Work station near Punta Arenas Chile.
When you try to explain Ham radio to the un-aware and get to the point of QSL cards many people say, ooh….27 MHz! This band became Legal in the Netherlands in March 1980 and it opened up a new World for many interested. It was like what messenger or Facebook is now…you could, pretty anonymously(if you wish), talk to people and make new friends. I recall wild names like King Kong, Winchester, Rubber Duck and such. These alter ego’s often came back visually on the QSL cards and for many it became a sport to collect as many as you could. In that age cards were plain coloured paper with black print. What a contrast with todays cards. A Photo QSL in full colour is normal today and the prices are affordable too. If you chase DX, keeping your DXCC up to date via LotW is a possible route. For me..,after making interesting contacts, collecting cards is a logic effect and I get my DXCC awards this way. I love it when there is a pack with cards waiting for me at the club meeting. It feels like getting a gift from Santa and looking at the cards you can recall working certain stations and you experiance the contact again. So, I love them and I keep albums with the most beatifull. These QSL albums are like books to me and now and then I open it on a random page and the stories pop up again from my mind. Like the contact with AH8A back in 1995 when I just had my HF license. I worked him on my 20 meter dipole with 100 watts. Woow, I made my First contact into the Pacific and I treasure that card.
Greetings from Rwanda
I still have some cards from my 27 MHz/SSB time when I used to talk to a doctor, Harm and his wife Marijan, in Rwanda back in the 80’s.This is just a postcard with a friendly note but this was so much fun. I recall talking to Harm in his 4 wheel drive mobile, being miles from home into the Rwanda bush and Marijan from their post near the hospital. They could not hear eachother and in between the nice conversation Marijan asked me if I could relay to Harm and ask how late he would be home. Harm answered and asked what was for dinner. This might not have been a life saving messages but it was priceless to me. I never had contact with Harm and Marijan again after they left Rwanda but the above story is the reason why I still have this card. Another one… this Dutch guy Iman who was on the job aboard of the Smit-Lloyd 71, 6000HP Class-Tug/Anchor-handling/Supply vessel in the harbor of Punta Arenas, most southern part of Chile. Again a postcard but one out of a million and I still have that one.
Aji from Indonesia
Or the Indonesian beacon Aji/9WO-202 who, which I have been told, later became a Ham and now has passed away. All these memories in an album and I could go on for hours. Today, most cards are full colour and truly, one is even more beautiful then the other. So I stopped buying these albums and got back to the old routine, shoe boxes. A shame actually because many are real master pieces, tell their story and deserve better. Should I stop to send them then and go for the digital version. I truly don’t get the same feeling with these digital cards but thats for everyone to decide on their own.But It has not travelled al the way from one continent to the other by airplain or boat and no-one has ever touched it’s skin. It feels like a cold object, how different then the good old paper ones. I can’t wait till the next meeting to pick up my cards, touch the paper and dream away!