John Heys, G3BDQ has very kindly provided a selection of his vintage QSL cards to view. John as you may already know is a very well known Amateur and has, in the past, been published by the RSGB for popular AR books including “Practical Wire Antennas” among others. The following selection of rare QSL cards all have a story, have a read and enjoy.
This 1927 card was sent to Alfred Barrett G5UF who was then living in Cromer. It was sent by mail by 1CX to confirm hearing but not contacting G5UF. The Uruguayan amateur was using a O-V-1 receiever and stared that he hoped to making it a QSO eventually. The operator of 1CX had a transmitter with a power of 7.5watts and employed a Hertz antenna with counterpoises. Arthur Barrett became a professional wireless telegraphist at various GPO transmitting stations. His work took him to Dorchester station before he finally retired.
Amateur Radio Transmitting remained illegal in Holland in 1927 nine years after the end of WW1. It was a neutral country through the War when it had harboured many secret agents and spies, and it was only around 1930 that legal amateur radio operators were licenced. Before then however, the numerous “Pirate” stations employed a large variety of unusual callsigns and all QSLing had to be done ‘under cover’.
Belgium, like its neighbour Holland did not officially recognise Amateur Radio until 1930 and it resulted in a great number of illegal radio stations, each making up their own callsigns. The stamped side of this card suggests that it was sent on to G6CJ the well known “Dud” Charman by the ‘Wireless World’.
The sender of this card in 1926 was then a British Army wireless operator stations in the Rawalpindi Arsenal in northern India. He was Arthur Moore, and was then using the ubiquitous O-V-1 “straight” receivers, a kind known in the USA as a ‘two tube Blooper’. The card was for a contact with Ben Clapp G2KZ who later became head of the Wireless section in the John Logie Baird’s TV Laboratory.
This card was also send to ‘Dud’ Charman G6CJ and it confirms that he was heard by the Mexican on February 17th 1926. The RX at M-9A was also a two valve TRF with the Reinartz detector circuit. (I once used one myself.) The unusual callsign used by a Mexican station again demonstrates the confusion arising from the new found ability to have really DX contacts. Carlos, the Mexican operator was a member of the ARRL and also the Mexican National Amateur Radio Society (U.R.E.M.)
AC3PT Sikkim, India
It is possible to look at a map of India and at first fail to spot the State of Sikkim for it is such a small Kingdom tucked away in the North Eastern corner of India. The State has borders with Tibet (now a part of China) Bhutan, Darjeeling, and Nepal. It is unusual in having a King rather than the more usual Maharajah as head of State.
Sikkim became a British Protectorate in 1890 and has an area of only 2,818 square miles (the area of Wales is 7,466 sq. miles). It has a very small population which in 1937 totalled 109,651 which was smaller than a number of British cities or towns. Sikkim’s King had a very limited autonomy when his country became just another Indian State. The Royal Palace is located in the State’s Capital City, Gangtok, the location of a short lived Amateur Radio Station in 1958.
With just two native amateurs in the 1950s, AC3SQ and AC31PT was a really rare DX Country. Contacts. with the State were few and far between. The American Gus Browning W4BPD had activated many such rare DXCC Countries through the 1950s and was well known for his DX-peditions. His Globe-trotting radio expeditions were the substance of his Lectures and films which together with gifted funds and some income from his QSL cards became well known over the US.
To make sure of a card many lucky amateurs often included a Dollar Bill in their envelopes. The preparation and sending of QSLs was undertaken by Ack Anderson W4ECI who lived in Birmingham Alabama. Ack also ran a business there, the ACK Radio Supply Co.
John D Heys, G3BDQ.
You may also like to read articles written by John Heys G3BDQ from the Vital Spark archive.