Category Archives: QSL Gallery

Winning with flare: An easier path to the W9IMS Checkered Flag Award

By Brian D. Smith

NASCAR comes to Indy this Sunday, which means that from now until then, you have a chance to snare the third and final QSL card in the 2024 set of amateur radio station W9IMS. Better yet, you can earn this year’s Checkered Flag Award with less effort than usual, thanks to the unforeseen effects of a mischievous sun.

Back in early May, the W9IMS crew staged their first special event of the year, commemorating the IndyCar Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But a series of solar flares spoiled the party, making it difficult for many stations to connect with W9IMS.

Since the usual requirement of the Checkered Flag Award is to work or tune in all three W9IMS special events in a given year, the uncharacteristically low number of Grand Prix contacts seemed destined to result in an uncharacteristically low number of certificate recipients.

So club officers changed the rules. This year, you can qualify for the award with credits for any two of the three special events: the Grand Prix and Indy 500 in May, and the upcoming NASCAR 400 at the Brickyard.

Of course, it’s best to bag all the events and claim the trio of ’24 QSL cards along with the certificate. But for anyone who went 1-for-2 in May, the coming week is your last opportunity to add more W9IMS wallpaper to your shack. The station will be on the air through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 21 (Indianapolis time)/0359 UTC Monday, July 22.

W9IMS operates primarily on 20 and 40 meters, but occasionally adds 80 meters later in the week (and occasionally 2 meters on Race Day for locals and fans in the stands at the Speedway). Preferred frequencies are 14.245 and 7.245 SSB, plus or minus QRM.

A few tips on locating W9IMS:

  1. Check DX Summit ( for spots listing the current frequency or frequencies of W9IMS. You can customize your search by typing “W9IMS” in the box at upper right.
  2. Go to the W9IMS web page ( and look for the heading, “2024 Operating Schedule.” Click on the “NASCAR 400 at the Brickyard” link, which opens into a weeklong schedule of individual operators and their reserved time slots. Although operators frequently get on the air at unscheduled times, your odds of catching the station improve significantly during hours with a listed op.
  3. Prime time for weeknight operations is 6 to 10 p.m. in Indy (2200-0200 UTC). That’s also your most likely shot at finding W9IMS active on two bands. However, it’s not unusual for operators to continue till midnight or later if band conditions allow.
  4. Remember that the published schedule can be shortened by adverse circumstances, such as local thunderstorms, a lack of calling stations and, as we discovered in May, solar flares! Don’t wait till the final hour to look for W9IMS.
  5. But if you still haven’t worked W9IMS by the final weekend, don’t give up too soon. Toward the end of the special event, W9IMS ops often call for “only stations that haven’t worked us this week” and/or switch to contest-style operations, exchanging only signal reports to put more calls in the log.
  6. Keep in mind that both hams and SWLs are eligible for QSL cards and the certificate. So if your ham station isn’t able to work W9IMS by Sunday night, you can create an SWL report by copying down details of successful contacts – such as date, frequency, UTC, and the callsigns of several stations you heard W9IMS working. SWL reports count as credits too, although the certificate may feature your name instead of your call.
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W9IMS: 2024 Checkered Flag Award!

2024 Checkered Flag Award: Time to Get Racy!

By Brian D. Smith, W9IND

You can’t go 3 for 3 if you haven’t gone 1 for 1. And if you want to add the 2024 Checkered Flag Award to your collection, you’ll have to bag the first W9IMS special event of the year sometime between now and 11:59 p.m. Saturday (Eastern Time)/0359 Sunday UTC.

Besides the currently running IndyCar Grand Prix event, hams and SWLs will need to work or tune in W9IMS two more times this year to take the Checkered Flag. After this week, W9IMS will return to the airwaves for the Indianapolis 500 (May 20-26) and the NASCAR 200 at the Brickyard (July 15-21).

The prime time to find W9IMS is from 6 to 10 p.m. Eastern (2200-0200 UTC) on weekdays, sometimes extending to midnight (0400 GMT), and the prime bands are 40 and 20 meters (generally around 7.245 and 14.245 MHz). However, frequencies can change as a result of QRM and other factors.

You can save time by checking W9IMS spots, which are posted frequently on DX Summit (

Also, while W9IMS can appear at any time of day before the final signoff on Saturday night, you’ll have a better chance of finding the station by going to the W9IMS QRZ page ( and clicking the Grand Prix link under the heading “2024 Operating Schedule” – which displays the shifts that operators have already signed up for. The same page contains answers to a great many questions pertaining to the W9IMS QSL cards and certificate.

If you still haven’t worked W9IMS by Saturday, remember that at the end of the week, operators often start requesting calls only from stations that haven’t yet worked the current special event.

