KŘXB - Rick at Lake Vermilion, Minnesota USA

You never forget certain QSOs, and looking at the QSL cards from those contacts always brings back memories.

Here are some of my favorites.




I shut down my original station when I went away to college in 1964. Unfortunately, the QSL cards from the few DX QSOs I had by then have been lost. But in 1970, I finally got enough free time while I was still a graduate student to get back on the air. Using a Heathkit HW-16 (which put out 20 Watts on 15 meters on a good day), a windowsill vertical, a straight key and a box full of crystals, I worked F8PA, OK3AS and HA8VM in September of that year. The thrill of DX-ing came back to me, and I have been chasing DX ever since.



TY1ABE              JH1WIX


TY (Dahomey in 1971; now called Benin) is still an extremely rare one, and I was amazed I was able to work him with my peanut whistle HW-16. Until 2009, that was my only QSO with TY on 15 meters. Later that same year, the famous ham Taroh Yagi JH1WIX (SK) answered me. He was not the person who invented the Yagi antenna, but he was well known nevertheless.




Katashi Nose KH6IJ (SK) was also a very accomplished ham. I am pleased I have six QSOs with him in my log.




Here is a card from another member of the “XB Club.” During the entire period of the cold war, ham radio was permitted in East Germany as well as in most of the other eastern bloc countries.



And, here’s yet another member of the club. This QSO was in 2011, when memories of East Germany were in the past.



ZA1A           BY9GA


Albania had prohibited ham radio for many years, but ZA1A went on the air in 1991 as the first ham radio operation from Albania. I worked them twice; on CW and RTTY. I think I was one of the first stateside stations to work them on RTTY. China also prohibited ham radio for a long time, but it was finally was allowed in the mid-80’s. BY9GA was one of the first Chinese stations. I worked them in October, 1986; a few hours after Mike KŘBUD, Harry KŘVZT and Erv KŘIVO helped me put up my first tower.





I am not sure what a “drifting station” is exactly, but I can imagine it is a challenging and lonely place. I hope Vlad (UA1ADQ) and Mike (UA1AFM) were able to stay warm and get home safely.

The card from JT1BR is a favorite of mine.

SŘRASD was licensed by the Republica Arabe Saharaui Democratica (Saharan Arab Democratic Republic), and I worked them in October, 1987.




Politics is seldom discussed on the ham radio bands, but it is part of our world. While none of these stations were directly involved, they are reminders of the Italian incursion into Ethiopia in the 1930’s and the battles by the United States in Vietnam and Somalia.


E41OK1DTP                     P54L4FN  


In 1999 David OK1DTP was licensed by the Palestinian Authority as the first ham radio station in Palestine. And in 2002 Ed 4L4FN received permission to operate his ham radio station from North Korea. My QSO with him on RTTY is by far the most rare of all my contacts.


IK1IAIYA                  G4KUXYA


Here is pair of cards which are only ten years apart, but they mark major changes in our world. The card on the left is from 1992, and the card on the right is from 2002. Both stations were located in Kabul.




Sid ST2SA and I had several AMTOR QSOs in the late-1980s. In fact, we even exchanged mail messages using AMTOR automated mailboxes. Khartoum to Minneapolis!



VU2LX                   VP6DIA


In 1998, I had a fascinating visit to Honeywell’s engineering operations in Bangalore. I asked about ham radio, but unfortunately none of the engineers I met was licensed. Several knew Lakshmanan VU2LX however, and they had seen his station in operation. (“victor uniform two lima x-ray!”) Then, I worked him in 1999, and I have talked with him seven more times.

The Ducie Island DX-pedition was on the air in March 2003. I needed VP6D on RTTY, but I was in Santa Fe and all I had was my 20 Watt Argonaut V and a vertical. The pileups were huge, but I hung in there and kept calling. I do not know how I got through, but I did, and VP6D RTTY was in the bag.




This was not a new one for me, but it was a lot of fun. I was operating my 20 Watt Argonaut V and portable vertical from Coronado Island during the winter of 2006, and I heard a very faint RTTY signal on 17 meters. ZK1YAQ on Rarotonga, South Cook Islands was calling, and they heard me the first time I called them. I continue to be amazed how well RTTY signals get through in marginal conditions.


                                                                               EP3SMH                       ZS8MI


I found Mohsen on 20 meter RTTY, simplex, with a huge pileup of course. I thought I copied him saying he was going to QSY to Olivia. I had figured out how to use Olivia only a week or two earlier, so I QSY-ed to one of the Olivia frequencies, and there he was. There was no QRM, and I worked him quickly.

The card from ZS8MI on Marion Island is for a QSO in 1989, but it took me until late in 2008 to figure out who the operator was.

As soon as I contacted Peter (now ZL1CX) and sent him my card, he sent me his QSL right away.




I worked VK9AA on 30 meter CW from my portable station in California. I mailed my QSL to DL8YR  in late-April, and I had their QSL in my hand  less than two weeks later.






It took more than nine years before the DXCC Desk approved this operation from Yemen, but it’s finally good for DXCC credit.  I worked the “Yemen German Friendship” DX-pedition in April, 2000, twice.




I was operating my small portable station in March, 2007 when I heard 5V7SE from Togo. I hadn’t worked any stations in Togo for ten years, but Elvira heard me and sent this very nice QSL.




“We are not strangers but friends who have never met.” How true indeed.

Sadly, Nelson passed away in 2017.




Here’s another contact I made from California. I worked Alex early in the morning on 30 meters in March 2012. Later that day, my neighbor

asked me about my ham radio setup and who I had worked. When I told him I had talked to Laos earlier that day,

from the look on his face I think he had expect me to say Nevada or Arizona.




RWŘCN is located in Asiatic Russia, but this picture could just as easily been

taken in northern Minnesota. The love of fishing is universal.



LN1HQ is a special Norwegian callsign for the IARU Championship Contest. They are only on the air a short time every year,

but I think their QSL card is a keeper.


Michael PA5M was working for the United Nations World Food Programme in Somalia. I’m glad he had a little time for ham radio. This contact was in October 2011.




Here’s another QSL from a contact I made with Somalia. Roger LA4GHA was working for the United Nations and had a little time for ham radio. I worked him twice – in July and August, 2013.





I know Calgary, Alberta is not exactly a rare one. But I think this card from a special event station at the 2012 Calgary Stampede is one of the most striking QSLs I have seen in a long time.