How to request QSL cards from shortwave stations

To start with you will want to have a pen and paper handy (or a computer/phone with a blank document). At the top of the page write the name of the station you are listening to (e.g. China Radio International). If you are writing on paper it’s best to add a little box at the top that you can tick when you send the report, this helps to know what ones have and haven’t been sent!

Next, add the following columns and fill them as you listen to the station:

ColumnWhat to fill it with
Date and TimeHere we write the date and the time you started and stopped listening to the station in UTC.
FrequencyHere we write the frequency of the station we are listening to.
SINPOSINPO means Signal (if you have a signal meter it’s best to use that until you get a feel for the different signal levels), Interference (mainly from other stations), Noise (the noise floor), Propagation (how much the signal fading in and out) and Overall experience. 5 is the “best” meaning Strong signal/No Interference/No noise/No fading in and out/Perfect experience. 1 is the opposite. If you don’t understand SINPO you can use the simplified SIO which is much easier for people new to scoring signals!
EquipmentHere we enter the model number of the radio and the aerial you are using. If you aren’t using an extra aerial put model + internal aerial.
Content HeardList what you heard on the broadcast (e.g. music, talk about a painting in the museum, news headlines, music, ending frequency announcement).
NotesHere is where you can add comments on what you heard, your opinions on the shows, and general feedback on the content of their shows.

Lastly, after making the report, start an email with a friendly message, copy the report out into the email, and afterward add Your Address. If you do that you don’t need to ask for them to send you a card; it’s clear you want them to send something to that address!

You can usually find out a station’s email address by googling the station’s name and adding “QSL” to the end of the search.

Once you’ve sent the email in 1-3 months, hopefully, a QSL card will be at your door!

Stations usually accept/cater to monthly reports so don’t be scared to keep sending them in!

I hope this guide has been useful to people new to requesting QSL cards!