CB Convac: QSLs: Imaginative Calling Cards

The following syndicated column by Ink Dipper appeared in newspapers starting in the first week of October, 1976.

Most people aren’t likely to put a photo of a naked woman on their calling cards.
But in CBing, calling cards are bound to have just about anything – from Bible verses to naked women.
Non-CBers sometimes marvel at the colorful handles CBers adopt, hearing CB songs about Rubber Duck, Pig Pen, Teddy Bear and the White Knight.
People don’t know the half of a CBers imaginations, though, until they see his calling card, known as a QSL card. The card, like his handle, usually reflects the way he would like for people to think of him being.
For instance, the Super Plumber might not be all that much better than a regular plumber, but he thinks he is, and he want you to think so also. His card might have a cartoon of himself, dressed in cape and tights, flying to the nearest overflowing toilet.
Just about anything is likely to end up on QSL cards, which are about the size of postcards.
A very devout little lady will put her favorite Bible verse on hers. An avid hunter’s card will have a photo of his jeep and bird dog.
Probably the most unusual card we’ve seen lately was one from a Venezuelan CBer, featuring a four-color photo of a well endowed, very naked native woman. The card probably got a lot of second looks as it made its way – slowly – through the postal system.
QSL cards had their beginning with amateur radio operators. The “Q” means that the letters are part of the amateur Q-code, much like CBers’ 10-code. There are varying ideas on what the “SL” means, but probably “send letter” or “signal letter.”
Hams swapped cards only when they have actually talked to each other or one ham has monitored another. Hams can legally talk to any other ham in the world, but CBers are limited to 150 miles.
That means unless CBers want to break the federal law, they are limited in the variety of card they can receive on signal reports.
Many card swappers though, collect QSLs without ever actually talking to people whose cards they collect.
At CB gatherings, like jamborees or coffee breaks, there are often card-swapping tables, and CBers from hundreds of miles apart will legally exchange cards.
The cards are sometimes referred to as “wall paper” because CBers hang the cards on the wall near their base stations.
We CBers probably hang the cards to impress our non-CBing friends. After all, it’s a lot of fun to watch a friend scan the wall and notice a card from an operator a couple of thousand miles off.
The far off CBer, incidentally had passed through town on vacation the week before.
“Did you really talk to this guy?” he asks, pointing to the card.
“Yep,” the answer comes without hesitation.
We CBers, after all, will stretch the truth occasionally.

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