Category Archives: QSL Gallery

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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Is there such a thing as “too close” when requesting a QSL–?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dziugas, who recently contacted me with the following question:

Hello,

I have a question – what is the legit distance to ask for a QSL card? As a Lithuanian, I have sent (and succeeded) with requests to Hungarian, Czech and Estonian stations. But would it be fine according to DX etiquette to send QSL requests for local/national FM stations? It would be nice to get a collection from them as well.

Thanks

Thank you for sharing your question, Dziugas. I hope that readers will comment with their input, but I’ll share with you how I feel about the matter.

I personally believe if you’re sending an honest, courteous, and detailed report, you can request a QSL from any station. The station could be in your neighborhood for that matter.

Include the basics!

It is very important, however, that you include some basic information in each listener report. Obviously, you’re already doing this Dziugas, but for the record–and others reading this post–I always include:

  • When and where I heard the station (date and time in UTC)
  • The broadcast frequency (important too for national broadcasters that use local relays)
  • Details about the broadcast from my own informed listening:
    • Including specifics about the topic being discussed
    • Noting any names of presenters or interviewees
    • Noting music titles (you can use your phone or an app like Sound Hound to help you ID)
    • Noting times I heard details (time stamps)
  • A signal report–I always use the SINPO code/system. Of course, with local stations, this might not be as necessary, but I’d still give them an idea of their signal quality.
  • How I heard them, giving them details about my receiver and antenna. If it’s an online station, I’ll also let them know if I’ve listened to their stream before (although, I base the QSL on my over-the-air listening–not online listening)

If I’m making a request by email, I’ll often include an MP3 recording, too.

For a more thorough overview though, check out Fred Osteman’s guide to reporting and QSLing at DXing.com.

Frankly, I think it’s a good idea to request QSLs from local and regional stations because these may actually be some of your most cherished QSLs in the future.

Also, keep your expectations in check. You may find it very difficult to get an actual QSL card from broadcasters today–typically, only international broadcasters still send these. I would also send your request via the post if you want a letter or paper reply.  Even then, it can be quite challenging to get a reply these days, but go for it and know that when you send a request, you’re representing radio listeners and DXers everywhere, so be a top-shelf diplomat!

With all this said, it sounds like you’re already doing all the right stuff, so I say go for those local QSLs!

Post readers: Please comment with your thoughts and suggestions!

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The story of a 1970s CB Radio QSL card print house

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulis (K3LU), who shares the following story of a popular CB Radio QSL Card design and print house:

73s and 88s :: The Ballad of Runnin Bare and Lil White Dove

We set a custom screensaver on Our AppleTV. Told it to pull images from Flickr tagged with “British Columbia.” After my wife and kids and I spent a few weeks in Vancouver and in various places on Vancouver Island, it had become one of our favorite places. We missed it.

And so, at night, after a show or movie ended and the AppleTV sat idle for a few minutes, a slideshow would automatically begin. The Parliamentary Buildings in Victoria, the Inner Harbor, the wild, rocky, tidepool-rich shores of Tofino, the murals of Chemainus.

Then, every once in a while, an illustration of some sort. I couldn’t tell what. A one-panel comic? Some kind of advertisement or flyer? It would be gone from the screen before I could really get a good look. Weeks would go by and I wouldn’t see it until, once again, there it was. It looked old, like something from the 60s or 70s. And it had numbers on it, like a code or a message: 73s and 88s.

It was the numbers that got me. Like the park rangers in The Shining calling for Wendy Torrance on the radio: “This is KDK-1 calling KDK-12. KDK-1 calling KDK-12. Are you receiving me?” They seemed to be saying something. But what? I had to find out. So, I took to Google, and began my search.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article.

FYI: Although the CB Radio landscape is quite different than it was in the 70s, most modern shortwave radio receivers can tune to CB channels. Here’s a quick tutorial from our archives.

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