About QSL Cards

What are QSL cards?

Some people collect butterflies or stamps or a variety of other things. Ham radio operators collect QSL cards.

My collection of QSL cards is among the most prized of my posessions. I have cards from the first contacts I ever made and cards for contacts made with various modes. I have cards from the US and from many foriegn countries. I have cards from friends, acquaintences, and many people I have never met. At times I can spend lots of time counting, sorting and organizing my card collection, or as my wife puts it: my treasures.

QSL cards have been described at times in somewhat poetic and philosophical terms:

  • The final courtesy of a ham contact
  • The lasting memory of a radio conversation
  • Etc.

    Basically, a QSL card is a confirmation of a radio contact. Without the QSL card, stories of contacts and claims of equipment and antenna performance are just so many "fish stories". With a QSL card, there is proof. I can say "I talked to a ham in Outer Slobovia with 2 watts of power and a 4 inch antenna" and everyone will say, that's nice. However, if I have a QSL card from him, then it is believable.

    QSL cards are used in awards and as a proof of accomplishment. A means to show the world "Look, I put this equipment together and it really works." They are also a means to remember and document ham radio activities.

    What makes a QSL card special?

    Well, it depends. Maybe it's the one from the station in Outer Slobovia when you were using 2 watts and a 4" antenna. Maybe it was a card from a rarely heard country. Maybe it was a close friend. Maybe it was the first contact made by radio. Maybe it was a different operating mode. Maybe it just looks nice.

    Every ham has their favorite QSL cards, all for assorted personal reasons. The following pages show some of my special QSL cards. They are special for a variety of reasons, most of which I do not plan to explain.

    If you like QSL cards, I hope you enjoy the following pages.