Anyone who chases DX has at least a handful of QSO's that prompt them to wonder every single time they open the mailbox or log onto LOTW. Will one of 'those cards' be there? Each time the mailbox contains an envelope from the bureau, will one of them be inside? For some just knowing they worked a DX station is enough. For others, it's all about the card.
For some that "handful" consists of only a couple of countries until they've confirmed them all. That wait has to be excruciating. For others, like me, the handful can still consist of relatively common DX that we just haven't been fortunate enough to snag a card or confirmation from yet.
When your total is still modest and growing, some strange patterns can develop. For instance, you can end up with several cards or confirmations from very rare entities after working a few DXpeditions, sometimes cards that even seasoned DX'ers would become a bit jealous of. Likewise, sometimes you've just been in the right place at the right time and lo and behold you end up with a confirmation. A nice surprise.
But when you sift through your total, often you can spot some glaring omissions that don't really make sense. Sometimes no matter how many times you work someone different in a country, it seems you just can't get a QSL, no matter how "common" they are.
So, with that in mind, I did a bit of high-brow, nuclear scientist-type ciphering on my own log. The number one country that I've worked the most and not managed to get a QSL from is Cuba. I've worked 52 stations in Cuba and not one darned QSL. Interestingly, there's a three-way tie for second place among Jamaica, the Azores, and Estonia. I've worked all three countries a total of 23 times each and nary a confirmation. Next are Chile and Kaliningrad, at 19 and 17 QSO's respectively...but no cards.
I assure you, it isn't from lack of trying. Or sending cards. Or uploading to LOTW.
I think what stands out is that none of these countries are remotely rare, so I feel confident that it's just a matter of time. I hope. Right?
To go a step further, I wondered which countries I've worked the most and only managed one QSL. Slovakia takes the prize with 43 QSO's and only 1 QSL. There's a steep dropoff to the number two spot, which is Macedonia with 19 QSO's and 1 QSL, followed by Uruguay with 16 QSO's and 1 QSL.
Of course, I had to know which countries were the best QSL'ers? As expected, Canada took that honor, with 75 QSL's in just 156 contacts. Germany, France, Italy, and the Ukraine rounded out the top 5. I imagine that might hold true for a lot of folks.
I should mention that whenever I list the QSO number for a country, that number can consist of the same station on different bands. Lastly, which countries did I consider to be surprises for having high QSL rates? Netherland Antilles and Aruba stuck out initially...until I thought about it for a second. Can you say "contest"? From the others, Luxembourg and Scotland both had high returns on QSL's.