Bitcoin donations to: 1CE9UfWJcHBYkWPns7iqBqZgKhd5xfqEaM thanks!
Buy Bitcoins easily by clicking HERE!


Use coupon radiopreppers for 20% off on the above site.Become a Patron!

Author Topic: QSO Card - Please explain  (Read 7154 times)

Sunflower

  • Guest
QSO Card - Please explain
« on: September 08, 2012, 08:44:05 AM »
What is a QSL Card?

The question came up after reading these definitions:

QSL - to acknowledge receipt. Commonly used to indicate "I understand", "I coped your transmission (or report) all OK". Also used as a term for sending cards by mail to confirm a two way contact with a station, such as QSL via the bureau. (see bureau or burro).

QSL Manager - A person, usually an Amateur Radio operator, who manages the receiving and sending of QSL cards for a managed station). A QSL Manager is needed because the managed station either has difficulty handling the volume of incoming QSL cards, or the station is geographically located such that it is difficult or impossible for that station to accept and/or send QSL cards. It is very common for "rare" DX stations and DXpeditions to have a QSL Manager. 

QSO - two way conversation.

Thank you,

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2942
  • SMeter: +78/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: QSO Card - Please explain
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 10:33:43 AM »
Hello Sunflower.

A QSL card is like a postcard you mail to someone you had a conversation with, which included a signal report and maybe something about your station. People collect them from all around the world..

Gil.

WA4STO

  • Guest
Re: QSL Card - Please explain
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2012, 11:41:45 AM »
While you haven't explicitly asked for this, it might prove interesting to show some reasons for wanting QSL cards in the first place.

I believe that the primary reason people "collect" QSL cards is to apply for the hundreds (maybe thousands, dunno!) of awards, plaques and certificates that are available to both non-licensed short wave listeners, as well as licensed radio amateurs.

Personally, I find it to be a huge source of fun.  And for preppers, it can become an excellent source of data.  Data?  You bet.  I've presently got, I don't know, maybe three thousand or so confirmations from those I've made contact with.  And, as a retired database developer, I find it useful to sort and filter the data, so as to determine how many contacts I've made in a given geographical area.  Such as, 100 miles around my bug-out location, or perhaps completely out of area (so as to determine how much information I could expect to get during and after an SHTF situation from outside of the stricken zone.)

But... back to the FUN part.   Here's some examples of certificates that I have lining my walls.



That one was SO much fun!  And it forced me to stretch my on-the-air capabilities, in that I just HATE voice modes and much prefer Morse code and digital modes.  This certificate "forced" me to contact all 50 States, which would be pretty easy.  BUT, I also had to actually make 150 contacts.  50 on Morse, 50 on digital modes and 50 on -- gulp! -- voice.  Guess which mode took me the longest? 

I think this whole idea of awards and certificates is what makes the notion of QSL'ing such a "big deal" in ham radio.  You can't get the certificates (generally) without confirmation of the contacts having been made...

If you'd like to see more of these awards, or are interested in the logging or database niches within amateur radio, just say the word.  We all like to brag.  Well, a little anyway.


« Last Edit: September 23, 2017, 02:28:58 AM by gil »

Sunflower

  • Guest
Re: QSO Card - Please explain
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2012, 07:56:25 AM »
A picture says a thousand words, but without your story,... well, it took your story to bring me meaning. Thank you for posting.

I doubt I will be getting too excited about collecting such cards. The idea of making contact with folks sounds good, but not sure if I have it in me to get so excited. The thought of having more time to go to the rifle range seems a whole lot more exciting to me.

BTW, when you write digital - do you mean something like a words with out sound? something read? or is it all written out then read like with an old Western Union Gram?

Thanks.

WA4STO

  • Guest
Re: QSO Card - Please explain
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2012, 12:21:50 PM »
Hi Sunflower!

By "digital modes"  we usually mean the methods used to make the conversation occur.  Those modes are frequently assisted by your computer.

For example, while you could speak into your ham radio's microphone (that would be a "voice" mode), or send Morse code (also a mode), your computer, by way of free software, can be used VERY much like email is used today.  Except .... there's no need for telephones, internet, or any of that stuff that so often goes down during an emergency or disaster situation.

Here's an example of one (of many) modes; this is what it would look like on your screen when you are receiving it from someone:



Now the human can't determine what that is saying, of course.  But the computer sure can.  In this case, the sound card in your PC can "unscramble" that weird looking stuff and print what your counterpart is actually typing to you.

Oh, and the sound of it  is "weird" as well.  Here's what this particular mode sounds like:


http://www.hurderconsulting.net/simply/radiostuff/BPSK31.wav

Preppers can utilize the benefits of communicating this way.  There are many occasions when I find that these modes (well, the computer's sound card and the free software, actually) can hear and decode signals that the human ear simply can not.  Thus, a prepper squirreled away in her BOL can often expect to communicate with her counterparts near or far when her ear would never even detect the signals in the first place.

