When two ham operators made contact, they sent each other postcards. Here’s my late Grandpa’s stash of QSL cards from the people he met around the world.
After my mom, aunt, and uncle went to bed, my grandpa would sneak off into the boiler room and begin to broadcast. For a couple of hours, he’d stop being Lyle Stanway and become VE3LHS, broadcasting from Toronto, Ontario.
I went up to Toronto shortly before he passed away, and while cleaning out the radio room, I found a box of QSL cards. These are postcards, exchanged between stations to prove contact and share radio information. Some are professional and businesslike, but most aren’t.
They’re literally the calling cards of my grandpa’s peers, the only remnants of the hundreds of people he reached, and the thousands of hours he spent, as he practiced his hobby.
Most last names, addresses, and phone numbers are blacked out for privacy. If you spot PII that made it through, let me know and I’ll remove it.
The Netherlands. The little guy has wooden shoes.
Newfoundland, Canada. Cheap paper. All business.
Temporary station at The Ex, the Canadian World’s Fair
Backside of the QSL from The Ex
Same guy who runs VO1TX. He’s upgraded to cardstock.
Sponsor XL1TX and you get a square inch of Newfoundland!
A special-event station for Queen Elizabeth’s 50th year
The backside label was automatically generated. Looks like a dot-matrix printer.
Acadian Flag on the card, but it’s been New Brunswick for centuries
Backside of Acadian card. Printed on an electric typewriter. Fancy!
An off-the-shelf QSL postcard from BC, stamped with the callsign
Backside has another custom address stamp. His wife must have been ANGRY
A special-event station to commemorate the founder of Toronto
More info about Simcoe. My grandpa was a diehard Canadian patriot
Rather nice card from a ham, with silver embossing!
Super-terse response. Don must have been the brevity type
Another custom ham card. Guy loves his little fishing town
Guy was doing some writing when he heard my grandpa. His wife sends her regards
My grandpa had a portable radio in his car. Apparently it reached North Carolina
Crisp, sharp, high-quality amateur card. This guy’s a pro.
Full-color photo of Prince Edwards Island, with gold embossing
If you got QSL’s from all three PEI stations, you could order an award!
Mexican envelope with 330 peso of postage. No contents
This guy ran two stations. PSE QSL means he sent his postcard before my grandpa
A station in the Black Forest, pictured on the card!
This guy’s penmanship is adorable
A special-event station in Barcelona for the 1992 Olympics
Lincoln, Nebraska. My grandpa didn’t save many cards from America.
Backside of Nebraska card. The guy procrastinated his QSL, tsk tsk
From Pisa, Italy with love
From Anholt, Germany. Nice woodcut of the town’s castle
Backside of Anholt QSL. Details were printed on.
“Hey” took his ham seriously, judging by this beautiful glossy silver-on-black card
Chiba, Japan is about as far from Toronto as you can get
French card in eye-destroying hazard orange
Brazilian card with beautiful typography
Sao Paolo has an award, too. A table of all its members is glued to the card
Backside of Sao Paolo card, with dorky caricature and little map
Trinidad’s only ham reverend has a sweet card
Nice typography and handwriting. The cardstock itself is brown
Super half-assed card. Grandpa saw this guy in person often.
Adorable handmade card with tiny little radio-tower artwork
Back of VE3EAV card. So polite
This Floridian spray-painted his logo on blank postcards. God bless
Looks like Florida Man couldn’t keep up with Grandpa’s keying
This Brit wields the airwaves like Zeus. Backside says he’s an RAF vet
Italian card with a nice charcoal of the transmitter. Likely a repeater station, not an amateur
The Italian one is 27 years old.
Same station that sent a QSL postcard of the transmitter. Nice typography.
This one’s three months newer. No idea what the text means
This Belgian is looking for a QSL, presumably to win an award. Card is automatically-generated
No BS – this guy represents Canada’s ham society.
Beautiful typography from the beautiful Bahamas
Look at that stamp. Breathtaking
This Barcelona card is quite old. It opens into a little pamphlet
A logbook for contacting the area
How many Spanish colonies can you ping in 20 hours?
The winner gets a week-long trip to claim his or her prize!
Sharp. Bold. Dominican.
Grandpa loved Israel, almost as much as he loved Canada. This card was framed.
The duck needs a scarf if he’s spending time in Manitoba. Quack quack!
Another special-event card from The Ex. This is the Hockey Hall of Fame!
A no-bull card with an automatically-generated label.
Finally, this was Grandpa’s QSL. He sent one of these to every ham he contacted. He had about 12 left in an envelope
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I'm the hardware hacker from the near future, building tomorrow's electronics for fun and profit. I'm a pro hardware prototyper specializing in connected devices and wearable technology. I also cofounded the Hoboken MakerBar hackerspace, where I build a lot of my projects.
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