By Bob Padula, Mont Albert, Victoria, Australia
March 2004

Since I first started sending reports back in 1954, the total has now reached 10,457 on shortwave - none on duplicate frequencies for any given "station".

On mediumwave, I have some 600 QSLs from 117 countries, but I retired from that field ten years ago due to the sheer impossibility of achieving anything worthwhile from Melbourne due to: all Australian channels now occupied by 24-stations (no NSPs!) - nearly 20 stations operating from Melbourne - appalling technical operating standards (spurs - shared towers) - bad local powerline interference.

On SW, the term "station" means different things to different people, but the Australian understanding of this is that a station is a "broadcasting entity" if is satisfies these conditions: - has its own mailing address - issues its own QSL acknowledgments - announces itself over the air - has a recognisable schedule - confirms the specific content as contained in the report National and International services from any given broadcaster constitute separate stations, even if using the same frequency.

The multitudes of programs emerging from religious broadcasters do not normally constitute status as separate "stations" under these "rules"! (Indeed, Radio EDXP is an exception!)

QSLs "by proxy" are not consistent with the Australian system, such as responses issued by a transmission authority (such as VT Merlin, Broadcast Australia, Sentech) "on behalf" of brokered broadcasters. This is a different approach, where some hobbyists use alternative systems for their achievements: - QSLing of CIRAF zones - QSLing actual transmitter sites.

A frequency difference of at least 5 kHz applies to "count" a new QSL for any given station. Prepared cards are not really within the spirit of the Australian system. Follow-up reports are acceptable, but within a reasonable time frame!

The Australian system does not consider "stations heard" (but not QSLd) as a recognisable standard.

Counting of countries is based on the DXCC philosophy, tried and tested by time over a great many years, using the concept of "deleted country", and arbitrary categorisation of "countries" such as occurs for "Indonesia", "China", "Papua New Guinea" (etc) which are not political entities.

Different standards have been introduced for mediumwave, TV, longwave, and VHF broadcasters.

Clandestine, pirate and other non-official stations pose particular problems, and personally I don't go near them! That is a matter of personal choice, however.

Those 10,457 reception reports have yielded 7975 QSLs, a response rate of nearly 80%, from 963 stations, 220 current countries, 24 deleted countries. I no longer send any form of costly inducements with reports - no IRCs, no money, no stamps, no badges, no maps, no calendars, no cassettes, no address labels. However, I do send a nice postcard of Australian scenes with each report, and sometimes a recent photo of me. I do not bother with E-mail reports. Neither do I make recordings!

All reports are in English, using my own PC generated personalised colored Report Letter, which also talks about me, my interests, home, and family.

My record-keeping is simple: 1. Ordinary file cards in order of Country, showing station, frequency, date reported, date QSLd

2. Ordinary A4 exercise books showing report designator (a number), date of report, time of report, freq, language, station, date QSL received

3. Ordinary A4 book showing QSL designator (a number), station, freq, progressive station count, progressive country count

4. Thumb indexed book in country order showing stations QSLd (name, freq, and dates)

I do not bother with computerisation of any of this stuff - neither do I retain the original reports, either print or audio. If something fails to respond, I will prepare a fresh report - if the station has closed down, then too bad!

The QSLs are filed in cabinets, one folder for each country. Computerisation of all these records would take forever, and the benefits (to me) are not worth the bother and time. The present manual system suits me fine.

All my QSLs reports are hand-written, by the way, as I suffer from chronic Carpell Tunnel Syndrome - I cannot use a keyboard without severe pain, and any keyboard work (such as this PC) is very difficult for me.