Category Archives: QSL Gallery

Radio Prague’s 2021 QSL Cards

(Source: Radio Prague International via David Iurescia)

The three letters – QSL – constitute one of the codes originally developed in the days of the telegraph. All codes consisted of three letters beginning with “Q”. Later some of these “Q” codes were adopted by radio-telegraphists and radio listeners. QSL means “contact confirmed” or “reception confirmed”.

The expression “QSL card” or just “QSL” gradually came to be used among radio-amateurs and then more broadly as radio began to develop as a mass medium. Radio stations were keen to know how well and how far away their programmes could be heard and began to send their listeners “QSL cards” in return for reception reports. The card would include letters making up the “call sign” of the station – the system still used in the United States – or the broadcasting company’s logo or some other illustration. The card would also include a text stating the frequency and the transmitter output power, and a confirmation of when the listener heard the station.

Domestic broadcasters do not tend to use QSL cards these days, but their popularity remains among radio stations broadcasting internationally. They are still keen to know how well they can be heard in the parts of the world to which they broadcast. In the era of shortwave broadcasts Radio Prague sent out QSL cards for reception reports received. Today we also send QSL cards to those who listen to us on the internet.

https://english.radio.cz/reception-report

Click here to view all of the 2021 QSL Cards at Radio Prague International.

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“QSL: How I Traveled the World and Never Left Home” by Ronald W. Kenyon

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by author Ronald W. Kenyon who has written non-fiction books covering a variety of subjects, but primarily collections of essays and albums of photography.

He was very proud to announce that his latest book, QSL: How I Traveled the World and Never Left Home, focuses on his pursuit of DX during his youth.

Kenyon is a radio archivist at heart.  He has carefully preserved QSL cards that he received between 1956 and 1961–a time period many of us consider the zenith of international broadcasting and DXing.

From Ronald W. Kenyon’s collection

Kenyon’s book presents color reproductions of over 100 vintage QSL cards—most displaying both front and back—issued by 89 shortwave stations in 75 countries. For the uninitiated, he includes an introduction that acquaints with shortwave radio listening, submitting listener reports, and obtaining QSL cards. Radio enthusiasts will be familiar with these topics, but this addition is an important one since we often forget that we’ve a niche pursuit and for many of his readers, this will be their first introduction.

From Ronald W. Kenyon’s collection

Kenyon sent me a pre-sales sample of his book. It’s what I’d call a “coffee table” paperback. The format is 8.5 x 8.5 inches which gives each QSL image proper page space to be presented. The color reproduction and print in this publication is excellent.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking in Kenyon’s book at a very leisurely pace. It’s divided into three main sections:

  • Section One of his book is a gallery of 107 vintage QSL cards from radio stations in 78 countries.
  • Section Two features SWL and ham radio cards.
  • Section Three features seasonal greeting cards sent to listeners by radio broadcasters from nine countries.

There’s even an appendix featuring, “A Letter from Antarctica,” which recounts how Kenyon was linked to a British meteorologist at a base in Antarctica via a radio station in Montevideo, Uruguay of all places. A fabulous example of how radio–especially in the late 50s and early 60s–was a fabulous medium for connecting listeners across vast distances.

I’m a nostalgic fellow–especially during the Thanksgiving and Holiday season. I’ll admit: this wonderful, simple bit of radio nostalgia is just what the doctor ordered as we celebrate the season. We all can relate to and enjoy Kenyon’s gallery of radio nostalgia and history. Indeed, my hope is that his book will encourage others to document their radio journey as well.

Being a limited print, full-color, 150 page book, the price will be $35 US. However, the author has offered 10% off his book if ordered before December 31, 2020. That will lower the price to $31.50 US via Amazon.com or £23.95 via Amazon.co.uk.

If you enjoy browsing QSL cards like I do, you’ll love QSL: How I Traveled the World and Never Left Home. Certainly, a fabulous gift idea for the radio enthusiast in your world.

