October 09, 2016

New PA7MDJ QSL card

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 "The Night Owl"    Design by Jeff K1NSS   © Michael de Jong PA7MDJ
To me, sending and receiving paper QSL cards has always been an important part of the radio hobby (sometimes I think I'm into it just for the QSL cards, hi), and I always put a lot of effort in designing my cards, to send off something nice as "the final courtesy of a QSO".

For my new QSL card I wanted something special. I wanted a cartoon design. A search on the internet led me to the website of Jeff Murray K1NSS of K1NSS Design, located in the Hudson Valley area, New York, and specialised in custom QSL art and ham graphics. The impressive portfolio on his site convinced me Jeff was the guy I was looking for to create my new QSL. Soon the ball started rolling, and Jeff took on the job of translating my ideas into professional digital art.

I've always been charmed by the cartoons of the vintage QSL card shown below. The wee hours, a sparsely lighted shack, a ham operator still awake while everybody else is asleep, sending his signals out into the night and making contact with the far corners of the world. This to me is the typical ham operator and reminds me of myself, during my years as a shortwave listener back in the 1980s and 90s, and today as a licenced radio amateur. I've always been a night owl! The best DX often comes at night, you know! DX never sleeps!


I'd always wanted something similar for one of my next QSL cards; a nighttime theme in cartoon style. Another QSL card I've been charmed by ever since I first saw it, and which also inspired me to do a nighttime, cartoon style QSL card, is the one shown below of fellow Dutch radio amateur PA5PR. I love the atmosphere in this card!

I believe I'm a creative guy, and I'm quite handy with graphical design software, but artistically I'm just not good enough to turn my imagination and ideas into professional, good looking art. Luckily there are artists like Jeff K1NSS, who can do that for you.

Jeff perfectly knew how to give form to my ideas and wishes. It was a real pleasure working together with him. Over a period of about two weeks I saw my ideas taking form, from the initial proposal to the final design. E-mail was sent back and forth, sharing ideas and suggestions, and at various stages of the project Jeff would let me review the design, enabling me to suggest any changes. It eventually resulted in the wonderful collaborative design you see at the top of this blog entry! I love it!

Jeff masters various art styles, and just as easily translates your ideas into an art deco style drawing as he does into a great looking cartoon. Just take a look at the K1NSS Design portfolio. Jeff has designed custom QSL cards for hams all over the world, from Japan to Germany and from Australia to Texas. And now also the Netherlands. I'm proud to say I was Jeff's first Dutch client.

K1NSS Design also designs logos for DXpeditions, ham clubs, etc. The logo of the VK0EK Heard Island DXpedition is another example of Jeff's fine art work.

The Artist - Jeff K1NSS (source)

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  1. I enjoy your aesthetic sensibilities, Michael, and you picked a mighty fine artist in the shape of Jeff. Way to go!


    1. Thank you very much, Dave! 73 from the Netherlands!