Anyone who has DXed or heard distant stations will eventually want some sort of proof.
Or maybe you'll just like collecting letterheads, cards, and bumper stickers for their appearance.
Either way, obtaining verification is a tricky and fun aspect of the DX hobby
QSL CARDS and LETTERS
I see a qsl card or letter as a form of "proof" to tell others, "I heard such and such a station and have the "proof"!
I also like the patterns and designs for display reasons also.
A QSL card or letter is a form of verification that you heard a particular station
With a QSL card or letter from a station manager I can proudly boast my DX catches to friends and fellow DXers.
QSL cards and letters of verification should hopefully state somewhere on the card or letter the date, time, frequency, and power used at the time of reception
I always ask the power output because it may vary if there is a national emergency such as a hurricane or flood.
Also, many of the stations that used to be daytime operating only stations are now on at night with, usually, a much lower power than during the day.
HOW CAN I GET A VERIFICATION?
The best way is to write a "reception report" and send it to the chief engineer or station manager
This information can be acquired a few different ways.
The easiest is to acuire a "station logbook" or reference guide to all of the stations in the US and Canada,
such as the ones published by the NRC or IRCA
The logbooks frequently list station managers names or people at the station who have signed letters of verification and they list addresses as well.
This is the most convenient way to find who to write to. And if no name is listed address to a general manager or chief engineer in care of station.
Another option is to find a phone book for the area in question and the address may be listed, or you can contact the station via phone.
This way you can report that you heard them directly to a dj or announcer and ask for the general manager or chief engineers name and the radio station address.
The deejays will sometimes make a note over the air that someone from a far away location just called in.
That's kind of fun hearing your name on the radio...
Of course, if you do call, you will still need to send a letter requesting a return letter of verification or qsl card if available.
WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY REPORT?
If you're sending a report the most important thing to consider is how you will let the chief engineer or manager know that you were hearing
their station and not another station on the same frequency
Well for national network programming your best bet is to include any locally announced advertisements or weather forecasts.
Pay attention for station announcement and slogans such as "The northland's home of rock and roll." or "Serving yellow medicine county for 25 years this is...", etc.
If you have a tape recorder I would suggest using it to record your DX catches so you can play the tape back.
This is extremely helpful for picking out weather forecast details, call letters, slogans, or addresses announced in commercials.
Especially if you are not a fast note taker...
Be as specific as possible in your report.
Note the exact time you heard an announcement and note Central, Mountain, Eastern time so the station manager will know exactly what time you heard this advertisement.
This is helpful because the radio stations have a logbook on hand of the times various commercials were played on the air.
They can compare your notes with the station log and verify your report that way.
PREPARING A REPORT
There are various methods for preparing reports.
But keep in mind that DETAILS ARE IMPORTANT!
I always start my report with a brief introduction stating the reason for my writng, which is to notify the manager of my
long distance reception.
ALWAYS BE SURE TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING
STATION ... FREQUENCY ... DATE... TIME ... RECEPTION QUALITY
as a header for your report.
For RECEPTION QUALITY make notes throughout your report as well.
Signal quality... strong, good, fair, weak, poor...
Was there a lot of interference from other stations?
Was there a lot of noise, static, etc
Was the signal fading or was it fairly steady
An example is below
KFI 640 1/1/99 3:30 AM CST or 1:30am PST fair signal strength
3:30AM CST At this time I tuned into 640 Khz and heard a news article about Bill Clinton
3:40AM CST the signal was still fair but fading slightly with moderate amount of interference from
At this time I heard the weather...
In San Francisco it's 50 degrees right now with light sprinkles.
Sunny tomorrow with a high of 65 degrees and the rain finally moving out...
Again, it's 50 degrees at 1:43 at KFI.
Or something to that affect.
Be sure to include as many details as possible.
Any advertisements and the times they were aired and so on
To wrap up your letter tell a bit about yourself and your hobbies.
And maybe a bit about where you're from.
AND ALWAYS INCLUDE RETURN POSTAGE!
The station manage is NEVER obligated to write back!
You should feel honored that they take the time from their busy schedule to personally acknowledge
your request for a qsl card or return letter!
HOW LONG SHOULD I WAIT BEFORE WRITING AGAIN?
With many of the stations in larger cities you can expect a bit of a delay.
A QSL card request isn't exacly a priority situation!
I've gotten qsl's as late as two years after my original report was mailed.
That's a long wait!
If it is commonly heard station I would wait up to a couple of months before writing again.
Usually stations that intend on replying will do so within a month.
I would wait at least a month.
WHY WRITE AGAIN?
well, chances could be your first report may have been lost in the mail or misplaced.
I usually write a follow up or second or third letter if the station is extremely rare.
That is a station I've heard maybe once or twice in all my DXing years.
But, writing a follow up depends on how badly you want a qsl card or return letter from a station
I once heard KCLE 1120 Cleburne, TX which is almost impossible due to KMOX 50,000 watt signal from Missouri
on the same frequency.
I wrote to them three times over two years and finally obtained a response.
I've heard of stories where several reports were sent without any response, but that's a more common case with
South and Central American stations
But don't be pushy or nasty in your requests.
Remember, they are doing you a favor they do not have to!
I'm always honored to receive verification for my reports
Many of the stations, especially low powered stations, get a surprise to hear from you as well.
Again... INCLUDE RETURN POSTAGE!!
Even if you're sending a follow up letter.