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I confirm all QSOs via LOTW and eQSL but some people also request QSL cards via bureau or direct. Of course I don't want to disappoint them and I reply 100%.

But I find it such a burden to print sheets of labels and stick them on the cards. So I wonder: is there an efficient way to print the QSO data directly on the otherwise preprinted QSL cards?

What (not to expensive) printer can be used?

My cards are pretty heavy cardboard so a regular inkjet or laser printer does not work.

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    $\begingroup$ Not wanting to disappoint others is certainly an admirable quality. However, there comes a point where there has to be a limit for the sake of your sanity. It's simply impossible to please everyone, and neither do we have an obligation to do so. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Jul 23 '17 at 23:37
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So, the fact that laser printers work so well is that you can directly roll-on the toner – that either requires a very finely tuned linear transport of the paper to be printed on (which is mechanically complex and thus expensive), or, and that's what you find in any paper printer – keeping the paper under the right tension and having another roller opposite to the toner transfering roller to which you feed the paper under an angle (so that you can keep it flat and tensioned). Another aspect of bending the paper around rollers is that it makes it possible to put relatively long processing chains within a compact case.

Same goes for inkjets – you need to make sure your piece of paper is 100% flat where you run the ink nozzles. That, together with the need to grab a single sheet of paper, make linear transport expensive to build.

Of course, there's speciality printers, eg. for surface printing on metal or plastic signs, or of course, cardboard postcards, packaging etc. But these are large (thus making the bending radii large) or expensive, so that even there, the "stick-on"/label approach is often preferred.

If you really can't stand the labels (which don't sound too bad, to me), I'd look into getting a cheap laser cutter/engraver and running it with as little power you need to burn in the info you need :) You'll need to write a few scripts to put the text where you want it, convert it to something your cutter speaks, send that job out to the cutter etc, but bonus is you get a laser cutter for other purposes :)

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I have had good success with a "photo" printer. I made my Word template so that it prints the data at the same time as the background image. The only downside is single sided printing. But the card stock is nice because it easily trims down to size in the paper cutter without much waste.

I print an envelope with my normal laser printer.

When I activated Tortola, I got a lot of nice compliments on the card. My wife took the picture on the beach that made up the card background. I sent out a little over 100 cards printed that way.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is the easiest solution I have found for printing one side of card stock. $\endgroup$ – SDsolar Jul 24 '17 at 3:03
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Forgive me if this isn't the case, but isn't just taking a pen and writing the few things that need to be filled out much quicker than printing out labels? Unless you really make lots of qso 's and have a large percentage requesting cards, I would imagine having the cards next to you while doing the qso, and filling them out straight away, would be the least time consuming.... And honestly, I'd prefer even an illegible handwritten card over one with a printed label, to me it has a more personal feeling. I don't operate except on field day and such though, so sorry if it really isn't a practically reasonable idea. Anyway you do it, it's really nice you take the time to send the cards...

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry but writing thousands of cards per year? 90% of my contacts are in contests. $\endgroup$ – ON5MF Jurgen Jul 23 '17 at 18:16
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    $\begingroup$ Thousands of cards per year!?? Even for a heavy contester I find that hard to believe. First you should use LOTW for all contests and then ONLY write and send QSL cards for those who request them which are likely a very small percentage. Most contesters that I know don't care about nor use QSL cards for proof of contact; rather, QSLs requested only for those somewhat interesting or rare contacts. I fill out all QSLs by hand and it takes very little time. $\endgroup$ – K7PEH Jul 23 '17 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ I have received about 1000 cards in the last year via bureau only. And yes I do use LOTW and eQSL. Moreover I like to send a card to those stations that haven't confirmed the contact via LOTW or eQSL. $\endgroup$ – ON5MF Jurgen Jul 24 '17 at 6:19
  • $\begingroup$ Then get smart about it. Print multiple cards on card stock that fits your printer. When I worked at a law firm I had those small Avery labels for file folders and there were a couple of dozen on a page, and with a little careful planning I found with practice I wasn't wasting pages. OR, just hand-write them. $\endgroup$ – SDsolar Aug 2 '17 at 22:21

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