Thanga. Jaisakthivel, an assistant professor in the Journalism & Communication Department at the University of Madras and president of the Ardic DX club likes to collect QSL cards. QSL, derived from the Q codes used by armed forces and HAM operators, is a card sent by radio stations across the world confirming the reception report sent by radio listeners that they had tuned into a specific programme at a radio station.
QSL cards motivate listeners to send their reception report as it benefits radio stations to ascertain the reach and target area of signals broadcast over the airwaves. Jaisakthivel has over 2,000 QSL cards from various radio stations across the world. Inspired by his father, Thangavel, Jaisakthivel started listening to various radio stations during his school days.
“My father Thangavel used to tune to radio stations like BBC-Tamilosai and I started sending review reports to the them. I saw one of my relatives receiving QSL cards and gifts from various radio stations across the world, including the German DW as they had a radio listeners club,” he said.
This made him start a radio listeners club in his native town in Tiruppur district and tune into radio stations, send reception reports to receive QSL cards from them. “I received my first QSL card from Radio Netherlands in 1998 for the report I had sent for their Media Network programme.
By then I was crazy about getting QSL cards from foreign radios. I started listening to many programmes. The rarest cards in my collection include the wooden QSL card from Radio Netherlands,” he added. There are different kinds of QSL cards like 3-dimensional ones, wooden, glass, gold plated and printed paper.
“Collecting QSL card is like collecting stamps. QSL cards have their own value,” he said. Pointing out that processing, printing and posting a QSL card to a listener radio station needs a minimum of Rs. 200, Jaisakthivel says that some radios abroad had stopped issuing QSL cards, but radio stations like Radio Prague have been sending them for those who listen to the radio over Internet.
Significance of World Radio Day
February 13 is celebrated as World Radio Day across the world. According to UNESCO it is a day to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters, to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves. This year, the theme for World Radio Day is ‘Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster’.