For the past few months I have been running a survey about Online QSL Requests (OQRS). The objective of this survey has been to understand the preferences and mood of the DX Community. The important question is about bureau cards that can be ordered free of charge from Club Log when OQRS is used.
The survey asked whether charging should be allowed, and whether it should remain mandatory to offer bureau cards. I also asked for suggestions about amounts that would be acceptable if charging were permitted, and invited any other comments.
You can see the survey questions here. All of the information below is in the public domain, and any publication wishing to use the data is welcome to reproduce this information.
There were 478 responses, which is a good amount of data. Over 90% of respondents indicated that they had used Club Log OQRS before. However, 84% of the responses were from Europe and North America. For this reason, I will not be analysing per-continent breakdowns for other continents (Asia, Oceania, South America, Africa and Antarctica) as there is not enough data to work with for those territories.
The overall result of the survey is shown in the following graphs.
Should Club Log OQRS allow the possibility of charging for bureau cards?
62% of respondents said no to this question.
Should Club Log OQRS continue to require bureau cards to be offered?
71% of respondents said yes to this question.
Supposing that a user decided to charge for bureau cards, what fee would be reasonable?
As explained, I only received enough responses to do this analysis for Europe and North America, but the differences between these two main areas is quite significant:
|Continent||Require bureau?||Allow charging?|
I invited other comments in the survey, and as a result of this I have received an extraordinary level of feedback. The majority of respondents took the time to express their views in more detail. The extra information in this data is invaluable and, while I am still working through it now, I would like to specifically acknowledge and thank those people who provided their views. As indicated on the survey, your feedback will only be used by me and the other volunteers working on Club Log, but you will help us make the right choices when we are developing Club Log.
What will change?
As a result of this survey there will be a few changes, but two things will not change:
- Club Log will not be dropping the requirement to offer bureau cards
- Club Log will not allow charging for bureau cards
Note: OQRS is optional! There is no obligation to use it, but if it is enabled then the bureau settings apply.
There is support for these policies, but there are plenty of drawbacks (two notable ones being what to do when a user cannot send bureau cards, and the burden of cost moved to the QSL manager by indiscriminate QSLing). It has also emerged that many DXers are causing congestion in the QSL bureaux by requesting both a direct and a bureau card for their contacts, which is extremely wasteful and unnecessary.
To try and compensate for the drawbacks, there are some changes we will be making in Club Log:
- If a DXer requests a direct card for a QSO, Club Log will no longer allow that person to also request a bureau card for the same QSO.
- If a bureau card has already been requested, and a DXer then requests a direct card, the direct card request will replace the bureau card request. This reduces the chance that both a direct card and a bureau card will be sent for the same QSO.
- If a DXer requests a bureau card, they will be asked to confirm that they will be able to receive it, by selecting a checkbox. Stations within the USA will not be allowed to request bureau cards from each other as there is no bureau service for internal (domestic) cards.
- If a DXer requests a bureau card, they will be reminded that while the card is free to them, it is not free of cost to the QSL manager. Before they get to the donation form in the OQRS checkout, they will be reminded that they can send a donation for their bureau cards, but will not be compelled to do so.
Lastly, as has always been the case, Club Log itself remains completely free of charge. Every cent paid through OQRS is delivered directly into the account of the QSL manager who manages the callsign.
What will happen next?
OQRS is still quite new to our hobby, and it’s an area that is evolving fast. There are still gaps in this mechanism that are difficult to automate. Some of our bureau settings make Club Log OQRS unviable for certain kinds of QSLing (or certain territories) and we regretfully accept we have excluded that group of people. On the other hand, Marios 5B4WN has been very busy innovating tools to help automate label printing (both the QSL card and the mailing labels), which have proved very popular. These are available to every Club Log user, not only expeditions. We’re doing what we can to help paper QSLing, and feel this is complementary to the importance of ARRL’s Logbook Of The World project, for example.
More changes seem likely to emerge. OQRS is extremely popular and hundreds of thousands of QSLs have been completed in Club Log this way. For now at least I think the points, above, in response to the survey are the important areas that needed addressing. Thank you to everyone who responded, as well as the chairmen of various DX clubs and DX foundations with whom these changes have been discussed in the past 3-6 months.
If you’d like to discuss the survey results, you can comment on this post.
73 – Michael G7VJR and the Club Log volunteers