The Art of the Cartoon-Character QSL Card

I don’t know much about QSL cards, but I do know this: ham-radio operators have swapped them for many decades as a way of recording where their signals reach. The custom spread to CB radio, and cards with cartoony caricatures of the operators in question became popular. In some cases, the cards just used unauthorized versions of well-known characters. These are some of those cards. I believe they date from the 1970s.

Most of these were done by a person or organization known as Runnin Bare. I love ’em — especially how they make everyone from Porky Pig to Blondie look kind of like a trucker.

card-porky2

card-porky

card-roadrunner''

card-daffy

card-donald

card-figaro

card-pinoke

card-huck

card-tramp

card-pebbles

card-magoo2

card-magoo3

card-magoo

card-woody

card-casper

card-annie

card-speedy

card-dagwood

card-abner2

card-abner

card-popeye

There seems to have been a long tradition of using famous characters on QSL cards — here, borrowed from an eBay auction, is a 1934 example.

card-mickey

8 thoughts on “The Art of the Cartoon-Character QSL Card”

  1. All this shows just what a major influence cartoon characters are on our culture. They communicate and connect immediately with others. Tell that to the intellectual snobs who dismiss them.

  2. What’s a GRM? If it’s a term in the 30s for some kind of radio interference, is there any chance it mutated later to become ‘gremlins’?

  3. Mr. Thompson, I’ve just started looking at the collection you linked.

    Now I’m thinking I’d like to see some QSL cards for those shortwave number stations.

  4. Well,Ray, I see this attitude from intellectual snobs and the middlebrow Americans that are crazy about sports and live action movies. The cartoon characters displayed here are intricate, ingrained aspects of Americana.

  5. JUST to answer about the GRM”. question, lol, hihi, no it is QRM, and yes INterference like noise on Radio BANDS that prohibit good Signals . 73s, W5HEH ‘AJ’

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