"Wavescan" is a weekly program for long distance radio hobbyists produced by Dr. Adrian M. Peterson, Coordinator of International Relations for Adventist World Radio. AWR carries the program over many of its stations (including shortwave). Adrian Peterson is a highly regarded DXer and radio historian, and often includes features on radio history in his program. We are reproducing those features below, with Dr. Peterson's permission and assistance.
Wavescan 470, January 4, 2004
Unusual QSL Cards
Those people who collect postage stamps are aware that there are many stamps out there that are unusual in shape. For example, South Africa and New Zealand have issued triangular shaped stamps, Norway and New Zealand have issued circular stamps, and Canada and Russia have issued very small stamps. Germany, France and the United States have issued very large postage stamps.
A very unusually shaped stamp comes from the island of Tonga in the Pacific, and it is in the shape and the color of a banana. Several years ago Israel issued a postage stamp that looked like a 35 millimetre slide, and Tonga issued a postage stamp that gave the impression that you are looking through the lens of a 35 millimetre camera.
Likewise there are also some very unusual QSL cards out there. Some years ago, for example, Radio New Zealand International issued a triangular shaped QSL card. This was in reality a pennant-shaped card with the insignia in blue on one side and the QSL text on the other.
Back in the year 1982, ERF, the German Christian organization, "Evangeliums-Rundfunk", issued a large circular QSL card. This card measures almost six inches across, and it shows a circular map of the globe centered on Wetzlar in Germany. This QSL card verified reception reports for the ERF programming over Radio Monte Carlo.
The annual DX contest here in our DX program "Wavescan" for the year 1997 featured the world's smallest QSL cards. For the occasion, AWR printed a very small QSL card just three inches long and one and three-quarters broad. Soon afterwards the German Shortwave Club in the Saar printed an even smaller card measuring just two inches by one and one-half inches and they used this card to verify their programming over HCJB in Quito, Ecuador.
One of the smallest radio broadcasting stations in the world in the 1930s was station TI4NRH in Costa Rica with just 7.5 watts on shortwave. Even so, this station was heard and verified in far distant places such as North America, Europe and the South Pacific. Three quarters of a century later, this very small station still holds the world record for the largest QSL. It is a printed diploma, considerably larger than the regular sized typing paper as used in the United States and Europe.
The shortwave broadcasting company in Taiwan, BCC, issued a very unusually shaped QSL card more than 30 years ago, back in the year 1970. This card is approximately the size of a regular postcard, though it has four projecting tabs, two on each of the two longer sides.
There are various theories about this unusual QSL card from Taiwan. For example, you can bend the four tabs over, and the card can then stand on your desk, looking a little like a very small table with four legs. Another theory is that you can take two of these cards, bend the tabs over, glue the two cards together and then you have a small box.
Two unusual QSL cards from Japan were issued by NHK in Tokyo back in 1974. These two cards are in the regular postcard size, but it is intended that the pictures should be cut out and the pieces strung together with short pieces of thin string. The pattern of how to cut out the cards and how to string them together is shown on the cards.
When the small pieces are strung together correctly they can be hung up from a central cord to form a dangling picture, a little like the tubular wind chimes or bamboo pipes that strike pretty tones as they move in the breeze. One picture shows a Sumo wrestler and the other shows a Samurai soldier.
Back about ten years ago, Adventist World Radio issued a series of five different QSL cards, all in the same style. These cards are best described as "peelable" cards; that is, the surface of the card can be peeled off from the card and stuck to any smooth dry surface, such as a bedroom mirror. The original patterns on these AWR QSL cards were designed by listeners in an art contest in the year 1988.
The first peelable QSL card was issued by AWR in 1989 and it showed the AWR symbols in dark blue. Three peelable cards were issued in 1990 and they showed a sequence of small Japanese symbols, a stylistic representation of Jesus in the Second Coming, and the Cross superimposed on the world. The fifth QSL card in this peelable style shows the multi-language dentifications for Adventist World Radio in six different languages.
Why don't you check your collection and see if you have any very unusual QSL cards, and maybe you can write and tell us about them.