Hello everybody and welcome back to the Everything Ham Radio Podcast! In this episode we are going to talk about QSL Cards and Services, we talk about some upcoming events/contests and hamfests over the next two weeks and wrap it up with some news from around the hobby!
Tech Corner – QSL Cards and Services
What Is A QSL Card?
According to Wikipedia:
A QSL card is a written confirmation of either a two-way radio communication between two amateur radio stations or a one-way reception of a signal from an AM radio, FM radio, television or shortwave broadcasting station.
In years past, a QSL was required to have in order to get awards, now there are other ways to do that. Now they are basically just for collecting. Some people have hundreds of QSL cards. Some people have displays or collections of QSL cards for contests like Worked All States or the DX Century Club.
QSL cards actually predate their uses in amateur radio. The first QSL card seems to be sent around 1916. People who listened to shortwave radio stations would send in a “reception report” to the radio station and they became more frequent, the station would in turn respond with a confirmation card.
This practice would later be adopted by the ham radio community around 1919 and standardize to show things like call signs, frequency/band, date, etc.
What Does A QSL Card Look Like?
The actual look of a QSL card varies a bunch depending on the person. There is, however, a standardized set of information on a QSL card. Each QSL card should have the date/time of contact, the frequency/band that contact was made on, both the sending and receiving stations call sign, Mode and power used. The size of the card is typically the size of a standard postcard or a minimum of 3 ½ x 5 ½ inches or 140mm x 90mm.
Other than that, a QSL card, can have on it whatever else you want. Some people have a picture of themselves sitting at their radio, others will have a picture of their tower, or of their local area. As long as you have the size and the standard information on it, a QSL card can be as bland or creative as you want.
While most of the time you can mail your QSL cards directly to the person you had the QSO with, there are times when you can’t. In times like this you can send your QSL card(s) to a QSL Bureau. You can also do this is you have multiple QSL cards to send to the same county.
Like a lot of other things in this world nowadays, things are going digital now. The same holds true to QSL cards, or at least what the QSL cards mean.
An Electronic QSL service basically does the same that a QSL card does but does it without you or the person you make contact with having to mail anything, it is all done electronically.
Not a member of LOTW yet, check out the Quick Start Page for instructions on how to get started. LOTW is probably the hardest logbook to get into, but if you are a ham, live in the US and are wanting to go after any award that is given by the ARRL you will have to log them on LOTW and be a member of the ARRL. Once you have an account, you can set up your logging program to automatically upload any QSOs that you make.
eQSL is super easy to register for. You will have to pay a $12 a year fee in order to get any of the awards though. Once you have an account, you can set up your logging program to automatically upload any QSOs that you make.
You can do a QSL on qrz, however, it is not necessarily the most accurate of the three choices.
Do You Need Some QSL Cards?
Here are a few places that I found that you can order them from:
West Mountain Radio
I would like to thank my sponsor, West Mountain Radio! For those of you that don’t know who they are, they make some awesome equipment that I have had the pleasure of using over the past 15 or so years. They make several pieces of equipment that are so well built and are so useful. Things like the RIGBlaster, RIGrunner and the DC-to-Go Boxes. I talked a little bit about the RIGblaster in my last episode and I’ve talked about the RIGrunner several times in previous episode but today I wanted to tell y’all about their DC-to-Go Boxes.
These are neat cases that you can put a battery in to protect your station’s floor from an unfortunate battery accident, however, they are so much more than that as well. These boxes have a Super PWRgate PG40 and a RIGrunner 4007U or 4008 built into them as well.
The PWRgate provides you an uninterruptible power supply in case you lose AC power it will automatically switch to the battery in the box. This is a perfect solution for a repeater backup and/or event like the upcoming Winter Field Day!
The RIGrunner 4008 provides you with 40 amps of D.C. Power plug over 8 slots while the 4007u gives you 40 amps across 7 slots but it has some extra feature like a digital load meter and USB charging port as well as a solid state push button on/off switch and an automatic shutoff for high or low voltages!
Both of these are mounted to the side of the battery box. All you have to do is drop a battery inside and hook up the leads and you are ready to roll!!
Here are the links for the premade versions of the DC-to-Go boxes. It you can also Custom make one to your own choices!
- DC-to-GO Battery Box w/RIGrunner & Super PWRgate (sku#58513-1381), $249.95
- DC-to-GO Battery Box w/RR4007U & Super PWRgate (sku#58513-1577), $269.95
- Custom make your own!
