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  1. While we were waiting for the bus home today, Olle explained to me and Oliver how QSL cards work: two ham radio operators establish a radio connection, the more distant and unlikely the better; during the connection they exchange call signs, which are globally-unique and can be used to look up a postal address; to mark the magical radio connection, a printed QSL card can thus be sent, acting as a kind of award of merit for defeating geography via radio.

    Olle delivered this explanation in light of Ton’s proposal:

    Letterpress printed QSL cards for successfully sent and received Webmentions must be the most finely targeted joke. The audience very likely not larger than 3 people.

    Being interested in Webmentions, and also being a letterpress printer, I feel an obligation to make this happen.

    Here, then, are the Indieweb building blocks:

    Olle writes a blog post.
    On my blog, I reference Olle’s blog post, and so my blog sends him a Webmention.
    Olle’s blog receives the Webmention, and looks to see if he’s ever received one from me before.
    He hasn’t!
    Olle’s blog looks for a postal address h-card on my blog and, finding one, sends a mailing label to Olle by email, ready for attaching to a letterpress-printed QSL card that he can pop in the mail to me.

    For this to work as outlined:

    Blog authors need to includ their postal mailing address on their blogs, marked up as an h-card. I’ve got this but not everyone does.
    The Webmention-receiving logic on blogs needs to be able to track first contact, and trigger a QSL-card-sending callback when it’s established.
    Letterpress QSL cards need to be printed. I can do this.

    I agree with Ton that the audience is small. But we’ve already got 3 people, so the idea has already reached 100% of its estimated audience.

    Webmention | Ham Radio | QSL

  2. The reason I came up with letterpress made QSL cards was of course that you have one. Also Aaron Parecki is interested. Not only is he deeply involved in Webmention as a standard, he also has a ham radio license (W7APK) like me (PE1NOR). So we have at least an audience of 4
    Bonus pic: the QSL cards I sent when I didn’t have my license yet (I got it in ’89) and sent out listening reports to both sides of successful connections (QSO). These were often highly appreciated by the stations involved as sometimes the only proof they had that a conversation with some exotic station had taken place was that someone overheard it and sent a report.
    These QSL cards were bundled nationally and then sent as packages to the ham radio club of the destination country, where they would be disseminated through the various regional ham radio clubs. I should have a stack somewhere of QSL cards I received from all over the world.

    And here’s an example of the logs I kept as a teenager, exactly 34 years ago:

    Replied to WebmentionQSL by ruk.ca

    While we were waiting for the bus home today, Olle explained to me and Oliver how QSL cards work: two ham radio operators establish a radio connection, the more distant and unlikely the better; during the connection they exchange call signs, which are globally-unique and can be used to look up a pos…

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  • Chris Aldrich

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