County hunter!

N8OYY ham radio cartoon QSL back by N2ESTIf you like chasing counties, you’ll like this QSL card.

Ed, N8OYY, told me he enjoys “county hunting all 3,077 U.S. counties and driving from county to county making contacts from my SUV.” He wanted something to illustrate that, showing his specific vehicle, a Kia Sorento. I suggested conveying the idea with a faux map of various counties and his SUV wandering through it. Ed liked the idea, so I went to work.

The map I drew isn’t an exact representation, but it tells you what you need to know. The SUV, however, is definitely a Kia Sorento. (I’ve liked drawing cars since I was a kid, so it was easy to do it right.) I then added the call sign in 3-D and a burst with the words “county hunter!” … and there you have it.

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New rig fever

Gordon West Tech new radio watermarkHere’s another illustration I drew for Gordon West’s study guide for the Technician license, about buying your first radio. It’s easy to be swept away by something with the most bells and whistles — it sure looks shiny — but it’s not always the wisest purchase.

What’s my rig? Currently it’s an Icom IC-718, which fits my present budget just fine. Even though it’s marketed as a beginner’s rig, the IC-718 has almost every feature I need. Back when I got my first license in 1973, I would have killed for a radio with that many features.

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Bigfoot sighting

K7QI ham radio cartoon QSL by N2ESTEver seen Bigfoot on a QSL card before? Me neither. Until now.

Jim, K7QI, lives in the Pacific Northwest and wanted something unique to his region. Bigfoot reputedly lives there, so why not put Bigfoot on Jim’s QSL card?

That’s exactly what I did. He’s sitting there sending CW on a cartoon approximation of Jim’s Elecraft rig. And because Bigfoot sightings are rare, I drew a squirrel in there to take a picture of him. Now you know what that Summits on the Air station from Washington looks like …

K7QI ham radio cartoon QSL back by N2ESTThe back of Jim’s card is as personalized as the front. I offer two report forms: a generic one that fills only half the card and allows mailing your QSL as a postcard, and a more complete one like this. Most clients go for the more complete report form. It includes a state map with your QTH marked, complete QTH information, your call sign set in a style that matches the art where possible, and whatever logos you care to include. Most clients go with the ARRL diamond and perhaps their home club’s logo, but Jim went for logos that highlighted his military experience and his involvement with the National Rifle Association. If it fits, I can give you any logo you want — and it’s included in the price of your card.

 

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Exit, pursued by a bear

W7CBA ham radio cartoon QSL by N2ESTSteve, W7CBA, lives in Montana and likes the great outdoors. Can you draw me being chased by a grizzly, he asked? Sure, I said. And thus began this QSL card.

I changed it up a little, with Steve fleeing in panic while the bears size up his abandoned handi-talkie and backpack. Next thing you know, the bears are going to want to get their Tech licenses. (By the way, there’s a really good Tech study guide that just came out with illustrations by N2EST. I imagine the bears will either find it helpful or delicious.)

For extra points: Who recognizes the source of the above headline? Hint: He wasn’t a ham-radio operator but did have something to do with Hamlet.

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Happy hams end to end

Happy hams end to endHamtoons is back — but after more than four months away from my drawing board, I was rusty. I needed a running start to get back into it. That’s why I decided to finish this goofy drawing of two happy hams doing the bump.

It originally was a rejected sketch for a QSL. The client wanted something that represented his work, end-to-end software solutions, if I remember correctly. But how exactly do you draw that? You can’t — so instead I presented him with the dancing pigs. It’s just where my mind went. I mean, hey, it’s ham radio, right? And the two hams are end-to-end, right?

He didn’t go for it. Still, I liked the sketch, so I filed it away. This afternoon I finished it for your listening and dancing pleasure. Enjoy.

To those of you waiting on commissions: I’ll be contacting you shortly. Thank you so much for your patience.

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Ham radio got his goat …

N1ESE ham radio cartoon QSL by N2ESTThis was the query from John, N1ESE: “I like goats and the woods. My shack is off-grid and runs on solar power. That’s about all I have. Let’s talk.”

We did. It was easy.

After nailing down a few details, John emailed me reference photos of his solar panels and Elecraft rig, and I went to work.

The result? Not too b-a-a-a-ad, if I do say so myself.

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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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Ask the Builder — he’s a ham!

W3ATB ham radio cartoon QSL by N2ESTTim, W3ATB, lives in beautiful New Hampshire and loves to operate outdoors, sometimes accompanied by his German Shepherd Lady. He wanted all those elements worked into his QSL card — along with New England’s colorful fall foliage (it’s his favorite season). Here’s the result. Tim liked it. So did I. I really enjoyed drawing this QSL; Tim was a pleasure to work with.

About that call sign: W3ATB is a vanity call that refers to his Ask the Builder website, devoted entirely to do-it-yourself home improvement and maintenance. If you like building things, using tools and saving money — and what ham doesn’t?— you’ll love this website. I highly recommend it.

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Extra! Extra! (Class, that is)

N2EST cartoon for Gordon West Extra class study guideI’ve been licensed nearly 43 years but have a shameful confession to make: I’ve been stuck at General for about 42 of those years. The good news? A recent project finally inspired me to go all the way to Extra.

Last year I was commissioned to create new illustrations like this one for the latest Extra Class study guide by master instructor Gordon West, WB6NOA (along with my friend Eric Nichols, KL7AJ). Well, the new question pool just came out — and so did the book. And the book is so readable I now have no excuse not to upgrade. I plan to take the test before the year is up. All it took was this nudge.

For your own copy of the new study guide, you can order online at the W5YI website or by calling 800-669-9594. Or you can visit your favorite local ham-radio dealer where amateur-radio study guides are sold and pick up a copy.

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