Monday, March 22, 2010

Flint Artifacts: Ham Radio Cards

Found these oddities on ebay: "QSL cards are written confirmation from a radio station or ham radio operator of a communication or signal reception. QSL cards are a ham radio operators calling card."


  1. Here's mine:

  2. Gordie:

    Where did you get this card? Silas Smith on Vassar Road was my maternal grandfather...he was a fan of ham radio and worked for Michigan Bell back in the 1960s...I will be showing this to my mother. What a shock to see something like this! Kathryn Hendrickson Murchie

  3. Kathie, I found this on ebay. I went back to try and get a link for you but the auction is over. Tom, how did this work? Would you give them to other operators? Or would you use them to record who you talked to?

  4. If I recall correctly, the cards were used as a follow-up to acknowledge the contact -- either voice or Morse Code -- with a fellow ham radio operator. The contact might have been halfway around the planet or as close as your own county or city.

    With regard to the former, some enterprising young son of an operator might decide to start collecting postage stamps.

    Dad's cards -- K8TYL -- are long gone, I'm sure. But I still have my stamp collection.

  5. geewhy, they were used exactly as Cooley's Dictum explained. Ham radio operators also kept log books to keep records of who they contacted. More on QSL cards from Wikipedia:

    I got a ham license when I was in high school, with the help and encouragement of my father, who was quite active in ham radio. Most ham radio call letters in the U.S. start with "W" or "K". The "N" in my callsign stood for Novice Class, which was limited to the use of fewer frequencies and Morse code only. The "8" is the region number, the 8 region includes Michigan.

    My grandfather, James B. Wirt ( W8JYP) was one of the founding members of the Genesee County Radio Club, and my father, James R. Wirt (WA8TCY) was also very involved with that organization.

  6. Hey Gordie:
    A follow-up to my previous post - I was the one who won that auction for my Grandad's radio card and now it's in my house! I'm giving it to my mom soon so she can have something that belonged to her Dad...Kathy M.

  7. Flint Radio HistorianOctober 26, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    I was trying to find out some information on some Flint radio people from the 1930s and I ran across a sequential list of SS#s of deceased employees at WFDF, who had apparently all signed up for Social Security numbers at the same time. Filling in some of the names in between familiar ones such as Frank Fallain (original callsign 8ZH) Don DeGroot, and Charles Park were some names that I didn't recognize but sounded vaguely familiar. Two of them were definitely amateur radio operators, Wllard Happy and Cresson "Cress" Donbar, who both have an online footprint. There were other names, including Frank Scraggs, Lester Johnson, Kenneth Crank, and Osco Cleaver, who I wondered what role they played at WFDF, or perhaps just friends of the Loeb Brothers, who were the owners, or Frank Fallain, the Chief Engineer. I was wondering if any of you recognized any of these names, particularly if Tom Wirt had ever heard of them.

    1. Willard Happy, W8AAH, 1908-2004 Passed at Alma,MI.
      Cresson Donbar, K4YL, 1905-1998 Passed in FL.
      Wirt: J. B. W8JYP, 1892-1872
      James R. WA8TCY 1925-2014

  8. See more FLINT area 'Silent Key' (deceased) Radio HAM operator QSL cards and more at web site. Look for data by known call sign, last name etc.


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