We humans are a strange breed. We all need to be member of a pack, but at the same time stand out from the crowd. I am no different and I am happy to belong to the pack of radio amateurs. Standing out of that crowd of hams is a bit more difficult: I have a modest station, don’t do terribly exciting things, am not an inventor nor innovator, I just enjoy the hobby in my own quiet way, including collecting QSL cards.
Now there is something you can be different in! Most QSL cards nowadays are very non-personal, run-of-the-mill photo cards, designed and printed by a handful of companies. Not for me, I want it special. Very special.
I am a man of many trades and skills, but drawing is not one of them. Really, it is not. Has never been, will never be. But how much more personal can you get if you can draw your own card, with yourself in it? So there is a challenge, but quite a fun one.
I started of by brainstorming: I live in Longtan, which means “Dragon Lake”. Maybe the dragon is not too happy with me filling the airwaves, so he emerges from the lake. Next step, search the internet for pictures of dragons, lakes, mountains, radio operators and myself. I then started the GIMP (that’s Photoshop for you non-free software users) and made a composition with the images I had found. Now that’s where I shine: within an hour I had my idea on screen and it wasn’t too bad either.
Of course, there were 10 different styles of drawing in that composition. But I work in a school with many talented children and I happened to have beef with a kid who is very good at drawing. So when he had to report himself to the office little did he know that after a stern speech from me I asked him to make up his wrong-doing by doing something right for me. He agreed and I showed him my computer generated composition. He said he could make it into something better, so he did and a few weeks later he had it done. I scanned it in, cleaned it up and used Scribus (that’s QuarkXpress for you non-free software users) to add text to the design.
Printed in beautiful black and white, on elephant tusk paper (can’t help it, that’s how it is called), double sided, for a mere 15 Euro/20 US$ for 500 cards. That is where Taiwan still shines: cheap and fast printing. Want one my cards? You will have to work me and that won’t be easy because the coming month we will be in the Netherlands. BX2ABT is transforming into PA2BX again. So where did I put those QSL cards…..?