Saturday, January 2, 2010
Photo QSL Cards
QSL cards are a ham radio tradition that I was introduced to when I was a novice in 1966. My novice card then was a fairly generic design ordered 100 cards at a time from the Little Print Shop near Austin, Texas.
These days I usually custom create my QSL cards to go with a particular event or location. Lots of places will print digital photos and most allow on-line submission. I've seen prices as low as 9 cents per print with no minimum. All that is needed is a jpg file the right size.
Start with your favorite graphics editor, even Microsoft Paint has enough power and function to do the job.
First create a blank colored background with the right aspect ratio to match the prints to be ordered. I planned to order 4" x 6" prints so I created a 800 x 1200 pixel background. This background gives you control over auto resize/crop that occurs when your file is printed. The color doesn't matter. It will eventually get trimmed off.
Use your editor to cut out from the middle of the background a rectangle the matches the final size of the QSL card. For a typical 3.5" x 5.25" QSL card on a 800 x 1200 pixel background this rectangle will be 700 x 1050 pixels. This space is where you create your QSL card.
Use your graphics editor to add whatever QSL card text and images you wish. For Microsoft Paint I found it best to crop and resize any photos or images before I paste them into the QSL card.
Send the jpg file off to be printed.
The resulting 4" x 6" print will have a colored frame that needs to be trimmed off. This should leave your 3.5" x 5.5" QSL card. A paper cutter works great for trimming.
Other cheaper options may be available but for the QSL card information I use a Avery #5264 3.25" x 4" shipping label stuck to the back of the QSL card. Inside the Avery box are instructions telling how to use a template included in Microsoft Word to create six preprinted labels per sheet of shipping labels.