Amazon purchase links

(Please note that some of these are affiliate links that also support the SWLing Post)

Note that this book will appear on other regional Amazon sites over time. Simply search Amazon for “QSL: How I Traveled the World and Never Left Home” or the author, Ronald W. Kenyon.

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ZOE: More Tristan Da Cuhna QSL cards in the wild–?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who shares the following guest post:


SWLing Post readers may recall the story we published last year about the appearance of a rare QSL card from Tristan da Cunha. ZOE Tristan was for decades one of the most sought after stations — it used 3,290 kHz and had a power of 40 watts.

Recently, I received correspondence from a former editor of the old SPEEDX club bulletin who provided copies of two pages from the bulletin from decades ago. These pages make clear that the QSL I obtained in an Ebay auction was not the card that Dave Sharp received:

Dave was, at one point, editor of the DX Montage section of SPEEDX. As can be seen, the ZOE card that he received was signed by a A.L. Patterson while the one I obtained through auction contained a different signer consistent with a QSL received by South African DX’er Eddie de Lange in 1973. However, the card I received was NOT the one pictured in a story about Tristan published in 2010 — the postmark date is different.

That story noted that three DX’ers from South Africa “did manage to receive and QSL ZOE Radio Tristan – Ray Cader, Gerry Wood and Eddie de Lange were among a handful of fortunate Radio Tristan QSL recipients. I am aware of only two other verifications – UK DX’er Anthony Pearce received a QSL in 1973 and Florida DX’er David Sharp received a verification in 1983.”

Since Dave Sharp noted that his QSL collection was unfortunately lost, the ZOE card I obtained through the eBay auction in 2019 was most likely one received by others in the South African group or possibly by the UK DX’er noted in the 2010 story about Tristan.

The headline out of all of this is that it’s quite possible that other Tristan QSLs are floating around out there.

– Dan Robinson


Wow! Thank you for sharing this follow-up story, Dan!

Readers: Please comment if you have a Tristan Da Cuhna QSL card in your collection! These are rare indeed!

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Finally confirmed reception of LRA36 Radio Nacional Arcángel San Gabriel Antarctica

For years now I’ve attempted to get decent reception of LRA36 Radio Nacional Arcángel San Gabriel in Antarctica. At times, I’ve been able to barely hear their AM signal here in North Carolina–at least, see it as a faint line on my spectrum display and barely hear audio rise above the noise. But in truth I could never confirm anything more than “male voice” and “music” thus never bothered with a report in good faith.

Recently, we’ve posted announcements for a series of test broadcasts from LRA36 in single sideband (SSB). Two weekends ago, I couldn’t receive a single inkling of their signal, but this past Saturday, I finally heard the station well enough to submit a detailed report and recording in confidence.

I had actually set my SDR to record 20 kHz of spectrum at home while I made my first CW POTA activation at the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway. A pop-up storm chased me away from the POTA site and it worried me that I had left my SDR running and connected to the antenna. Fortunately, none of the small thunder storms were directly over my home. Although there was heavy QRN due to local pop-up thunderstorms, their signal was there.

The following sample recording starts at 17:51 UTC  (July 25, 2020) on 15476 kHz.  It’s weak signal DX for sure, but interpretable. I made the recording with my WinRadio Excalibur SDR hooked up to a large Skyloop antenna. This clip starts with the song  Juana Azurduy by Mercedes Sosa:

I’m so chuffed to add the LRA36 QSL to my collection! Broadcasting in SSB made all the difference!

Have you successfully logged LRA36 from your home?  Please comment!

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Some Serious Radio Nostalgia: A 1956 “Operation Deepfreeze Hamgram”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jack, who writes:

Greetings,

I was going through some old paperwork that belonged to my father-in-law, and I found a Christmas Greeting Card postmarked December 1956.

