Amateur Radio World of K6RF With QSL Help for the New Ham Thanks for giving us a look

Finding the right QSL

Even if you do not intend on sending out QSLs to stations you work it is a good idea to have them on hand so you can reply to those you receive.
QSLs vary in prices from less that $10.00 to more than $100.00 per 100 QSLs. Remember the rule that just because you send a real fancy QSL to a station doesn't guarantee you will get one of his in return. If he regularly QSLs your all set, and if he doesn't that high dollar QSL you sent is wasted. Save your money and get a QSL which pleases you and gets the job done as cheaply as possible.

To Send a QSL or Not?

There is a gentlemen's agreement among hams that when you receive a QSL you should return the courtesy of sending one of yours back to confirm the QSO. Some hams are pursuing awards like Worked All States, DXCC and many other awards. Keep in mind that not all hams have computers for electronic type QSLs so the paper QSL is their means of confirming their contacts for awards. Could also be they are like me who just prefer to hold a real traditional style QSL in their hands or display it on the shack wall for visitors to see. Visitors to your shack will always comment on your displayed QSLs.

History of the QSL

The concept of sending a post card to verify reception of a station (and later to two-way contact between them) may have been independently invented several times. The earliest reference seems to be a card sent in 1916 from 8VX in Buffalo, New York to 3TQ in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (in those days ITU prefixes were not used). The standardized card with callsign, frequency, date, etc. may have been developed in 1919 by C.D. Hoffman, 8UX, in Akron, Ohio. In Europe W.E.F. "Bill" Corsham, 2UV, first used a QSL when operating from Harlesden, England in 1922. Paper QSLs have been around awhile.

Electronic or Paper QSLs

 Visit our Blog Here is your place to post your coments about all things QSL and Amateur Radio. Click the image to go there.

This is a very tough subject with good arguments coming from both sides. So the following is my opinion on the subject only. Yes, electronic QSLs are acknowledging the QSO just like paper ones do. It is like comparing a SDR (Software Defined Radio) to a typical transceiver. Yes the SDR is a ham radio but it lacks knobs and other typical things we expect on a rig. An electronic QSL does confirm a QSO but it lacks the feel, personality, and other things we have known a paper QSL to be through the years. You can handwrite a personal note on them as well. My solution to the whole thing is DO BOTH ! I do prefer paper QSLs but now and then I run across a DX station I have not confirmed and he only uses electronic QSLs so I have no choice in the matter.

Cheap QSL Cards

I can't leave this little plug for our QSL business out. Sue, WA6SUE and I devote many hours to supplying the lowest cost QSLs in the business. We specialize in traditional styles which have been around forever and leave the photo type QSLs to others. We love what we do and it shows in our customer service. Give us a try.

Tribute to QSL printers of days gone by.

The "Greats" of past years in QSL printing.
W4MPY Known world wide as "The QSL Man" I respect what Wayne accomplished.
Rusprint Fabulous designs of past years
The Little Print Shop made my first QSL
K7HLR Ray made some awesome QSLs
Brownie I loved his cards
C. Fritz he had the first black outlined call letters I remember ever seeing.

A good habit to have is...

Even though your QSL may have most information preprinted for you it is always a good thing to add just a personal note on the card. Something like " I enjoyed the chat" or "Hope we meet up again". This is what makes paper QSLs so unique.
I subscribe to this belief also based on many years of doing it and that it increases return rate on your QSLs. Give it a try on your next QSL.

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Filling out a QSL Card Report Form

Lets get started

As you can see this is a single sided QSL, nothing really fancy but as I have pointed out previously, it will get the QSO confirmed quite nicely and at low cost.
Double sided QSLs, meaning a nice layout on the front usually with fancy graphics or photo have the report form on the back but require the same information. Ok here we go and I will refer to the numbered areas of the example QSL at right. Please contact me if you have any questions after going through the information.

Section 1 Confirming QSO With (The Station you worked)
This is where you enter the callsign of the station you contacted on the air. On come QSLs it may read Station or Radio Station but regardless this is where the other guys callsign goes. The worse mistake you can make is have the call wrong here !

Section 2 Day - Month - Year (Date of your QSO)
If your new to QSLs the first thing your going to say is that is not the correct format. Day-MO-YR is UTC date format. We will get to UTC in section 3 below. Read both Section 2 and 3 as they apply to each other and have to do with it being the same time and date anywhere in the world. Never use your  local time here!

