Tuesday, November 04, 2014

And now for something completely different

A few weeks back, I was looking at Chris KQ2RP's blog, "Signal to Noise - KQ2RP". I was intrigued by his entry, "Show Me Your QSL, And I'll Tell You Who You Are."

Ever since my Novice days, I have used QSL cards of my own design, with varying degrees of success. My mother was VERY artistic and had a lot of artistic talent. My sister, Ann Marie, inherited the major portion of that.  She has a degree in Arts Education, is a talented weaver, painter, sketch artist - an all around good and talented artist.

Me?  Not so much.  I could cobble out a cartoon, as I did for my very first QSL card back in 1978.

Not terribly original, and kind of primitive, but it was artwork done by my hand.

My most favorite QSL, that I came up with was also "heavily borrowed" from a NASA photograph.

Again, the drawing was actually more a tracing of the outline lines from the photograph.  What I liked about this card (apart from the concept of manned space flight) was that the printer (who has since gone out of business, at least the QSL business, anyway) did the stars in gold ink, which I think you can make out from the scan. The stars, which I did freehand, are kind of goofy looking.

In my latest QSL design, I wanted something different. This time I relied on photography, which is actually my trade. I was a professional photographer for a while and was involved in the professional photographic industry (in various capacities) for over 30 years.

I wanted a reflection of my interest in QRP and CW, so I took a photo of my K1 (which has since been sold - to afford my KX3) and one of my Morse Express Christmas keys. This was taken outdoors in my backyard, using natural light. The rig is on top of the patio table glass top and you can see some grass there in the background.  This was "OK", but still not quite what I wanted out of a QSL.

Then I saw Chris' post. And I contacted Jeff K1NSS and asked him, "OK, Jeff - my interests are CW and QRP, what can we do with that?" And in very short order, he came back to me, asking me to tell me more about myself, what my interests are, and please send some photos of whatever I thought would be relevant. And so, I did that. I explained my love for CW, portable QRP operating, this blog, the Skeeter Hunt and probably a lot of other stuff that was superfluous. Jeff came back to me and said to give him a couple of weeks, as he was busy working on some other jobs.

A few weeks later, Jeff came back to me with two sketches.  One was a really neat Art-Deco design of my hand on a bug.  The other was a sketch of me as "The Keeper of the Skeeter Hunt".  I liked them both!  The question now became, how could we somehow combine the two concepts? Jeff knew, oh yes, he knew! And this is what he came up with:

How cool is this?  THIS is going to be my QSL card!

He incorporated CW, QRP and the Skeeter Hunt all in one shot! All my Amateur Radio passions in one beautiful design (love that blood drop from the end of the Skeeter's proboscis). And not only that, but it's unique. I could never have come up with this on my own. If you gave me all the art materials in the world and a thousand years, I would have not dreamed this up. This was a great experience!

It's as obvious as the nose on your face that Jeff is a creative genius, and is a great artist and designer. But because he's also a Ham (K1NSS), he just plain "gets it", he "gets" us, what we like, what drives us, what makes us tick.  He thinks like we think, which may or may not be a good thing! I would not hesitate for a nano-second, in recommending Jeff's services to anyone.

And I think it's plain to see that whomever gets this QSL, they will definitely know who I am.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

BTW, a big "hat tip" to Chris KQ2RP for his blog post and inspiration.


  1. It was a pleasure Larry, and you were most helpful with great input for a very collaborative process. Yes, for better of worse, my head's been in radio one way or another since I was a kid. Also worked as a small market AM radio copywriter/producer in my salad years, so I have been irradiated with RF about every which ambient way and I hope it shows.


    Jeff K1NSS

  2. Hello Larry, this was a very nice post. I like your QSL designs. Especially those simple old ones from the time you had to draw it yourself. These days it's so easy with a digital camera and some photoshopping you can make everything as long as you have some imagination. I enjoyed this post. 73, Bas

  3. Hi Larry, very nice to read your QSL card history. I like them all. But the latest is very cool. 73 Paul PC4T

  4. Larry,

    I LOVE your new QSL Card design. It is perfect for you and really creative and unique. I have visited Jeff's website many times and have always been intrigued with his designs. I may just have to visit his site again.

    Congrats and have fun with your new QSL.



  5. Anonymous11:53 AM

    I couldn't agree more Larry. Jeff does mind-blowing work and he's a nice guy as well. You wont find a better QSL card artist. Nice new card BTW!