don't have too much postage on your SASE, there should be no reason why more than six months should go by without cards. We want to know whenever this happens. We will lend a temporary hand to the Letter Manager or give it to another if we can't get the cards out at least every three months.
We must assume each Letter Manager is doing a good job if you don't tell us there is a problem. It's a good idea to mark your calendar each time you get bureau cards. That way you know for sure how long it has been. If you do work a good deal of DX, let us know any time you go over 6 to 9 months without cards. When we ask a Letter Manager if he has problems and he says, "I got behind, but I'll take care of everything next week," we have to assume that happened. We've had instances where we asked the Letter Manager if he got everything out a few weeks later. He says "yes" when in fact he didn't. We need to hear from you to make sure he in fact does the job as it should be done. The Letter Manager can clean up his act and have the same problem some time later. There's no way for us to know of problems if you don't tell us.
Good cooperation between the DXer and the bureau is important to ensure a smooth flow of cards. Remember that the people who work at the bureau are all volunteers. At the peak of the last cycle, we handled over two tons of cards a year. In the trough of the cycle relatively few cards are received. We are on the downslide now. For that reason and with the implementation of Log Book of the World, you should expect card volume to begin to drop off. With that in mind, please pay close attention to the above information, and the following DO'S and DON'TS.
keep self-addressed 5X7 or 6X9 envelopes on file with your call in the upper
left corner. Affix at least one ounce of postage to each. After checking
the Letter Manager list above, you may send your SASE directly to your
DO keep envelopes at all Letters and Bureaus where you expect to receive Cards. If you have had a call sign change, we have no way of forwarding your old cards to your new Letter Manager, so please have an SASE waiting at both the old and new call sign Letter Managers Bureau.
DO include your E-Mail address with all correspondence to the Bureau or your Letter Manager.
DO send the bureau enough postage to cover the SASE on file and enough to cover postal rate increases.
DO respond quickly to any bureau request for more SASE or additional postage. Remember, unclaimed cards are the bureau's single biggest problem.
DO include an SASE with any information request to the bureau.
DO notify the bureau in writing if you don't want your cards.
DON'T expect DX cards to arrive for at least a year after contact. Overseas delivery is very slow. Most cards are over a year old when received by the Bureau.
DON'T send your outgoing cards to this bureau. Click on the link to find out about the ARRL outgoing bureau service. Outbound Cards