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Surfin': Collecting Radio Stamps

TAGS: ham radio, qsl

Collecting is a hobby of mine, and over the years I have collected a variety of items: coins, rocks, dead bugs, beer cans, postcards, radios, baseball cards, Mad magazines -- you get the idea.

My mother was responsible for my first collection. She collected stamps as a kid and she passed on her collection and hobby to me when I was a kid. My slew of relatives living in Poland communicated with my slew of relatives in the States via postal mail and I educated all my relatives on this side of the Atlantic to save for me all the canceled stamps from the letters they received from the other side of the Atlantic. As a result, I amassed a nice collection of Polish stamps. I also collected US stamps, UN stamps and John F. Kennedy commemorative stamps.

I was very active collecting stamps until I became active in radio -- initially, shortwave listening, and later, ham radio. As I became more active in radio, I became less active in philately.

Too bad, because the two endeavors were complimentary. Working foreign radio stations (shortwave stations, as well as hams) resulted in the receipt of QSL cards that were usually sent by using foreign postage attached to the card or an envelope. But by then, my main interest was radio, and the foreign stamps were just a means toward a goal (DXCC).

Recently on a lark, I answered some advertisements that appeared in the coupon sheets that accompany the Sunday newspaper: For $1, I received a bag of canceled foreign stamps. For another dollar, I received three uncanceled US stamps from the 1940s.

Looking at my $2 investment rekindled my interest in stamp collecting. I pulled out my old stamp albums and reacquainted myself with my collection. Then the radio philately connection became apparent to me, so I started going through my QSL cards to see what kind of stamps were stuck on them.

Exploring the Internet on the topic, I found some interesting Web sites that explored the radio philately connection and I will share my findings with you:

  • The ARRLWeb has a pertinent article titled "Amateur Radio through Philately" by Fábio Serra Flosi.
  • RF Cafe has a colorful Web page that displays postage stamps that have a radio theme.
  • Edward Madison, W2SN, has a Web page, concentrating on the commemoration of ham radio on stamps issued by Pitcairn Islands.
  • Bart Lee wrote an article titled "Radio Stamps" for the Antique Radios Web site. His article covers stamps issued by various nations, as well as "Cinderella" stamps -- that is, stamps issued by commercial entities for various purposes. For example, in the 1920s, the EKKO Company produced what would become known as "EKKO stamps" for commercial broadcast stations to be distributed to listeners as QSL stamps. Now there is the ultimate radio philately connection!

Until next time, keep on surfin'!

Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, regrets not collecting money. To contact Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog.



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