I certainly understand your feeling that the whole QSL card scenario might not be of any interest whatsoever.  Some of us, though, find that it adds several other layers of usefulness to the hobby.  Different strokes, and all that!

73

« Last Edit: September 23, 2017, 02:29:22 AM by gil »

Sunflower

  • Guest
Re: QSO Card - Please explain
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2012, 08:59:15 PM »
Hi Sunflower!

By "digital modes"  we usually mean the methods used to make the conversation occur.  Those modes are frequently assisted by your computer.

For example, while you could speak into your ham radio's microphone (that would be a "voice" mode), or send Morse code (also a mode), your computer, by way of free software, can be used VERY much like email is used today.  Except .... there's no need for telephones, internet, or any of that stuff that so often goes down during an emergency or disaster situation.

Here's an example of one (of many) modes; this is what it would look like on your screen when you are receiving it from someone:



Now the human can't determine what that is saying, of course.  But the computer sure can.  In this case, the sound card in your PC can "unscramble" that weird looking stuff and print what your counterpart is actually typing to you.

Oh, and the sound of it  is "weird" as well.  Here's what this particular mode sounds like:


http://www.hurderconsulting.net/qsls/BPSK31.wav

Preppers can utilize the benefits of communicating this way.  There are many occasions when I find that these modes (well, the computer's sound card and the free software, actually) can hear and decode signals that the human ear simply can not.  Thus, a prepper squirreled away in her BOL can often expect to communicate with her counterparts near or far when her ear would never even detect the signals in the first place.

I certainly understand your feeling that the whole QSL card scenario might not be of any interest whatsoever.  Some of us, though, find that it adds several other layers of usefulness to the hobby.  Different strokes, and all that!

73


That was interesting. Does the written message take place as the sounds come across. Does everyone pretty much have access to everyone elses communications in real time? It appears to all be public. Is that correct? -Thanks.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2017, 02:29:39 AM by gil »

WA4STO

  • Guest
Digital Mode Sounds
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2012, 10:09:19 AM »
Hi Sunflower!

The answers to your questions are:   Yes.   No.   Pretty much.

Yes:  For some of the digital modes, the words are displayed almost immediately on your screen after you hear the sounds.

No: A very few modes are not displayed immediately.  The mode called JT65 is unusual in that the person transmitting does so from the exact "top" of the minute (meaning the second that a given minute begins) until about 45 seconds into the minute.  During that time, nothing is displayed on your screen.  Along about second number 50, the computer has done its magic and displays the info.

Pretty much:  Amateur Radio transmissions are supposed to be in the "public domain".  However, there are instances where we don't want the public to decode what we're saying.  For example, if we're transmitting lists of injured for the American Red Cross in the aftermath of a disaster, we sure don't want the public to know that.    That's one reason why we frequently do not use voice modes for such communications.

There are some modes that are durned near impossible for the public to decipher.  Winmor comes to mind.  And modes like Feld Hell are so seldom used that the media and the public would be very hard pressed to even know what they're hearing, never mind being able to decode it.

Hope that answers your questions.


White Tiger

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 526
  • SMeter: +11/-0
    • View Profile
Re: QSL Card - Please explain
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2012, 01:36:12 AM »
While you haven't explicitly asked for this, it might prove interesting to show some reasons for wanting QSL cards in the first place.

I believe that the primary reason people "collect" QSL cards is to apply for the hundreds (maybe thousands, dunno!) of awards, plaques and certificates that are available to both non-licensed short wave listeners, as well as licensed radio amateurs.

Since WA4STO is the expert on this subject, let me ask: is there something behind the fun?

What I mean is, if groups like RACES, ARES, MARS can find the right contests to peak our interests - aren't they really just establishing conditions that allow naturally competitive humans to find a way to overcome obstacles, fears, etc., in order to FIND a way to MAKE the necessary contacts prior to an actual emergency? ...getting us to develop our skills for fun...but it helps strengthen the framework for what amateur radio's real purpose - the backbone network for all emergency communication when normal means of communications go dark.

I mean - I haven't actually done any contesting because I dont yet have my license (hope to fix that the first Saturday in October) - but say (for instance) that you have an unrealistic expectation that you can maintain communication for your group at the advent of STUFF hitting the fan - utilizing the 10 meter band to stay in local and long-distance contact when the world falls apart...the time to find out this plan WON'T work is BEFORE the actual fan-splatter - when your neck deep in...stuff...is NOT the time to find out you should have had a better plan!

Seems contesting is not just fun but also a non-threatening means of creating methods and skills to adapt and overcome - because the most that's on the line in a contest is a piece of cardboard with a picture on it - but the skills translate for when they're actually needed.

Studying to achieve the license has me developing SOME skills - but I'm thinking it's nothing like actually being able to use my Omni D to make contacts!

