QSL Cards ahoy!
October 15, 2007 6:44 PM   Subscribe

Slats.org's awesome gallery of QSL cards. QSL cards were like business cards for ham radio and CB nuts. They'd hand them out and trade them with other operators and featured their location and contact info. Bighappyfunhouse bought a boatload at a swapmeet and scanned them in. Great, crude, amusing, folksy art from a bygone era. [via projects]
posted by mathowie (13 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Excellent. My dad is a CB nut and he's got bundles and bundles of QSL cards. The phenomenon at the surface seems so incredibly anachronistic but when you see all these simple postcards from literally every country and territory in the world it really is very cool.

I'd do it, but I'm young and cynical and I grew up with the internet, so I just converse with semi-strangers on a little blue website, maybe swap mix CDs with them, etc.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:59 PM on October 15, 2007

bygone era? just because you don't know any ham operators doesn't make them anachronisms.
posted by quonsar at 7:03 PM on October 15, 2007

ahhh. cb'er postcards. cute.
posted by quonsar at 7:09 PM on October 15, 2007

Coolness! It makes me want to replace all my Chance and Community Chest Cards in Monopoly with decks of these. Second Prize in a Beauty Contest - $10. Advance Token to the Nearest Utility. Life Insurance Matures – collect $100.
posted by sociolibrarian at 7:10 PM on October 15, 2007

How much cooler would the world be if everyone had business cards like these?
posted by Jess the Mess at 7:24 PM on October 15, 2007

They're like pre-internet sig logos.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:00 PM on October 15, 2007

By no means are QSL cards from a "bygone era" - they're just not as common as they used to be.

I'm looking forward to my first QSL when I finish learning Morse. It's not required for the test any longer, but its a personal goal.
posted by mrbill at 8:24 PM on October 15, 2007

posted by Brittanie at 9:55 PM on October 15, 2007

I don't know about CBers and QSL cards, but they're still alive and kicking with Amateurs. They're mostly a DX thing; you don't send them (usually) to the guy down the street.

The ARRL (sort of to Amateur Radio what the NRA is to shooting sports) has a whole bureau devoted to handling QSL cards. To save on international postage, you can send international QSL cards to the ARRL, who will bundle them together with other cards bound for the same country, and then forward them together to a radio organization in the destination country, who unbundles and mails them. It's a fairly interesting and low-tech way of avoiding the comparatively expensive per-piece airmail charges in favor of lower parcel post rates.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:04 PM on October 15, 2007

This was one of the cool things about travelling with a CB. You'd exchange mailing addresses with people you talked to and when you got home there would be a stack of cards in your mailbox.
posted by Mitheral at 10:12 PM on October 15, 2007

The coolest thing about amateur radio (back in the day) was to dial in that feeble signal skip-dashing across the sky in the wee hours of the morning, and tap out a conversation with somebody the other side of the world.

A QSL card a week or two (or a month or two) later was icing on the cake.

posted by deCadmus at 10:23 PM on October 15, 2007

They look like Tijuana Bibles, but without the porn.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:49 AM on October 16, 2007

More QSLs in coffee-table format in this awesome book.
posted by mykescipark at 4:39 AM on October 16, 2007

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