On the QSL Card

I’m not chasing QSLs this time around. I’ve said that before and, unless some rare station pops up – say something like the old St. Helena broadcasts – I plan on sticking to that. I may shoot off an email to a station, but gone are the days when I would meticulously record every aspect of a broadcast so I could send the perfect reception report and get that coveted QSL in return.

That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy pulling out my QSL albums from the 1980s and reviewing my first go-round as an SWL/DXer. On his photography site, Mike Osborn shared this great image and remembrance of his listening days. The Ghana and Togo cards in his picture are two of my personal favorites. I’ll write more about the Ghana card another time.

Photographic Memory


First QSL

I’ve been debating whether to jump into the QSL game or not. In my previous DXing life, I loved the chase for verification almost as much as the chase for DX itself. I haven’t dug out my old records, but I know I was bumping up against 100 countries verified. I keep my albums of QSLs in a very safe place where my kids can’t get ahold of them.


I wasn’t sure I wanted to add the time, effort, and expense of QSLing every station I heard now that I’m listening again. Although, with email and station websites with contact pages, for certain broadcasters it is certainly much easier to build a collection these days.


All that said, it was still a thrill to get my first QSL over the weekend. While listening to Red Mercury Labs last week, I fired off an email letting them know I was hearing them. That got the shout out I wrote about then. (I got another shout out from Undercover Radio this weekend). Sunday my inbox held an electronic QSL from RML. While it wasn’t quite like getting a big envelope of goodies from Moscow or Hilversam, or a package with exotic African stamps on it, it was still pretty cool.


I’m still not sure I’m going to go hard after the QSLs. It’s hard enough to find the time to listen without having to write reports, track them, send follow-ups, etc. But it is fun to get something back from a broadcaster, whether a megawatt international station or an unlicensed station broadcasting from the middle of nowhere.