Section 3 UTC (Time of your QSO) aka GMT
UTC or GMT is where it is the same time all over world. You cannot use your local time as it will be different time to hams in different time zones therefore we use UTC here it is the same time and date anywhere in the world. There are many sources on the internet on converting your local time to UTC. Do a Google search on UTC. Never send a QSL to especially a DX station where it does not have the proper UTC time and date format, if you do you will not receive a QSL in return. Always remember the date changes with the UTC time. Here in 6 land we are -7 hours currently behind UTC which means the date will change 7 hours before it actually does here in California. I know it is a bit confusing at first but after awhile you will adapt from repetition of using it.

Section 4 MHZ (The Frequency you worked the other station on)
Pretty simple to understand this entry on your card. If you worked a station on 14.250 you can enter that in this field of the report form. Some use simply 14 which I personally don't like. Most understand that not all transceivers are 100 percent right on exact frequency so a few kilocycles is ok but get way off and chances are you will not get a QSL back !

The Report Form


Section 5 RST (The signal report)
 Meaning Readability Signal Tone
Obviously you would not enter a Tone report on any mode other than CW. For SSB and other modes including digital modes this is simply a RS report or 59 for an example.
Try to be honest in your reports as some use this information for adjusting antennas or matters important to their operation.
I again refer to many articles on the internet pertaining to signal reports, Including some who wish to change this very old method of signal reporting.

Section 6 Mode (The mode of operation used)
SSB - CW - AM - RTTY - JT65 - JT9 Pretty simple to understand this required entry.

Section 7 PSE QSL QSL TNX some QSLs may have this in different formats but its meaning is the same. If your sending a QSL to a station you worked you would indicate PSE meaning Please QSL or if you received a QSL and responding back you would indicate TNX or Thanks for your QSL. These are CW abbreviations which have been in use for many years on QSL cards as well as on the air.



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My on the air activities of today

Much of my operating habits have changed through the 55 years I have been licensed. . For the first 35 years or so I was totally on CW. I have made many friends whom I have met on that mode. Sadly I say a few have become silent keys.

At one period of my ham years I craved more power and higher antennas. Seems most experience this at one point. I chased DX with a passion. I even got up in the wee hours to check to see if a DX station was on that I needed. I was a young man in those days even though I keep some very strange hours here these days compared to "normal" people. That I contribute to our QSL business and well known fast turn around time on processing and shipping QSL orders.
My on the air operating has mellowed and now I prefer lower power operation due to the challenge it brings and satisfaction it gives me. I don't work as much CW as I once did and now frequent the JT65 and JT9 digital mode running the least power I need to. That is my thrill in operating these days. I really get a kick out of 1 watt or less QSOs on those modes.

My QRP Rigs

The rigs I am using currently are FT-817nd, Ten Tec Argonaut V, and an Icom 703+. I alternate between them weekly. The Ten Tec and the 703 will run more than 5 watts but I have never exceeded 5 with them. I prefer the Ten Tec on CW and the others on digital modes. They are great little rigs I love em !


My Other Rigs

I have had so many different rigs in years past that frankly, it is almost embarrassing to even put the number of them here on this website! In addition to the QRP rigs at left I currently have a FTDX-3000 , FT-950 and IC-7410. Recently a good Friend KK6ILV gave me a IC-718 which is used as a general coverage receiver. I also have a pair of Drake Twins, DX-60, HG10 VFO and a DX-20 transmitter. I have had a lot of different rigs in the last 55 years and seen great changes in technology.


My Antennas

Currently using Alpha Delta DX-DD and a K4KIO 5 Band Hex Beam. I have what I consider extremely good luck with these antennas. I spent a great length of time tuning the 40 meter antenna and it is evidently paid off by the great signal reports I get on that band. You can see my Hex Beam installation pictures at

The Alpha Delta is the only wire antenna I have ever purchased. In the past I built my own. I feed it with 450 ohm ladder line.

Age takes it toll

One thing I have always enjoyed in this hobby was experimenting with antennas. I believe my neighbors thought I was nuts from all the times they have seen me on the roof or up the tower. I was always changing them to something better or bigger. Well age has caught up with me and becoming more fragile that has all but come to stop. The XYL has laid down the law on me getting on the roof alone. I call on my sons for help now when I need some antenna work done.

Our Websites & Blogs

We have several websites. A couple of them are in the Re-Do stage and may not appear from the links below yet.

Our "Hamily"

By now it is no secret that I am passonate about this great hobby. What contributes most to this is my entire family are licensed amateurs. XYL Sue, WA6SUE, Son Jerry, WB6CMH and Son Ray, W6EST. My sons grew up around the sounds of CW from the time they were born. Oh, Did I mention they are twins. They are now in their mid 40's and also live nearby in Oakdale.

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