Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: QSL Cards  (Read 23027 times)
KA1BIN
Member

Posts: 33




Ignore
« on: October 04, 2012, 12:32:22 AM »

Hi everyone,

I just purchased a Grundig Satellit 750 about 30 days ago, so far impressed with the features
and performance versus price.

I was in the early 1970's an avid AM and SWL'er. My first radio in 1972 was the
old Knightkit Star Roamer, later in the early 80's had the Radio Shack DX160
then DX300. Alas, I pretty much stopped listening around 1982-30 years ago!

My question is this,
Does anyone still log AM DX stations and send in reception reports with the hope
of receiving a QSL Card? Do US AM stations even bother still to send QSL cards
out. Do the few remaining international Shortwave broadcasters still send out
QSL's (back then, I would enclose an IRC-International Reply Coupon from the
post office for their return postage use).

I remember the thrill when I was a kid in the 1970's of receiving QSL cards and
putting pushpins on my wall National Geographic US and World Maps.

Steve - KA1BIN

Logged
KJ6ZOL
Member

Posts: 359




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2012, 09:00:51 PM »

Sadly, no, not really. The whole QSL thing was a big hassle for the Big Boys. After the USSR fell and orthodox Communism went under the whole QSL thing went away, it was really just a way for stations on either side of the cold war divide to spread propaganda, and when that went away so did the rationale for QSL's.

Even the tropical bands are kind of sparse nowadays, the jungles and deserts of Central and South America, and Asia have been steadily depopulated as people are forced to move to the cities, where they are served by MW and FM. Argentina's rural areas are almost completely empty, and several other countries down there aren't far behind. Thus the need for the tropical bands has gone away.

Most of the European broadcasters have shut down or broadcast exclusively to former colonies (England and France are the latter). The BBC shut down most of their radio programs long ago, preferring to rent time on FM transmitters and rely on the internet. Deutsche Welle, Radio Nederland, and the rest of the big European outlets are gone too. Radio Moscow is now Voice of Russia, and they do still tx to NAm, with an hour loop focusing on Russian affairs. Radio Havana is still around, focusing more on Caribbean affairs than the anti-US propaganda they used to put out.

China has a big presence as Radio China International, but most of their stuff is just East Asia affairs with a ChiCom slant, they don't indulge in the sort of propaganda that made the old Commie outlets such a treat, or the old Radio Peking so bizarre. If you want weird, try tuning in North Korea. They broadcast an hour to USA in the mornings USA time. It's so sad out there that I finally got my ham license, and intend to just focus on hamming.
Logged
KA1BIN
Member

Posts: 33




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2012, 10:41:13 PM »

Thanks KJ6ZOL,

God I do miss Radio Havana. Back in the late 60's my brother who also was a SWL'er and later a Ham use to receive in the mail each month a Radio Havana cuban newspaper in Spanish.
When he joined the Navy reserve in 1970, investigators went around the neighborbhood asking questions about my brother and his character, etc. One of the questions asked the neighbors
was "do you know or have you ever seen him reading foreign newspapers or magazines", I think that they went as far as interviewing our local mailman to see if my bother was receiving mail from
overseas.

Also, I remember, me, receiving a RAI Italy-little booklet about every 2 or 3 months, this kept up for at least 10 years until the early 1980's I believe. Also the Radio station in
Radio Ecuador would send something about every six months.

I was the Chief Engineer of Broadcast radio stations WBET/WCAV in Brockton MA during the early 1980's. I remember making up and ordering from a printer QSL cards and sending them out gladly
back then, even though I was lucky if I received 2 or 3 reception reports per month.

Ah, you can never go home again.

Steve - KA1BIN
Logged
KJ6ZOL
Member

Posts: 359




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 10:58:45 PM »

Radio Havana used to be good for "censored in US" news, until Jefe Fidel resigned. Raul, his little brother, has been slowly liberalizing the country, with the likely goal of creating a state much like modern China, where people are economically free to a point where they don't care about politics. That includes RHC-it now focuses much more on Caribbean affairs, the America bashing has been toned way down, and the US seldom gets a mention unless it's news that directly affects Cuba or the Caribbean-lots of reporting on calls to end the embargo, stuff on the Cuban Five urging America to free them, stuff like that. SW simply isn't what it used to be. Most MW stations, for their part, are mainly satellite fed by big corporations, there may be just an engineer checking in every so often. The days when MW stn's had active hams for engineers, who loved QSL correspondence, are LONG gone. Most MW stn's are automated, and even FM stn's will have a few DJ's, an engineer, and maybe a control board operator. The old days when music radio meant a unique DJ spinning 45 LP's over the air are gone-a DJ's job now is to make announcements and run stupid contests. Just focus on being a ham. That's my advice. After a couple months of trying to get into the "new" RHC and VOR, I took the batteries out of the radio.
Logged
N2LXM
Member

