20 January 2007

usenet summary: qsls and ircs

This article summarizes a recent useful thread on the rec.radio.shortwave usenet newsgroup. The thread was about sending IRCs (international reply coupons) to shortwave broadcasters so that they would reply with a QSL card. The thread was titled "Why can't I buy any IRCs at the P.O.?"

Terry first posted:
I've tried to buy IRC's (International Reply Coupons) at the local P.O., even though they have them, they won't sell them! Their screen says: "Not For Sale" when they are scanned.

This has happened at the main Helena, MT P.O. and Tuesday at the Missoula, MT P.O. Anyone else experiencing this problem?BTW, these are the new ones good until 2009.

Someone identified as Tester replied with:
Try the attached link to email a complaint to the USPS. ...

It seems to work. Once, when I tried it to complain that the self-service area of my local PO was closed at 8:15 A.M. when it was supposed to open at 7 A.M. I got a phone call from the head of that PO in a day or two.

If you need more than a very small ammount (sic) of return postage from any one country you might consider one of those ham services that sells mint non-philatelic stamps. They're quite a bit cheaper than IRC's and the recipient doesn't have to chase down the only post office branch in the province which redeems IRC's, thus speeding your QSL.

A poster named David gave this interesting tidbit:
The IRCs are often useless to the recipient. I recall in 1963 when I answered over 100 reception reports of HJED in Cali, Colombia, that the engineers had hundreds of IRCs, unused. They said that it was hard or impossible to exchange them, so they just stuffed them in an envelope.

In Ecuador, where stamps were sold at private Kiosks outside th epost office (sic), it was essentially impossible to do an exchange for postage.

It's probably better to send nothing than an IRC except to established international broadcasters who know how to deal with them.


Anonymous said...

The fact you found a useful thread on rec.radio.shortwave is amazing in and of itself!

weatherall said...


When I see a useful thread there, I can summarize the best posts on my site and shield my readers from the negative aspects of usenet. Don't look now, but there's a lot of arguing going on about recommending an Eton E5 vs. a Degen 1103 to a newcomer. It's an unfortunate first impression for shortwave newcomers.

Anonymous said...

if you like liveatc.net, check out http://atcmonitor.com which provides VIDEO of some of the busiest airspace in the world. I'm addicted to it!