Okay, I realize this is ham related, but I thought it was fun, and I hope you do too.
On a quiet Saturday morning in May, the “Big Gun” Motorola 1250 (which is used for running the Commuter Assistance Net) is quietly scanning through half a dozen frequencies.
The scanning stops on the 147.330 repeater, and a computer voice announces: “Echolink activated.”
Huh, that’s unusual, I think.
According to echolink.org, here’s the scoop on EchoLink:
EchoLink® software allows licensed Amateur Radio stations to communicate with one another over the Internet, using streaming-audio technology. The program allows worldwide connections to be made between stations, or from computer to station, greatly enhancing Amateur Radio’s communications capabilities. There are more than 350,000 validated users worldwide — in 159 of the world’s 193 nations — with about 6,000 online at any given time.
A few seconds later, a male voice with a distinct British accent drops a call on the repeater: “GB2022ER.”
What?!! A Great Britain call sign with multiple numbers in the middle? What’s going on?
I reply: KB2GOM.
Mark, the British ham, tells me he is running a special events station with a special call sign to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. He tells me I am the very first contact for the special events station. I tell him that he is my very first Echolink contact.
We chat for a bit, exchange good wishes and sign off.
A bit later, I look him up on QRZ and send Mark an email. Since I am his first contact for the special events station, is there a QSL card available? He replies that he will see what he can do.
A few weeks later, an envelope arrives with this coaster inside:
For a moment, I felt like James Bond:
Also inside were these postcards:
In all, it made me smile.
Bottom line – moral of the story, if you will – you never know what’s going to happen on the radio.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:
In recent years, a number of records have been set for QSL cards from former shortwave stations around the world. The latest example shows that there is still strong collector demand for one of the rarest stations on the air from Africa, Comoros Islands.
In this eBay auction, a classic photo QSL from the station at Moroni went for $158. That’s in the high end for QSL auctions — there have been higher, for example for QSLs from the former AFAN station at McMurdo, Antarctica, and for some other African and Asian cards.
This card shows the 90 meter band shortwave frequency for the station, 3,331 kHz which as veteran DX’ers who are still around recall could be heard with great difficulty from 0300 UTC when the station signed on for morning programming. The other frequency of 7,260 kHz was also heard, though the 90 meter frequency was the easiest for U.S. DX’ers.
– Dan Robinson
Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your insight, Dan. What a fascinating find!
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!
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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