Posts: 70




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2012, 11:02:50 AM »

I would say the SWl Listening is alive and well. Every year one of the Amateur Radio Clubs i belong to does special (Marconi day, Project Diana, International Lighthouse, etc) radio events. And each ear we receive requests from SWLers for a QSL card or Certificate. So if your out there and hear K2USA or N2MO on the air send in the report.
Logged
KC5IIE
Member

Posts: 23




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2012, 12:10:52 PM »

I'll agree with N2LXM, there has been alot of the major broadcasters going silent in recent years, but there's still
plenty to monitor. Shortwave outlets in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are still active, there's been a resurgence
of pirate radio activity and big boys like Radio Australia are still around. Look at Glenn Hauser's DXLD site for
up to date loggings, frequency lists such as the AOKI list show a plethora of stations still active. Modern swl's
have access to station information and hobbyist loggings that we couldnt dream of 20 years ago... To me,
shortwave listening is still alive and well...
Logged
WA2ONH
Member

Posts: 253




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2012, 09:48:18 AM »

Speaking about Radio Havana, on The SWLing Post site see video ...

Video: A look inside Radio Havana Cuba

LINK: http://swling.com/blog/2012/10/video-a-look-inside-radio-havana-cuba/

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwTny_4AeNY&feature=player_embedded

Enjoy.
Logged

73 de WA2ONH dit dit    ...Charlie
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
"No time is ever wasted that is spent LEARNING something!"
HS0ZIB
Member

Posts: 418




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 02:43:16 AM »

In some corners of the world, short wave broadcasts still play an important role in disseminating news (and propaganda).  I live in Yangon (formerly Rangoon) in Myanmar (Burma), and I listen every day to the BBC World Service, since the internet over here is simply too slow to listen to any online streamed news channel, (and forget online video!).

The locals also listen mostly to shortwave broadcasts, either to the national radio station, whose MW transmitter is not heard well in all regions of this large country, or to overseas stations which broadcast Burmese language programmes, such as the BBC and Radio Australia.

Simon
Logged
K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2802




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2012, 10:30:23 AM »

In 1959 I bought a second-hand SX-99 Hallicrafters receiver and became WPE7YQ (Popular Electronics SWL "license").  This was right at the peak of the greatest solar cycle DXing has ever known, and Radio Moscow (RM) was like picking apples off a tree.  Often, the English-language broadcasts from RM announced that they were trying different power levels and antennas, and asked us SWLs to send signal reports.  So I did, and received nice "special" QSL cards.

In my senior year of high school, I had to do a report on the USSR.  Everybody got a different country, and I had been a couple minutes late to class on the day the countries were assigned, so I got the nearly-impossible one.  The American Government teacher knew the encyclopedia versions of every country on earth, so I couldn't rely on that.  But maybe RM might be able to help.  I wrote them a letter and sent it (gasp!) AIR MAIL!  Then, for a couple of months, I forgot about the report.

I got home from school one day.  Dad was at work, Mom was at the grocery store, and there was a note for me to call Mr. Huntridge, the Las Vegas postmaster.  He was a family friend, went to Vegas High with my dad and all.  I called, and he asked me to come to the main post office with our pickup truck and some identification.  The receptionist showed me in, and Mr. Huntridge introduced me to two gentlemen - one a postal inspector and the other one from the FBI.  There were two fairly large wooden crates on the floor - with Cyrillic lettering on them - addressed to ME!

We opened the crates then and there.  The FBI and Postal Inspector both seemed disappointed that there were no AK-47s or books about "how to build big bomb".  Just books, in English, with pretty good quality binding, of Soviet geography, history (their version), Russian/English dictionaries, recordings of folk songs and basic "How to speak Russian".  There were 17 people in my class, including the teacher, and there were 20 copies of everything.

The classroom wasn't used for anything for an hour before our American Government class, so I slipped away from school, walked the three blocks home, and drove back to the school.  I deposited one copy of each item on the desks, drove back home and walked back to school.  I was a few minutes late, and when I walked in I apologized.  "I see you found my report," I said.

