Ham-Ventures in Paradise

Ocean oil drilling ships figure heavy into the career of James K4NNL/DU2UXJ, so when he commissioned me to do a custom QSL marking his retirement to the Philippines, I couldn’t be more chuffed at the prospect of such a cool subject.

Among such vessels on which James oversaw the stabilzation systems that kept all copasetic on the bounding main, was one particular ship that rose to Tom Clancy level of Cold War mission secrecy, tasked with raising a Russian missile sub from the Pacific ocean floor.

To be clear, James came aboard after the Hughes Glomar Explorer became “just another” deep water drilling ship, made over as the GSF Explorer back in the service of private industry.

So keep your ears on and maybe you’ll catch a cool story or two from James, and snag yourself one of his custom QSLs.



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I design and draw QSL cards & radio graphic art to order for high-profile hams and smooth everyday operators worldwide.

No templates. No clip art.

Your design, yours alone.

That's what this ham calls custom.

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For many hams, custom QSL means choosing from some nice photographs, clip art and a font list.

FB far as it goes. But my clients and I see custom QSL design as a more personal process. That means drawn just for the occasion for you alone, by a real OM artist into radio and drawing since he was kid, so the process is very personal.

What's more,  my clients are part of that process from the very first sketch.

So while I do the drawing, my clients and I create their QSL designs side by sidetossing ideas back and forth and very often having a lot of fun in the bargain.

The difference goes deeper too.

I like to spotlight the operator behind the mike, key and keyboard. Sure, that can mean a fun likeness, but it also can mean a scene, still life or live action, that can express your individuality, your bliss, what motivates and moves you. Sorting that out can take a little while, but it’s worth it. Offbeat stuff that come up in our easy back and forth can generate startling visuals. Happens all the time, with high-profile hams and everyday ops alike. No magic. Just some thoughtful reflection and good old collaboration on your next QSL card.

Art for shacks?  I madly love to kid around. You know what I mean if you've ever been to my ham humor site

For all that though, I’m serious about designing QSLs and logos and drawing cartoons and illustrations like none other in the radio world.  Because for individuals like my clients, nothing else will do.

My ham graphics experience goes well beyond custom QSL designs ...almost to the South Pole.

Granted, I stayed warm at my workstation providing logo and promotional graphics for the historic 2016 VKØEK Heard Island Expedition. That's one of many opportunities for which I've been thankful, working with internationally-recognized DXpeditions, ham authors, events, organizations, media and manufacturers.

Brands like Begali Keys, Texas Antennas and Alpha Amplifiers.

DX teams from Bouvet to the Cocos to Asia-Pacific to Central America.

Writers like ARRL editor/author  Ward Silver, NØAX, as well as Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, ham blogger, CW Geek and author of the  No Nonsense License Study Guides.

Organizations like Four State QRP Group.

Events like World Radiosport Team Championship.

Websites like and

Plus ham media as staff cartoonist for K9YA Telegraph eZine, graphics for Ham College video podcasts by Amateur Logic,   and Dashtoons web comics featuring my irrepressibly imaginary radio playmate Dash! The Dog-Faced Ham. 

Let's talk about your next QSL card, your club plans, personal projects and special events.

text/phone +1 845 853-0659


copyright 2018   Jeff K1NSS