Another tip is to hang around for happy hour – the last blast on Race Day (May 11 for the 2024 Grand Prix) – which usually starts around 11 p.m. Indy time (0300 UTC). That’s when W9IMS ops traditionally switch to contest-style QSOs and exchange only signal reports so they can put as many stations in the logs as possible. But keep in mind that W9IMS special events can also end early if the station encounters sparse QSOs or adverse solar or weather conditions.

If you just can’t complete a QSO, you can always create an SWL report by copying down details of other W9IMS contacts – including frequency, UTC, and a few of the stations you heard W9IMS working. This can count as a credit for a Grand Prix QSL card and/or one of three credits toward a certificate. SWL certificates feature names instead of callsigns, but are otherwise indistinguishable from awards issued to amateur radio operators.

Whether or not you catch all three W9IMS events in 2024, you’ll qualify for a new and unique QSL card for each race that you log. But why not try for the trifecta? Stay on your toes, though – the Indy 500 special event begins only 9 days after the end of the Grand Prix!

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Dan’s digital archive of QSL Cards

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Greenall, who writes:

Hi Thomas

In addition to digitizing many of my old SW and BCB audio files, I have begun setting up some of my QSL galleries on the internet archive in order to help preserve radio history. I am sending along a few links that perhaps old timers and newcomers alike might find of interest.

SWBC stations (sorry, only scanned one side so far)

Utility stations

Time signal stations

BCB stations (mostly my own except for a few very old historic ones that I bought from eBay)

Small Sample from Dan’s QSL Collection:

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Radio Prague’s 2024 QSL Card Series

QSL 2024 | Source: Kristýna Marková, Radio Prague International

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia, who shares the following article from Radio Prague:

Radio Prague’s 2024 QSL card series will be musical – and digital

To this day, Radio Prague International has kept up the decades-long tradition of QSL cards – postcards confirming receipt of reception reports to listeners. Every year, we have created a new series of postcards to send to listeners. In 2024, there will be something else new – in addition to the traditional printed versions, we will also start producing and sending digital QSL cards.

2024 is the year of Czech music – and so is the theme for next year’s QSL card series.

With a different QSL card for every quarter, Kristýna Marková’s graphic designs will bring you images inspired by the most famous Czech classical music names – Antonín Dvo?ák, Bed?ich Smetana, Leoš Janá?ek and Ema Destinnová.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Many international radio stations, as they muted their shortwave broadcasts, also stopped issuing QSL cards. However, Radio Prague International continues to preserve this tradition.

Unfortunately, significant price hikes by the Czech postal service have forced us to make a few changes. From 2024, we will only send printed postcards to listeners who send us a printed postcard or letter themselves. Otherwise, we will send digital QSL cards to those who send us a message by email or via our web form.

We hope that our digital QSL cards will delight you as much as our printed ones have and that you will continue to be among our loyal listeners for years to come.

Click here to read the original article and to view more images at Radio Prague online.

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New RFA QSL Card Celebrating Year of the Dragon

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia, who shares the following announcement from RFA:

Dear friends,

Happy New Year! Attached is the press release for RFA’s QSL card # 84, celebrating the year of Dragon. (Click to download PDF.)

We hope you enjoy this new QSL card and we look forward to receiving your reception reports by email to qsl<at>, or by snail mail.

Reception Reports

Radio Free Asia
2025 M. Street NW, Suite 300
Washington DC 20036
United States of America

– –
Aungthu Schlenker
Radio Free Asia

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Bill’s Shortwave Listener QSL Cards

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Meara who shares the following article from the SolderSmoke Podcast:

Some Short-Wave Listener QSL Cards

I haven’t received many, but I always like QSL cards from shortwave listeners. Someone out there is listening!

The top one is from recent contact. It arrives from Hungary via the W2 QSL bureau. Here is Tamas HA00001:

The middle one is from my youth.  in 1975 Nick in Moscow USSR heard my contact with OD5IO.   I didn’t remember the contact with Lebanon.  It turns out that the operator was K4NYY (who is now a silent key.  See

The bottom one pre-dates me by more than twenty years. It comes from Berlin in 1936. W5AIR was heard working EI7F. on 20 meter CW. Does anyone have any info on this SWL?

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QSL: Australian Radiofax Received in Brazil

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Carlos Latuff, who writes:

For the first time, I received in Porto Alegre a noisy radiofax from the Bureau of Meteorology of Australia: Mean Sea Level Pressure (MSLP) map.

Frequency of 20469 kHz USB, 08h45 UTC.

Radiofax (noisy)


My request for a QSL card was kindly answered (attached along the radiofax and the original chart from BoM’s website). Notice that BoM’s transmitter is 1 KW only!

I realize that your Radiofax decode wa noisy, but I feel like that’s an impressive feat considering the distance involved, the fact that your radio was a portable, and their output power was only 1,000 watts. Proper Radiofax DX! Thanks for sharing! 

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