"Yes, we did!", the teacher replied.  "You got an A.  First "A" I ever gave for a report on the USSR!"
Logged

73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
KC2OTX
Member

Posts: 6




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2012, 10:08:55 PM »

 I still monitor and QSL both SW and MW. Plenty of activity. And replies. If you join the North American Shortwave Association ( NASWA) for 31bucks a year, their monthly publication has a "QSL Reports" section that gives great feedback on who's replying, station contact people, time frame, etc. They also have a Yahoo group and a e-mail weekly flashsheet with stations heard reports that they generate every Sunday. I have about a 77 percent reply rate on my SW QSL reports/requests and I would probably score better if I were to be more agressive in my follow ups to non- returns. There is a website called "Shortwave Central" ( you can google it) run by Monitoing Times magazine ( a good periodical, btw) that has good info and they sell a Kindle book titled "QSL'ing the World" for 2.99 that tells you just about everything you need to know nowadays on all bands. You can download the Kindle reader to your computer for free if you don't have a separate reader. Their site has all the info required on the homepage. The  AM MW stations still QSL reception reports. The big guys  usually have QSL cards. Some even have the cards that they were using back in "the day". The smaller stations will usually QSL with a letter,if they understand what you want, so it's best to "educate" them by explaining what you desire.   The National Radio Club ( MW DXers) have a hand out circular type of enclosure that you can enclose with your report that explains the hobby and QSLing very well. I think that they still sell them in bundles of 100 or so for a few bucks. Or contact me off line at w2ddg@arrl.net and I could snail mail you a couple that you could copy and send along with your reports. All in all, a bit different than the "old days", and I started at about the same time as you, but still alive and fairly well and fun. Hope this helps, Larry, now W2DDG.
Logged
KA1BIN
Member

Posts: 33




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2012, 11:35:02 PM »

I still monitor and QSL both SW and MW. Plenty of activity. And replies. If you join the North American Shortwave Association ( NASWA) for 31bucks a year, their monthly publication has a "QSL Reports" section that gives great feedback on who's replying, station contact people, time frame, etc. They also have a Yahoo group and a e-mail weekly flashsheet with stations heard reports that they generate every Sunday. I have about a 77 percent reply rate on my SW QSL reports/requests and I would probably score better if I were to be more agressive in my follow ups to non- returns. There is a website called "Shortwave Central" ( you can google it) run by Monitoing Times magazine ( a good periodical, btw) that has good info and they sell a Kindle book titled "QSL'ing the World" for 2.99 that tells you just about everything you need to know nowadays on all bands. You can download the Kindle reader to your computer for free if you don't have a separate reader. Their site has all the info required on the homepage. The  AM MW stations still QSL reception reports. The big guys  usually have QSL cards. Some even have the cards that they were using back in "the day". The smaller stations will usually QSL with a letter,if they understand what you want, so it's best to "educate" them by explaining what you desire.   The National Radio Club ( MW DXers) have a hand out circular type of enclosure that you can enclose with your report that explains the hobby and QSLing very well. I think that they still sell them in bundles of 100 or so for a few bucks. Or contact me off line at w2ddg@arrl.net and I could snail mail you a couple that you could copy and send along with your reports. All in all, a bit different than the "old days", and I started at about the same time as you, but still alive and fairly well and fun. Hope this helps, Larry, now W2DDG.

Thanks Larry,

Little by little I'm finding out what the new requirements are for QSL replies. I will admit it is nice to go online and see if the SW station has a website and still offers QSL letters or cards.

A few weeks ago during Hurricane Sandy, up here I monitored SW station WBCQ on 7.490 Mhz., they are nearby me in Maine. Went to their website and they stated that they issue reception verifications with a SSAE.

So I must admit, the Internet, mainly the world wide web, is a very useful reource which of course wasn't around in 1970. I find myself searching for a website of the station I'm interested in before I even bother logging it.

And I did see online that the old "quicky" sw stations CHU and WWV still state that they send reception verifications, probably QSL Cards, and still today, I believe that they expect nothing in the way of return postage or even a SSAE.

Still, it is a shame that many of the powerhouse SW services have bit the dust.

Also bought a dozen IRC's a few weeks ago, boy, last time I did that they were 46 cents each! I think that they were over $2.50 each this time.

Steve
KA1BIN, hope to be soon: KA1SMC

Logged
MAGNUM257
Member

Posts: 159




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2012, 07:36:02 PM »

Sadly, no, not really. 

Actually, yes. I have received a few over the past year. I got interested after reading an issue of Popular Communications magazine. They have started up their monitoring program again. You can sign up for a callsign and send in your swl logs. Get an issue and read throught it, and see how many people ARE getting qsl cards back.

Happy Listening...

