The New Indian Express reports: In a time and age where there’s instant gratification, validation and criticism for everything we do, thanks to social media, imagine receiving a tangible form of communication through a letter or postcard from a stranger, from thousands of kilometres away. And, most importantly, something that is meaningful! Sending and receiving postcards is that to me. A meaningful hobby turned into a passion,” shares Jaisakthivel Thangavel, a professor (Journalism and Communications) at the University of Madras.
A seasoned philatelist and avid postcrosser, Sakthivel is most proud of his QSL card collection — a trove with over 2,000 cards from different parts of the globe. "QSL cards are exchanged between ham (amateur) radio operators to confirm contacts between two radio stations or to acknowledge short wave listener reports (radio listeners).
So every time the listener sends a reception report to the radio station, we receive a QSL card in return. From a very young age, I’ve had the habit of listening to the radio and tuning into these radio stations from across the world. My tryst with the QSL cards began in the early 90s when after sending a reception report, I received my first from a radio station in the Netherlands,” recalls the DXer (hobbyists who enjoy picking up radio stations, which are rare and have distant broadcasting stations).
Tuning in to a collection
While it’s been more than 20 years since Sakthivel’s initial tryst with the QSL card, he vividly remembers how he instantly got hooked to it. "Receiving a card from another country motivated me to send more reception reports. It benefitted the radio stations because they were able to ascertain their reach of the signal, while I started getting interesting cards, including a wooden QSL card. There are other kinds like the 3-dimensional and printed paper QSL card, leather cards too,” he details.
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