Personally, I find it to be a huge source of fun.  And for preppers, it can become an excellent source of data.  Data?  You bet.  I've presently got, I don't know, maybe three thousand or so confirmations from those I've made contact with.  And, as a retired database developer, I find it useful to sort and filter the data, so as to determine how many contacts I've made in a given geographical area.  Such as, 100 miles around my bug-out location, or perhaps completely out of area (so as to determine how much information I could expect to get during and after an SHTF situation from outside of the stricken zone.)

This is the kind of stuff that got me hooked on amateur radio...well, that and some post I saw someone make about being able to utilize amateur radio to get a remote digital camera to send a Slow Scan TV picture of my (planned but currently unfulfilled) faraway BOL - back to my home here in Florida...while I'm in Florida!

...without using the internet...

...and even if the power grid goes down!

And it forced me to stretch my on-the-air capabilities, in that I just HATE voice modes and much prefer Morse code and digital modes.
   

You know what I just realized WA4STO? I never asked why you don't like voice? I had this horrible thought - what if it's like my assumptions regarding using 10 meters for my basic SHTF communication?

Is it because there are too many people, trying to make too many voice contacts, and it became so frustrating you had to switch to another mode?

[**shuddder**]...I don't think I want to hear this answer...

Feel free to tell me you just don't like people, or that you can't stand the sound of the human voice slightly out of phase on SSB!!!

I think this whole idea of awards and certificates is what makes the notion of QSL'ing such a "big deal" in ham radio.  You can't get the certificates (generally) without confirmation of the contacts having been made...

...maybe some are like me - and don't like the thought of giving up anonimty by showing up in yet another database?

If so, WA4STO has nearly proven to me that the benefits of QSL logging programs outweigh some of the sense of a loss of anonymity (I mean afterall, all we really have is the illusion of control...right?)...
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 02:21:03 AM by White Tiger »
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

WA4STO

  • Guest
What's behind the "fun" ??
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2012, 01:06:01 PM »
Hoo boy; White Tiger has caught me with two large cups of java in me this morning. 

Interesting question, WT.  Lots of them, actually.  Let's start with my opinion of what's behind the fun, if anything.

While working for seven years at ARRL HQ, I was tasked with providing support to the volunteers across the nation.  Some were involved with handling message traffic, some with EMCOMM, some as media gurus or technical experts and even Official Observers.

Some/many of them did what they did because -- to them -- it was fun.  Tons of it.  Back then, and perhaps today as well, it was the end goal that mattered.  Some of the EMCOMM folks were perfectly happy supporting a single agency, such as the American Red Cross, APCO, or the Salvation Army's disaster radio efforts.  Others did their thing for county officials, others for the State.

At ARRL HQ, I had to look at things from a national perspective.  I would travel to the District of Corruption to meet with senior Red Cross officials, APCO folks, S.A. folks and all the others that we had Memoranda of Understand with. 

I never perceived that many of these superbly well-trained volunteers had thoughts beyond their goal, and I sure don't mean that in a bad way.   To them, I think, the goal was easy to pinpoint and their efforts were well focused.

>>>>You know what I just realized WA4STO? I never asked why you don't like voice? I had this horrible thought - what if it's like my assumptions regarding using 10 meters for my basic SHTF communication?

In recent years, my hearing has suffered, particularly in the voice range.  That's one reason I enjoy CW and digital modes.

But the real reason I detest voice modes is more complex.  Of course...  Again, back in my ARRL HQ daze (?) I worked closely with the FCC on enforcement matters.  We had a few miscreants who caused the greatest enforcement work load.  It's always that way.  But what became obvious --early on-- was that the 1% of the troublemakers ALWAYS had a microphone stuck in their faces.  Or a telephone.  To my office. 

There's also technical reasons.  One is that, even back in my traffic handling (message relay handling), I had to do a lot of voice work.  On voice, there is NO 'error correction'.  If you thought you heard "Luck", it could have actually been "duck".  Or worse.   CW wasn't a lot better.  Better, mind you, but not a lot.  I have a number of QSL cards where my name (Luck) was printed on the QSL card as "Duck" which is only one dit away...

Ah, but then along came digital modes.  ARQ modes provided quite a bit of back-and-forth error correction and more modern modes such as Olivia  and the "FLARQ and Wrap" functions within the NBEMS protocol helped immensely.  Served agencies -- and the nearest BOL -- might one day depend on the accuracy provided.

>>>>...maybe some are like me - and don't like the thought of giving up anonimty by showing up in yet another database?

I'm not concerned about personal databases like we (mostly) have.  You know, like QSO information databases.  To me, the benefit of being able to export this info to places like LOTW or e-qsl far outweighs the privacy issues.  Think of it this way, how many of the alphabet soup agencies around the world would have any interest whatsoever in the fact that I made 3200 QSOs with Russia in the past ten years? 

Didn't used to be that way, of course.  When I was with NSA, I was supposed to "report" ANY contact with foreign entities.  I often chuckled at how  my outgoing qsl cards to/from Berlin and Moscow piqued their interest.  God, am I glad I'm retired.






Radio Preppers

What's behind the "fun" ??
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2012, 01:06:01 PM »