I discontinued exchanging paper QSL cards several years ago and now use LoTW only. That decision was based on increasing postage costs and a significant jump in the number of QSO’s I make each year. My first decade as a ham I averaged about 200 contacts a year. That has grown to more than 3,000 a year and the practice just didn’t seem sustainable over the remainder of my radio life.

The US Postmaster General said last May 5th, 2022, that the mailing industry needs to be prepared for USPS to raise prices on its products “at an uncomfortable rate” until it reaches a point where the agency is on track to be self-sustaining in the long term.

I gambled that Logbook of the World (LoTW) would eventually become the de facto standard for contact confirmation. That hasn’t happened (yet) though my own totals reflect a return rate of just under 60 percent, about the same rate that cards appeared in the mailbox. And since LoTW confirmations count for ARRL award credit without additional effort on my part (like getting cards checked), the decision to use it exclusively wasn’t all that difficult.

I know I’m missing some confirmations going this route, but I believe time is on my side as the cost of postage will continue to rise unabated and hams will eventually migrate to some method of electronic confirmation or give up the practice of QSLing altogether. I simply can’t imagine the fraternity considering that preferable to simply setting up and using an LoTW account.

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