Flea Market Finds and QSL Cards

2 thoughts on “Flea Market Finds and QSL Cards”

  1. Hey Tom, as a ham, I really enjoyed reading about your discovery of the QSL card collection. I cross referenced the call sign on the cards with the call book published in Spring 1938 and found him there as well.

    Here’s the link: https://archive.org/stream/Spring_1938_Radio_Amateur_Callbook/Spring_1938_Radio_Amateur_Callbook_W9#page/n19/mode/2up

    In addition, I found Loren Ashwood’s obituary from 2003 ( http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20030325/OBITUARIES/303250319?p=1&tc=pg ) which provides a brief but fascinating account of his life. Born in 1917, he was only 17 years old in 1934 when these earliest cards you have were received. It notes that he was a lifelong ham, holding the call sign W9PQA and then at some point switching to the call W9DH.

    For efficiency sake, the most commonly used letters in CW are also the shortest in dits and dahs. Therefore, I assume he swapped call signs when the 2 letter calls became available because it was much easier and faster to send ‘DH’ than ‘PQA’ ( -.. …. VS .–. –.- .- ).

    While hams still do send QSL cards today, the numbers of them being sent back and forth are dwindling due to the increased use of electronic QSL services so they are indeed becoming more rare each day. It’s sad but the convenience and low to no cost benefits make it the go-to form of confirmation. While paper QSLs can often take months or years to complete, e-QSLs are nearly instantaneous. Usually paper cards are now sent only for the most special contacts.

    In my personal collection of QSLs, I’ve got a couple of special cards from the contacts I made with the ISS using a digital radio mode and some home-made hardware. I hope someday when I’m gone, that they end up in some kind of market as well and it sparks the same interest you had in whoever finds them.

    1. Brent, this is a fantastic story, and thank you so much for the additional information on Loren Ashwood. I’m going to edit the post to link straight to your info.

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