Vintage QSL Series
Here is a QSL card that will bring back memories for many hams around the world. Marv Mahre, W0MGI, is a very active amateur radio operator. What you may not know about Marv is that for years he operated a QSL card printing business, and his beautiful designs are still tacked onto many ham shack walls. This particular card was printed on glossy white card stock in three colors plus black. The cartoon image, which really looks like him, shows a smiling, bespectacled Marv banging with his fist on a J-38 Morse code key. Logos for various organizations Marv belonged to at the time, including ARRL, QCWA, and the St. Paul, Minnesota Amateur Radio Club, as well as the Society of Wireless Pioneers logo, which is one I didn’t even know about, are displayed prominently on the front of the card.
The text of Marv’s card is just as interesting. It states Marv’s old German call, DL4HQ, from the time he was stationed in Europe in the early 1950’s. He has always been interested in railroads, and the card says, “RAILFAN”. Finally, at the bottom on the card’s front face, are the words “Assistant Director – Dakota Division”.
The back of the card is arranged in the typical “post card” style, with a space on the right-hand side for postage and the recipient’s address. The left side has a form for the details of the contact, which in this case was with special event station W200ZSW in May of 1988. I suspect that the special callsign was issued to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Handiham System. In his remarks, Marv says, “My mobile rig used in a hurry to make the contact.”
QSL cards are not as common is they once were, and that is kind of a shame. It was always fun to get a card like Marv’s, even for a mobile contact. Hams proudly displayed their QSL card collections on bulletin boards, in special plastic QSL card holders, and simply tacked onto walls. Logbook of the World, which can be used to efficiently confirm contacts, is more practical these days, but it is just not quite the same, is it? High postage rates may keep us from sending lots of cards, but you may still want to confirm those special contacts in this most traditional of ways: with the good, old ham radio QSL card!
Incidentally, Marv is a member of the Handiham affiliated Stillwater Amateur Radio Association. He seldom misses a meeting, even the informal Thursday evening eyeball QSO sessions at the Stillwater Public Library in Stillwater, Minnesota. On the air daily, Marv is still among the most active operators in the club!
We will bet that you have vintage QSL cards, too. If you can send a scan or photo of your vintage QSL cards, we will feature them here. What the heck – the HF bands are still pretty poor, so we might as well keep ourselves busy with vintage cards! Please send the images to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a few words, if you wish, explaining the card or perhaps recalling those days when you were sending lots of these out. We will also feature your comments and callsign in the story.