“QSL” is the radiotelegraph code meaning “I confirm” or “I acknowledge receipt”. In short-wave listening, a “QSL” is a card or letter from a radio station confirming that the recipient indeed heard the station.
In the early days of radio, stations were eager to know how well they were being heard. To encourage listeners to write in and report their reception, stations offered to send listeners souvenir cards and letters Soon SWLs began to collect these QSLs from stations as avidly as many people collect sports cards today.
Most international broadcast stations today use regular monitors to assess how well they are being heard and no longer rely upon listener letters. However, most broadcasters still respond to listener reception reports with QSL cards or letters. Many SWLs have amassed impressive, colorful collections of these souvenirs of their listening experiences.
To receive a QSL from a station, you need to send a “reception report” to the station giving information about what you heard, the reception conditions, and what you liked (or didn’t like) about their programming. A good reception report should include the following:
the date and time (in UTC) you heard the station
the frequency on which you heard the station
details about what you heard sufficient to establish that you indeed heard the station; these are things like names of announcers and programs, titles of musical selections, station slogans, etc. (be sure to include the times you hear the various items)
an evaluation of the signal quality, including strength, degree of fading, and any interference you were experiencing (include the names and frequencies of interfering stations)
the make and model of radio you are using, along with any external antenna you use
comments and suggestions about the station’s programming
Don’t be afraid to candidly state what exactly you like to say about a stations transmission quality or readability of discussion
There are special occasion cards like the one shown above which was a special prefix card from Saurashtra Amateur Radio Club during Asian Games..
For example, card above is from USSR which doesn’t exists. You may find prefixes of all USSR zones that were very active during 60s to 80s. There were thousands of CW & AM ham operators from USSR daily on the air even though country was believed to be under iron curtain.
In fact, in India, when I started my station in 1970 with a home brewed CW transmitter & a US army junk receiver which I bought for Rs.80! USSR stations were boon to me as they were in hundreds (or thousands) available 24 hours a day. Availability of on the air stations make experimenters work & progress faster with quick reports on their development.
QSL cards of hams, who are no longer with us, is very memorable asset of an amateur station