eQSL cards… these tend to stir up quite a few emotions in amateurs, some love them, some hate them. This post will look at the advantages and disadvantages of eQSl cards so you can make your own mind up.
First of all my experience of eQSL cards has been positive and inescapable. As a datamode operator these are pretty much sent and received for every QSO, this process is mostly automated as a lot of datamode software sends these each time a new QSO is logged.
One of the main criticisms levelled at eQSL cards is that they cannot be used for awards as you cannot be sure they’re genuine. While this is true, for me i know i really had the QSO with the other station and didn’t photoshop the eQSl, so it serves as a nice memento of the QSO.
I use the eQSL.cc service and have found it to be good. I donated some money to become a bronze member so i could customise my QSL card design…
- Near instant QSL cards – quite often you’ll receive the eQSL card as soon as your contact logs their QSO, compare this to the wait of several months or even years for bureux sent QSL cards!
- You’ll receive many more QSL cards – you receive cards where the other chap wouldn’t normally send a paper eQSL
- Very cheap – no printing and postage costs
- eQSL.cc offer a number of awards you can apply for with the eQSL cards you collect
- Storage is easier than paper QSL cards
- You get quick confirmation that a QSO was confirmed at the other end
- They can’t be authenticated so most award programs don’t accept them
- LoTW is a better online system for award credits
- Displaying eQSLs can be a challenge (see tips for displaying them below)
- Because they’re automatically generated and sent eQSL’s can feel a bit cold and inhuman, compare to a hand written paper QSL card
- Some eQSL cards use default designs offered for eQSl.cc’s free service, these aren’t particularly interesting and you’ll receive many using the same design
Setting up Fldigi for eQSLs
Fldigi can be set up easily to automatically send eQSLs each time you log a contact. This can all be automated so you don’t even need to remember to send the eQSL. Follow the steps below to configure Fldigi to do this (you’ll need an eQSL.cc account before you can do this)…
Go to Configure > QRZ/eQSL in the menu and then enter your details:
Tips for Displaying eQSL Cards
Once you’ve received your eQSL cards how can you display them? Here’s some ideas:
- Use a digital photo frame to display them in the shack
- I do this (see image below) and can store thousands of eQSL card files on a single SD card
- Print them
- Use them as rotating desktop wallpaper
Received eQSL Cards
Below are just some of the eQSL cards i received in 2013:
I think if you accept the merits of eQSLs they can be very helpful and interesting, but are they a replacement for traditional paper QSL cards? I think not, there’s still nothing quite like receiving paper cards from distant lands. What they do give you is a near instant confirmation of your contacts and it allows you to receive more QSLs than you would through paper QSL cards alone.
For the purpose of awards i prefer to use traditional QSL cards and Logbook of the World (LoTW), between these two you can get many contacts confirmed, but eQSL gives you something interesting and you can always use both eQSL and LoTW which is what i do.