|QSL card on photo are not for sale....just a collection sample.|
Online systems confirm your contact now, a QSL is not needed.
However, there are still some paper QSL collectors left, although I expect that this will decrease. For those that still collect paper QSL cards the hobby is becoming very expensive, at least if you want those interesting QSLs from rare stations. There are also fellow radio amateurs that do ask money for their card because they don't want to send a QSL, most of them are contesters and make thousands of contacts every year. I really don't know why they ask money? Most of them have a QRZ.com page in which you can set your preferences and you can add a text as well. Just write you don't want to send QSL and QSL received will not be answered. This should be clear for those that still want to send a paper card.
Now, I was researching the QSL or confirmation method the DXCC stations have that I worked as "new ones" on 60m last year. Most of them do confirm by bureau/clublog OQRS/QSL manager OQRS/LOTW and eQSL. But a few of them do not, they only confirm direct, you have to buy your QSL in my opinion. Lets look at my list:
A50BOC - confirms via LOTW, via JH1AJT direct or clublog OQRS, no bureau. Cost: 3 USD
T6AA - confirms via LOTW - paper QSL possible. Cost: 3,50 USD
XW4XR - confirms via LOTW - paper QSL possible via E21EIC. Cost: 2 USD
J69DS - Only direct! Cost: 2 USD
CY9C - via clublog OQRS, no bureau. Cost: 4,50 USD
V31DL - confirms via LOTW - OQRS via clublog, no bureau. Cost: 3 USD
PJ6/NM1Y - Confirms via LOTW - direct paper QSL possible. Cost: 2 USD
3D2AG - Only direct. QSL request via paypal. Cost: 3 USD
8P2K - confirms via LOTW, via KU9C direct or clublog OQRS, no bureau. Cost: 3 USD
Total: 26 USD for 9 paper QSL cards (!)
6 stations do confirm via LOTW. If you are no paper card collector this will save you 16,50 USD.
Still, if you want to confirm J69DS, CY9C and 3D2AG you need to buy their cards. With CY9C at the top as the most expensive one! They do not confirm via LOTW. Why? Well, you decide for yourself...
Personally I think in case of asking money for a QSL for a good reason like helping people to buy medical supplies, food or other goods they need for a living it is ok with me. Some DXpeditions like the previous Mercy Ships DXpeditions in Africa are there to help people, this justifies asking money to confirm the contact. But for private stations or DXpeditions asking money!?!
If people want to do a DXpedition they should count the QSL confirmation in their budget as well. Most DXpeditions are doing that since it is possible to request for a bureau card most of the time. But sometimes, like the CY9C DXpedition in this example, it looks like they want to cover part of the costs. This are just examples for 60m contacts I worked during 2019. Sorry, but personally I don't understand? If you can't cover the costs don't go for a DXpedition and leave it to someone else who can. At least offer your fellow radio amateur hobbyists a confirmation via the free and valid LOTW but don't force everyone to buy your QSL card.
Sorry, if you as reader of this blog, have other opinions. I can imagine you want that QSL confirmation at any cost. Some people seem to have a lot of money to spend for their hobby, but most don't. However, in the end it is everyones own decision...
Just a reminder my QSL code of conduct logo/site:
Update 14-01-2020: Rectification and change of this post. I took A50BOC as (bad) example but received a LOTW confirmation today (coincidence?). When I did research for this post it was not clear to me they would confirm by LOTW it was not on their QRZ page, now it is. So I changed my post.