Ham Blog Spotlight
I saw a video today from Robert, K6UDA. He has an amateur radio channel on Youtube called K6UDA Radio, Elmer With An Attitude. In the video that I saw he explains how he sold his RV and has bought a new one and he will be shooting videos of the installation of all his ham gear as he does it.
Also, he talks about his upcoming trip to the Bahamas, San Salvador Island to be exact, where he will be doing some scuba diving and will be operating from March 11 through March 17 as C6AKA.
K6UDA Radio – Youtube Channel Main Page
Amateur Radio Roundtable
Check out the round table on Youtube or http://w5kub.com/. The Amateur Radio Roundtable is live every Tuesday evenings at 8pm Central time if you want to catch it live. The show is hosted by Tom Medlin, W5KUB. This week he talked with Glen Popiel, KW5GP, the author of Arduino for Ham Radio and High Speed Multimedia for Amateur Radio. He has written a new book
|SARL VHF/UHF Analogue/Digital Contest||1000Z, Mar 11 to 1000Z, Mar 12|
|South America 10 Meter Contest||1200Z, Mar 11 to 1200Z, Mar 12|
|F9AA Cup, SSB||1200Z, Mar 11 to 1200Z, Mar 12|
|SKCC Weekend Sprintathon||1200Z, Mar 11 to 2400Z, Mar 12|
|Oklahoma QSO Party||1500Z, Mar 11 to 0200Z, Mar 12 and 1400Z-2000Z, Mar 12|
|Stew Perry Topband Challenge||1500Z, Mar 11 to 1500Z, Mar 12|
|EA PSK63 Contest||1600Z, Mar 11 to 1600Z, Mar 12|
|QCWA QSO Party||1800Z, Mar 11 to 1800Z, Mar 12|
|TESLA Memorial HF CW Contest||1800Z, Mar 11 to 0559Z, Mar 12|
|Idaho QSO Party||1900Z, Mar 11 to 1900Z, Mar 12|
|QRP ARCI Spring Thaw SSB Sprint||2000Z-2359Z, Mar 11|
|North American Sprint, RTTY||0000Z-0400Z, Mar 12|
|WAB 3.5 MHz Phone||1800Z-2200Z, Mar 12|
|Wisconsin QSO Party||1800Z, Mar 12 to 0100Z, Mar 13|
|BARTG HF RTTY Contest||0200Z, Mar 18 to 0200Z, Mar 20|
|Russian DX Contest||1200Z, Mar 18 to 1200Z, Mar 19|
|Virginia QSO Party||1400Z, Mar 18 to 0200Z, Mar 19 and 1200Z-2400Z, Mar 19|
|Louisiana QSO Party||1400Z, Mar 18 to 0200Z, Mar 19|
|Feld Hell Sprint||2000Z-2159Z, Mar 18|
|Run for the Bacon QRP Contest||0200Z-0400Z, Mar 20|
|CLARA Chatter Party||1700Z, Mar 21 to 1700Z, Mar 22 and 1700Z, Mar 25 to 1700Z, Mar 26|
|SKCC Sprint||0000Z-0200Z, Mar 22|
*Information taken from the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
- Cherryville Hamfest and Technical Expo – Annandale, NJ
- Amateur Equipment Auction – Eau Claire, WI
- Amateur Radio & Electronics Hamfest – Chicopee, MA
- CHARLOTTE COUNTY HAMFEST – Punta Gorda, FL
- HamEXPO – Belton, TX
- Lowell Amateur Radio Youth Club Hamfest – Lowell, MI
- Mike & Key ARC Electronics Show – Puyallup, WA
- MTARS Tullahoma Hamfest – Tullahoma, TN
- Nebraska State Convention – Lincoln Amateur Radio Club Hamfest – Lincoln, NE
- Terre Haute Hamfest – Brazil, IN
- BARA Annual Auction – Township of Washington, NJ
- Fort Walton Beach Hamfest 2017 – Fort Walton Beach, FL
- Ham-Ex 2017 – Caledon, ON
- Hamfest 2017 – Loomis, CA
- Mahaska Hams Swapmeet – Oskaloosa, IA
- Michigan Crossroads Hamfest and Radio Swap – Kalamazoo Township, MI
- MicroHAMS Digital Conference 2017 Operating Specialty Convention – Redmond, WA
- MOVARC HAMFEST – Gallipolis, OH
- SCOTTSDALE SPRING HAMFEST – Scottsdale, AZ
- Stuart Hamfest – Stuart, FL
- Swapfest – Georgetown, TX
- The Great Southern Hamfest – Thomasville, GA
- West Texas Section Convention – Midland, TX
- CVRC hamfest – Henniker, NH
- Hamfest 2017 – Jefferson, WI
- Southington CT Amateur Radio Association Flea Market – Southington, CT
- Toledo Mobile Radio Association Hamfest and Computer Fair – Perrysburg, OH
- Winterfest – Annandale, VA
*Information taken from the ARRL Hamfest Calendar
ARISS International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, is Hamvention’s Amateur of the Year
Dayton Hamvention® has announced its 2017 award winners for Amateur of the Year, Club of the Year, and Special Achievement. Each year, Hamvention honors radio amateurs who have made major contributions to the art and science of Amateur Radio.
