I know, I know. Just five months ago I got a new call sign: NIØL. But as I said back then, there was an even better call sign that I wanted: NØIP. I’ve always preferred 1×2 call signs, probably because back when I first became a ham that was what every extra-class operator got. But not only is NØIP “lightweight” in Morse Code, it also suits me as a web developer (IP stands for “Internet Protocol”).
I feel bad for killing NIØL for the next two years. That’s what happens anytime you take a new vanity call sign — when you cancel your old one, it stays out of circulation for the next two years and one day. I’ve heard there are hams who change their vanity call signs as often as they change their socks, but I intend to keep my new call sign for the rest of my life. It’s downright selfish to tie up a call sign on a whim since the pool of available call signs is already so small, but I think I made the right choice. After all, the odds were against me when I applied for NØIP. Half a dozen other hams were in the running, but I won the lottery. If I hadn’t, I sure would have regretted not snapping up NIØL when I had the chance.
Anyhow, once I got this new call sign I needed a new QSL card. There are lots of vendors who will make them for you, but I decided to try my hand at printing my own. There are web pages you can visit that help you do it yourself, and freeware you can download for this purpose, too. But instead I just designed it in my word-processor, OpenOffice. Here’s the result (filled out for a QSO I had the other day):
The straight key pictured on this card is the one I’ve been using since I was 10 years old — a Nye Viking Speed-X. It’s a great key! While I prefer using paddles with an electronic keyer, I have still used this straight key from time to time over the years, especially for portable operation. That was the case this past weekend when I set up my Heathkit HW-8 on the picnic table in the backyard. There’s nothing like sitting outside and working QRP with a trusty straight key!