The card contains greetings from the Antarctic, received by the Radio Amateurs of Greater Syracuse, then forwarded to my father-in-law at his posting at NAAS Barin Field in Foley, Alabama.

I thought you might find this old piece of amateur radio history to be interesting. I attached images of the card.

I am new to the SW listening world, and I have found your blog to be very helpful. My Tecsun PL-660 is keeping me quite busy.

Regards,

Jack

Photos

(Click to enlarge)

Wow!  Thank you so much for sharing this, Jack! I think we all need a little “Christmas in July” cheer right about now!

I’m so happy to hear you enjoy the SWLing Post and happy that Tecsun PL-660 is serving you well. It’s a great little radio!

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W9IMS: A delayed start for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway special event station 

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian D. Smith (W9IND), who shares the following announcement:


W9IMS: A delayed start for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway special event station

by Brian D. Smith, W9IND

It’s a late start for auto racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as well as the amateur radio station that honors this century-old tradition … but the show must go on!

And this week it will, as special event station W9IMS returns to the airwaves from now through Sunday to offer radio hobbyists a fresh opportunity to collect more “wallpaper”: Two vivid racing-themed QSL cards and the popular certificate known as the Checkered Flag Award.

The 2020 certificate will be easier than ever to earn. Normally the Speedway’s three major races take place on three different weekends, but this year, because of Covid-19 concerns, they’ll be consolidated into two. Accordingly, hams and SWLs will be required to contact or tune in W9IMS during only two race weeks – the current one, which continues through Sunday, July 5; and Aug. 17-23, which ends on the day of the venerable Indianapolis 500.

Even if you succeed in snaring W9IMS only once, you can still send off for the corresponding QSL card. All certificate and QSL designs are new each year.

The coming Independence Day weekend will feature an unprecedented racing doubleheader, with the IndyCar Grand Prix and the NASCAR Brickyard 400 slated for Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Consequently, the first W9IMS QSL of 2020 will be a full-color, four-sided card portraying images from both races.

So where do you find W9IMS? The station will stick to three bands, 20, 40 and 80 meters, and may appear at any time of day or night from now through Sunday.

However, the best bet is to catch the station during prime time – 2200 through 0200 UTC on weeknights (6 to 10 p.m. Indy time). W9IMS operators also plan to activate 20 meters during daytime hours, often between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. (1200-1800 UTC); and will cover the various bands all weekend starting at 10 a.m. (1400 UTC) daily.

If you still haven’t caught W9IMS by the time Sunday evening arrives in Indianapolis, operators commonly conduct their own happy hour – working stations in rapid contesting style – right up to midnight (0400 UTC Monday).

Here are a couple of hints for tracking down the station during special event weeks:

  1. Go to the W9IMS web page (www.w9ims.org), find the “2020 Operating Schedule” heading, and click on the link to “Grand Prix & Brickyard” or “Indianapolis 500.” Although some W9IMS operators get on the air at unscheduled times, you’ll have your best luck looking for the station during the hours and bands reserved with a name and a callsign.
  2. Check DX Summit (www.dxsummit.fi) for spots that identify the current frequency (or frequencies) of W9IMS, if any. And if you type “W9IMS” in the search box, you can customize it to show reports for only that station.

For additional details, consult the W9IMS web page. Feel free to submit both of your 2020 QSL card and certificate requests in the same envelope, and if you don’t have your own QSL card, a printout of your W9IMS contacts or reception reports will suffice.

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Al’s 1967 Radio Denmark QSL

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Al Holt, who shared the following QSL and note on Twitter:

The posting about WRM and its originating from Denmark got me thinking about my early days SWLing and the wonderful QSL card I got from R. Denmark.

I hope to tune WRM on 19m soon!

Thank you for sharing this, Al!  That particular Radio Denmark QSL cards is one of my all-time favorites. I never received one myself, but I’ve always been fond of maps like this that highlight regional attractions/specialties.

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