A few years ago, as I became more active in contesting, the volume of DX QSLs arriving through the bureau became more and more onerous. Even with DX4WIN’s reasonably efficient routines for finding and confirming QSLs, the time required was excessive.
My solution was to go to pre-emptive QSLing of all DX contacts that were my first with a given station on that band/mode combination. At my request, Paul incorporated a menu option in Labels|Mark for QSL that automatically selects such contacts for QSLing. Simply choose the Award option “DX all band/mode” and they’ll be marked for QSLing.
Once that was working, the next big issue was the cost of QSLing with such a large volume of cards. I reasoned that I could handle postage cost by shipping either through the ARRL Outgoing QSL Bureau or directly to major foreign incoming bureaus, but the cost of labels (not to mention the time spent peeling and applying them) was less soluble.
My solution was to print directly on QSLs that I had printed locally, 4 to a sheet. Each card is 3 ½ by 5 ½ inches, printed “landscape” format so that the waste from an 8 ½ x 11 inch sheet is on the bottom.
To place the data properly on each sheet, I had to define a special label format. This is the final result. Assuming you already have sheets of QSL cards with a “window” for QSL data, the process is fairly simple. Determine the size of the window and enter that as the label width and height. The horizontal and vertical pitches are simply ½ the sheet size, for the 2 x 2 layout. Determine how far in from the left edge of the sheet the first “label” is, and that is your “spacing left.” Same goes for “spacing top”, only measure down from the top. The “0” in Max QSOs ensures that you’ll get as many QSOs as possible on each card.
Now you’re ready to test. Click “Preview” and if the preview looks OK, print it on a sheet of thin normal paper. You’ll be able to place that over a QSL sheet and see whether the “labels” are in the right place. If they aren’t, quit, tweak the “label” size, pitch and spacing till you get what you need.
The process for printing on single cards should be exactly the same – just define “Nr across” and “Nr down” as 1 each, and use the paper size of your QSLs instead of a letter-size sheet. I prefer to get the 4-card sheets from the printer, overprint the data, and then take them back to the printer for cutting. If you ask, the printer can make sure that the cut stacks remain in the same order as the sheets, which makes restacking in prefix order for the outgoing bureau a fairly easy proposition.