Amateur of the Year
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, is Hamvention’s 2017 Amateur of the Year. Bauer has been a driving force behind the program since its inception. He also serves as AMSAT-NA Vice President for Human Spaceflight.
In the mid-1990s, Bauer proposed an experiment to have the high-Earth orbit (HEO) AMSAT Phase 3D satellite (AO-40) measure the signal strength of the GPS satellite constellation. The AO-40 experiment subsequently has been cited often in aerospace literature, as it remained the most comprehensive above-the-constellation data source for nearly a decade and led to changes in the system’s specifications and applications. The results of the AO-40 experiment jump started a game-changing transformation in navigation at HEO/GEO altitudes, enabling new and exciting missions in these orbits.
A radio amateur since 1974, Bauer holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue University. His career in aerospace spans 4 decades at NASA and within private industry.
In 1983, in preparation for the space mission of Owen Garriott, W5LFL, Bauer was responsible for setting up and operating the worldwide retransmission of space shuttle air-to-ground communications via Goddard Amateur Radio Club station WA3NAN. This initiative provided a critical conduit of information to hams attempting to contact ham-astronauts in the pre-Internet era.
Club of the Year
The Clark County Amateur Radio Club (CCARC) is the Hamvention Club of the Year for 2017. Established in 1930, the club was serves Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon. CCARC has been an ARRL-affiliated club since 1932 and is an ARRL Special Service Club.
The club is active in community service. Under the club’s W7AIA call sign, CCARC members participated in eight public service activities last year, running up more than 1500 hours of volunteer service.
The club has an active and growing youth program; it supports the Boy Scouts of America and sponsored a Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) station in 2016. The club also is working to establish a Communications Explorer Post in Vancouver, Washington, as well as to license students within a local trade school.
In 2016, the CCARC licensed 95 new hams. It periodically holds “Ham Basics” classes for new licensees and offers a dynamic Elmer program. It also holds monthly interest meetings such as the “Digital Group,” an open forum to discover and explore the many types of digital modes. This meeting typically draws hams from other areas.
The CCARC created the pioneering EYEWARN® program to provide visual situation reports to emergency managers. This program encourages all hams in the county to “report what they see, where they are” in a disaster.
Special Achievement Award
- Ram Mohan, VU2MYH, will receive Hamvention’s 2017 Special Achievement Award. Mohan is the Executive Vice Chairman and Director of the National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR) in Hyderabad, India. Licensed since 1988, he has conducted a number of experiments on HF and VHF communication equipment and carried out propagation tests, organized training programs, DXpeditions, workshops, and general Amateur Radio activities, including public service communication.
As chief investigator for the Department of Information Technology, Government of India-funded Pilot Projects, he has successfully implemented programs on digital connectivity to urban/rural/remote areas through Amateur Radio — “Study on Propagation Conditions in Coastal Areas and Advanced Digital Amateur Radio Communication Network.”
Mohan has led many emergency communication operations, including the Nepal earthquake in 2015, Cyclone Hud in 2014, the Uttarakhand Floods in 2013, the 2009 Cyclone Ayla disaster in West Bengal, the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, and the Orissa Super Cyclone 1999.
Technical Achievement Award
Rob Brownstein, K6RB, is the recipient of the Hamvention 2017 Technical Achievement Award. Licensed in 1958 at age 11, Brownstein could hardly wait to upgrade to General and get on ’phone, but he soon discovered that he enjoyed operating CW much more. So, he put his microphone aside and never looked back. In January 2010, Brownstein was among about a dozen hams on several continents who founded the CW Operators Club (CWops). In 2012, he was elected president of CWops and served two consecutive terms. During his tenure as president, Brownstein encouraged and participated in all aspects of the club, from ragchewing and contesting to and mentoring, through CW Academy, begun in earnest in 2012. Since then, it has mentored more than 800 radio amateurs through its beginner, intermediate, and advanced CW courses.
Official award presentations will take place at Hamvention, May 19-21, at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio.
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Until next time…
73 de Curtis, K5CLM