Moose on the loose

Østerdalsgruppen av NRRL logoHams like to work local landmarks into their QSL cards and club logos. It’s not every day the landmark in question is the world’s largest steel moose.

Norwegian amateur radio operator Knut, LA9DSA, contacted me for his radio club, Østerdalsgruppen av NRRL, to ask if I could do something with said landmark (pictured below). Unveiled just a few years ago, the metal moose is 33 feet tall and located in a rest area along the road between Oslo and Trondheim; its name is Storelgen. The idea behind it is to remind drivers to be careful not to hit moose crossing the road. Also, it just looks really cool. I went with silver and blue to make the logo appropriately metallic — with headphones and a boom mike, of course.

Storelgen, the world's biggest mooseBefore this metal moose was erected, the biggest moose sculpture in the world was 32-foot-tall Mac the Moose in Saskatchewan, Canada. According to one website, rumor has it the Canadians want to reclaim the record by building an even bigger moose. When that happens, I look forward to creating that local club’s logo as well.

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Lawnmower Man

WA5TQB ham radio cartoon QSL by N2ESTThis is not the short story by Stephen King; rather, it’s just one serious ham with a serious lawn mower. The squirrel is safe.

Both Jack, WA5TQB, and his daughter Dana worked with me to create this card, with Dana sending photo reference of Jack — on his riding lawn mower, operating mobile. All I had to do was cartoon it up and add typography. If you must mow your lawn, fellow hams, then this is the way to do it.

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Canine CQ!

K9CQ ham radio cartoon QSL by N2ESTSome QSLs just kind of draw themselves.

“A beagle calling CQ” is exactly what Tim, K9CQ, wanted when he commissioned me to illustrate his QSL card. “I though it would be kind of neat to have the K9-CQ reference,” he wrote. Tim says he’s owned several beagles over the years, so the choice of breed was easy. Drawing it was easy, too.

The challenge came unexpectedly when I tried to color the hand-drawn illustration and place it on a postcard-sized QSL: The sketchy background that worked nicely in black and white (see below) didn’t work quite as well with color. The other problem was that the illustration didn’t “balance” well in the allotted space, even with QTH info added in the lower right corner to weigh it in that direction. It leaned to the left.

K9CQ QSL inksMy solution was to delete the background for the printed version, easy to do with Adobe Photoshop. That way, Tim still had an attractive piece of art to hang on the wall of his shack, yet the QSL stayed clean and simple. Sometimes, less is more.

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Strictly ballroom

N4VZ K4VZT ham radio cartoon QSL by N2ESTWho’d have thought to combine amateur radio with ballroom dancing, of all things? Ron, N4VZ, did. He and his wife, Kate, K4VZT, are both hams, and Ron wanted a his-and-hers QSL that spotlighted another hobby, ballroom dancing.

I decided to keep it simple: the two of them, dancing in the spotlight, on top of their call signs displayed in an elegant font. And holding their handi-talkies, of course.

N4VZ K4VZT QSL backTo make the card usable by either Ron or Kate, I modified one of my standard report forms as shown here, adding check boxes as shown here.

I’m not much of a dancer myself, so getting the pose right took some research and education. Creating these QSLs is a lot like a good first-time rag chew — you learn about things you’d never have thought of otherwise. That’s one of the things I enjoy about drawing these cards.

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What’s your favorite mobile mode?

amateur radio mobile operators car cycle bikeHere’s another illustration that was commissioned but didn’t see print for one reason or another. It’s a shame, too — I put a lot of work into it and was looking forward to sharing it with the world. A detail of the illustration headlines the post; the full illustration is below.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of drawing it was dropping in a couple of Easter eggs. One will be obvious to the Old Timers. The other one is in the upper right corner: I drew myself and my wife Gail, N2ART, in our little turquoise Honda Fit. In the back seat are our cats, Bones and Geordi. I resisted the urge to draw them wearing headphones.

This cartoon was designed to showcase different types of mobile operation. What’s your preferred mode of operation?

amateur radio mobile operators

 

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DXpedition to Tidra

5T5TI DXpedition logo by N2ESTSometimes the solution is obvious. DXpedition? From an island? With a pelican? And a hex beam? Coming right up!

Kuwaiti amateur Ahmad, 9K2AI/5T2AI, commissioned me earlier this year to create a logo for a DXpedition station on Tidra, an island just off the coast of Mauritania. The logo would be used on banners, websites, and, of course, QSLs. The only requirements: It must include the call sign, one of the great white pelicans native to the island, and a hex beam antenna. Done, done, and done.

Judging from Ahmad’s 5T5TI QRZ.com page, he and his cohorts have been there before and plan to return this December. Contact them on the air, and you can get a QSL with this groovy logo. Good luck!

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Rolling down the river

W5PLT ham radio cartoon QSL by N2ESTScott, W5PLT, pilots ships professionally between New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. He says he’s “kind of a modern-day Mark Twain.” That led me to believe I ought to play this QSL for laughs. Then Scott directed me to the website for the Crescent River Port Pilots’ Association — and I knew I ought to play this one straight.  After watching the video on the website’s news page, I was impressed with the magnitude of what these pilots accomplish every day. This is serious stuff.

The simplified  illustration of a typical container ship is drawn heavily from photo reference. Scott himself is drawn from video reference; he first appears in this video at about :20. For those of you interested in how things work — and what ham isn’t? — this presentation is well worth the 12 minutes it takes to watch it.

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If it’s not Scottish …

GM7USC cartoon QSL by N2ESTWhen Gary, GM7USC, asked me to create a QSL for him, he made it clear: “I am a very patriotic Scot.” Also, he wanted something funny because, as he put it, “I like to laugh.”

I decided to draw something both Scottish and funny. What if Gary were carrying a bagpipe that worked as an amateur radio, with antennas in place of pipes? It sounded funny to me. Gary liked it, too.

There were two other Scottish touches. Gary is from the Campbell clan, so the kilt he wears on this QSL features a simplified version of their tartan. Also, I chose a typeface, Willow, specifically associated with the Scottish Arts and Crafts style popular in the late 1800s.

Bagpipe, kilt and typeface — I couldn’t make it much more Scottish than that. Gary liked this one. I did, too.

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I draw logos too

Colorado Amateur Radio Team logoI draw ham-radio club logos, too. This is one of them.

When Jim, KC0JIM, asked me to create a logo for the Colorado Amateur Radio Team (CART), the solution was obvious: Make it a cart.

The final execution was more complicated. Jim and his club wanted a logo that would look good big, on banners and whatnot. That required that I convert my line drawing, created by hand, into vectors using Adobe Illustrator. Because I’ve never been happy with the results of auto-tracing a bitmap image, I traced this one manually to ensure the integrity of the drawing.

Jim was happy with the results. So was I.

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Pile up!

amateur radio pile-up cartoon by N2ESTSometimes the best illustrations are the ones that never make it to print. This cartoon of a pile-up was an unused drawing from a larger commission last month. Those of you about to participate in Field Day will hear more than a few pile-ups and will soon learn what they sound like. This is what I’ve always imagined they look like.

Personally, I identify more with the cartoon below of a CW operator: a smooth tone and smooth sailing. I’m not particularly fast but my favorite mode has long been CW.

amateur radio CW operator Morse code cartoon by N2ESTWhich mode do you plan to operate for Field Day?

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