-Chuck
Logged
K0SBV
Member

Posts: 19




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2012, 07:57:01 AM »

QSLing in the AM DX hobby (like the hobby itself) sure isn't what it used to be.  I have been an AM DXer since the late 50s.  Throughout the 60s and 70s I had about a 90% (about 2,100 verified out of about 2,300 logged on the BCB)verification return percentage.  In those days, the stations actually seemed interested in knowing how far their signals could be heard. Each station had a chief engineer, many of which were hams. They generally understood our hobby and were intersted in receiving and responding to DX receptions reports.  Many would come on the air during the early morning hours to conduct special DX Tests for DXers. Today it is completely different.  Stations could care less if their signal can be heard beyond their primary service coverage area. Few have their own chief engineers, relying on contract engineers instead. Few of those individuals are interested in DX. Although I still DX the BCB, I no longer send out reception reports. Some time back, I sent out 77 reception reports (with return postage) over a two-year period and received 11 replies. Oh, for the good old days!  For those who are interested in BCB DXing, plese note that the National Radio Club still exists and is now in its 78th year.  For further information, check their website.
Logged
KA1BIN
Member

Posts: 33




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2012, 01:33:59 AM »

Yes, I too was a REAL Chief Engineer of a Commercial Broadcast station (Before they deregulated and dropped the requirement of a First Class Commercial Radiotelephone license).

In the early 1980's, I was the Chief Engineer of AM/FM Broadcast Radio stations WBET/WCAV located in Brockton, Massachusetts.

My AM station was 5KW daytime, non-directional, 1KW nighttime, directional, with a 2 tower array. Towers were 300 footers. Main transmitter was a 5KW/1KW 1961 RCA model BTA-5T. This transmitter cost $17,000 in 1961, without any accessories- the price of about one to one and a half new homes or about 10 new cars.

The FM station was 3KW using a 1968 Harris model FM-3H, all transistorized except for the final.

My backup AM transmitter was a 1KW 1946 Collins model 20T. An 8 foot-wide double cabinet, with one cabinet pretty much taking up all the space as a power supply and for the plate modulation transformer. Two mercury-vapor rectifier tubes (8008's I think) were clearly visible through the window. At times at night I would turn off all the transmitter shack's lights and fire up the filament supply to the Collins, just to watch the Mercury tubes with their eerie, soothing glow. Those were the days! By the way, that beast weighted 3500 pounds - 1.75 TONS.

Back then I ran Transmitter tests once a month after midnight, I use to run a pre-recorded NAB cart from the transmitter shack basically telling anyone who was
listening to send in a Reception Report in return for a QSL card.

Steve KA1SMC (formally since 1976 KA1BIN)
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 01:36:33 AM by KA1BIN » Logged
KJ6ZOL
Member

Posts: 359




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2012, 06:37:15 PM »

QSLing in the AM DX hobby (like the hobby itself) sure isn't what it used to be.  I have been an AM DXer since the late 50s.  Throughout the 60s and 70s I had about a 90% (about 2,100 verified out of about 2,300 logged on the BCB)verification return percentage.  In those days, the stations actually seemed interested in knowing how far their signals could be heard. Each station had a chief engineer, many of which were hams. They generally understood our hobby and were intersted in receiving and responding to DX receptions reports.  Many would come on the air during the early morning hours to conduct special DX Tests for DXers. Today it is completely different.  Stations could care less if their signal can be heard beyond their primary service coverage area. Few have their own chief engineers, relying on contract engineers instead. Few of those individuals are interested in DX. Although I still DX the BCB, I no longer send out reception reports. Some time back, I sent out 77 reception reports (with return postage) over a two-year period and received 11 replies. Oh, for the good old days!  For those who are interested in BCB DXing, plese note that the National Radio Club still exists and is now in its 78th year.  For further information, check their website.

I should note one sad fact: when a small plane crashed into the main tx tower for KFI, the tower was not rebuilt. Instead, KFI's owners chose to simply rely on the backup tower. The backup tower covers Southern California, and that's it. KFI used to be heard all over the West Coast, and being a CONELRAD freq they were required at one time to have first rate transmitting equipment. Now you're lucky if you can hear them in San Diego, and furthermore the stn is owned by a big corporation who doesn't care if you can or can't hear them in SD or SF. The station's main goal is selling ads to the Los Angeles market, period. Most BCB stn's are automated for most of their broadcast day, some stn's that are really far out in the sticks still have a half hour local news report, usually not during DX times, and/or a little local talk segment. But most BCB stn's now are simply canned, satellite fed programming, and ads. Engineers are in it for the paycheck, and not the love of radio.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!