Several of my cartoon QSL commissions have involved mobile or portable operations, even backpacking and hiking — but this is the first one designed especially for Parks on the Air (POTA) contacts.
Don, WA4FL, is a retiree who spends part of his time in Florida (hence, the cool call sign). He enjoys combining QSOs with camping, so he wanted a card that showed him doing just that, with POTA acknowledged and a park animal “causing mischief.” Done and done. Besides, what would a Hamtoons QSL be without a cute animal wearing headphones? That’s why I went all-out and gave him four squirrels, two with headsets, one playing with his pipe, and one at the wheel of his Ram van (probably looking for a headset of his own). What can I say? Drawing cute animals wearing headphones makes me happy.
I also suggested modifying one of my standard report forms for POTA information, and this is what we came up with. Don liked it. I hope his fellow hams who receive one of these QSLs like it too.
Yi Zhang, K8QR, wanted to combine his love of ham radio with his interest in hot-air balloons. What better way to connect them than the world’s longest wire antenna? As an added touch, to acknowledge his Columbus QTH, I added a banner for THE Ohio Station University. He does much of his operating from the school’s club station, W8LT.
In addition to being a good ham, K8QR has the patience of a saint; we’d been talking about this commission since last spring. I hope the finished QSL was worth the wait.
If 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.
Here’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.
Ever 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 …
The 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.
Steve, 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.
Hamtoons 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.
This 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.
Here’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?
Tim, 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.