Thursday, August 07, 2008

Do's and Don'ts of China QSLing

by Gayle Van Horn
With today's focus on following the Olympics from China via shortwave radio, time for a few tips for successful QSLing stations from China.

There are several elements in preparing a quality reception report, which begins with the date of reception. Spell the month out to avoid confusion, followed by the time of reception in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The frequency on which you logged the station is vital, expressed in either megahertz (MHz) or kilohertz (kHz). Don't forget to include any notation of parallel frequencies program was observed on.

Twenty minutes of programming is usually adequate unless you are monitoring a weak signal over a period of several days. Details should be specific as much as possible including program and announcer names. Station identifications and musical format is important, but a word-for-word transcription is not only not necessary, but will potentially waste the time of station personnel in charge of QSLing.

Don't forget to include reception signal quality observed while monitoring. However, don't attempt to make the station staff feel good by an over zealous rating than the signal quality deserves. Stations know when and where their frequencies are targeted. Remember though, your observations play a vital role in the station's future frequency planning.

Whether your initial QSLing is via China Radio International or China National Radio, both stations present quality programming and verify most correct reception reports within an adequate time of one-two months.

Remember too, if a Chinese regional or provincial station does not respond to your report within four-six months, resend your reception report to China Radio International. CRI has in the past verified regional and provincial stations. This is also an alternative to Chinese reporting, as CRI accepts English details for Chinese programming.

Always ask for the transmitter site regardless of the station. Usually CRI will include a personal handwritten note and extra station souvenir. Mint return postage or currency is not required when writing CRI, but should be considered when writing to the regional, provincial or CNR.

Keeo your letter upbeat and friendly. Questions relating to programming, culture or the station's future plans is advisable, while the on-going disputes over China's human-rights issues should be avoided.

Verifying China during the Olympics and future monitoring is an excellent opportunity to beginnng the verification game. Good luck and let me know your results.
(GVH QSL Report/Monitoring Times)