Wanted: Good QSL Card Design

April 17th, 2010 by k8gu Leave a reply »

I got a stack of cards from my bureau sorter the other day and that got me to thinking about my QSLing practices, which are lackluster at best.  (For the non-hams who may be reading this, “QSL cards” are postcard-like cards that serve as written confirmation of a radio contact.  The “QSL bureau” is a sort of mail co-op that combines outgoing and incoming international postcards to save money on the postage—a big deal if you exchange hundreds or thousands of cards every year.)  Although, I do respond to all of the direct cards, I’m way behind on the bureau cards.  I need to develop a better system, one part of which is combining all of my logs into one computerized database.  But, that’s an aside.

One of the fascinating things about receiving cards is looking at the design features.  My personal (“home station”) card, shown at top in the photo associated with this post, is long overdue for an update.  So, I am particularly interested in what’s out there. It seems that the advent of widespread digital printing capability has blown-open the market for full-color cards.  There are some times when I wonder if that is such a good idea—some hams and their stations are not that photogenic—at least clean up your shack and smile for the picture.  And, then there are the cards that are completely irrelevant to ham radio and the operator’s location—like bikini girls.  Seriously?  DXpedition photo cards are usually pretty good, though.  My favorite came from 6V7P/ON4HIL—a Senegalese man with portable broadcast receiver wearing a stocking cap and aviators with a cigarette hanging lazily out of the corner of his mouth.  I’m leaning toward a plain one-color card.

So, I went shopping around the usual suspects to look for my latest card in the one- and two-color cards sections.  Wow…it’s been a while since I’ve seen any stateside QSL cards…anything that’s not a plain “computer” card like the PJ2/K8GU card shown above is UGLY:  Eagles with talons extended or sitting on top of the globe, J-38s, D-104s, giant ARRL diamond logos, etc…they look bad.  So, I am on a quest for a good card and someone to print it for me.

Here are my requirements:  mega-multiple-QTH flexibility, multiple QSOs, computer or hand label, capable of mailing as a postcard, and attractive single- (or possibly two-) color design.

Now, back to finishing the repair of the last broken TS-930S.