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Which is the minimal information I should require to confirm/QSL a reception report I receive ?

I know the report must contain my callsign, time, date and band where I was listened. Is it also a requirement to indicate the callsign of the other participant in the QSO ?

I am receiving some QSLs without this last info. This makes sometimes difficult to confirm if the listener actually heard me. For example, In those occasions I stay the full day glued to my rig, without other information, any time would match.

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Usually when listening to DX on the bands, a listener will note the DX station as well as the station the DX station is working. Without this information it can be difficult for the DX station to look up their own transmission in their log.

For example, the other day I heard a weak station on 17m CW - ET3AA, quite rare, and difficult to work from here (Thailand). He was not particularly busy, and was rather weak. I heard him going through a few contacts, but I only really heard the prefixes of the stations he was working (UA4, DL, G), as I was trying to work him myself.

I was lucky that he heard my weak signals after about 45 minutes, but if I had completely failed to work him after an hour, and sent him an SWL QSL card instead saying "I heard you on 18MHz at 1430Z on 2015-07-07", he might have thought "yeah, I was on 18MHz at that time, that's a good one". But conversely he might have thought "you heard me? So who was I working??" and not send a QSL in response.

For a QSL sent to an amateur DX station, I would expect to see as a minimum: The DX Callsign, Date, Time, Frequency Band (or better yet, actual frequency), Mode and Station Worked by the DX station. Without that the DX station can not usually guarantee that they were actually heard at that time/date/frequency/mode, as they can't cross-check it with their own log.

One exception to this is if a DX station is calling CQ and you hear them - if you were to send an SWL QSL to them, they might not even HAVE a log entry for what frequencies/dates/times/modes they call CQ. Most logging software these days is all about QSOs, and not so much about procedural stuff like "station on/off times" or "calling CQ" or "started/stopped packet software on 2m" or whatever. Back in the days of paper logs, such things were regularly logged.

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There are no rules about SWL cards. Why do we have SWL cards at all?

  • to report reception, signal strength, etc. to the transmitting station to let them know how well they are getting out.

  • to request a QSL card in reply, signifying the SWL has accurately heard the transmission and to thank him/her for the SWL card.

An SWL card should give enough data to accurately identify the sender and the transmission. At a minimum, time, date, frequency, and call sign. It helps to include the call sign of the other ham, too, along with any other particulars - operating mode and any special information.

The whole business is a courtesy. Nobody needs to send an SWL card, and a station does not need to confirm it with a QSL. So, be polite and helpful!

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your comment, I understand it is a courtesy. Just was asking about the rules of common courtesy involved in this specific exchange. $\endgroup$ – joaquin Jul 13 '15 at 11:37
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The more information the better. A well designed card will give MORE THAN ENOUGH information to properly confim the contact or what was heard. To little information is poor communication at best and WORTHLESS at its worst.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the help and lack of negativity!. I am new here and none of us knows everything. Also I need to be careful. My laptop has a habit of jumping to all caps when I am not looking. $\endgroup$ – Keith Martineau Jul 22 '15 at 8:11

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